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Jeez, the "shifter" is really just a button, WHY is it taking up so much space which could be used for a large center console? i.e. big enough for an iPad and/or purse? This could LITERALLY be a pushbutton on the dash. Chevy, I think you are too obsessed with making the Volt look like a "normal" car-but that is NOT what we want. We WANT people to see we are driving a hybrid.

I knew a company VP making a ton of money who bought a Prius some time back. Normally a fellow like that would be driving like a 7-series or S-class. So why the Prius? He was not super into eco or anything, but he did have a kid in college. Hmm, Prius, total cost probably 1/4 or even 1/5 compared to the luxury cars, depreciation included. BUT the kicker is nobody would look at a Prius and think "too poor to afford anything else" because it is hybrid, it is like a sideways choice. Please keep the Volt a bit funky and "sideways"

And offer the drivetrain configuration in a midsize SUV already!!!!!!
 

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I believe Bolt gets rid of the shifter, but personally I like it. I like to rest my hand there sometimes and it feels good to slap it back into L when needed... IMHO that's a nicer feel than twisting something on a steering wheel stalk. This is subjective though, I get that some people would want more storage space.
 

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I think they could have made it smaller, but I do like the shifter. I've driven cars with the rotary knobs to select gears, and I hated those. I do think the selector that they put in the GMC Terrain might work. I want something that has a mechanical feel to it, and that can be selected easily without looking. I don't like the trend toward knob or button selections for the transmission. But I'm weird and drove a manual transmission prior to the Volt.
 

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I believe Bolt gets rid of the shifter, but personally I like it. I like to rest my hand there sometimes and it feels good to slap it back into L when needed... IMHO that's a nicer feel than twisting something on a steering wheel stalk. This is subjective though, I get that some people would want more storage space.
Agree. Like that old school shifter.


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I think one of the Volt's design goals was to make the driving experience mimic the cars that people are used to. The shifter operates the same way, not because it has to, or because it is space efficient, but because that is what people are used to. It is similar with the creep at low speed, the mild regen with no pedal input, or the L shift position that has nothing to do with a lower gear, but does have the same effect as a real low gear in an ICE car when descending a grade. Chevy wanted people to be able to drive it with essentially zero learning curve or adjustment time. Just toss someone the keys and they can sit down and drive away (like a valet, rental car, loaning to a friend, etc.). There is definitely something to be said for universal controls and driving experience.

I do agree that it would be nice to get that shifter space back, and I would be glad to have buttons or whatever instead.
 

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The parking pawl is manually engaged by the shifter. If you went push-button like the Prius, you would have to use a motor to engage the pawl. The motor would have to be pretty strong like the Prius' motor. Now you have to hang another circuit off the inverter, more wiring, the motor, the mechanism linked to the motor, etc. This design has a BOM cost win.

There are always tradeoffs. Always.
 

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^There might be a compromise solution where you move the shift lever away from the center console, but keep the physical lever movement for the pawl. Minivans have a shifter mounted on the dash. Steering column is also a common spot. Something like that might be helpful. But of course, the "sportiness" of the interior would be hampered by moving it away from the console.
 

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I find the shifter in the Gen2 Volt to be fine. It doesn't really get in the way of anything, and there's still plenty of space for devices, access to USB ports, etc.

However, I dislike the placement of the armrest. It's much higher and further forward than in the Gen1 Volt. I find that my elbow often hits it while driving. I've had to do some seat acrobatics to get it in a position where it doesn't hit that often. I can't believe no one else had this issue in testing.
 

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^There might be a compromise solution where you move the shift lever away from the center console, but keep the physical lever movement for the pawl. Minivans have a shifter mounted on the dash. Steering column is also a common spot. Something like that might be helpful. But of course, the "sportiness" of the interior would be hampered by moving it away from the console.
Yeah I could dig this. I have always liked the look common in minivans. Open up this space for more storage!
 

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I use the shifter in my 2011 Volt all the time, going from D to L and back. I like having a shifter in both my Volt and my Bolt.

Please not dash buttons that require me to look. The shifter I can use without looking.
 

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I could hit my Prius shifter without looking. Muscle memory is at least that good after some practice. I get what you're saying though, locate the D/L selector in a really convenient place. I'm with you on this. Perhaps that coupled with the parking pawl stuff really does justify the shifter in its current incarnation.
 

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The Volt does have a shift cable and does move valves internal to the transmission. GM could switch the system to a button type system, which the Bolt does have, not sure the cost difference between the 2 systems but would free up space in the car. The odd thing is that the Bolt does have a electronic shifter (there is a motor on the drive unit that turns the shift rod) but it still has a shift lever and takes just as much room as a manual shift lever would take up.
 

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It moves valves? I have wondered this for awhile. In the Prius, there's an electrical mandate that in the neutral position, no motors are allowed to be energized. This is why towing it with the drive wheels on the ground is so disastrous.

So does putting this car in neutral serve to mechanically disallow the clutches from engaging regardless of what the computer is commanding? Do all clutches default to disengaged? If I understand the gen 2 transmission correctly, that will allow all electric motors to free wheel correct?
 

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I could hit my Prius shifter without looking.
Many Gen 1 Volt owners trying to change from Drive to Sport or Mountain Mode without looking ended up turning off their cars instead. They hit the wrong button.

Some can hit the right button on the dash without looking, others, not so much.
 

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I find the Gen1 shifter somewhat clunky, but it does operate a cable and needs to be positive and predictable. I drive a lot in L and often have to hunt around to find R (Why am I not moving?, oh no, one more click!:)) An electric shift would have been nice, but it adds cost and complexity. As many people have said, everything is a compromise. (Why do marketing people so often claim otherwise!?)
After 3 months and 7000kms, the Volt still thrills with every drive. (Almost the best car I've owned. The DS Citroen still rules, which had a manual hydraulic shifter on the column, with clutch actuation integrated. One-finger effortless shift!)
 

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I find R by not using the release button. From either D or L, just push the shifter forward. It will stop at N and require the button for R. That way I can reliably locate N from any forward position. From there, it's one button pull and one click.
 

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I think one of the Volt's design goals was to make the driving experience mimic the cars that people are used to. The shifter operates the same way, not because it has to, or because it is space efficient, but because that is what people are used to. It is similar with the creep at low speed, the mild regen with no pedal input, or the L shift position that has nothing to do with a lower gear, but does have the same effect as a real low gear in an ICE car when descending a grade. Chevy wanted people to be able to drive it with essentially zero learning curve or adjustment time. Just toss someone the keys and they can sit down and drive away (like a valet, rental car, loaning to a friend, etc.). There is definitely something to be said for universal controls and driving experience.

I do agree that it would be nice to get that shifter space back, and I would be glad to have buttons or whatever instead.
Barry gets it. I don't want a car that screams "look at me! i'm electric!!". I want one of which I can say, "yeah it looks like a regular car, but I haven't filled the tank since February!", and that my tech-challenged wife can and will occasionally drive. Well, she would if she could get into it more easily-- Voltec really needs to be in a SUV and/or Malibu.
 

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I don't like the shifter in my Gen1 either, its too big and noisy just to activate tinny electrical contacts. What's important is to quickly find the P, D and R position without looking. It does a good job for P, D and L but not for R. I often like to shift in R while still moving forward and I find its dangerous to go one click to far to park and damage the parking pawl.
I have been driving a Leaf for the past couple of weeks and I kind of like the simplicity of the shifter. It doesn't look partilarly good but works flawlessly and I never have to look at it. It switches from P to D to R very quickly and intuitively. I am just afraid that a passenger could hit the big P button by mistake. I hope that there is a line of code preventing the car from going to Park on the highway as it could easily happen.
 

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Pushbutton shifters are paving the was for self-driving cars. Shift levers have to manually operated (or have expensive servos inside to move the lever).
Button changes are software only.
 

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... I often like to shift in R while still moving forward .....
I've done this for years with manual transmissions (most of my previous cars) and automatics but I don't think the Volt likes this. If I shift from R to D or D to R while the car is still moving there's a very perceptible shudder that I suspect is protest from the clutch(es) in the transmission.

Can the resident expert, mpmoore1979, comment?
 
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