It was a beautiful sunny day at GM's proving ground in Milford, Michigan in mid-May when GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz invited me to watch him test the E-Flex system behind the new Chevy Volt. Given the enthusiasm surrounding the Volt, I jumped at the opportunity. Would E-Flex deliver on the promise that's been built up surrounding GM's electric car? The answer: Yes.
We taped Bob driving the Volt E-Flex system for our CNBC documentary "Saving GM" which airs tomorrow night. The Volt's "guts" were in a Chevy Malibu "mule" car for the Lutz run. We didn't care. We wanted to see for ourselves how the Volt's battery-powered engine ran. Lutz was only supposed to do a lap at the Milford proving ground. But he loved the experience and performance so much, he kept going, and going. With our cameras mounted in the car, he showed the pleasure of driving a car where the acceleration was smooth and the only thing he could hear was wind noise because the electric drive train is so quiet.
After Lutz finished his ride he talked about this being the most exciting test drive of his career. I can see why. If the Volt delivers the performance that GM is promising, it WILL be a revolutionary vehicle. But there are still many hurdles to overcome before we see the Volt in showrooms in late 2010. When we met with GM engineer's at the Volt lab, they showed a quiet confidence that they will be able to conquer the challenges facing the Volt.