Volt Birth Watch 163: Sportier Than a GSXR

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Audi of America’s Johann De Nysschen calls the Volt “a car for idiots,” in an MSN interview. “No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla,” he tells Lawrence Ullrich. “So there are not enough idiots who will buy it.” And you have to admit that the guy has a point. For all the Volt’s hype, GM has offered little in the way of an explanation of the Volt’s potential appeal to people who don’t merely “want to show what enlightened souls they are,” as De Nysschen puts it. But don’t worry, GM has a meme for that! Specifically, that deep down the Volt isn’t an overpriced hair shirt . . . it’s a performance car!

Alex Cattelan, GM Powertrain Assistant Chief Engineer, Voltec Electric Propulsion System, wrote a post over at chevroletvoltage.com, describing tests of the Volt’s mountain performance. “Driving the twisty, winding roads of Knoxville, Tennessee,” she writes, “you really get to see what a car is made of. That is why I was there last week putting the Chevrolet Volt electric plug-in vehicle through its paces. ”

And what can she reveal about the Volt’s Tail Of The Dragon capability? We get some boring information:

Cabin conditions and under-hood temperatures all stand up to the heat and grade challenges put to the battery pack. System testing to date verifies that we can properly balance vehicle requirements such as drive performance, drive feel, thermal conditions and efficiency. Everything we are doing proves the Volt is right on track.

And we also get our moment of inspiration:

As I stood next to the Volt on top of a mountain last weekend, I felt overwhelmingly enthusiastic about its capability. I’m confident that Chevy Volt drivers will feel invigorated like I do by its exciting, smooth, quiet, and fuel-efficient performance.

You know, because it’s her job. But the best (and by best we mean least plausible) detail is saved for last.

For now, I look forward to hitting the open road again – but this time on my Suzuki GSXR 750 motorcyle. Somehow, I suspect my upcoming vacation to Georgia along some of these same roads will be somewhat less exciting – since nothing will top the experience for me of cruising along in a high performance electric car.

The implication is that the Cruze econobox-based Volt is somehow more fun than what is widely considered to be the best road-going supersport bike on the market. And even if that were true (it’s not) the GSXR750 starts under $12K. Oops.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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3 of 26 comments
  • Tcwarnke Tcwarnke on Nov 25, 2009

    Alex Cattelan is female. The post should be updated to reflect this.

  • Blindfaith Blindfaith on Dec 07, 2009

    When a person is paid to support a position, they will say anything this proves it. Al Gore is more proof Scientists that are paid to find support data for global warming I could go on but,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Lorenzo The unspoken killer is that batteries can't be repaired after a fender-bender and the cars are totaled by insurance companies. Very quickly, insurance premiums will be bigger than the the monthly payment, killing all sales. People will be snapping up all the clunkers Tim Healey can find.
  • Lorenzo Massachusetts - with the start/finish line at the tip of Cape Cod.
  • RHD Welcome to TTAH/K, also known as TTAUC (The truth about used cars). There is a hell of a lot of interesting auto news that does not make it to this website.
  • Jkross22 EV makers are hosed. How much bigger is the EV market right now than it already is? Tesla is holding all the cards... existing customer base, no dealers to contend with, largest EV fleet and the only one with a reliable (although more crowded) charging network when you're on the road. They're also the most agile with pricing. I have no idea what BMW, Audi, H/K and Merc are thinking and their sales reflect that. Tesla isn't for me, but I see the appeal. They are the EV for people who really just want a Tesla, which is most EV customers. Rivian and Polestar and Lucid are all in trouble. They'll likely have to be acquired to survive. They probably know it too.
  • Lorenzo The Renaissance Center was spearheaded by Henry Ford II to revitalize the Detroit waterfront. The round towers were a huge mistake, with inefficient floorplans. The space is largely unusable, and rental agents were having trouble renting it out.GM didn't know that, or do research, when they bought it. They just wanted to steal thunder from Ford by making it their new headquarters. Since they now own it, GM will need to tear down the "silver silos" as un-rentable, and take a financial bath.Somewhere, the ghost of Alfred P. Sloan is weeping.