The highly touted, much anticipated Chevy Volt made its somewhat-public debut this week in Warren, Michigan.
The vehicle was not the concept version or test model that has generated so much buzz in recent months; this was an actual pre-production model that Chevrolet Volt Vehicle Chief Engineer, Andrew Farah, took for a spin around the grounds of GM’s pre-production facilities in Warren, Michigan.
Farah later blogged about the experience on the GM Fastlane blog.
Writing for the blog, Farah stated that ‘Back in February of this year, I hung a countdown clock on my office wall. It read 99 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes.’
The countdown clock was intended to track progress as Farah and his team sprinted toward a self-imposed deadline of May 27 to begin pre-production of the Volt.
‘At the same time,’ he says, ‘I set a personal goal to be driving one of these vehicles by the Fourth of July.’
Having beaten that target by more than a week, Farah expressed his gratitude to the ‘commitment and enthusiasm of a great design, engineering and manufacturing team.’ He went on to attribute their ability to beat other deadlines, like bringing GM’s Global Battery Systems Lab on-line nearly six months ahead of schedule to a ‘contagious enthusiasm within the team to bring this vehicle to market next year on time and beyond expectations.’
So how did the test drive go? Farah doesn’t provide specifics on how the Volt performed during its brief maiden voyage, but he does paint an enticing picture of the overall experience.
‘I adjusted the seat and mirrors,’ he wrote, ‘pressed the POWER button, moved the shifter to D, and then took it on a few laps around our Technical Center campus in Warren, Mich.’
In the engineering equivalent to ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’, Farah concluded, ‘This was the moment I’d been looking forward to and it was exhilarating.’
Farah says that being ahead of schedule will allow them to make what he calls ‘a few small tweaks’ which he says are ‘nothing out of the ordinary for this stage of development.’
GM’s Warren, Michigan Pre-Production Operations (PPO) is currently rolling out a few of the battery powered vehicles per week but Farah anticipates that they will ‘quickly ramp up to 10 per week,’ and expects to have assembled about 80 pre-production units by October of this year.
Farah concluded his blog post by stating that there’s still a long way to go before the Volt makes its official debut on showroom floors but said that ‘after driving the Volt yesterday, I’m increasingly confident we’re on target to deliver.’