2016 Chevrolet Volt shows its camouflaged body

Article by Andrew Christian, on September 29, 2014

Chevrolet will officially introduce the all-new 2016 Volt in January at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit but just like any other carmaker, Chevy wanted to tease the new vehicle once again. As expected, no details or specs were released just an explanation about how the 2016 Chevy Volt was camouflaged.

What we do know about the upcoming vehicle is that it will be capable to offer an all-electric range of up to 200 miles or 320 km, which is quite remarkable if we take a look at the current model’s electric range of just 37 miles or 60 km.

“If it were up to me it would be a shoebox driving down the road,” said Lionel Perkins, GM camouflage engineer.

“The design team wants us to cover more of the vehicle and the engineering team needs to have enough of the vehicle’s weight and aero exposed so that the tests in the development process are consistent with the product that will come to market.”

Still, if you don’t want to wait until the new generation arrives, you can still get the current 2014 Chevrolet Volt which starts at $34,170.

For those who don’t know, the current Volt is powered by a 1.4-liter petrol range extender that generates 84 hp and powers the 55 kWh generator as well as by an electric motor that produces 149 hp (111 kW) and 370 Nm (273 lb-ft) of torque.

In addition, the Volt carries a 17.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. With a full tank of fuel and with a fully charged battery, the Volt offers a range of 500 km or 310 mph.

Press Release

Camouflaging New Chevrolet Volt is Balancing Act

The styling of the next-generation Chevrolet Volt is one of the automotive world’s best-kept secrets. Keeping customers and media eager to see the successor to the groundbreaking original at bay until the new Volt debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January is tricky business.

First, it is engineers, not designers, who are charged with creating camouflage that balances styling secrecy with the need to validate the Volt and its systems in public.

The engineers responsible for the “cool” designs covering the car might deserve style points but their efforts are intended strictly to hide the metal beneath.

Some of the tricks of the trade:

  • Black and white patterns – The color scheme creates a shadow that hides vehicle design elements.
  • 3D – Layered camouflage throws off onlookers, but has to be applied without interrupting airflow around the car.
  • Swirls – In the old days of car camouflage, the design relied mainly on a grid pattern, but over the years engineers discovered that grids are difficult to realign if a piece is removed to make a change to the car. Swirl patterns better hide such developments.
  • Bubble wrap – Camouflage can be made from many different materials including plastics, vinyl and foam. Good, old bubble wrap is a lightweight, easily attachable three-dimensional material used to confuse prying eyes.

The camouflage package on the next-generation Volt was started six months in advance of early development. Every vehicle is different and tricks are constantly updated to keep spy photographers and the curious guessing.

“Each car is unique. We are like a dress maker, and the car is our model,” said Perkins. “No two models are the same. We need to make the right dress that fits the body we are dealing with.”

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