Back in 2007, then-CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, showed off the Chevrolet Volt concept at the North American International Auto Show.
The Volt launch a couple of years later with much fanfare. Despite it being a bit overpriced, it sold well enough to convince General Motors to develop a next-generation version of the Volt.
Not only did the original Volt convince GM to do Gen 2, but also it laid the foundation for what would later become the Chevy Bolt, the world’s first long-range affordable electric car.
Quoting Bill Wallace, General Motors director of global battery systems and hardware engineering:
“Without the Volt, we would not be able to do the Bolt with confidence.”
“With the Gen 1 Volt, we had to literally invent the process from nothing. We had to invent the lab. We had to hire the team. We had to invent the tests. With Bolt, we knew a lot more, but we were trying to move a lot faster, and we’re asking a lot more out of the battery.”
As Automotive News explains:
“The Volt didn’t keep GM out of bankruptcy (or save Wagoner’s job), and consumers didn’t embrace it the way GM had projected. But it did set GM on a decadelong path that culminated in the launch of the Chevy Bolt, a battery-powered car that presages a future with self-driving, emissions-free vehicles that consumers might share rather than own.”
The Bolt has position GM atop the electric car segment once again, meaning that like when the original Volt launched back in 2010, the Bolt is without competition.
Perhaps even more importantly, General Motors beat electric automaker Tesla at its own game. By coming to market with the Bolt ahead of the Model 3, GM proved that it can still operate swiftly and react to buyer demand.
Automotive News states:
“The fact that the Bolt runs on electricity is now only part of its story: Its greatest legacy may lie in its ability to help GM navigate a future in which automakers that fall too far behind can become obsolete.”
GM CEO Mary Barra adds to the conversation, stating:
“When I look at General Motors, and I look at our size, our strength, our technological capability, I feel there’s no reason why General Motors shouldn’t be on the leading edge of defining the future of personal mobility.”
“There was good work that started with the first-generation Volt and now with the second-generation Volt. Now, this technology platform that is propelled with a battery really puts us in the position of demonstrating we’re technology leaders.”
It remains to be seen if the Bolt will be more successful than the Volt (in terms of overall sales). It all depends on the customers now (and maybe a bit on President Donald Trump, too), says Darin Gesse, product manager for the Bolt:
“Customers are the ultimate validation, We can’t control gas prices. We can’t control what Trump will do.”
GM is confident it delivered in a winning product in the Bolt, but whether or not buyers buy in volume will ultimately determine the Bolt’s overall success. It’s in your hands now…buyers!
Source: Automotive News