In today’s gadget-obsessed world it’s not unusual to see brand new computers, cellphones and gadgets taken apart hours after their release on websites like iFixit.com in the interests of education and curiosity.
But earlier this week, engineers at Munro & Associates took apart a 2012 Chevrolet Volt to better understand how the plug-in hybrid was made.
In the automotive world, taking a car apart to reverse-engineer it is pretty commonplace. Automakers do it all the time to figure out how to stay ahead of their rivals. But this is the first time we've seen a Chevrolet Volt publicly disassembled in this way.
In fact, the automotive dissection was streamed live on the Internet, documenting the whole process from start to finish.
Part of the Drive for Innovation initiative -- a partnership between Avnet Express and UBM Electronics -- the disassembly was designed to highlight the technology used inside the Chevrolet Volt, from its T-shaped battery pack to individual circuit boards.
Removing some 600 components from the $39,995 car, the team of engineers examined each part in detail, even taking note of circuit designs and individual integrated circuits used in the car.
As a result, the teardown revealed some interesting things.
2012 Chevrolet Volt Teardown
Firstly, some of the power electronics boards used in the Volt appear to have unused space, leading some to speculate Chevrolet’s next plug-in car -- perhaps the Volt 2.0 -- will be even more powerful.
“They’re reserving a lot of this real estate for future developments so that they can easily put more components on here if they want to,” said one senior engineer.
Munro Chief Executive Sandy Munro was also impressed with GM’s design.
“This is, without a doubt, the most advanced board I’ve seen General Motors put out and it’s got room to grow,” he said. “This is hot stuff.”
The suggestion from some of the engineers present at the teardown is that Chevrolet’s next car -- and perhaps future all-electric cars -- will be even better than the current Volt.
The teardown is thoroughly impressive, regardless of your own technical knowledge, and illustrates in a very clear way just how much technology goes into a modern electric car.
For the curious, the whole Volt teardown -- including more detailed analysis of everything from the Volt’s inverter technology and battery pack to radio knobs and charging system -- can be viewed on the DriveForInnovation website.