Posted by: David Kiley on June 13, 2008
General Motors is in a battle of PR and bloviation for the next two to three years against Toyota over which company will bring the first viable plug-in hybrid car to market.
GM is spending big to see that it wins so that it can possibly reclaim some of the green ground lost to Toyota’s Prius.
To that end, GM product boss Bob Lutz gave Sam Abuelsamid of www.greenfuelsforecast.com some impressions from his first drive of the Chevy Volt at GM’s Milford,MI proving ground.
Lutz: “The thing that’s eerie is the silence, there’s just no mechanical noise whatsoever,” he says. “Our first shot out of the gun, our electric motors and drive system are deathly silent, there’s no whine or whirring noise from the electric motor.”
According to Lutz, the engine/generator never turned on during his test drive. Lutz describes the experience as “like being in a conventional car at 70mph, shutting down and coasting with no engine, that’s what it sounds like.”
“(The car) had great acceleration, I had it up to 75-80mph going around the circular track. It handles well because the weight of the battery pack is very low,” Lutz says. “The center of gravity is probably lower than it is on a conventional car. All I can say is I was thrilled.”