First Truly, Seriously Real Volt Prototype Leaves The Shop

The first of many production-intent test cars arrives ahead of schedule

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt

General Motors

This shiny little black car is the first real Chevy Volt—the first of many hand-built but bona-fide production-intent prototypes that will roll out of GM's pre-production workshop in the coming weeks. This car is the next big step in the production process after the testing of the Volt "mules"—test cars with a Chevy Cruze body and a Volt powertrain. (We drove one of the mules last month; see our full review here.)

Chief engineer Andrew Farah drove the car around the company's Warren, Michigan Tech Centery and wrote about it on the GM Fastlane blog (there's also video). GM says they're more than a week ahead of schedule getting these prototypes on the road, and that soon they'll be building 10 of them a week, getting 80 on the road by October. The point of these cars is to spend the next year driving and tweaking them, adjusting fit and finish, reducing noise and vibration (they contain damping to kill the hefty amount of road noise that seeped into the cabins of the earlier mule cars), and so on.

Until we have a chance to drive one, we'll only make this observation about the car: Black is a very good color for this first, sure to be much-publicized Volt. It obscures the weird black strip between the side windows and the door panels, and looks smart and sophisticated. Nice choice, Volt team.