If you like the look of the Chevrolet Volt concept and hope General Motors won't change a thing, remember: Sometimes change makes things better.
The gasoline-electric hybrid car that stole the headlines at the Detroit auto show in January has been redesigned. The reason: The original Volt's aerodynamics were not good enough to meet GM performance goals.
GM wants the Volt to travel at least 40 miles on battery power. The more slippery the shape, the farther the Volt can travel on electric power before the engine starts and recharges the batteries.
The new version of the Volt features a front end with a rounded grille and smoothly integrated headlights. It's a five-door notchback, a bit sleeker than today's Malibu Maxx.
GM gave reporters a quick glimpse of the production version last week during a preview of the vehicles the company will display at the 2008 Detroit show in January.
"After extensive aero development of the Volt, and more to come, we have achieved a vehicle that has a coefficient of drag that is more than 30 percent lower in drag than the original concept," Ed Welburn, GM vice president of global design, said in a statement.
GM is aiming to start Volt production by late 2010, assuming the final kinks are worked out of the car's lithium ion batteries.
GM also said it has built a new dedicated styling studio at its Technical Center in suburban Detroit that is devoted strictly to electric cars.