DETROIT - Chevrolet has hand-picked 15 advanced technology enthusiasts and electric vehicle advocates to be the first consumers to experience the Volt every day under real-world conditions. The three-month evaluation program will start in late October.

Forming this group of expert consumers -- referred to as the Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory Board -- is one of the final steps Chevrolet is taking to validate the vehicle, charging and overall customer experience in preparation for the retail launch late this year, the automaker said. 

"We are eager to learn as much as we can from potential customers about their experience with the Volt," said Tony DiSalle, Chevrolet Volt marketing director. "We want to know their thoughts, impressions, and perceptions. This special group of electric vehicle experts gives us the opportunity to learn even more as we near market launch."

Volt Customer Advisory Board members have volunteered to participate and were selected by Chevrolet based on their residence location, knowledge of advanced automotive technology, and interest and awareness of electric vehicles. Each participant is scheduled to receive a pre-production Volt starting in late October and will keep the car through the end of January 2011. Participants live in Volt retail launch markets including California, Washington D.C., and New York.

Members of the Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory board include:

  • Robert Becker - Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Peter Corsell - CEO of Grid Point
  • Lyle Dennis - Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Tom Kuhn - President of Edison Electric Institute
  • Andy Lipkis - President and founder of Tree People
  • Bill Nye - Celebrity scientist and electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Eric Rotbard - Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Chelsea Sexton - Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Colin Summers - Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Mark Swain - Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Kris Trexler - Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Bryan Voltaggio - Celebrity chef and owner of Volt restaurant
  • Jim Woolsey - Former Director of Central Intelligence and Renewable Energy and Energy Security Investor
  • Brian Wynne - President of Electric Drive Transportation Association
  • Mike Maria - Electric vehicle enthusiast


Volt Customer Advisory Board members will receive product training, a home electric evaluation and a free installation of a 240-volt charging station to be used for the duration of the vehicle evaluation program. Chevrolet will then collect information continuously through OnStar.

The feedback provided by Volt consumer advisors will help Chevrolet refine the ownership, charging and driving experience. Information gathered will also help local utility companies develop codes and standards for electric vehicle owners. Each member will also be assigned a Volt customer relations manager for personal service and attention.

"It's great to see Chevrolet tap into both experienced and new electric vehicle enthusiasts for real-world feedback," said Chelsea Sexton, electric vehicle advocate and Volt Customer Advisory Board member from California. "This is a great opportunity to not only provide meaningful input to the Volt team, but also to raise awareness using a real, available electric vehicle instead of a PowerPoint slide." 

The Volt Customer Advisory Board group serves as an extension of Chevrolet's final Volt validation employee test fleet program already under way, the automaker said. To date, more than 200 pre-production Volts have been built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck production assembly.

Customer deliveries of the Volt are scheduled to begin in launch markets late this year, with initial production limited. The 2011 Volt will be available to Chevrolet customers in California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and the Washington D.C. area. A Volt dealer locator is available at

Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine