2011 Chevrolet Volt Designer Accuses Competition of "Gross Exaggeration"
Although General Motors hasn’t revealed just how aerodynamic the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Volt will be, the car’s lead designer claims the competition isn’t quite truthful when it comes to talking about the coefficient of drag (Cd).
Speaking with GM-Volt.com via webchat, Volt chief designer Bob Boniface said that many of GM’s competition “quote grossly exaggerated aero figures that are not repeatable when we test our vehicles in our tunnel.” The comment was apparently directed at claims of the Tesla Model S achieving a Cd of 0.27.
“If I quote an actual GM-derived tunnel figure, it may not look impressive to you when, in fact, it is superior to most if not all of our competition,” Boniface said, apparently trying to address the issue of why GM hasn’t revealed the Volt’s figures.
The Cd of any given vehicle can drastically reduce fuel economy–which is one of the reasons many concept vehicle designs (like the Volt) never make it to production in their original forms. Although critics deride the significant transformation in the Volt’s appearance, Boniface claims the production car’s aero performance is “second only to the EV1 in GM history.”
Boniface also said GM would be testing the aerodynamics of the 2010 Toyota Prius in its tunnel, and expects the Volt to “stand up to the competition.” Toyota says the 2010 Prius has a Cd of 0.25, while Mercedes-Benz claims to have the most aerodynamic production car available today, with a Cd of 0.24–although GM might dispute those numbers, given these recent comments.