Public Testing Continues Ahead of NAIAS Debut
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt has begun public testing ahead of its January debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and it's sure to get the attention of everyone who sees it. On the other hand, early Volt viewers aren't likely to figure out much about the car's new look, thanks to the efforts of a special team of Chevy experts.
As explained by Andrew Farah, chief engineer for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt: "If not for the work done by the camouflage engineers, we couldn’t test these pre-production vehicles in their natural environments. It’s critical for us to make sure we’re listening to customer wants for the next generation Volt, and the only way to do that is to be out in the wild, while keeping the design under wraps.”
And in some cases, the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt test cars are literally "under wraps," since bubble wrap is one of the materials often used by the Bowtie camo crew: Not only does its textured, dimensional appearance confuse the eyes of passers-by, according to the brand, but it's also lightweight and easy to attach to a vehicle. Black-and-white patterns, especially swirls, are often used as well, although even that's not enough for some folks.
Said Lionel Perkins, GM camouflage engineer: “If it were up to me it would be a shoebox driving down the road."
But as Perkins continued, real-world testing requires a balance between uncovering too much of the car and not showing enough: "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.”
That's particularly important for cars like the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, too, since superior aerodynamics are an important enabler of its superior efficiency ratings. With that in mind, the design for the camouflage package of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt actually began six months before early development kicked off for the car itself.