I recently had the chance to ask Bob Boniface who is the Chevy Volt's design chief about how he perceived the public's response to the cars redesign from concept to production form.

How do feel about the public's response to the unveiling?
It depends which day. When the Transformer photos leaked people went crazy for it, but when the day the ones with us standing in front of it..it was the same exact car, people hated it.

When they saw the actual car, most people liked it better than the show car. I worked on both cars, I ran the concept car and I ran this one. This car compared to the show car is a much more sophisticated piece of product design. When you park the two of them next to each other, once you get over the fact that the other one had huge wheels and the wheelbase of a Chevy Tahoe. People don’t realize it bit that car had a 116 inch wheelbase, and a slanted roof. Once you get past those proportional pieces, you realize that this car, the integration of the volumes and the surface vocabulary is much more sophisticated. I love the concept car too, but I like this one better.

Design is two-fold. Styling is only one component to fit. Design has a problem solving component too. The problem we had to solve here was get 4 full sized adults in here comfortably, safely, in a sporty silhouette, and still provide on the promise of 40 miles of petroleum-free driving. That’s difficult.

Building a good looking concept car is very easy to do. There are no constraints.

Did you intend for the car to have more of a mainstream appeal, since it is intended to be a high volume car?
It had to have mainstream appeal, but it didn’t want to be plain vanilla or generic. Were talking about tens of thousands of these that we want to sell. I don’t think that the other car wouldn’t have done it. And frankly the other car, the layout, the powertrain it was the best we knew at the time. Remember it was a concept, we didn’t know it was going to go anywhere. We took an off the shelf gas motor and an off the shelf traction motor and placed them in tandem, and that’s what shoved the wheels forward. As we got into it, we have a much more efficient powertrain here, a much more efficient shape of the body, and a much more efficient interior package. It has more popular appeal. This is going to fit into more people’s lives.

There are those people who have not seen the car in person and say ”Oh they just built a Prius.” This doesn't not look like a Prius at all. We've many times had them parked together, and its crazy but they don’t look alike at all. Yeah they both have four wheels and a smooth shape, but that where the similarities end.

What people can't tell from photographs is the stance of the car, the width of the track versus the height of the car. The size of the wheels and tires. These are 18 inch. The base will be a 17 inch with an optional 18 inch. This is the production overall diameter. This roof is about 2 inches lower than a Prius. And our wheel diameters are about 2 inches greater than a Prius and the track is wider. So this car has this hunkered down stance in person that our competitor's just doesn't have. This car is athletic.