Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

First drive: Chevy Volt test

A few laps behind the wheel of an early version of GM's electric car shows the strengths - and possible weaknesses - of the technology.

1 of 5
BACKNEXT
Early results
It was a rare opportunity when General Motors recently invited a few reporters to test drive a Chevrolet Volt electric car "test mule" at the carmaker's proving grounds in Milford, Mich.

Very few people who don't work for a car company ever get to drive "mules." These are not-ready-for-prime-time mock-ups used to test new engine, transmission and suspension technologies.

To create a "mule," engineers stuff the mechanicals of a new vehicle into the body of an existing vehicle and test drive that for months. It beats waiting for a whole car.

In this case, the body was that of a Chevrolet Cruze, a new small car model that GM will start selling here next year. The interior, except for a big red "kill" switch on the dashboard, was that of a Cruze, too. Underneath, though, was the battery pack and electric motor, packed under the gasoline engine, of a Chevy Volt electric car.

The guts of the car were about 80% those of the final Chevy Volt, according to Vehicle Line Executive Frank Weber.

Some tweaking still needs to be done before the car enters production, but this is a Chevy Volt.

Here's what it's like to drive GM's big gamble.


NEXT: Charging ahead
Last updated April 15 2009: 1:14 PM ET
Find Your Next Car
More Galleries
Best places to retire abroad in 2017 The top 10 places to retire overseas include beautiful beaches, cozy towns, and the best food you will ever eat -- all for half the cost of what you may pay in the U.S. More
Best business class airline lounges around the world Between August 2015 and May 2016, Skytrax surveyed over 19.2 million customers to find the best airline lounges. Here is what they found. More
What Boeing's new 737 Max 9 has under the hood Boeing unveiled its new, longer 737 Max 9 airliner earlier this month, the second member of the updated single-aisle jet family. The first aircraft will deliver to airlines starting in 2018. More

Special Offer