A funny thing happened to the much-touted, angular, sexy-electric Chevy Volt on its way to production: It became the Toyota Prius.
That is not a knock on General Motors engineers, who have produced an engineering marvel – on a scant 21-month development schedule – that will potentially travel 40 miles on lithium ion battery power alone. But it is a commentary on how a Green society singularly obsessed with remaking products to conform to consumption standards promotes homogeneity at the expense of individual expression.
Auto-watchers gasped when the Volt was unveiled Wednesday at GM headquarters (above). Gone was the sporty, futuristic look of the Volt concept unveiled just last year at the 2007 Detroit International Auto Show (below). In order to meet its ambitious goals of producing a vehicle with optimal battery efficiency, GM designers rounded the Volt’s front end, sculpted every surface in the wind tunnel to maximize aerodynamic efficiency, and shrank the tires to minimize rolling resistance.
The result is a Volt that conforms to the same “bulbous egg” design profile that Toyota’s Prius hybrid – the Volt’s primary competitor – also had to conform to in order to make its ambitious 45-MPG goals.
Green zealots like Barack Obama are determined that America’s car fleet get an average of 50 MPG by 2027. Goodbye to innovative, stand-out-in the-crowd designs.
Hello bulbous eggs.