2017 Chevrolet Bolt Production Still Set To Begin In October

JUL 20 2016 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 113

2017 Chevy Bolt Arrives In Q4, GM Says It Will Have More Than 200 Miles Of Range

2017 Chevy Bolt Arrives In Q4, GM Says It Will Have More Than 200 Miles Of Range

Chevy Bolt EV retail production kicks off in October - sales get underway in earnest in early 2017

Chevy Bolt EV retail production kicks off in October – sales get underway in earnest in early 2017

Despite their best efforts, General Motors has not been able to keep the production kick-off date under wraps very well for the electric Chevrolet Bolt.

In fact, we learned one year ago that this October would mark the start of production for the 200-plus mile Bolt. October was confirmed again just a few months ago.

We’re now able to reconfirm this timeframe via Automotive News:

“Bolt EV: GM is scheduled to begin production of the 200-plus-mile EV in October. The initial annual production target is around 25,000 cars, which could include vehicles slated for export to China.”

At least we know that the Bolt is still on track and that our assumption from a few months back is still accurate, despite General Motors immediately removing the Bolt’s October start of production listing from the 2017 Fleet Guide (see image) upon discovering that the media got a hold of the document.

Bolt Start Of Production Listed For October

Bolt Start Of Production Listed For October

Though production will begin in October, we don’t expect nationwide sales to commence before early 2017. GM previously issued this statement on distribution for the Bolt:

“We’re leveraging the strength of our dealer network and the relationships they have cultivated with their local customer base to manage the anticipated high demand for Bolt EV.

“While distribution plans are not yet finalized, we want to first satisfy demand in markets where EV acceptance is strongest.”

Our expectation is for (once again) a California, and CARB-friendly state roll-out, for the first few months beginning in late 2016/December.

As for the reports of EVs headed for China, we don’t imagine there is any volume of significance leaving North America in 2017, other than a few thousand potentially delivered to Europe in the second half.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Chevrolet

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113 Comments on "2017 Chevrolet Bolt Production Still Set To Begin In October"

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“While distribution plans are not yet finalized, we want to first satisfy demand in markets where EV acceptance is strongest.”

Translation? CARB states first. With CA being first of the first. Live in a non-CARB state? wait till sometime later in 2017.

It reminds me of the Prius wave to calm the anger after the killing of the first wave of BEVs. Such a wave did not occur outside of the west coast.

The rest of the CARB and all non-CARB states should be up in arms about this and use it as the core argument to allow companies like Tesla to sell EVs directly.

I guess, then, that it will be like telling you there is no Santa Claus, to inform you that when Tesla started selling its first car, the Roadster, it started with California sales only.

Facts are not welcome when anti-GM rhetoric
is involved! :p

Pardon, but if I still can’t buy a Spark EV or any GM BEV in my state I don’t think GM should get any say about how EVs should be sold here.

I can’t get a Spark EV either, but giving an unfair competetive advantage to one automaker (Tesla) is not right.

And GM is in the precarious position of not being able to advocate everyone get that right because they’ve been forced via laws to use dealers for far too long. So they either shoot themselves in the foot, or fight the Tesla exception.

No conspiracy there, just Business 101 given the rock and hard place they find themselves wedged between.

Or compete with Tesla by making and selling great EVs everywhere instead of coming up with excuses like the dealership network. You think they will with the Bolt?

What’s the big deal? I was told I couldn’t buy a BOLT when I want to (say, 10/16); that I would have to wait until around 3/17; but I’m ok with that. One will made available for sale near me soon enough.

No big deal. People have been waiting to buy a GM BEV since 1990 and still can’t in their home state. So the promise of the Bolt EV being available soon is taken with a tiny grain of salt rubbed into the wound of others getting it just for compliance reasons. That’s all.

Buy a BEV from some other company then.. There is no law forcing any company to make any product. I hear Nissan and Tesla make BEV’s (oh, that’s right, – I bought one).

People has been waiting to buy GM BEV?

LOL. BEV buyers are the least brand loyal buyers I know.

They buy the best the one on the market.

If you already waited decades, then what is another year at worst case?

If you don’t like it buy sometimes else too.

I have been waiting for Model 3 since the Roadster and it doesn’t make me mad if I wait for 2-3 more years for it. If I want to upgrade my status, then I would just buy another TEsla and opt for fully loaded Model 3.

Or, you can move to California also. On a 2nd thought, don’t… We have too many people here already.

Is it really relevant to compare a limited-production $150,000 car to a $39,0000 one?

If non-CARB states don’t like it, they are free to become CARB states at any time they want.

It would be silly for them to complain about not getting the benefits of being a CARB state, when they have chosen freely for themselves not to be a CARB state.

Great point. It would be awesome for all states to adopt CARB regulations.

There was, I remember, some thrust to have Quebec create a CARB like set of Laws – to drive Auto makers to sell CARB Compliant EV’s there as well. Haven’t heard much about it lately!

+1

I think that you need to clarify that there are people in non-CARB states who would like to have access to vehicles limited to CARB states.

There are still a lot of people in those states who either don’t care, or do NOT was to be involved in CARB’s rules for air quality (whether they’re right to want that is a different question). I really don’t want to have to do a yearly inspection for my car.

You’re implying that a minority should impose the rules for the majority, and that does not seem reasonable.

You lost me there… what does “yearly inspection” have to do with becoming a CARB-ZEV state and you buying a EV?

There have been comments about CARB/non-CARB states? This may sound like a living under a rock question, but here goes – What is a CARB/non-CARB state? What is CARB. This is an acronym I do not understand.

Hey Bruce — That is actually a very good question to ask! Basically it comes down to each state choosing to follow either the Federal air quality standards (non-CARB states) or whether they want to follow California’s stricter standards (CARB States). This is entirely the choice of each state. Here is how it works. C.A.R.B stands for California Air Resources Board. This board was created by California Governor Ronald Reagan in the 1960’s, years before the Federal EPA was created. Because of this, when the EPA was created by the Federal Clean Air Act, California was given the unique ability to file for EPA waivers to set their own stricter standards. California is the only state that can request clearance from the EPA to set stricter standards. But once California gets clearance to set their own standard, ANY state may choose to follow California’s standard instead of the Federal standard. State that choose to follow the California standards set by CARB, are called “CARB-states”. States that choose to follow the less strict federal standards are called “Non-CARB States”. CARB states become CARB states in order to share the benefits of being a CARB state, such as cleaner air, and greener… Read more »

Not all states that are CARB states (so-called 177 states) are also Zero Emission Vehicle states. Washington state, for instance, is not, even though it has a lot of EVs and a well designed “West Coast Electric Highway”.

For Wikipedia:

“States adopting the California standards include Arizona (2012 model year), Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico (2011 model year), New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Such states are frequently referred to as “CARB states” in automotive discussions because the regulations are defined by the California Air Resources Board.

The EPA has adopted the California emissions standards as a national standard by the 2016 model year and is collaborating with California regulators on stricter national emissions standards for model years 2017–2025.”

Reread that last paragraph… WOW !!!

We are just finally getting a few Volt 2.0s in Houston on dealership websites, but I still haven’t seen a single one on the Road. Or received a return call from any sales people I contacted months ago about a test drive.

I have seen about 6 Model Xs in the last week.

I am curious who will make it here first, Bolt or Model 3 (future delays and all).

Proving once again, the dealerships are the PROBLEM.

Josh I was surprised to see a second Gen II Volt yesterday, then a few minutes later I saw a third. They are really becoming a lot more common in Northern Virginia.
And GM has upped the inventory to over 4800 for the past couple weeks. I am not sure if the Volt super dealers now have more Volts on their lots or if the regular dealers now have their first Volt.

Bob Lutz did state the Bolt was a compliance car…

Bob Lutz has his own agenda now, with his own company he is promoting. He has nothing to do with the Bolt.

And he should give it up he’s saying whatever he’s being paid to say in my opinion!!!

Good that GM is minting credits, rather than opening its wallet. They also deserve credit for delivering, whether its on time frames, mpgs, or electric range.

Compliance car, ha! As of 18 months ago, GM had enough “credits” to stop making BEVs through 2020. Yet they have made many more Spark EVs and now are introducing the Bolt EV.

Compliance car… so many biases in “facts” sheesh! 😉

Every single automaker has to think about how they will be in compliance going forward. Starting in 2018, the ramp starts to get steep, with ZEV going up 2% per year. Even GM and Nissan have to think hard about how they are going to meet that.

Exactly. Clearly, both Nissan and GM should be OK with ZEV compliance, assuming both sell enough of their EVs.

Others, I’m not so sure. Toyota is getting into dangerous territory with the hydrogen game, and they are truly “betting the farm” so far that hydrogen will be the ONLY game for compliance. With the disparity of ZEV credits potentially dropping from 9 credits for hydrogen to 4 in 2018 model year, expect Toyota to lean heavily on “good ‘old boy” favoritism… I will be simply amazed if CARB holds the line at 4 credits for hydrogen.

Toyota will scream bloody murder when their hydrogen sales don’t even meet ZEV minimums, in California only (hydrogen is exempt from required sales outside of California). Expect high level political pressure to force CARB to capitulate to higher credits for hydrogen.

It’s a shame Toyota’s hydrogen vehicle is hideous to look at. That alone will kill it. What were they thinking? It’s a car, not a Transformer. I hear the looks represent the transformation of hydrogen to energy or water. Seriously, who gives a ****, it’s ugly as sin.

Yes but interesting that Tesla takes so much heat when any and all mfgs. can claim the credits or get rebates. But it all seems to be Tesla that is consuming all the federal government’s resources. GM is in the nice position of actually qualifying for the most credits and allowing more customers to take advantage of credits and rebates. Good for GM.
As far as supplying cars to CARB states only GM can sell them anywhere they want. Its their car they can do what they want.

Why on earth should we care what Bob Lutz has to say about it, he had nothing to do with the development of the Bolt and isn’t in a position to have reliable information on what the company is currently doing.

I’m reserving my comment on this but at first blush, if Lutz did say something like this, I’d like to see the context of where he said it because it just doesn’t seem like something he’d normally say. If Lutz did say this without reason, its here we part company. The BOLT, listed by the gov’t as a ‘mid sized wagon’, seems to be VERY compelling, and I don’t see why huge numbers aren’t sold soon. Chevy only is barely the best selling plugin in the US, and the limited sales are mainly due to the car is too small for many people. The Bolt is much larger inside. And many are probably waiting for a BEV that can go a decent distance. GM may have to increase production of this vehicle much faster than they think. Not sure, but I bet its mileage rating is conservative. If I’m right about this, then this feature alone will sell thousands more than they are expecting. Fast charging will be available as an option for those who want/need it. I don’t see any feature lacking in this vehicle. People have been pleading with GM to come out with a CUV styled vehicle… Read more »

I suspect you are correct here, I think GM got seriously burned by the expectations game with the Volt roll out, they are not going to make that mistake again.

They will build to meet demand, does that mean they will sell every vehicle they could have, no, but I have no doubt that they can secure the battery supply they would need to expand production within 6-12 months.

To think that a big battery supplier like LG doesn’t have contingency plans to expand production at their multiple existing facilities is folly by the folks that keep saying LG couldn’t supply them. LG see’s the automotive market as a source of long term growth, they will have plans ready to expand their own production if demand is there.

Bill, the Bolt has 0.5″ less Front Legroom than the Gen II Volt though it has 1.5″ more Rear Legroom. What the Bolt is excellent with is the headroom. Both front and back have around 2″ more headroom.
I have to move my seat way up if anyone sits behind me in my Volt.
The Bolt is roomy enough that I would have to move it up a bit less, is all.

Bill, your comment about the Bolt mileage rating being conservative caught my eye. I leased a ’16 Volt a few months ago and consistently get 20 to 25 % more battery miles after a full charge than the 53 miles advertised. Translated to the Bolt that would mean a range of 240 to 250 miles per full charge which would come close to the best Tesla range..

George, that is true, now, but don’t be surprised when that range drops around Christmas time. I have a 2013MY Volt and I consistently get around 43-46 miles 8 months of the years, which is considerably more than the 38 on the sticker.
But from late December to mid-March, I get closer to 28-32 miles, most days.

Very interesting Ziiv. I will keep that in mind. On the other hand l met a ’16 Volt owner from New Hampshire last week. He acquired his Volt in April 2016 just like me and told me he never registered more than 53 miles after a full charge. Is there that much of a descrepency in standard battery packages? So far I have not been able to get an answer.

Assuming there is not something seriously wrong with the car that could be fixed under warranty, I suspect it is either:

1). Jack rabbit starts.
2). Slamming on the brakes/not using regeneration such that no regen is effectively possible.
3). Flooring the accelerator/ Releasing it to maintain a level speed.

One of the guys I talk to at a coffee shop tells me he ALWAYS gets 70 miles on his ’53 mile’ volt.

Bill:

I am with you. Even my little old I-MiEV, rated at 62 miles got me 80+ in the summer. I read somewhere that a 2nd Gen Volt owner was not getting the expected bump up in range, he was thinking at least 80 miles, but said that the difference between the mileage stated and actually reached was less than he expected. Consistently got the stated range but not the great range he expected. Seems like maybe he was jackrabbitting, etc.

George, Bill nailed it. It comes down to the driver. And even then it varies. I had a rocking month at work, stress super high, business rolling in, and my AER dropped below 40 miles. Then I realized I was driving like I had stolen the car. I had to consciously relax and stop braking hard at red lights/flooring it when I got the green light.
Boom. The AER came back.
It is possible that the guy you know got a bad pack, but after talking to a lot of Volt owners, it seems like the packs are nearly uniformly excellent.
Generally problems with the pack are operator error. The Volts biggest problems seem to be lack of rearseat room, wind buffeting when the windows are rolled down, scraping air dams, steering wheel stickiness if you steer straight for a long time and rattles from the dash. Pretty small stuff.

I largely agree. Fast charging should be standard tho (a CCS port), and it really is a ridiculous omission – in fact, I consider it just a way to artificially lower the price.

But one thing really bothers me. Why does GM set such a hopelessly low goal of 25k cars? I find it difficult to believe GM isn’t and to assess demand at all, and impossible to believe it really doesn’t think it can still 50k cars easily. Hence I’m forced to suspect that GM simply doesn’t want to sell more than 25k in the first year. Hopefully they’ll price me wrong and quickly ramp up if the demand is there like I think, but I’m not holding my breath.

GM is setting a low goal because they got a lot of ridicule when they predicted 50k for the Volt and missed it by a large margin. Simple as that.
Plus LG Chem would have a problem building/supplying more than 30-40k the first year anyway.

“I don’t see any feature lacking”
There’s no SuperCruise to compete with AutoPilot
There’s no ACC which is offered on the Volt
There’s no garage door opener
There’s no ventilated seats, which are proven to reduce A/C use
There’s no power seats
There’s no sunroof
There’s no heatpump

In Canada, that Could be Quebec, Ontario, and maybe, BC, among the first places to see it!

Why would GM only build 25,000 of these a year.
The rest of world is wanting an EV car like this.
And call it a Chevy not an Opel, Vauxhall or Holden or whatever.
This name is a good point of deference.
Only thing is GM may price it too high to the rest of the world just like they did with the Volt.

First deliveries are going to Lyft…May be an extremely limited allocation of private party Bolt deliveries for 2016…

I wonder wether the annual numbers include the Ampera-e

I will be surprised if it isn’t !

These things will trickle off the line !

No. These are Built numbers. While the differences are probably just cosmetic, it’s still two different products.

Didn’t we hear that a lot of the early production will be for fleet sales too?

Indeed we did,

Better make that Chinese water torture rather than a trickle !

The pre-production units are already running around in public and showing up charging on Plugshare. I think production is going to be more of a fire hose than a trickle. I expect to see the Bolt available in most of the fifty states by summer of 2017.

So the Nissan Leaf sales last year were like a fire hose? Since that’s roughly the levels of production of the Bolt to be sold in the U.S. market in the first year.

The Leaf is nowhere comparable to the Bolt. You cannot compare projected sales of the Bolt to what the Leaf has done. The Bolt has main stream sales potential, the Leaf never did.

Texas FFE said:

“The Leaf is nowhere comparable to the Bolt.”

Hmmm, they’re both BEVs, and comparisons are certainly appropriate.

“You cannot compare projected sales of the Bolt to what the Leaf has done.”

You can be sure that a lot of comparisons will be made, and often.

“The Bolt has main stream sales potential, the Leaf never did.”

Hard to see how a limited production car like the Bolt can ever have mainstream potential. Nissan has spent money to ramp up production on the Leaf to satisfy demand on the international market. Will GM do the same, or — more likely — will GM continue to limit production by continuing to farm out the entire EV powertrain to LG Electronics / LG Chem?

We’ll have to wait and see, but my guess is that GM has no intention of ramping up production to meet demand.

I believe in a recent Wired interview that GM CEO Mary Barra said they have an initial “target” production level of 25K for the 1st year, but that the benefit of the Bolt sharing a production line at the Orion plant with other vehicles is that they can easily ramp Bolt production up or down as dictated by market demand.

It’s difficult to gauge demand. You’re damned if you overestimate, and less damned it you underestimate. Underestimating demand is the lesser of two evils.

If you overestimate demand, then you have underutilized production capacity, but also have the same huge fixed costs of paying off construction of the production line, which in turn make the car unprofitable. With excess supply, automakers have to offer incentives and put cash on the hood to move the metal, which would cut into the car’s profit margin.

If you underestimate demand, then you haven’t maximized sales revenue and lost sales because of inadequate supply to meet demand. But additional production capacity can be added post haste at a later date.

Nissan and GM vastly overestimated demand for the LEAF and Volt, and ended up being burdened for many years with the fixed costs of building underutilized production capacity.

Hardly. Lay off the loco weed.

We will see. I know the Chevrolet dealers here in Texas (a non-CARB state) are in high anticipation Bolt deliveries and we have the CCS charging infrastructure to support them.

So – at 25,00 a year, or about 2,100 a month, that = a Fire hose of Production? Well – Model S So far this year has met that number, in spite of adding a more complicated Model X into their line, and all together – Tesla has delivered about 19,000 units to the USA so far (Jan-June) Per – http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/

And Tesla is still not a solid Major Automaker, but still getting warmed up!

It does not mater to many when GM starts Production, but Rather When they can order one and get it, where they live! So – in that situation, the Tesla Model 3 Might Just Beat GM to many areas!

GM has huge advantage with political favoritism, plus a large dealer network in EVERY state, with 100 years of history. So much favoritism that they were “too big to fail” to the tune of $50 billion in tax payer money just 8 years ago.

Tesla has none of those advantages, plus are outlawed from selling in six states, including the home state of GM, Michigan.

First that is a question I have. GM is only planing to produce 25,000 not because they can’t pump them out any faster but instead they are planing for limited demand. Not hard to believe since it doesn’t look like any model of EV has sold more then 30,200 cars in a signal year inside the US. So are they going to do 2,000 cars a month and ship them out steadily or do a huge run of say 15,000 cars in Oct and start shipping them out and doing small runs of say 1,000 to 2,000 a month to fill holes and do custom cars for customers. Or somewhere in between 5,000 cars in Oct, Nov phasing down to 2,000 in Dec, Jan, Feb, then shrinking production lower every month after that?

Since I don’t the answer to that question that could really effect how long it will take for dealerships to get stock. Especially if demand is way higher then expected.

Yes, with Lyft:
http://inhabitat.com/gm-exec-confirms-plans-to-launch-a-self-driving-chevy-bolt-ev-with-lyft/

And this makes perfect sense. Just when cars become cheaper to maintain, GM takes ownership of a Zipcar/Ubber-like company and effectively rents its reliable Bolts. If hybrid maintenance costs are dwarfed by fuel-savings, for taxi fleets, just imagine how those savings will compound with even lower maintenance bills.

Of course, there’s a “city-only” stereotype GM is happy with, too, but its hard not to see EVs pollinating urban areas as more people experience them in fleets.

Do we know how big the interior of the Bolt will be yet? Any idea what the head room, etc. is compared to the Leaf?

It’s like the Tartus in Dr. Who, it’s bigger on inside than on the outside. I know this sounds ridiculous but the Bolt really is an impressive car that borders on revolutionary. The Bolt looks small on the outside but has the interior of what you would expect in a much larger car.

Most EV manufacturers try to make their EVs look ICE cars, even the Teslas hence the “frunk”. Chevrolet took a completely different approach and made the front motor compartment as small as possible based on an electric motor, not an ICE. This alternative design philosophy allows the entire passenger compartment to move forward making it bigger for the passengers.

To put some numbers to these features, the Ford Focus hatchback (non-electric) is five inches longer than the Bolt but the Bolt has a much larger cargo area behind the front seats. (56.6 cu. ft. compared to 44.8 cu. ft.). The cargo capacity of the Bolt is almost as big as many SUVs. I only hope the Bolt is rated for towing so it can truly dispace the need for many ICE SUVs.

Texas FFE said:

“It’s like the Tartus in Dr. Who…”

That’s TARDIS: Time And Relative Dimension In Space.

And no, I’m not a Dr. Who fan; I just read a lot.

It does sort of look like a phone booth laid flat. The looks are about a C. The rest of the car give it a B. For an overall B-.
Specific circumstances may raise that or lower than by half a grade.

That sounds like something Captain Spock would post.

Spock made captain? Fascinating.

Yes, Spock was Captain in two of the movies, after Kirk became Admiral.

EVs really allow for lots of interior space. Sit in a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It’s a TINY car, but 4 full-sized adults can sit it in with plenty of headroom and have enough space for groceries in the back.

That’s interesting. I wonder how that will effect frontal crash ratings/safety.

25,000??! That’s it? And the first will be to fleet sales??

This sounds like the same ‘meh’ level of effort that GM put into the EV1. Standby for the preordained conclusion of “well we *tried* to sell EVs but America isn’t ready for them yet.”

BOHICA!

Same thoughts here. Good luck finding one in the lots!

Not even close to the same thing. GM produced just over 1000 EV1’s over the whole lifetime of the project which they leased to some celebrities for the attention.

The 25000 figure is a cautious estimate for yearly sales and I think it’s way underestimated.

Setting up a production line is costly so you don’t want to go all-in until you are confident you will sell what you produce. I’m sure they will increase production once demand kicks in.

25,000 is only the initial production run number. Total production for 2017 is expected to be at least three times that number.

Who “expects” 80k units in 2017? I’ve seen some GM statements that they can ramp to 50k or even 80k if needed, but that’s a far cry from saying they expect to.

No, the suppliers and other insider information peg first full model year at 20k to 30k. They are likely more accurate.

Mr. Brauer’s estimate doesn’t take into account the LG Chem production limitations on battery cells. At 80k, that would be more than 2/3’s of all of LG Chem’s production capacity, of which includes many other vehicles for many other makes.

We have been over this over and over again. Most people believe as I believe that GM can meet demand whatever that demand is. I have no interest in getting into this fruitless discussion, again.

They probably can meet all possible demand. If not the first year, second year for sure they can produce 80k or maybe whole 800k once they can see real sales. But it is still $37k base MSRP car plus extra for some options you may reasonably expect like fast charging, and its range is limited. Gas is still around $2/gal and not going to the Moon again any time soon. Realistically you will find these 25k enthusiasts who are not Tesla culties at the same time and are not going to wait for Model 3 till the end of their lives. Maybe a bit more. 80k, I don’t believe it at all at this time, although I would like to be proven wrong.

If the Bolt EV Price was Right, and I had the Bucks, I would buy it just to replace my Previous Chevy EV – the 1994 High School Built – EV Conversion – of a 1989 Pontiac firefly (Geo Metro for american Friends), and to go along with the Pending Model 3 I want – just for reality comparisons! :^)

Expected by who? So far as I know, nobody at GM has suggested or implied any production number for the Bolt, even in theory, north of 50,000.

Even if GM wanted to ramp up production, and even if LG Electronics was capable of producing that many EV powertrains per year, where would they get the batteries? LG Chem is committed, possibly even over-committed, on the number of batteries it can supply its growing list of customers.

http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/15/chevy-bolt-not-limited-to-30000-sales-a-year/

G2 said: “This sounds like the same ‘meh’ level of effort that GM put into the EV1.” I think that’s a bit unfair. The EV1 was a test market car, sold (or rather leased) at a price far below a level at which GM could have made a profit. Despite what “Who Killed the Electric Car?” would have you believe, there is no way that GM would have ever put the EV1 into full production. It seems to me that GM is being quite cautious about spending money developing the Bolt, as they’ve farmed out the entire powertrain to LG Electronics & LG Chem. That’s what a company does when it wants to limit the amount of development and tooling-up investment in a limited production (or “test market”) car, similar to what Toyota did by farming out the entire RAV4 EV powertrain to Tesla Motors. It will be interesting to see if GM moves to bring some or most of the powertrain production in-house in future years. If they do, that will be a strong signal they plan to ramp up production of the Bolt. My guess is they won’t, because they won’t want Bolt sales to cut into sales… Read more »

You’re right about the EV1, almost everything in it was custom designed. It was never suitable for mass production.

GM farms out pretty much everything these days except body and ICE. Why do the EV motor inhouse? They have no special engineering expertise in traction motors and having UAW members build them is far from optimal.

If and when GM is serious about building EVs in large numbers, then they will build the EV powertrains in-house for exactly the same reason they now build the gasmobile powertrains in-house.

And yes, most or all auto makers farm out much of their manufacturing to auto parts suppliers. But they don’t put themselves in the position of being dependent on one single supplier for those parts, unless it’s for a limited production car.

GM making its production of the entire Bolt powertrain dependent on LG Electronics & LG Chem sends a pretty strong signal that they have no intention of significantly ramping up production. If in the future GM brings some or much of that production in-house, then that will be a signal that they do plan to significantly increase production.

For ICE vehicles there are reasons to keep transmission and engines in house due to complexity and time to do research and development.

EV’s drivetrains are just the opposite. Motors are highly efficient, inverters and controllers are about efficiency and integration of electronics. Not something a car maker really wants to get involved in.

I know you think vertical integration is the only way to grow and show they are serious about EV development. But, horizontal integration that GM is doing with LG allows for more growth long run.

You make it sound as if LG and GM have no idea how to write a contract or delivery on said contract. I’m sure as thresholds volumes are met it will prompt LG to build out to meet demand. LG has spare capacity and manufactures their own machinery for cell production and they build over a million motors a year. Seems like they are a capable partner.

+1000

Here in the Pacific Northwest, my bet continues to be on the far-less-talked-about Gen 2 Leaf being the first of the affordable 200-mile-ish BEVs, to actually reach local households

Yup. Nissan has three factories around the world producing Leafs, and batteries for those Leafs. At least two are running significantly under capacity, so there is a lot of room there for ramping up production.

Contrariwise, GM is dependent on LG Electronics for the EV powertrain, and on LG Chem for the batteries. Would GM have made itself so dependent on a single outside supplier if it really planned on significantly ramping up production? Auto makers generally don’t do that. Experience in the industry shows why that’s a bad idea.

I would normally agree with you however, GM and other automakers have been known to buy critical parts from one supplier, especially when they only trust one supplier. Case in point this CCM company that GM bought all their interior sound-proofing/insulation from that is filing for bankruptcy. The automaker protects itself by owning the knowledge and the tooling.

Ford did the same thing with the CVT on the Ford Escape Hybrid years ago. Bought them all from Aisin/(Which was owned by Toyota). It was a nice little CUV that got 34 mpg when all the competition got 20 at best.
Gas prices went up, Ford started to get a lot of buzz about their fuel sipping hybrid, they asked Aisin to build more and Aisin said, “Sorry, we can’t even build as many as we did last year.”
I tried to buy one and the two large Ford dealers I went to had one each. They wanted a premium over the msrp.
Sole sourcing can bite you on the butt.

So Nissan basically has a lot of liability with under utilized factories using a less than optimal chemistry. I wouldn’t say Nissan is the best example of what to do. Let’s be honest, if Panasonic would have been willing to meet Tesla’s demand the Gigafactory wouldn’t have existed. Panasonics investment in the Gigafactory is highly dependent on Tesla’s investment first.

LG is willing to take a chance with GM because GM will pay the bill. If things would ever go south with Tesla Panasonic would be left with over capacity for a cell type the rest of the industry isn’t using.

I don’t know what your source is, but I hope you’d be willing to share it. My impression is it’s been pretty clear to very many people for a good while that battery demand will grow to the point where managing to supply might be difficult. So I can’t see why Panasonic wouldn’t want to invest in capacity. The future looked bright regardless of the fate of EVs, since then as now it was stationary storage that’s expected to make up the bulk.

Because Building Capacity cost money now and keeping that equipment in place and not using it has maintenance cost. Having limited spare capacity can be important for sales but having too much spare could kill your bottom line. LG Chem has built a huge amount of Capacity maybe a little too much a little too early and it is costing them I believe part of the reason Chevy got such a good price for the battery packs for the Bolt. We have seen that LG Chem can get a factory up and running in under 2 years I still believe if the Bolt sell really well LG Chem will be able to increase it production to meet that demand if Chevy is willing to put up the cash to pay for the production. Right now they aren’t willing to.

Nissan could be a serious contender here in warmer climates as well, but only if they change to an active battery cooling system. Serious battery degradation on our leased Leaf is a major reason we didn’t lease another, at least not yet.

25k units — way to aim high GM….

with 400k reservations for the Model 3 — demand is there for who can provide it—and GM does not seem all that interested.

You keep repeating the silly rhetoric of many …

Tesla makes only EV’s and can keep doing so hopefully for long time. Everyone else, has to rely on gradual EV sales implementation, because they actually need to make money … unlike the cozy position Tesla has among the friendly investor base.

Once GM can see they can sell EV’s with expected profit, they will make more .. otherwise what’s the point? Or you want to write another bailout cheque for them???

GM has started that they have normal margins on the Bolt. In other words they deny making it at a loss. They’ve also said it’s not production constrained.

I personally have a hard time understanding how GM may estimate demand at only 25k. Coupled with the CARB-first policy it is easy to suspect they may plan to sell all their cars where they generate carb credits and then accidentally run out…

Hopefully I’m right about demand but wrong to suspect GM won’t meet it. A quick ramp up and much higher sales than the paltry 25k would convince me GM really means business.

Can anyone get the trim packages and options list for the Bolt? We are only a couple of months away and mums the word… What the hell GM?

I asked this question a couple of months ago and I think it was Jay Cole that said we can expect this information in August or September.

With production scheduled for Oct, info on ordering will really need to be released by next month.

If this doesn’t reach the East coast until late 2017, I’ll continue waiting (im)patiently for my pre-ordered Model 3 – I’m #61025 in line.

I think the latest this would be available nationwide would be February/March 2017. If it’s late 2017 then it would have to be really successful in the CARB states. I would expect them to be build 5k-7k this year giving how many are running around already. Come October I imagine they will be running at a pretty quick rate.

Ok, the Bob Lutz position apparently has come from an old Automotive News Roundtable.

Lutz’s overarching point is the whole auto business isn’t that profitable currently – and small cars with lower margins are causing money problems at automakers.

So the BOLT is just lumped in with other low margin ICE powered small vehicles.

Lutz (at the time) was worried about the cost of the batteries and the electric drive train, but LG apprently has perfected the cost problem (by providing $145 / kwh systems) so Lutz was right when he said it, but the good news is that the BOLT can NOW be as profitable as the other low margin small vehicles that GM as a whole sells, due to the new, attractive battery pricing.

I feel GM should try making a LARGE PHEV – it is both high margin, and will help their CAFE scores. Bob Lutz has been semi-arguing for this also.

Just an amplification regarding the last point: Its seems almost obvious to me that GM or some other automaker, to the extent they can use LG’s 60 kwh battery platform, should utilize this ‘bonanza’ of a low cost LARGE battery; – the one used specifically in the BOLT may have too many GM patents for other automakers to use as – is without paying excessive royaties. Even so, LG apparently has released a ‘generic’ 60 kwh system that other automakers can utilize inexpensively. A large pickup truck or large luxury SUV would, using this generic system, allow for around 100 miles all electric range in a VERY LARGE VEHICLE. A charger in the vehicle in the 7200 watt range would recharge even a totally dead battery in around 9 hours – to be ready for the next work day, and substantially benefiting from either explicit time-of-day electric cost reduction (over the midnight hour) for 8 hours of the charge time, plus the implicit savings of not exceeding the monthly day time demand, simply since no work vehicles are charging during this time – they are out ‘working’. Seeing as the auto business is ‘monkey see, monkey do’ for better or… Read more »

I agree with you 100% on this, if GM doesn’t do it someone else should. At the margins they see on these larger vehicles I really think they could absorb the costs much more easily, it will be a hit on margins in the beginning, but I also think if you were a first mover on such an EREV you would stand a decent chance of sustaining overall revenue in the short term by the increased sales you could see.

My guess is GM will be hesitant to do this until they are more certain what tax incentives are going to look like, if left unstructured it would leave them vulnerable to the competition quickly rolling out something similar and being left at a distinct price disadvantage.

Yeah, these large vehicles with decently sized batteries in them would be sold to businesses strictly on a “Green Eye Shade” basis, meaning – you don’t have to worry about less pollution, or less gasoline usage – although those are obviously big benefits; You’d sell it on how little maintenance is required, and how the vehicle can be expected to last 500,000 miles prior to an overhaul (the planetary gearbox’s clutches only operate when in ‘sync’, so there is zero wear, and almost no wear on the helical gears), also, since the engine only runs if driving MORE than 100 miles, it is lightly used and the typical vehicle will go 450,000 miles on electricity, and 50,000 miles on the engine. And even if the battery should have reduced capacity after 10 years, it will still be usable and the engine still have plenty of life left on it. Since after midnight electricity is quite inexpensive in most parts of the country, the fuel savings, and maintenance cost, plus much longer ‘cycle life’ of the vehicle will make it a slam-dunk as to whether this 100 mile AER vehicle should be bought, or a totally ICE vehicle should be bought,… Read more »