Chevrolet has proudly claimed before that first-generation Volt owners had a tremendous amount of sway in shaping the all-new 2016 model. Here to back that up is a press release from the manufacturer that elaborates in a little more detail.
The photo above is of first-generation Chevrolet Volt owner and red shoe-clad California heartthrob Sam Miller-Christiansen, who – Chevy says – was one of many voices among early Volt owners who asked the automaker to bake in a little more electric range. “I said that if they could improve the overall EV range, it would make one of my favorite cars even better,” said Mr. Miller-Christiansen. “To my amazement, they’ve done it.”
It turns out that Chevrolet had anticipated the importance of customer feedback very early on after the first Volt’s introduction; it was, after all, a very different take on EVs, and an unprecedented new venture for GM. To that end, Chevrolet met with a panel of a dozen first-generation Volt owners monthly, from all around the country, in order to maximize their stockpile of constructive feedback. In addition, the automaker used social media and plug-in events to get owners’ most honest, candid opinions.
According to Chevrolet, these are the 2016 Chevrolet Volt features which were (at least partially) influenced by current owner demand:
- Greater electric range
- Fifth seat for short trips
- More intuitive user interface, with hard climate controls
- A more quiet engine note at low running speeds
- LED headlamps
- A more difficult to scrape/damage front air dam
- Heated steering wheel
- Regen On Demand™ for more driver control over brake energy recuperation
- More customizable driver info screen
- Location-based charging selection
- More discrete charging notifications
- A reminder when the charge door is left ajar
- Illuminated charge port
- Optional spare tire
Having taken the time to listen to customer concerns and needs to such a thorough extent will turn out to have been a great decision, we’re sure. Hopefully, the exercise in democratic product planning might even set a precedent for other cars – and other automakers – to observe.