Interview With Pamela Fletcher On 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

1 year ago by Mark Kane 51

General Motors Chief Engineer Electrified Vehicles Pam Fletcher recharges a Chevrolet Spark EV at the DC Fast Charger at Fashion Valley Mall Saturday, September 28, 2013 in San Diego, California. The SAE International DC “Combo” Fast Charge station is the first public installation of an industry-coordinated standard in the U.S. for fast charging of plug-in electric vehicles. (Photo by Stan Liu for Chevrolet)

General Motors Chief Engineer Electrified Vehicles Pam Fletcher recharges a Chevrolet Spark EV at the DC Fast Charger at Fashion Valley Mall Saturday, September 28, 2013 in San Diego, California. The SAE International DC “Combo” Fast Charge station was the first public installation of an industry-coordinated standard in the U.S. for fast charging of plug-in electric vehicles. (Photo by Stan Liu for Chevrolet)

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt EV project is lead by Pamela Fletcher – General Motors’ Chief Engineer of Electrified Vehicles.

Inhabitat recently interviewed Pamela Fletcher and received a few interesting answers.

As it turns out, the Bolt EV is the fruit of more than 1,000 engineers and designers from around the globe.

“How did we get here? Many think our size is a disadvantage – that GM’s size is too big and not agile enough to develop a product like the Bolt EV. But without GM’s scale we would never have been able to build it and here’s why. It all starts with the people, and people is something GM has in abundance.”

Most of the vital components for the Bolt EV come from LG – from batteries, to motor, power electronics, on-board charger, instrument cluster, infotainment system and more (see details).

Chevrolet Bolt Interior

Chevrolet Bolt Interior

GM needed to break with its “not invented here” attitude.

“We needed to bring together people who were not afraid to try new things. That’s why our team is populated with people who have a diverse set of experiences.”

“Collaboration was also super important: A “not invented here” and silo mentality had no place on the Bolt EV development team. Collaboration was key, internally and externally, if we were to meet timing and the business case so that we could put the Bolt EV into production later this year.”

Among challenges Pamela Fletcher mentioned was cooperation between two teams – one in Detroit and the second in Seoul, South Korea and two languages – “conference calls and WebEx sessions” were helpful. Well, they are already veterans after the Spark EV.

Another note is that the Chevrolet Bolt EV is to be future proof by implementing car-sharing capability and mobile connectivity.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Source: Inhabitat

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51 responses to "Interview With Pamela Fletcher On 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV"

  1. SparkEV says:

    Those who worked on SparkEV did a fantastic job. SparkEV is quicker than ANY CAR under $20K while costing only $15K in CA ($18K outside), and it charges quicker than just about any EV. Huge congrats and thank you to Pam and SparkEV engineering team. As first GM EV to be owned by individuals, it made some historic marks.

    But Bolt is not so. In fact, compared to gas cars in $30K range, it’s scraping the bottom. Compared to EV of comparable battery, it’s charging is the bottom (ie, against Tesla Superchargers) It’s not “not-invented here” that makes Bolt so much less of a car. We’ll see if LG steps up to the bat to address those issues before Bolt is released.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Here we go again….

      Despite the Bolt being technically superior in pretty much every way compared to the Spark EV, here you are spouting off about how it is somehow inferior.

      “Compared to EV of comparable battery”…..uh, right now, that is only Tesla. Are you really dumb enough to compare a $70k car with the Bolt, which is half the price?

      1. SparkEV says:

        I’m dumb enough to compare Bolt to Tesla Model 3. That will have 120kW (or more) chargers spaced out well enough that one can take a trip across country. Chevy said they won’t do anything to change that “unless it benefits all their cars”. Since EV charging won’t benefit gas cars, that pretty much means nothing for charging infrastructure.

        And are you dumb enough to compare SparkEV to $30K car? If so, why don’t you compare it to $119K Tesla P90D?

        Again, AS I WROTE ABOVE, compared to sub $20K cars, either as subcompacts like Yaris, Mirage, or just compacts like Elantra and Corolla. SparkEV kicks butt. Now do the same with Bolt to $30K Subaru WRX (and GTI and…) see how Bolt stacks up. Not very good.

        1. Bro1999 says:

          You really are more dense than I thought. Keep living in your fantasy world where the Spark EV rules all. Lol

        2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Yes, sure, continue comparing everything to some vaporware dream like Model 3. Nothing can match it as you don’t even know what it is.

        3. David says:

          SparkEV not sure why the haters but I think you are spot on. The Bolt MUST be compared to the Model 3 which is as much vapor ware as is Social Security. In other words, it has promise and Tesla will deliver.
          I own one Leaf and like it so much that I now lease a second Leaf.
          I really want to love the Bolt but I’m afraid that the lack of supercharger is a deal- (heart-) breaker.

      2. SJC says:

        Questions like “are you really dumb enough” do not facilitate free and open discussion. Choose your words more carefully next time.

        1. Bro1999 says:

          Free and open are not in SparkEV’s vocab, so it’s a moot point.

    2. Bob says:

      SparkEV is subsidized/compliance car, so price is not a good yardstick.
      How does the Bolt disapoint, other than on price?

      1. SparkEV says:

        It’s price / performance with performance being power and charging. $22K Ford Fiesta ST makes about 200HP (about same as Bolt) and much lighter. Cars like Subaru WRX ($27K) makes 250HP or more and comes with AWD. And GTI and …

        In addition, Bolt is stuck with 50kW CCS that will have same charging speed as SparkEV ($15K car). Meanwhile, Model 3 will have 120kW chargers all over the country. For $30K, I expect better than SparkEV charging speed.

    3. ziv says:

      SparkEV, are you the person that says that filling up a small battery pack in less time than a larger battery pack takes is “charges quicker”? Even though the charge rate for the SparkEV is only around a 50 kW charge rate whereas Tesla’s can charge at a 120 kW charge rate?
      So if I make the battery smaller still, that would mean it was even “quicker”!
      The charge rate is the goal here, not the time to recharge a pack, if that pack is so small that it can’t road trip and a SparkEV is not a road tripping car.
      50 kW charge rates mean you can charge nearly 100 miles of AER (at 65 mph) in 30 minutes. That is ok, but getting to just 75 kW charge rates means that 30 minutes will get you 140 miles of AER (more than 2 hours of additional AER!) and 20 minutes of charging gets you almost 100 miles of AER.
      But when we get to 100 kW charge rates like a Tesla, then we get near ICE speed of refueling, or a reasonable approximation thereof. 100 kW for 20 minutes is 130 miles of AER or 2 hours of driving and 30 minutes gets you nearly 200 miles of AER. OK, it isn’t gas pump quick, but after 2 or 3 hours of driving, taking a 20-30 minute break to grab a bite is not going to be seen as a huge problem by most people.
      And no, the Spark EV is not going to be selling in large numbers with that pokey little pack and short range.

      1. jerryd says:

        First lets say SparkEV I won’t believe anything you say after your post shows your lack of critical thinking.
        Liv, smaller packs on given charger does take less time, deal.
        But the Bolt needs to be set up for 120kw charging so one can charge 150 miles in just 15 minutes.
        A 15 minute charge is only 4C so most any cell can handle that. It is the other details that make it longer.

        1. Ziv says:

          jerry, as someone else on this site noted a week or two ago, if the SparkEV is one of the quickest charging BEV’s because you can top off the pack in the shortest amount of time, then I can be the quickest runner in the world by running a shorter distance than everyone else.
          Filling a tiny pack quickly is pointless if you want the car to be a usable full utility vehicle. The only way you get to full utility is to get the BEV over 200 miles of EPA AER. Which also makes it easier to charge the car quickly due to the slowdown in charging that occurs at around 80% of full capacity.
          120 kW charge rates would be great, and Tesla drivers enjoy it when they actually achieve this type of charge rate, but getting to 80 or 100 kW charge rates will probably be considerably easier/less expensive to achieve, and it will be “good enough” for the majority of people that road trip their BEV’s occasionally.
          I wonder how long it will be before we see BEV’s charging at 200+ kW charge rates?

          1. bro1999 says:

            I used that analogy before on SparkEV, but we are assuming he actually has common sense, which is obviously lacks.

            Troll be trollin’

            1. bro1999 says:

              *lacking

              1. SparkEV says:

                Trolling? More like friendly suggestions to improve on Bolt so they don’t get creamed by Model 3 or (heaven forbid) gas cars. They still have few months to go, I hope they at least consider helping charging infrastructure with 150kW (3X SparkEV), maybe at all their dealers to start.

                Another would be to make 0-60 under 6 seconds, even close to 5 sec (comparable to WRX). That will shut up most gas car bigots. As it is, Bolt is like 200 miles range Leaf, a laughing stock at $30K. Well, I suppose if you liked Leaf performance, you might like Bolt.

                1. Codes says:

                  SparkEV
                  I want to know why you are comparing an electric commuter car to a WRX, which is a niche market sport SEDAN. None of which the Bolt will be.
                  I’m not trying to pile on here, but criticising a car that isn’t even close to hitting the market to a car that hasn’t even left the drawing board is pretty far out there.
                  And the last part in gonna say slowly,
                  The Model 3 Will NOT be Direct Competition To The Bolt.
                  The model 3 will most likely be optioned at and commonly sell at $45k to people that want a sports sedan with rear wheel drive and low slung look and experience.
                  The Bolt is a front wheel drive CUV meant for commuting FAMILIES. Range and charging WONT limit sales, it will enable sales.
                  It’s a distinctly different car and don’t forget, you have to pay for supercharger access when you buy a tesla. That alone and the fact that rich people will buy it up means it’s going to a different market than the mainstream buyer the Bolt is meant to attract.
                  We’ll see tho, they may end up in the garage next to each other.

          2. SparkEV says:

            Ziv, if you read my blog post, I describe exactly why SparkEV is quicker. For % charged, there’s no question SparkEV is quickest. For number of miles in a given time (aka fast), SparkEV rank near Tesla, because SparkEV would go further per kWh than Tesla. Guys like bro999 confuse charging speed with number of miles in one charge session.

            Think of it this way as an extreme example. If there’s a car that gets 10000 miles/kWh that charges at 1 kW and another that gets 1 mile/kWh at 10kW, car with lower power charging would be faster. Obviously, this is an extreme example, but taking Tesla taper into account, SparkEV is pretty good against 90kW Supercharger. Again, this is in my blog.

          3. ziv says:

            Bro, I am glad I mentioned that someone more original than myself had already said it and I was paraphrasing! LOL!

            SparkEV, here you go, the link takes you to the definition of “sophistry”. It sums up your argument.

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sophistry

    4. taser54 says:

      Man. You keep trolling. Posting the same post over and over and over again.

      Step back. For an alleged Spark EV owner you are far too disparaging of the BOLT.

      1. SparkEV says:

        I applaud SparkEV for its merits, so I should applaud Bolt for its failures? Take off the EV blinders and compare comparable cost cars and see for yourself. Too often people here seem to be drunk on EV flavor aid.

    5. Jake Brake says:

      Spark EV battery used power cells (originally by A123) which can accept higher relative charge/discharge rates at the cost of less energy (range. The Bolt uses energy cells which can’t charge or discharge as fast but store a ton of energy (long range). A123 uses LiFePO4 chemistry, LG usually uses NMC base, and Tesla uses NCA. NCA cells can be high energy density and high power density but at the trade off of safety. Thats the dirty truth and why they’ve gone overboard on the design but it still catches fire on occasion. LG’s NMC cells are extremely safe and because of that they can use larger format pouch cells which are more cost effective than 18650s.

      1. Ambulator says:

        NCM should be able to handle a higher charge rate, but GM probably saves money by limiting it. This is true at the cell level (electrodes), the pack level (cooling) and the car level (conductors). You need to set your goal at the beginning and design everything to fit.

        While I think GM should have aimed for 100 kW, they didn’t and that’s that.

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          I didn’t heard GM announcing anything about charge power limit on car side. Did they? CCS can be anything higher than 50 kW, currently installed DC chargers are not the limit.

          1. Ambulator says:

            GM said that they hadn’t decided on a maximum charge rate. They said that the Bolt will definitely be capable of 50 kW, but perhaps they would actually go up to 60 kW.

            I think 60 kW is the limit, and I find that disappointing.

        2. JeremyK says:

          Maybe the goal of a battery pack that lasts 150K miles was more important than charge rate. Just sayin’

      2. SparkEV says:

        2015 SparkEV uses LG batteries, not A123. Even with that, 48kW DCFC power to 80% for 19kWh battery would be over 2.5C charging rate, not to mention 100kW motor (more from battery due to controller losses). That’s over 5C drain rate, all with LG battery.

    6. Neromanceres says:

      Catagory – Spark EV – Bolt EV
      240V Charging – 3.3KW – 7.2KW
      SAE DCFC – 50KW – 50+KW
      Size – Sub compact – mid sized
      0-60mpg – 7.6 sec – under 7 sec

      The Spark EV is a nice car. But my money would go for a Bolt EV.

      1. Neromanceres says:

        0-60 should say mph not mpg

  2. DocDragon says:

    Hmm, it’s interesting that she didn’t mention the Australian design team in Port Melbourne:
    http://insideevs.com/chevrolet-bolt-designed-conceived-australia/

    1. Aaron says:

      Ah, they’re all just convicts anyway. 😉

    2. Neromanceres says:

      That was the Concept car and not the production car.

      In this case the looks of the production car was likely mostly complete before the concept car.

  3. Mister G says:

    I can’t buy a Spark in Florida, let’s see if Bolts will be available in Florida

  4. Assaf says:

    Ok, I’ll be the first to say it here:

    If you want to step up the collaboration in your organization, let more women take the lead.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that GM’s super-quick path to the Bolt has happened shortly after Mary Barra became CEO, and with a woman directly in charge of the project.

    For quick progress and improved collaboration across continents, get some of the testosterone-inflated egos out of the way. I wonder if other auto companies are paying attention.

    1. Texas FFE says:

      It takes a lot more than one person to make a difference. I’ve bought a lot of GM products in my life but seven years ago it seemed like GM was going in a completely different direction than I wanted to go and you couldn’t have paid me to buy a GM product. Now I’m seriously considering buying a Bolt, I think that bankruptcy scare GM had really made them change direction.

      1. Assaf says:

        The previous CEO who headed the company in 2010-2014 (Akerson), treated its EV line ambiguously at best.

        While he allowed the Volt to continue (it was already pretty much out the gate when he joined, too late to stop for sure), he put no executive muscle into getting the entire dealership and marketing network to support it properly. And he treated the SparkEV purely and cynically as a compliance car, despite demand clearly being larger than the supply in view of very favorable reviews.

        No, you can see a clear change of direction w.r.t. EVs once Barra stepped in.

        Besides the (assumed) advantages of women at the top, which do seem to pan out in Barra’s case, her being an electrical engineer by training, hasn’t hurt either.

    2. Neromanceres says:

      While I like Barra as CEO the Bolt EV was full steam ahead well before she became CEO. In fact the Bolt EV started development and had the full green light under Akerson.

      http://insideevs.com/gm-ceo-akerson-says-automaker-is-working-on-200-mile-range-electric-vehicle-video/

  5. Texas FFE says:

    The Bolt is starting to look very attractive to me. With the 200 mile range and the new CCS chargers in Texas you can travel between DFW, Austin, San Anonio and Houston going from CCS station to CCS station. There would still issues traveling between Texas and Colorado but the added range would allow me to be much more selective about where I charge and I think I could cut my travel times to Colorado at least in half.

    When I bought my FFE everything just kinda came together at the right time and I got a really good deal. I like to say I found the entrance ramp. Now I’m looking for an entrance ramp to the Bolt.

  6. Steve Z1 says:

    Hi Texas FFE,

    Just curious. Have you traveled from Texas to Colorado in your FFE? If so your journey and how you did it would make for a good read and valuable lesson for others.

    Agreed on your vision. I looked at the FFE but ended up with a Volt and now an ELR, except for trips to ABQ and temp drops that force the car onto gas, we are pretty much all EV drivers fed by a PV system at our home.

    Cheers,

    Steve

    1. Texas FFE says:

      I traveled from from Fort Worth, TX to Breckenridge, CO and back last September. It took over 72 hours each way but some of that time was lost because I couldn’t charge at night and because I had to back track a couple times. I had to charge about 35 times in all.

      My stops are chronicalled in Plugshare but I’ve meaning to write up my adventures and get them published before I forget too much. If you have the time to “smell the roses” I would recommend a trip like this. If you need to get to your destination quickly you probably don’t want to use a first generation EV without DCFC.

  7. jerryd says:

    How come all those designers couldn’t cut 1,000lbs of it’s chubby 3600lb weight?
    EV’s cost by the pound as battery packs are sized by the car weight.
    Dropping car weight 700lbs would drop the battery weight 350lbs or so for the same range and making faster, cheaper fast charging.
    Not to mention could sell for $7k less for the same profit.

    1. Sublime says:

      A 60kWh Tesla Model S weighs 4464lbs. That’s with a spare-no-expense all aluminum body.

      Considering the Bolt is very much not a “spare-no-expense” car, it’s a minor miracle that it is that much lighter than a Model S.

    2. Tech01x says:

      There are simply limits of battery technology that is available today. To get 60 kWh of battery capacity using the NMC cells, they ended up with a pack that weighs 960 pounds. They are likely unable to make that any lighter.

      They can’t hit their range targets with a smaller pack unless they make dramatic changes to deal with aerodynamics. They are also constrained by cost, which directly affects material choices.

  8. EVGuy says:

    Lets all agree that SparkEV is trolling. That he most likely is a mole for another foreign manufacturer who also happens to be building islands in what has previously been international waters.
    Just saying is all……

    1. Texas FFE says:

      I don’t agree. I’ve found SparkEV’s comments to be thoughtful and courteous. He has the right to express his opinions.

  9. Bill Howland says:

    I usually enjoy SparkEv’s comments also, however I wish he would try to say something new occassionally.

    Also – he loves his Car, so that is fine. He apparently does not like the BOLT nor any features of it.

    I agree its rather an Ugly Duckling, but ‘mid-size station wagons’ have rarely been lookers.

    I personally like what I have seen so far.

    Ms. Fletcher again took the opportunity to say next to nothing. It would be helpful if someone would occassionally ask her a new question.

    1. Lou says:

      SparkEV has had his share of good comments(in my opinion that is). But he has been beating a dead horse here lately. I like the looks of the Bolt EV,and frankly don’t understand where he has been coming from in his criticisms. Let’s give the car(and GM)a chance to put this car out there and allow the public to voice their opinion by buying it. It seems to have everything I’d need in a car, other than that the trunk is small.

      1. GSP says:

        I really like the Bolt EV, but “Spark EV” does have a point. Comparing an EV to gas cars in the same price range makes perfect sense.

        This is exactly Tesla’s strategy, and it pointed out what segment that EVs could compete in, given the price of their components.

        GSP

  10. Speculawyer says:

    Why are you using the concept car image instead of the real car image that we now have?

    1. bro1999 says:

      That IS the production car.

  11. midimal says:

    Hi! GM noted a long list of components and systems provided by the battery maker:

    Electric Drive Motor (built from GM design)
    Power Inverter Module (converts DC power to AC for the drive unit)
    On Board Charger
    Electric Climate Control System Compressor
    Battery Cells and Pack
    High Power Distribution Module (manages the flow of high voltage to various components)
    Battery Heater
    Accessory Power Module (maintains low-voltage power delivery to accessories)
    Power Line Communication Module (manages communication between vehicle and a DC charging station)
    Instrument Cluster
    Infotainment System

    After this list: I wonder if LG next time will make a (short) list like:

    SteeringWheel
    Lights

    To GM 🙂