We weren't able to test the Volt mule's top speed, which GM says will be 100 mph, but certainly from 0 mph to almost freeway speed, the car could clearly keep up with traffic.
A few other journalists have driven the Volt as well, and their consensus matched ours: The Volt's powertrain offers a smooth flow of power from rest to speed. The Volt team is particularly proud of the lack of motor whine, and because the "Voltec" powertrain has no transmission, you hear no changes in tone from shifts to match gearing to road speed. In fact, the loudest noise is tire roar.
We drove an early mule that had been hard-used, with over 13,000 miles on a car less than a year old. (Among other duties, it went to Washington, DC, so GM's then-CEO Rick Wagoner could drive it to the auto industry hearings.)
Ours, said vehicle line director Tony Posawatz, actually had some of the oldest software of any mule. Frankly, we wouldn't have known it. Our codriver listened in vain for inconsistencies in power delivery, but couldn't find any.
GM stressed that these mules were not representative of the final suspension tuning. The Volt powertrain adds roughly 660 pounds to the standard Cruze, Weber said, and it drove that way. We'll reserve judgment on handling until we can drive one of the 75 "integration vehicles" that will go into testing this summer; they'll resemble the final Volt in almost every aspect.
Ford Focus EVEnlarge Photo
EV Mule Faceoff: Chevy Volt v Ford Focus EV