Chevy Bolt gives GM a chance to beat Tesla in the electric vehicle marketplace

GM has one-up’d Tesla Motors with the Chevy Bolt concept car unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).  I’ve previously discussed how the lackluster sales of the Chevy Volt, and GM’s nonexistent marketing of the car, makes us question GM’s seriousness for electric vehicles.  The poor planning around the Spark EV and Cadillac ELR just underscore this doubt.  The Bolt, and to a measure the 2016 Volt, go a long way to erasing that doubt, and will perhaps return GM to a leadership position in electrifying the electric car market.

Tesla’s plan for the Model 3 is deliveries starting in 2017, a 200+ mile electric range, a $35,000 MSRP (before tax credits), and sales volume in the 100-200,000 units/year range.  The other car companies are going to have a hard time competing with that, and asked whether the other automakers are toast.

Query – This is the Bolt charging port, so
where is the DCFC support?
And, isn’t this upside-down?

The Chevy Bolt – that’s a bad name, GM Marketing, because it’s phonetically similar to “Volt” – is a crossover style vehicle that has a 200+ mile electric range that GM expects to sell for $30,000 MSRP.  The concept vehicle has a number of advanced features as well, such as a parking assist feature in which the car drives itself into a parking garage and can be automatically retrieved.  Of course the Bolt will have DC Fast Charging capability, because that’s such a necessity on a high range electric car.

The key breakthrough is battery technology.  The 2016 Volt (also introduced today at the 2015 NAIAS) has a 50+ mile electric range, thanks to battery technology improvements giving 20% more energy capacity in the same size battery pack.

In other words, GM and LG Chem have developed a battery energy density breakthrough.

While Dan Akerson was still GM’s CEO, he kept blabbing about this and predicting a Volt with a much longer electric range, or else a 200ish mile range electric car.  We’d thought GM was working with Enova Systems on the battery technology, but that was later revealed to be a farce.  Thankfully GM and LG Chem were able to produce a real technology breakthrough.  In any case, it’s nice to know he wasn’t just blowing hot air, but that GM really is developing a longer range electric car.

We have to keep in mind the Bolt is a concept car.  The final car will hopefully not be named Bolt, but will almost certainly be a little different than the concept vehicle being shown at NAIAS.

Click here for press release and other information.  Click here for Chevy Bolt image gallery.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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  1. Pingback: The 200+ mile range $35k EV competition, is Tesla still out in front? | The Long Tail Pipe

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