GM’s new E-Flex Systems Design Studio will develop a variety of vehicles using the E-flex propulsion system, starting with the production version of the Chevrolet Volt. It is the only studio on the planet specifically designated to designing a wide variety of electric plug-in vehicles with a range extender.
“As soon as the project kicked off, I knew we needed a dedicated team focused on the development of E-Flex based vehicles and that team needed its own creative space,” said Ed Welburn, Vice President, Global Design. “To accelerate the program, we needed the right mix of designers and engineers from the original show car team and people with experience from the production side.”
Bob Boniface, design director for the E-flex Systems Design Studio and the Chevrolet Volt, will lead the team of approximately 45 creative designers, sculptors, design engineers, scientists and administrative staff. He was the lead for the exterior design of the Chevrolet Volt concept. According to Boniface, this historical program offers a new set of challenges and opportunities.
“We handpicked a team of both young and experienced designers who are enthusiastic, eager and believe in the cause as I do,” said Boniface. “They want to find a better way, a solution to our dependency on petroleum, and that’s what this car is about.
The Chevrolet Volt, GM’s electric plug-in vehicle, will be the first vehicle designed in the new studio. The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in electric vehicle that will run up to 40 miles without ever using a drop of gasoline — which according to government data, would be enough to handle approximately two-thirds of daily commutes for American drivers. The first vehicle in GM’s “E-Flex” family, the Volt will be powered by an electric motor, which draws its energy from on-board batteries. The batteries, in turn, will be re-charged by a small internal combustion engine that will run on gas, diesel or ethanol. When not in use, the batteries will be re-charged by simply plugging the Volt into an electric outlet.
The studio renovation began last June within the existing GM Advanced Design Center. What’s now the new E-flex studio was once an auditorium built for product reviews