The Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid touted as a high-tech image-changer for General Motors, recently passed a milestone when Andrew Farah, the car's chief engineer, drove the first prototype of the production version. He said GM engineers are working to reduce road and wind noise and tweak the sound of the drivetrain.
Farah spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett about the Volt's progress toward its November 2010 production date.
What is it like when you step on the accelerator with the engine running? Since it is not connected to the wheels, it must be a strange sensation.
You get immediate response from the foot pedal -- I am reluctant to call it the throttle because it is not, in the traditional sense. But you get immediate response because the Volt is always driven electrically. You don't even notice the difference there. The gasoline engine's rpms then follow.
The engine, not being directly connected to the foot, is one of the things we continue to tune. We don't want it to be discomforting to people. There is an expectation of what happens when you put your accelerator to the floor in the way the car sounds and feels. We've got the feel. We've got the feel of a sports car. The sound part and the way the engine plays into that perception is one of the areas we have to work on. … Read more