Father Of Chevrolet Bolt Discusses Its Rapid Development Process, Design, More

6 days ago by Eric Loveday 90

Chevrolet Bolt

The “father” of the Chevrolet Bolt speaks out in regard to its design, development process and more.

Stuart Norris is the managing director for General Motors Korea. He’s the main man behind the development of the Chevy Bolt, but he gives  all credit to the 180-person team who worked alongside him to create the Bolt.

Chevy Bolt Interior

Ward’s Auto recently interviewed Norris. Here’s some of what he had to say:

“Developing the Bolt EV in three-and-a-half years is pretty amazing.”

“We developed a unique architecture, a unique and brand new 60-kW/hr battery, drive unit, the vehicle’s functionality, aluminum doors and liftgate, electronic shifter, touchscreen display system, all launched with great quality in the United States in just three-and-a-half years.”

Actually, Norris was transplanted to Korea in 2012 to get ready for design and development of the Bolt. Work began shortly thereafter.

Inside the Chevrolet Bolt

Inside the Chevrolet Bolt

Norris adds:

“It’s quite challenging when you design in Korea and launch production in Lake Orion, Michigan. There’s a 13- or 14-hour time difference, different languages (except for himself and one Japanese-Brazilian designer who does not speak Korean, all members of the design studio are Korean), and different geography. But we get a massive wealth of knowledge from the global organization.”

 “We used to separate exterior and interior design, but we decided to merge the two.”

“We were given very wide responsibility to design both the interior and exterior, including colors, materials, user interface. We strove to keep every part of it unique.

“We wanted to create proportions for the vehicle as a future state of the family car; how the Bolt EV would fit into family life.

“We pushed the windshield as far forward as we could, and lowered the beltline to maximize all-around visibility.”

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Norris seems especially proud of the Bolt. It’s open, spacious interior seems to be his biggest brag-worthy achievement. Quoting Norris:

“Indeed, sitting in the driver or front passenger seat, the view forward and to both sides is wide open, imparting a feeling of security.”

“The interior has a really unique feel. There’s a very spacious, open feeling inside the car.”

“C-segment spaciousness in a car with a B-segment exterior.”

“We took advantage of electrification of the vehicle to develop this very low, flat floor, giving us a really open-space feeling.”

You can read the full interview with Norris here. It includes a mention of price. According to Norris, the goal seems to be to drive down the price of the Bolt to extend its appeal:

“What’s great about the Bolt EV is that, as we bring the price down it will have very wide market appeal. The styling is very on point to where the market is going and it has a 235-mile (378-km) range.”

“All these things are bringing down the barriers to ownership.”

Source: Ward’s Auto

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91 responses to "Father Of Chevrolet Bolt Discusses Its Rapid Development Process, Design, More"

  1. Mike I. says:

    “We pushed the windshield as far forward as we could, and lowered the beltline to maximize all-around visibility.”

    That’s good. High beltlines are my big pet peeve with contemporary automotive design.

    1. Dan B. says:

      x2. Whoever thought high beltlines were a good idea should be fired. I passed a 2017 Camaro in traffic yesterday, and the driver looked like he was peering out of a pillbox. All the techy safety systems in the world don’t mean squat if you can’t see out of the car (A pillar thickness, anyone).

      1. Tom says:

        The driving force behind the increase in belt lines is the increasing level of safety requirement for side impact. It’s just plain easier to do if you have more door and less window. More room for supportive structure.

        1. trackdaze says:

          That may be true, I thought it was more about drivers perceived us versis them, jumping at shadow personalities.

      2. BenG says:

        Yeah, the high belt-line and poor visibility out of my Gen 1 Volt is my second biggest complaint about the car. My biggest complaint is the incredibly annoying Proximity Alert that’s always beeping in my ear every time I go to back out of a parking space.

  2. Dan says:

    Wow, I hope Mr. Norris reads the comments here. I own the Bolt and love it except for the one major flaw that in my opinion will result in thousands of lost sales. The front seats are an epic failure. The choice to make them so narrow and hard is bewildering.( My guess is was to make the back seat room larger for the intended use by Lyft.) I use a thick memory foam cushion cut to fit the flat portion of the driver’s seat to try to be able to make my 75 mile commute. Prior to that I drove a Nissan over the same route without any issue. The seats have been measured by users and the are too narrow. Ironically my old Mitsubishi I-miev is narrower than the Bolt but the seats are wider and more comfortable. We Bolt owners know GM isn’t going to fix these seats but we are trying to get the message across to GM because we do love our Bolts with this major exception.

    1. Loboc says:

      The seat thing is not all negative. I’ve read some Bolt owners that are fine with them. It’s not like the car is marketed to drive all day cross country. It’s basically a town/commuter/Lyft car.

      Personally, I can’t drive a car without adjustable (preferably power adjustable) lumbar support for very long.

      1. scott franco says:

        I am fine with the seats. No issue.

        1. Tom W says:

          Ditto … fine with the seats but I can see how some may not be. thankfully it’s an easy diy fix (youtube video even)

      2. JustWilliamPDX says:

        I found the seats very similar to those in my Spark EV, ie, adequately comfortable but far from sumptuous. But to be fair, I admit to having an uncommon body type- 6’4″ tall with a 28″ waist. The tall but narrow Chevy EVs are a good fit for me, but won’t work for everyone .

    2. unlucky says:

      I hope he reads the comments too.

      The seats are fine. As we saw with edmunds they are great until someone loads you up with the idea that they suck. They are the victim of a meme.

      I drove over 600 miles in under 30 hours in them. No problems. They are narrow, but the pressure on my legs is less than that caused by sitting on my wallet. And I’m not a small guy. I was comparing them to the seats in a Model X today which also were pushing on my butt and thighs in a similar way to the Bolt seats. I thought they were actually the same width just by feel but measuring them shows the Model X seats are an inch wider.

      I had 3 people in my car today, only one of which was in the car before. Everyone said good things about the seats without me even asking.

      If I were to fix anything about the seats it is that it is impossible to get the headrests into the position I want. They don’t adjust forward and backward. I like my headrests forward and I can’t do it with these seats.

      Also I’m not a fan of the center armrest. I’d rather it were more out of the way or perhaps gone.

      1. CopperRoad says:

        Unlucky, you are fortunate the seats do not bother you. I truly wish I were you. I happen to be one that cannot suffer through what I consider poorly designed seats. From my very first time in the car at the LA Auto Show, I knew something was off when my 32″ waist/hips were feeling hard plastic through the driver’s side seat cushion.

        In my three test drives, all it took was 10 minutes for the front seat to cause me discomfort. The last test drive was with aftermarket cushions. At that point, I deemed the situation too ridiculous for me. I am not saying this result is universal, but the seats, in my opinion are far from fine. No modern car seat should result in individuals personally adding their own foam, taking it to upholstery shops, or bringing it back to Chevy to complain.

        1. unlucky says:

          I wish I was a 32″ waist. I’m not that narrow.

    3. William says:

      The seats in the Bolt make my Nissan Leaf seats feel like I am flying in first class. Bolt seats are way too narrow to shift around in and adjust ones posture.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        My problem with the seats in the BOLT ev are somewhat different – the cloth covering of the rear of the rear seats (visible from the trunk hatch) is easily tearing, and I’m always careful to blanket the cargo area when hauling. The material is too delicate for general use, and I’m giving it much more ‘kid gloves’ treatment that I would normally – and it still tears.

        I’m going to try and have it replaced under warranty.

    4. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Maybe those Korean designers designed with their “normal” Asian rear end in mind and forgot about Americans having big fat asses..

      The Chevy Trax/Buick Encore has deep Korean roots as well and they use the same seat.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        lol +1

      2. Tom says:

        Dead on. I find virtually every American car has these horrible super-wide and too soft seats that offer no support and eventually create back pain. They also tend to be waaaayyyy to gimmicky on the adjustments. I can’t stand my 2015 Fusion leather power seats. EVERYTHING is in all the wrong spots. Those seats are double the size of the 2009 Audi A3 I got rid if or the 2003 Jetta before that. Those vehicles were both manual adjust (even on the leather ones in the Audi) but sitting in them you were immediately satisfied and they need effectively no adjustment. It wasn’t unusual for people to get into the passenger seat and even though they were regular seatbelt users they’d forget to put it on because the seat just felt so secure and perfect. That stupid Ford? You’ll give up after about 10 minutes of trying to get it to be comfortable in any way that is more than ‘gee these seats are soft and big’.

        I’m not saying the Bolt has good seats but I’m reasonably convinced of two things.

        1. Their small size (if that’s what they are) are certainly influenced by 100% Korean engineers.
        2. Anyone switching from an American brand will notice it to a much greater degree than others because of the standard seat expectations of an American car.

        1. unlucky says:

          I can’t see any reason to think the width of the seats is influenced by anything other than the size of the car. GM uses the same size seats in the Trax and Buick Encore. Those are the same size cars and have the same size seat bottoms. But they weren’t designed in Korea.

          1. unlucky says:

            Well, maybe you can say the Trax has Korean roots. But I can’t see how you say that about the Encore. Yes, the platform is Korean, but the car was designed for the US first.

            The car is only so wide. And cars have quite a gulf between the seat and the doors now so that side impact results are better. I can’t see any reason to say it’s anything but the width of the car leading to this. The front seats are as wide as the width of the car and the side impact requirements allow.

            Maybe I’m crazy. I dunno.

    5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “The front seats are an epic failure. The choice to make them so narrow and hard is bewildering.( My guess is was to make the back seat room larger for the intended use by Lyft.)”

      I don’t have any inside info, but multiple sources claim that the reason the seats use springs and thin padding instead of more comfortable, thicker padding is because it saves weight. I suppose they are narrow for the same reason.

      Obviously this was a mistake on the part of GM, especially for American drivers/ passengers with a *ahem* larger waistline. I expect Chevrolet will change those seats in the next year’s model, to something more comfortable.

      1. Shane says:

        My 2 pound folding beach chair is more comfortable than the Bolt’s driver seat.

  3. Peter says:

    Great car the Bolt best buy at the moment.

    1. William says:

      The Bolt is A Terrific Value as well Best Buy!

    2. JustWilliamPDX says:

      I’m a Bolt fan, and a Spark EV driver, but I must disagree. I think the price is currently too high. But if the gen 1 Volt and Spark EV are anything to go by, the price will go down and the lease deals will be aggressively low within 18 months of so. The Model 3 alone will put enormous pressure on the Bolt, and GM will respond as they have for decades.

      I have 12 more months on my Spark lease, and will be watching the market closely. It will take an enticing lease rate on a new EV to dissuade me from just buying a low mile Spark of Fiat 500 EV for $8k or so. It’s great that completion is heating up, so it ought to be an interesting year!

  4. CCIE says:

    I don’t intend to bash the car and think it’s generally great. But, since it’s primarily being sold in the US where many people, including myself, are fat-asses, the front seats needs to be re-designed. Being comfortable when driving the car is a must. I for one value that way above my rear passengers having extra legroom.

    It’s a bad sign when there are multiple videos online about how to stuff extra padding into the front seats.

    I would hope GM already realizes this and will fix it in the next model year.

    1. KumarP says:

      +1. Another reason this would not work for my family.

    2. unlucky says:

      It’s an interesting sign when there are multiple videos about that and the Bolt but not on the Trax or Buick Encore that have the same seat bottoms.

      It’s as if it’s not really as much to do with the seats as with what people are reading about them coloring their opinions.

      1. Nick says:

        Looks like the seats are inconsistent:
        http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Chevy_Bolt_seat_and_seat_frame_discomfort

        If you got a good one, I guess you’re not so unlucky. 😀

        I also suspect people who sat in the Trax and didn’t like the seats just bought a different small SUV since there are a million to choose from. The Bolt is more unique.

        1. Tom says:

          Big people don’t usually buy small cars…film at 11.

        2. unlucky says:

          Saying that different cars are different does not explain the situation you see in the edmunds video where the driver says the seat is fine when asked. Then he is told by the other person that the seat is too narrow. Then he says that yes, he meant to say it’s too narrow.

          The seat didn’t change there. The person didn’t even change. It’s just planting an idea with someone and suddenly they have a different opinion.

          I’ve seen it personally with things I worked on myself, although to keep my privacy I’m not going to go into detail.

          It’s sort of like a study that was done of repetitive stress injuries to typists. There was virtually no correlation between seating position, typing technique, company policies, etc. to people complaining of RSIs. The only thing strongly correlated was whether you worked with people who complained of RSIs. If everyone talked about what RSIs they had then you were far more likely to complain about RSIs. And it’s not just lying, it becomes actually psychosomatic. You aren’t just claiming you are uncomfortable, you are uncomfortable. But it started with your head.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Nick said:

          “Looks like the seats are inconsistent:
          http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Chevy_Bolt_seat_and_seat_frame_discomfort

          Thank you, Nick, for giving us some real data on the subject!

          Looks to me like the problem, or a large part of it, is two different sources of foam padding for the seats, and one of the sources is providing padding that is much too soft.

          1. unlucky says:

            The problem with that is that the cloth vs. leather split don’t really correlate to anything. It’s a theory given there but it doesn’t hold up.

            I got leather. No problems. Everyone I know has leather. No problems.

            If there is a problem with padding it’s not correlated to leather vs. cloth, it’s “mix-n-match” so to speak.

      2. CCIE says:

        Perception is often more important than reality. Why else would the sub-par Prius Prime get any sales when the Volt is available? The Prius halo, that’s why.

        So, GM needs to fix the perception. Even if there really is no issue, they need to tweak something so they can say they fixed it.

        The car isn’t available near me quite yet, so I haven’t sat in one. When I do, it better be at least as comfortable as my Spark EV’s seats, which are also very narrow.

    3. Taser54 says:

      Fat People in small cars are funny.

    4. Shane says:

      I love that Tesla does not wait until the “next model year” to improve its products. One of many game-changing concepts in the automobile world.

  5. Mikael says:

    kW/hr… *lol*

    We have a long way to go to educate everyone…

    1. Loboc says:

      And that’s the designer!

      1. Neromanceres says:

        Clearly the designer and not involved in Engineering. Huge difference.

  6. unlucky says:

    I do like the low beltline. I think I’d prefer a lower key dash, less of the white. The changes in the Volt from gen 1 to gen 2 were pleasing to me. I wouldn’t mind seeing this car make similar changes to the dash in the future.

    1. JustWilliamPDX says:

      I understand, but I personally LOVE lighter colors inside. All black can make an A or B segment car feel incredibly gloomy and claustrophobic. It may have a lot to do with living in Portland I suppose- Wet and gray weather most of the year isn’t just a myth!

      1. Larry says:

        I was thrilled to discover that the configuration I wanted for my ’17 Volt came with an all-black dash. I had test driven one with a two-tone (lighter top surface) dash and found the reflections intolerable!

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Indeed!

          I prefer lighter colors, inside and out, as they don’t heat up as much in direct sunlight. But the upper dash needs to be a darker color, so you don’t get glare off it from sunlight. A textured or pebbled surface also helps reduce glare. That’s one place you don’t want a mirror-like shiny finish!

  7. DJ says:

    “The interior has a really unique feel. There’s a very spacious, open feeling inside the car.”

    I’ve sat in the car and that isn’t what came to mind. What came to mind is what is up with the narrowness that you’re reminded of every time you put your arm down on the center console.

    I like it for what it is, but it’s not an overly spacious car. I remember the 1st time I sat in a Gen 2 Prius. I was like damn this is a lot bigger than I thought it would be. Totally didn’t get that feeling in the Bolt

    1. KumarP says:

      Yeah, it’s tall inside, but otherwise cramped.

      1. unlucky says:

        It’s narrow, but it doesn’t feel cramped in any other way. Not front to back. You have a lot more legroom than most other cars. More than a Leaf or a Prius. And in the rear seats (2 across) it doesn’t even feel narrow.

    2. JustWilliamPDX says:

      It is very spacious for what it is, a B segment sub-compact. On the outside, this is still one of the smallest vehicles sold in the US. A Prius is both considerably larger and very space efficient itself, and feels it.

      I understand and appreciate that a majority of Americans shun small vehicles, but to be fair, spaciousness is as relative a measurement as any. Not spacious enough for your personal needs does not negate the accomplishment.

      1. DJ says:

        Agreed, it’s just that the guy said it was very spacious which it really isn’t. I mean if we are gonna start qualifying everything then the Leaf is a very quick car (for a bug eyed passive cooled EV that came out in 2011 that is).

        1. Tom says:

          I think it’s ‘compared to what?’ I like small cars and drive them all the time. Most people do not. So they see the size as a sacrifice when in fact it is probably better than its peer group.

          Side note. If designing a compact vehicle and desiring top notch visibility with spacious packaging and good interior layout with good materials please do yourself a favor and just buy a VW golf and copy that. Warning: Please stay away from copying the electronics.

        2. unlucky says:

          It’s a very spacious car in its segment. Its segment meaning all EVs. Even the much larger Model S and X squander their interior space and so don’t provide any more space for occupants vertically or longitudinally The S provides markedly more space laterally.

  8. David Murray says:

    I think the last part is the most interesting, “as we bring the cost down…” So I guess that means they can see the possibility of cost reductions in the future. That is good news. In my opinion, cost is still an issue with the Bolt EV. While the range is great, I’d happily settle for 100 miles less range (so approx 138 miles total) if it meant cutting $5,000 off of the price tag.

    Of course, I find the Volt’s body style much more appealing and the 53 miles is enough for me to live an EV lifestyle with it.. so I’ll just stick with that.

    Model 3 is off my radar due to no instrument cluster.

    1. William says:

      No instrument cluster is a deal breaker? I think once you get some seat time in a Tesla Model 3, you will be able to get a better feel for the trade offs you will be considering. I think Tesla will win you over with the other bonuses that will make an instrument cluster seem like NBD!

    2. JustWilliamPDX says:

      I firmly believe that that the price will come down even as improvements are made, and that there will be aggressively low lease deals available by Spring 2018. For better or worse, this is just how GM and it’s lending partners operate.

      As far as the Tesla 3, or any upcoming EV competitor, who knows? I’m a firm believer that EV buyers are more pragmatic, thoughtful and independent than the average bear. Only you know what you like, what you need, and when. If you have the luxury of time for testing and research, you’re golden!

    3. QCO says:

      What he means is the price will be set to the target it was designed for after their federal credits end.

      Given this car was intended to run past the phaseout, you KNOW it is designed to sell for $30k (and going down from there). GM is just creaming the incentives for now, so it is easy to say the price will go down later.

      1. Someone out there says:

        That is exactly right. GM is pocketing the $7500 themselves, which is probably true for every EV maker. There should be plenty of margin on the car to cut the price once the tax credit runs out

    4. BenG says:

      Yep, the comment on price is interesting, and it makes all kinds of sense that they’ll bring the price down in the future as the Bolt gets more competition and later when the tax credits start to phase out.

      They designed and built the car on a sub-compact platform to keep the costs down. It was obviously a very conscious and considered choice. I expect in a few years you will be able to buy a base Bolt for about the $25,000 that it costs to buy a comparable ICE “hot hatch”.

  9. SparkEV says:

    Who’s the mother? 😀

    1. vicxh says:

      Pretty easy lol. Mary Barra is the mother. The BOlt EV is the lovechild of Mary Barra and Stuart Norris conceived after they drank the EV punchbowl that had been spiked by CARB and EPA.

      Eventually the biological parents go broke, give up the child for adoption and the american taxpayers have to foot the bill for many many years.

  10. KumarP says:

    My brother texted me a picture of his max range being 403. Color me impressed by this car. Wish there was a family size version (I won’t put the car seats in a car that scrunches them up).

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “My brother texted me a picture of his max range being 403. Color me impressed by this car.”

      So, somehow your brother already have a LEAF 2.0?

      It really makes rest of your comments kind of questionable now.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Nevermind, you mean the Bolt with 403?

        What is the unit? 403Km or 403 miles?

        403 miles? I don’t believe it. 403kM? Sure.

        Where does your bro live? I swear that people has been telling me that GM doesn’t sell Bolt outside of US… LOL

        1. unlucky says:

          He said max range. It’s a figure the car shows in one mode which indicates the most optimistic figure you can expect from the remaining charge. You can see it in this picture at the top.

          Seeing 400 is a big figure, but for the max I could see it if you had done a lot of easy-going driving recently before charging fully. I think I may have seen it on my car when I was driving an extended downhill segment where I was averaging around 8 mi/kWh.

          To actually get 400 you’d probably have to drive 30 mph for 13.5 hours. At normal speeds you wouldn’t get that much.

          1. KumarP says:

            403 miles. I don’t know how to show the picture here, but it’s real. And yes, this is most likely a result of low speed stop and go city driving.

            1. Jay Cole says:

              As a note on embeding pics in the discussion if one wants to do that.

              Just drop the URL into the comments, and it will auto-populate (although it can take upwards of 15-20 mins for the system to recognize it and embed)

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “What is the unit? 403Km or 403 miles?”

          I assume he meant 403 km. 403 miles is, as you say, not believable.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Oops, should have read further before commenting.

            Okay, if it’s all low-speed driving, he never drove it on the highway, and he never used the heater or A/C., then 403 miles might be possible.

            But even still, I suspect some hypermiling techniques were used to reach that figure.

            1. unlucky says:

              It’s a “max” figure. See my post above. The car gives a realistic prediction and a very optimistic one. This person saw the very optimistic one hit 400. It doesn’t mean they saw 400 miles of operation or even would have.

              I think I saw the car predicting max 400 when I was seeing realistic of well over 300 (this was realistic because I was going downhill for an extended period at the time). But that doesn’t mean I really expected to see 400 nor should I have.

  11. Jake Brake says:

    Pretty good for LG’s first car.

    1. JustWilliamPDX says:

      I understand that the “Bolt by LG” is a popular meme, and that is largely stated with tongue firmly in cheek. LG is indeed the supplier of many of the Bolt’s major components inside and out. The opening is big enough to drive a truck through and the joke writes itself. Like fish or awkward houseguests however, it’s only fresh for a few days.

      Apple succeeds because they take the research, engineering and design of their products quite seriously before handing off that IP to their component suppliers. And the jokes about “Qualcomm Iphones” made by Chinese children flourish for a few days after every new product launch.

      The more things change the more they remain they same… Now with emojis!😉

      1. Jake Brake says:

        Its only a joke until you realize LG is planning to become a vertically integrated car company after being trained by all the oems.

    2. DJ says:

      Just like Panasonics huh.

      Zing!

    3. Phr≡d says:

      thanx, we missed that humor the first ~13,000 times, a year ago..

      1. Phr≡d says:

        oops, reply to Jake, arrived later, obviously..

    4. Taser54 says:

      Pretty poor post for your first troll

      1. Nick says:

        Haha!

        It egged you into responding.

        Please don’t feed the trolls.

  12. Neromanceres says:

    Just as a note the 180 person team in Korea was responsible for the “Look” of the car. They are the designers that decide on the look and layout of the vehicle. There were a lot more than a 180 people involved in the Bolt EV’s development (not to down play their efforts and importance). The article makes it sound as if only 180 people were involved in the cars development. There were many other people at GM involved in the body in white development, powertrain, battery (and battery cell), vehicle dynamics (suspension tuning, stability control etc..) and testing.

    1. unlucky says:

      Also 180 people isn’t much for a Korean project. Korean companies always seem to apply 10x as many people to a project as I would expect.

  13. SDS says:

    These comments are a tiny subset of all the Bolt wars being fought on the two Bolt forums. Anybody who wants much deeper insight into the Bolt should go visit them. Be aware that 1 in 100 people on a Bolt forum (at best) actually owns a Bolt. Just Google “Chevy Bolt Forum”. There are two major forums, with 6+ months of unceasing argument over the Bolt. But don’t go there seeking a consensus – you won’t find it.

  14. DL says:

    I can’t figure why GM decided to make the car so small. I mean, just a little wide and longer would have matched many other vehicles in dimensions. I know several current EV drivers who won’t even consider it because of the diminutive size, regardless of how it feels on the inside.

    1. unlucky says:

      Same reason the Tesla Roadster was small.

      Smaller means more efficient. More efficient means you need less battery for the same range. And the battery is the really expensive part.

      GM wanted to make the first affordable long-range EV and making it small was part of reaching that goal.

      1. BenG says:

        Exactly. And while we might put “affordable” in quotes now, with a $37,000 price tag, the design choice of building on a sub-compact platform means that they will be able to drop the price dramatically in coming years as competition emerges and the tax credit phases out.

        I fully expect the retail price of a base Bolt to drop to $29,000 or lower within a few years and to be able to buy one after dealer and GM incentives for $25,000.

    2. georgeS says:

      DL,
      “I can’t figure why GM decided to make the car so small.”

      In order to limit sales.

      They know Americans don’t like small cars. Since they only want to sell around 20-30k/year then it was best not to make the car too desirable.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      DL said:

      “I can’t figure why GM decided to make the car so small. I mean, just a little wide and longer would have matched many other vehicles in dimensions.”

      Wider + longer = heavier + more frontal area = more weight and more drag = needs a larger battery pack = more expensive.

      Of course, that could have worked if GM was aiming at a more expensive market segment, as Tesla and BMW have. But GM didn’t want the Bolt EV to compete with its more profitable gasmobiles, so the Bolt EV was relegated to a market segment — a small hatchback — where GM has few if any offerings; where the Bolt EV won’t be directly competing with GM’s own gasmobiles.

      1. DL says:

        The present Leaf is 10 inches longer and 3 inches lower than the Bolt. If the new Leaf delivers on the anticipated range and price, and retains this larger format, I believe it will crush Bolt sales.

  15. Bacardi says:

    So not a single American worked on the Bolt’s appearance according to this statement:
    “different languages (except for himself and one Japanese-Brazilian designer who does not speak Korean, all members of the design studio are Korean)”

    1. georgeS says:

      Bacardi,
      Agreed (see next comment below).

      The Koreans did a good job of maximizing interior room given the small wheelbase of this car.

      I wish GM had gone one size up in wheelbase. As some above have noted the skinny seats are probably a result of using such a narrow wheelbase.

      The New Leaf is on a larger wheel base than the BoltEV. That’s one leg up for the Leaf. The Leaf should offer some decent competition to the BoltEV….This is good.

      1. Bacardi says:

        Yeah, Bolt EV was originally built on the ICE sonic platform but it ultimately evolved into its own platform…

        So question that I hope we eventually find out, who greenlighted the Sonic to be EVed?

  16. georgeS says:

    “It’s quite challenging when you design in Korea and launch production in Lake Orion, Michigan. There’s a 13- or 14-hour time difference, different languages (except for himself and one Japanese-Brazilian designer who does not speak Korean, all members of the design studio are Korean), and different geography. But we get a massive wealth of knowledge from the global organization.”

    I’m surprised there were so few american engineers involved in this thing. Sounds like a whole different engineering team than was used in the Volt.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      What I found surprising is that GM is selling such a small fraction of its Bolt EVs overseas, given that the design seems to appeal more to non-Americans.

      But after I read the analysis showing that GM’s production goal for the Bolt EV is a close match to the number of additional ZEV credits they need per year, suddenly GM’s decision to sell the vast majority of the production domestically makes a lot more sense. Some would call that a cynical decision; I say it simply shows good business sense.

      Hopefully after the car has been in production a few years and the unit cost comes down, GM will expand overseas sales. The market potential in Europe seems to be much greater than it is here in the U.S., where that body style has limited appeal, and where a smaller fraction of the population is noticeably overweight.

  17. VS says:

    A Norwegian customer has revealed that the Opel Ampera-e has ACC software installed, but not yet activated. Also autoparking software and some other functions the Bolt does not have. Very nice.
    Can hardly wait for my car to be delivered in week 27.

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