Did You Know? 2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior Was Completed Two Years Ago

FEB 9 2015 BY JAY COLE 58

The Jamestown Sun has done an interesting bio story on a local 2005 high school graduate –  John McDougall, who is now the creative interior designer for General Motors.

The North Dakota product McDougall, while discussing his job says that interior work on the 2016 Chevrolet Volt was done about two years ago.  John further states that the Volt interior project was a very long process that began in 2010 – beginning with mock-ups from companies and artists found outside of GM’s walls.

“First, designers from all around the world contribute sketches.  Then, they narrow it to 10 to 15 designs. When they select the top three designs, they make full-scale models in clay and from there they select the theme.”

2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior Seating (LTZ Trim  - Jet Black-Brandy Leather)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior Seating (LTZ Trim – Jet Black-Brandy Leather)

Just Because The "Official Pictures" Don't Always Look Like The Real Thing, Here Is A Shot Of The Interior We Took In Detroit In January

Just Because The “Official Pictures” Don’t Always Look Like The Real Thing, Here Is A Shot Of The Interior We Took In Detroit In January

From there GM designers worked up to 18 months refining the theme.

“That’s not as glamorous as the design work,” McDougall said to the Jamestown Sun. “Every little thing you can imagine goes into that. The glare angle from the windows, the placement of the controls, the placement of the seat. You have to create something that’s beautiful and functional.”

Of the final creation, the interior designer says that once you site inside the Volt and see the “big sweeping lines” that buyers won’t want to opt for the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.   (Find photos of both Japanese vehicle’s interiors below in the gallery)

“…We want to simplify people’s lives. This car has a big touchscreen control, like an iPad, in easy reach. We wanted people to feel comfortable inside the car.”

We should note that the current generation of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have been on the market for awhile, and both are heading into next generation upgrades themselves in 2016 and 2017 (respectively), so the comparison might not be a fair one.

As for what John is working on next, he won’t say other than to note it won’t be available until 2018.

Jamestown Sun

Gallery (below):  2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior, 2015 Toyota Camry Interior, 2015 Honda Accord Interior

2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior In Dark Ash/Cloth

2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior In Dark Ash/Cloth

2015 Honda Accord Interior

2015 Honda Accord Interior

2015 Toyota Camry Interior

2015 Toyota Camry Interior

Gallery (below): Some more live shots of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior

2016 Chevrolet Volt Center Stack  (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Center Stack (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Dash Cluster (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Dash Cluster (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Rear Seats (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Rear Seats (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Front Seating When "Occupied"

2016 Chevrolet Volt Front Seating When “Occupied”

2016 Chevrolet Volt Cutaway At NAIAS(Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Cutaway At NAIAS(Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Another Look At The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior With Different Ambient Lighting

Another Look At The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior With Different Ambient Lighting

2016 Chevrolet Volt Console Cluster Again (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Console Cluster Again (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Jamestown Sun

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58 Comments on "Did You Know? 2016 Chevrolet Volt Interior Was Completed Two Years Ago"

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“As for what John is working on next, he won’t say other than to note it won’t be available until 2018.”

I hope he’s working on a production interior of the Chevy Bolt. And that would be available before 2018.

Sounds like he’s long finished the Bolt’s production interior. 😉

You could be right, but I’m guessing that’s not what we saw in Detroit.

Oh I agree, I don’t think that’s what we saw in Detroit (at least I hope not).

I was just implying that, if the Bolt comes out in 2016 (and I hope it does), and if it followed a schedule similar to that 2018 vehicle and the 2016 Volt, then the interior should be long designed by now.

I hope he learns to put the information display in some shade, so that’s it’s viewable on sunny days.

Looking at those comparisons with the Accord and Camry – There is no doubt in my mind that the Volt is the most beautiful. I especially like the two-tone dark-ash. Of course, I’d still want the car for its drive train even if it wasn’t that beautiful.

Japanese car-maker interiors always remind me of calculator watches.

I have two CFX-40’s and one of these CFX-400’s. These watches are SUPER RARE!

I’ve always said most visitors to this site or almost any EV car site are geeks…But does it highlight that point any brighter than when someone posts a pic of a calculator watch from the ’90s and 3 hours later, someone pipes in – “I have that watch, and a couple others!”…LOL! Now THAT’S a geek! -It’s ok Fabian, I is one of you! 🙂 I have a Casio digital camera watch!

You can just imagine us with pocket protectors, bad teeth and a collection of vintage Mac’s! OK – now that’s a NERD, not a geek, right?

Car companies need to lure in the anti-geek in order for EVs to become mainstream.

Yea, the new Volt interior is really growing on me. And seeing the comparisons with Honda and Toyota helps.

The Toyota is just plain dated but the Honda looks OK to me. Not seeing such a huge difference. Then again I’m not a fan of the Ash interior so perhaps that has influenced my take.

Another couple of inches in the back would be nice on the Volt. A bet the Camry has it! LOL

De gustibus non est disputandum, I suppose, but I for one would pay extra to get an interior that did NOT look like the pictures.

Circa facta non est disputandum. Opinions are subjective and certainly are arguable.

Needs moar touchscreen… Bigger is better.

Tesla screen is too big. I’d prefer ~10″ screen at most.

Interesting. I never once mentioned Tesla, or the size it should be. But clearly, this tiny screen they’ve provided customers, won’t be as helpful showing NAV Maps, EV Charger locations, Projected Range or multiple displays / functions, as other infotainment systems currently available by other automakers.

Tiny automotive screens show me how shallow their embrace of the “Silicon Valley technology threat”, this US automaker claims they’re competing against, actually is…

I use my Nexus for the things you describe, and it only has a 7″ screen. The NextGen Volt has an 8″ screen.

“Tiny automotive screens show me how shallow their embrace of the “Silicon Valley technology threat”, this US automaker claims they’re competing against, actually is…”
I hope you didn’t pull a muscle on that stretch.

I actually love Tesla’s ginormous touchscreen. It is far easier to operate the controls and see what’s going on than reaching up and pressing touch buttons at an awkward angle on tiny screens like the touchscreens of most cars these days.

An 8″ screen is already much bigger than most screens on cars these days.

Oh please no, kdawg is right the Tesla screen is just too big. Keep it smaller and the information shown viewable at a glance.

Let us hope the display uses a dense level of pixels, and does not looks like 90’s era nintendo graphics– so it’s easier to read / use…

Yes, 720 (or equivalent density) res would be my minimum for crisp images. The tech for this resolution is not expensive today, there are consumer tablets that can manage it for 99$ The display in the gen 1 volt is nice, rich colors, though some of the touch buttons are a little iffy at times.

I’m also in the camp that says the Tesla screen is too big. I wouldn’t mind having TWO smaller screens. That way you could have them at different angles so the screen wouldn’t define the shape of the entire dash.

I also like having the big knobs for instant access to things I use a lot, like adjusting the climate control.

I don’t want to have to navigate through screens/sliders/buttons to turn the fan down 1 level.

I think this is one thing GM has going for it right now. Their interiors look very good, very well designed, and good quality materials used in their newer cars. Their exterior designs are beginning to have some life to them again as well. GM is really starting to step it up.

Those back seat cup holders seem fairly easy to remove.

It would be nice to have the option to not have them.

I’d lose those rear cup holders, which would improve the functionality of the middle seat. The cup holders could be integrated into the center armrest, which could fold down like in other vehicles when the middle seat is not needed (that’s the way the center row worked on our 2004 Suburban).

Fishawk has the better idea, but the cup holders as they are for production are not removable unless you use a sawzall. They are integrated, that is, one piece with the entire center rear console.

What I see as quite problematic is that the rear seat heater buttons ride off the edge of the cup holders ready to drain any spillage that is quite likely to occur.

I had seen that article. The Bolt EV interior will also be done at this point, if it’s launching in October 2016, and it’s not likely to look much like the concept.

The Volt is so head and shoulders, the most mainstream PHEV there is.

“This car has a big touchscreen control, like an iPad, in easy reach.”

Tesla may have more functions, but simple things matter. BMW may market better, but its product’s handicaps can make it a hard choice.

The simplicity of a blue/red heat dial is an ergonomic win.

Strange how the author rather gently challenges GM’s designer’s contention of a superior visual environment within the Volt, purposely using photos with washed out color and uncomplimentary lighting to covertly lend assistance to the attempt.

My opinion FWIW is that all look good, with Honda and Toyota more conventional and less organic than the Volt. The Volt surrounds one with curves and style; Toyota’s is chop-chop straight lines with Honda’s a bit less sterile but still pretty much suit-and-tie.

There is no nefarious conspiracy by author Jay Cole to undermine the 2016 Chevy Volt. Those photos were taken by the InsideEVs staff who attended the Detroit auto show. It’s not their fault the convention center lighting made the pics come out less flattering than glamor shots done by a profession photographer and his team in a photo studio with pro lighting equipment. I think most readers understand that these were quick snapshots taken at the Detroit auto show.

They weren’t necessary, were they?

Well, -I- did not understand, so thanks for explaining. I didn’t suspect any “nefarious plot”, but I did wonder why this article uses shots with reflections that distract so greatly. I wonder if GM would have been willing to provide InsideEVs with “glamor shots” if asked?

the title here should read ‘did you know? no one cares about the Chevy Volt’

The sale figures for the next-gen Volt will prove you wrong.

“No one cares” about the best-selling EV in America?

Methinks thou dost protest too much…

The interior looks great in the photos, but I will reserve my opinion until I get a chance to sit in one.

Also, I know I have said it before, but that blue shift knob has to go. It just looks awful.

Actually it’s a brilliant touch. One problem with EVs is knowing when they’re on or off. Since the know will reflect the state of the power button, the knob will be blue when the car is on, making it super easy to determine when the car is on, thereby reducing the chances of forgetting to turn the car off.

I’d give this one a “10”.

Does the knob change color to display whether the power is on or off? In the pics at the Detroit auto show the car is off, but the knob is blue.

If the knob does change color to show whether the power is on or off, it’s a great idea.

The quote was “mimic the power button”. I assumed that meant mimic the state, but maybe he meant it just echos the color, in which case it’s just kinda tacky IMO.

The glowing shift knob is a little weird. I figured it’s been established for decades that people seldom look down at the shifter for status information; that’s why even my electric car has a PRNDL indicator on the dash.

While blue LEDs are trendy, I don’t like them. The color tends to be hard to locate, and they’re almost always too bright.

I’m glad to see that the “ignition switch” button is back in a nice separate place far away from climate or infotainment controls.

led’s are the best

I agree. Shifters on EV’s suck. GM also seems to like stacking cr@pn on top of the center hump of their vehicles. Cup holders, coin pockets, huge sweeping divider bars, antiquated Shifters, etc..

I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m trapped in a fighter plane, when I sit in a car. I like clean interiors with less clutter between seats / passengers. And other than taking cues from Ford’s two-tone Mustang interior, there isn’t that much out of the ordinary here, including the rather tiny information screen in the center of the dashboard. It’s competent and mainstream in design, sure, that’s about the best I can say about it.

Compared to the original Volt interior, however; it’s a HUGE improvement.

I do like this interior a lot but shifter is another example where GM continues to lag Tesla in EV design. Tesla’s PRNDL is on a steering wheel stalk and not a big intrusive knob like GM does here.

Of course the biggest advantage Tesla has here is using the GM invented Skateboard design. Had GM done that here with the Volt 2 then their would not have been the space hogging and intrusive tunnel down the middle of the interior and the back seat could have served 3 small people across effectively.

Thanks for the comments on this. The shifter, while antiquated may be needed to be a mass market vehicle.

My beef is specifically with the hideous blue color on the top. I guess everyone is saying it’s an LED, but I have never seen a picture where it is not lit up.

To me it looks like the just jammed a blue opal on the top of the shifter to “bedazzle” it. http://www.gemstonebuzz.com/files/gemstone/blue-opals.jpg

Pam Fletcher called it an “Easter egg” and was pretty proud of it. Take that for what is worth. Sometimes groupthink strikes and no one notices the emperor has no clothes.

After owning a 2011 Volt and then migrating to a 2014 Volt, I find the new 2016 Volt interior really, really impressive. Big kudos to GM’s design staff for such a most significant positive evolution in overall design, interior gets an A+ and exterior a solid A- in my grading scale.

George, Ph.D., retired Professor, so “grading comes naturally to me”

It will be hell trying to use those cup-holders from the front seat…

That’s why the front seats have their own cup-holders.

Hats off for a job well done. I have one question. Why did he put cup holders in the middle of the backseat? I love the car for the powertrain, but it would have been nice not to have cupholders in the middle of someone’s crotch.

It wouldn’t be practical to fit your feet there anyway, and it’s not like the cupholders will be in use with someone sitting in the middle.

Yeah, the cupholders are a problem. It’s not practical obviously to put someone’s feet there, but it would at least be easier to lift one’s feet over the tunnel.

In the rear centre armrest would be fine, or possibly a slide out from the centre console.

Breezy, I agree. To add to what you said, There are those times when the car is parked too close to one side and every one in the car has to come out on the other side. Clearing that cup holder makes it a little more difficult. I hope I do not sound like I don’t like the car, because I do. This is just talk among friends.

Good point.

I agree. As I said above, the cup holders could be integrated into the back seat center armrest (which appears to fold down). In those few times when someone is in the middle seat, the cup holders as designed don’t work anyway.

If I remember right there are actually electronics under the cup holder for the rear of the car. So it was either functional cup holders or a solid slab of plastic cover. Which would you rather have? Either way the space is already taken by car electronics.

In the cutout, one can see the orange emergency pull-out plug, so it need human access with no tools. Insteasd of the cupholders, using a piece of Velcro-attached rug is good enough.