A 9 Hour Tale: Does GM Really Want to Sell the Chevy Bolt?

AUG 31 2016 BY STEVE NOCTOR 220

The Chevrolet Bolt EV Arrives By Year's End In The US

The Chevrolet Bolt EV Arrives By Year’s End In The US

The release of the Chevy Bolt is quickly approaching. And by most accounts it looks to be very good. Test drive reviews and ride-along reviews have been very positive, and the specs look great. Specifically the promise of more than 200 miles of range at an affordable price.

GM is heavily promoting these two aspects of the Bolt: driving range and price point. With a target starting price of $30,000 after rebates, the Bolt will be the first ‘affordable’ EV on the market with over 200 miles of range.

Range? Check. Price? Check. Charging time???

Range? Check. Price? Check. Charging time???

But something is missing. Increased adoption of EVs will only occur when three conditions are met: 1) the car must be sold at an affordable price; 2) it must have sufficient driving range; and 3)the car must be capable of charging rapidly.

Price? Check. Range? Check. But what about the 3rd condition, charging speed?

Those who’ve been following development of the Chevy Bolt over the past year know that the car will be offered with the CCS DC charging port, just like its sister car the Chevy Spark. DC charging dramatically reduces charging time and will allow the Bolt to quickly recharge for high mileage drivers and those on long distance trips. But when it comes to DC charging, GM is oddly silent.

Go to the official website for the Bolt (click here to check it out), and what you see is a very prominent message stating “Full charge in 9 hours”. No mention of rapid DC charging anywhere. It’s as if that DC charging port doesn’t even exist.

The Chevy Bolt website, as of August 29, tells us it takes 9 hours to charge the Bolt.

The Chevy Bolt website, as of August 29, tells us it takes 9 hours to charge the Bolt.

This is a big omission and it raises a legitimate question: Does GM actually want to sell the Bolt?

The average person who has never driven an electric car will very likely see that message – 9 hours to charge – and keep on walking. It will be a deal breaker. Auto makers usually focus on exciting features that help sell cars. 9 hours is not one of them. 9 hour charging stops do not figure into the dreams and aspirations of the average driver planning a summer vacation or annual trip to visit family for the holidays.

We could speculate why GM has left out this very important detail. Perhaps they’ve dropped the DC charge port from the final design? Doubt it. Perhaps they haven’t yet calculated charge time on 125 or 200 amp DC chargers? Inconceivable. Perhaps GM is concerned about uneven rollout of DC charging stations across the country? Unlikely. In fact, early this year GM stated they would not get involved in setting up or promotoing DC charging infrastructure. So perhaps they don’t understand that DC charging will be essential for mass adoption of EVs? Or perhaps they do.

Just a few days ago news stories announced that VW is planning a 300 mile EV that will charge in 15 minutes. This is a car that is years from production, and who knows if it’ll actually get built. But for all it’s faults, VW gets it: charging speed is important. And it really doesn’t need pointing out, but yet I will, that Tesla’s extensive, reliable, worldwide Supercharger network is a huge selling point for their cars.

 

Here’s an example of advertising from a company trying to sell EVs.

Here’s an example of advertising from a company trying to sell EVs.

In contrast, the Bolt is scheduled to roll out factory doors in a matter of months and the official Chevy Bolt website tells us this car will take a long time to charge, and it shouldn’t. So here’s a suggestion. Why not modify the website? Advertise. Let folks know about the DC charge port. It would help.

 

A slight change to the website might help.

A slight change to the website might help.

Final note: the author is well aware that Level 2 charging serves the majority of our driving needs.

Also: If you enjoyed this article by Steve, also check out his blog “It’s Electric” for more stories of interest!

 

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220 Comments on "A 9 Hour Tale: Does GM Really Want to Sell the Chevy Bolt?"

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I’ve wondered why there is 0 mention of the fast charging capability of the Bolt on its official Chevy page. We know the Bolt will be capable of fast charging from numerous press releases and straight from the CEO’s mouth, so why isn’t it listed on the official website?

My (optimistic) self is saying that they don’t have the fast charging aspect listed because they are still tweaking the max fast charging rate the Bolt can take.

My (optimistic) self is saying that GM is still negotiating with Tesla for the Bolt to have full access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. 😀

GM doesn’t want to sell the Bolt, from looking at how they intend to hang a sub-prime albatross around its neck, through Lyft. I think they will try hard to foster the City taxi image, if not by failing on DC recognition, by putting drivers, who can’t even qualify for a loan, in the driver’s seat. their marketing definitely sends an image.

Here’s a take on what’s going on with ubber:
http://tinyurl.com/j32q4dx

That’s the same racket that trucking companies pull “independant” owner/operators that lease their rigs.

Now, that IS optimistic!! Even I didn’t come up with that one!

That would be HUGE. Tesla would have to think long and hard about that one. Yeah, it would get them some cash. But right now, that Supercharger network is probably Tesla’s biggest advantage over all of its competitors.

Tesla has started that they are open to enabling super charging for other cars – they just need to be willing to pay for it. That currently means a few grand up front for every single super charger enabled car.

Tesla isn’t here to cut out other ev makers. They are here to accelerated ev adoption and the logical party would be for everyone to access the best chargers.

If Tesla was truly intending on providing access to all EVs, why not just go directly to consumers with their “deal” for Supercharger access?

The fact is, nobody knows the terms of Tesla’s seemingly generous offer that no manufacturer has taken Tesla up on.

Considering that Tesla has chosen to not take their offer direct to the public strongly suggests the terms would be considered outrageous once they become known.

BTW, aside from the terms, let’s see the numbers.

Stuart22 said: “If Tesla was truly intending on providing access to all EVs, why not just go directly to consumers with their ‘deal’ for Supercharger access?” Because a PEV would have to be built to handle the high (strong) electric current offered by a Supercharger, to take advantage of it. If you tried to plug a lesser PEV into a Supercharger, even with the proper adapter, you’d be in danger of frying the entire battery pack. The Supercharger uses a “smart” connection with a Tesla car, and monitors the state of charging, tapering off the charge as the battery pack approaches full charge, to avoid overcharging any cell and to prevent prematurely aging the batteries. Without the ability to do such two-way communication with a PEV’s battery pack, non-Tesla cars shouldn’t ever be charged with a Supercharger. Even Tesla’s first car, the Roadster, can’t use Superchargers, because it’s not built for this two-way communication. Now, that’s not to say that there could never be a third-party aftermarket modification to allow a non-Tesla car to use Superchargers. But Tesla has said even for Roadsters with a new, upgraded battery pack, they still won’t be able to Supercharge. So it would appear… Read more »

You wouldn’t be in danger of frying the pack — the charger only delivers as much current as the car calls for of course. Almost certainly the problem Tesla wants to avoid is Supercharger congestion. If a car can only handle, say, 50 kW then other things being equal, it’ll occupy a Supercharger stall much longer than a Tesla that can take the full 120+ kW.

True.

The real need is for cars to be designed to handle supercharger speeds, so they don’t hog a supercharger port for hours while Teslas are waiting to plug in. Also, Tesla need up front money from participating automakers to pay their share of the cost for the additional Superchargers needed to handle the increased traffic.

Tesla execs have stated they are open to other automakers participating, but they would be required to meet both of the above conditions.

GSP

John in AA said:

“You wouldn’t be in danger of frying the pack — the charger only delivers as much current as the car calls for of course.”

And how would the Supercharger “know” if the information the car was sending it was correct? It wouldn’t, of course.

We can be sure Tesla has carefully designed their cars and their Superchargers to safely taper off the charge as the battery is filled, to prevent overcharging or overheating the battery. There would be no such assurance from a third-party Supercharger adapter. There has already been one car fire, a battery pack fire, at a Supercharger. Just how much additional risk would there be if anyone was allowed to plug in their third-party modified or even jury-rigged Supercharger adapter?

And what risk would there be that an improperly designed Supercharger adapter would damage either the Supercharger’s electrical components or its electronics? If that happened, what kind of risk would there be to Tesla cars using that same Supercharger?

This is one area where I do not think an aftermarket modification is appropriate.

THats not a real problem. there are various standard methods to avoid such things.

a) If the car doesn’t speak the exact Supercharger protocol, nothing will happen. The connector is dead by default and will only switch on if the car sends the right commands.

b) If the does speak the exact Supercharger protocol, the car knows what it’s doing and will instruct the Supercharger to do exactly what it wants (= what is good for the battery).

Either way, no problem.

After thinking about . . . nah. I kinda doubt GM/LG_Chem built the battery in a manner that could handle supercharger charging speeds.

Why? Motor power is 150 kW, so with other systems you’re already able to discharge the pack at more than that. Whenever I’ve read about C rates nobody bothers to distinguish charge and discharge rates, but treat them as symmetrical. I reckon charging at a max rate of 120 kW is likely a technical non-issue for the Bolt pack. Whether GM wants to do it – or think consumers can’t see beyond the tip of their nose and will be swayed by “nearly all CCS chargers are 50 kW, so there’s no point being able to handle more” is the question. Pure speculation on my part, but I think Tesla’s offer to the other manufacturers was genuine. They wanted to share the burden of establishing infrastructure. Other manufacturers would of course gain relatively less from this than Tesla, and with Tesla posing a potential threat (even back then) they wisely chose not to help Tesla get there faster with an even better network. Now that Tesla has established such a great network I think they would be silly to let others jump in. If others will contribute and build cars that can utilize the available power Tesla still has most… Read more »
Terawatt said: “But if others are not contributing to building the network, Tesla would either create queues for their own customers or have to spend much more on the network.” This is, I think, the pivotal point. The question, from the viewpoint of Tesla Motors, isn’t so much whether other brands of EVs can or can’t use their Superchargers. The question is whether or not those other EV makers will support the Supercharger system, and help build it out. If they don’t contribute, then Tesla absolutely should not allow their cars to use their system. Just having non-Tesla car owners pay a fee for the electricity used isn’t sufficient, because Tesla would still have the financial burden of building and maintaining all the Superchargers… including the new ones it would need to build to accommodate non-Tesla cars. If other EV makers want to join the Supercharger network, then they need to go all-in in helping pay to build and maintain the network. But realistically, they have no incentive to do so, since only a tiny percentage of their cars are PEVs. Now, if BYD starts selling its PEVs in North America… things might change. I can easily see BYD and… Read more »
I don’t think this can justify the way Chevy advertises the product. Surely with CCS the lower boundary is going to be 50 kW. If you are a GM engineer working on this, perhaps you already know it will at least be able to handle 100 kW. Or 80 kW. Or 120 kW. Technically, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be able to handle 120 kW as far as I can understand. The maximum DIScharge rate after all is above 150 kW. Given all this, it should be easy for GM to advertise a 0-80% charging time using the age-old “in less than X minutes” format. If it then turns out to be very significantly less than X minutes they certainly aren’t landing themselves in any trouble. And this DC charging time could be the focal point, with the 9 hours from your wall socket information given less prominence. Unlike most advertising trickery this would even be good viewed purely from a “emphasize the most relevant facts” POV. To the consumer, the time to charge at home is in practice nearly irrelevant – as long as you can replenish what you used in a day and have ample range… Read more »

I would bet that GM’s profit margin is less for the Bolt EV than other vehicles, so their ambition is not to sell too many of them. I don’t know if that is true, but it is likely, and if it is true that would explain a lot,

GSP

I can’t state it as fact, but I assume it’s true. Certainly all the evidence (including the lack of profit margin on the Leaf and the Volt 1.0) points in that direction.

That Tesla announced paid charging for the SC netwotk cettainly makes it more lkely.
But an EV must be specially set up to to fast charging with battery cells, connections, etc that can handle so much power.
So unless that is built in, the Bolt can’t do it.
That and they won’t build to demand which is between 100k and 200k a yr shows they are not serious.
Seems they have limited production to 30k to 50k, a big mistake.

Maybe version 1 won’t have fast DC charging available… you know, those footnotes that say “late availability”?

GM has already said it’s an option and DC charging is 90 miles in 30 minutes. I recently saw an update that said 160 miles in 1 hour….so pretty lame DCFC.

GM is selling this car as an in town car. It is not meant to go on long super charger trips.

Is GM interested in really selling this car? Yes at a rate if 20000-30000 cars a year.

GM doesn’t make a big profit on this car so they have little interest in selling a lot of cars.

It’s obvious. They designed a great power train and stuffed it into a little compact and are charging 37500 for it….add lousy DC charging times and they are guaranteed not to sell very many.

On the plus side I expect excellent reliability and that’s worth a lot.

Believe me. I’ve owned a Chevy Volt for 3 years and now have a Tesla Model S. GM reliability is much much better. The issues I had with Volt?? Zero. The issue’s I’ve had with Tesla model S? I’m not going into a lot of detail but GM reliability has it way over this Model S.

Lousy DC charging? What’s your reference point?

50 kWh is what is available now, they can’t recharge faster then what is available, right?

And who knows, may be it will be available to go beyond 50 kWh, GM never never said it couldn’t and they said more information will be made available as they get closer to launch.

But the author get all “poo poo” because it’s not pubic knowledge yet.

@franky-b
“Lousy DC charging? What’s your reference point?”

My Model S

Model S doesn’t do much better than 90 miles in 30 minutes. Mine’s been about 125 miles in 25 minutes, but 160 can take an hour depending upon heat/taper.

Those are both fast times, in my opinion.

I have gotten 90 miles in 18 minutes in my 60D several times.

Tesla has huge taper, starting at about 40% (or 25% with 120 kW chargers). If you’re below and only go up to that point, you’d see very quick charging, almost full power out of the charger. Stay for more, and you’ll see it slow down. By my estimate from those who posted charging plots, it’ll be about 60kW to 70kW on average to about 80%. Below is from Tesla forum. If Bolt is like SparkEV, it’ll have no taper to 80%, probably to even higher. Then the speed will depend on car’s driving efficiency. IF (big if) Bolt is only 90% efficient as SparkEV, and people use it for in-town most of their driving, it could approach 90% of Tesla’s higher-power / bad-taper to 80% or more battery capacity. We’ll see when the final spec is out and people play with them. By the way, I’d love to get my hands on Bolt just to test DCFC. Being 3X bigger battery than SparkEV, it could charge at full power (50kW) to over 90%. That might make it very competitive or even beat Tesla’s bad-taper charging to same high percentage. For longer trips that require DCFC, one would charge to higher… Read more »

Spark EV doesn’t have a huge taper because it doesn’t charge at 120kW. When you throw a lot of power at batteries, you need to reduce that power quickly as they reach higher charge states. Bolt’s taper is not going to be any better than Tesla’s at 120kW+ charging.

It doesn’t matter what the power is; what matters is C rating. If you’re talking about 120 kW with 60 kWh battery, that’s 2C rate. For SparkEV, 50 kW CCS on 19 kWh battery is 2.6C, and there’s no taper to 80%. If Bolt has same C rating (ie, % reached in X minutes), it will be able to charge at 150 kW without taper to 80%. That’s far better than what Teslas do now.

As for Tesla taper, I suspect it has to do with cooling. We know the car can’t run at top speed for extended time (15 minutes?) due to over heating. DCFC power (100 kW+) is roughly that of running at 130 MPH, so taper would be needed in fast charging at similar power levels.

Hey, thanks for posting that chart, Sparky! I bookmarked that, it’s quite useful.

Let me explain how things stand.

SparkEV was equiped with PHEV class batteries.
Small capacity but high charging rates.

BoltEV? EV class batteries, big capacity, smaller charging rates.

Since BoltEV will have much bigger battery pack and much larger charge times, heat mangement WILL be a problem to handle.

Thus Your whole statement hinge on false premise.
BoltEV battery IS NOT simmilar to SparkEV. No dirrect comparision can be made.

Bolt uses similar cooling mechanism as 2014 SparkEV (bottom plates), and 2014 SparkEV charges just as quickly as 2015 (between cells).

As for chemistry, if you’re saying the cells will be less efficient (ie, more heat in charge/discharge), cooling could be inadequate. But we can’t say that until tested. I doubt Bolt will be much worse than SparkEV, though. GM has done a phenomenal job so far with Volt and SparkEV when it comes to battery tech.

The new teslas (90kW) charges at 100kW until like 60-70% SoC

That’s great, but we’re comparing 60 kWh Bolt, so the comparison should be something similar. I hope Tesla ups the rate on 3; if the taper is as bad as old 60/70, it could lag Bolt when 100 kW CCS are out.

Also, love that name. Jelloslug is something taofledermaus could post in youtube.

Good plot SparkEV.!! Huge taper is right. Anyway there’s no way GM BoltEV will match Tesla model S charging rates.

Well, there’s no spec on Bolt DCFC. Going by just 50 kW chargers, Bolt may not exceed Tesla, but it will come close (maybe to 80% to 90%). But if Bolt is capable of 100 kW (or even 80 kW) and there’s no taper, it could easily exceed Tesla.

But all of them are S-L-O-W! It’s too bad none will reach 80% in 20 minutes like SparkEV. 60 kWh should do that with 180 kW charger, hopefully soon.

A dark horse in the Bolt’s charging rate will be its efficiency. The same kwh loading has some advantage when converted thru higher mp kwh.

I agree. Advertising a charging time based on a rate higher than 50 kW when 50 kW is all that is currently available would be misleading. It is entirely possible that they will be capable of accepting much more. Any engineer would surely recommend it, but who knows what the marketing bastards who get to decide will say? Consumers will hopefully do their research and learn that 150 kW CCS is just around the corner. The car is supposed to last 15-20 years after all, so ignoring what we know will happen already in 2017 is hardly a good idea for a 2017 model… An interesting difference between selling EVs and ICEVs, in today’s markets in most of the world, is that EV customers tend to be much more knowledgable about the products. I really hope GM has taken this to heart and don’t fantasize they can dupe people just by pointing out that current CCS chargers are 50 kW. I don’t know what to make of GMs odd behavior. There is so much to like about the Bolt, and being the first to bring an affordable 200 mile EV to market is no small matter. It seems obvious that… Read more »

If they are really planning to market this as a town car, then the 200 miles range is wasted. You don’t need 200 miles of range for a town car.

BTW, I agree with you entirely about the Volt.

I think they market it as a city car, driving around a large city can easily eat up 200 miles in a day, and a taxi service or commercial delivery vehicle might need to DC charge it.

Alternately, it charges full overnight on 240V so I can charge it once a week at home, and do so overnight if needed the next morning. This could make sense for appartment/condo dweller without regular charging.

If the town you live in is “SE MIchigan” or any other big metro area, it can easily take 200 mi range to cover a high mileage day in the winter.

200 miles is a good target for everyday use without any planning. It also happens to be good for road trips with a reliable nationwide DC charging network.

GSP

“GM doesn’t make a big profit on this car so they have little interest in selling a lot of cars.”
The hen and the egg.

Every marketing dept knows that with massive production comes substantial costs reductions.

It’s a common practice to sell at an attractive low price, even at a loss at first
to get sales running high and increase awareness and demand.

Take any popular ICE car and build only a few thousands, the price tag will double!

GM already told it will have CCS but they were not sure how many kW, so I think they just didn’t know what to put on official website. Recently somebody from GM suggested that it will be 50 kW at the beginning. Maybe as optional feature, again, who knows what will be decided.

It’s quite funny to see the most angry Tesla basher defend GM.

“It’s quite funny to see the most angry Tesla basher defend GM.”

It is also very consistent to see Tesla defender like you constantly bashing GM.

How is your Tesla’s bonus doing this quarter?

Only Tesla bashers try to paint Tesla fanboys as being paid shills for Tesla.

Tesla Motors has earned the admiration and respect of Tesla fanboys like myself. Tesla has earned that due to its accomplishments and its vision.

How about those who are perpetual Tesla bashers? How many of them have no financial stake, no “short” stock investment in Tesla, and no financial dependency on Big Oil & Gas companies, or on suppliers for gasmobile auto parts?

How many Tesla bashers are motivated by admiration or respect for anything at all? Very few, I’d guess. Their motives are almost entirely selfishness, greed, and jealousy of the success of Elon Musk and Tesla Motors.

No equivalency there at all.

What is RexxSee then?

A Paid GM basher?

Not having adequate charging hardware and/or network is a great way to sell more hybrids.

MMF is the one paid by GM. My boss is Mother Nature.
When GM begins to massively sell long ranged BEVs at a fair price and advertise them decently, I will become a GM fan. Until then all I see is mascarade and deception. This lack of fast recharging and no participation to develop a good recharging network is another proof they are not committed.

+10

I’d cut them this slack if they didn’t have any other figures with estimated amounts, but GM indicates “Estimated more than 200 miles of range.” Why not just make an equally vague commitment on charging speed? “Charge your car to 80% in as fast as 40 minutes using DC charging.”

Fast charging design should have been done long ago. As soon as the pack is finalized. I think its because it can’t recharge really fast, maybe just 50kW, which would mean that even 80% will take pretty long.

So if they advertise it and Tesla, Nissan, VW, or someone beats them in fast charging, they won’t want make it too obvious.

Or because they don’t want to make fast charging a discussion point, since they lack behind Tesla, in usability of the fast charging network.

Better talk about your strengths, than your weaknesses.

“Better talk about your strengths, than your weaknesses.”

This would be my guess for the omission.

If GM is going to try and pull some of the Model 3 reservation holders over to the Bolt, then GM will want to completely avoid a “road trip” (quick charge) comparison.

None or optional fast charging and no adequate network… With roadblocks to recharge conveniently, the ICE cartel will sell way more fuck1n hybrids.

It’s simply because GM has not finalized the CCS charging rate. That and the EPA range will be released as late as possible before production.

Agreed. And that it’ll likely be an option on a higher priced trim, so perhaps they’re trying to NOT include that wording with the lower priced tag to avoid customers feeling like bait and switch?

And seriously, I’ll bet they’ll be sold out for the first year anyway, so they have some time to adjust the message.

More particularly their Bolt page previously _did_ say something about the fast-charging rate, which indicated a 50kW rate or so.

With the higher-rate CCS now being agreed, it’s still up in the air and so they’ll have removed it until they can make the final decision.

Or maybe they’ve done a deal with Tesla to use the Supercharger network, and that’s why Tesla has added the Supercharger payment option.*

* That was a joke, BTW.

I’m not sure if Chevy has any official specifically stated reason why they have limited charge rate to 50 kW on the Bolt, but I believe it may have something to do with them not wanting to advertise its charging rate as let’s say 100 kW, because until there are those higher power chargers around that won’t be people’s experience. I believe that after a couple years they will allow and advertise higher speeds, but for now they are playing it safe in order to not give reason for bad press.

Sure, but the article asks why GM advertises the 9 hour L2 charging from empty to 100% time, instead of at least the 50 kW DC charging time to 80%.

GSP

I would think that they would say “CCS Charge port”. . . . to most people the KW rating is meaningless anyway.

“GM is heavily promoting these two aspects of the Bolt”

I don’t think so, they may be pushing those two as reasons to buy the car, but they are NOT “heavily promoting” car.

“Does GM actually want to sell the Bolt?”
No, they don’t, otherwise you would see an actual sales campaign that uses the same amount (and cost spend) of advertising that they use on the Malibu or Camaro.

Based off that logic, Tesla doesn’t want to sell ANY cars, because they don’t advertise period.

There is one huge difference between the two.

Tesla can’t make cars fast enough to meet demand and doesn’t need to advertise to do so.

Chevrolet can build as many cars as they want, but they need to advertise the crap out of them to keep them on the radar.

Is the demand really that great? Would Tesla have made available the S/X 60’s if demand were really that high? If they were still hitting the wall for production, would they really need to make available lower margin vehicles?

That is a very good question. I was surprised when Tesla offered a lower-priced, new S60… and truly astounded when Tesla also offered a lower trim level on its “halo car”, the Model X. Of course, I’m just an interested outside observer looking in. I’d think that Tesla would be better off starting to use paid advertising, on the Internet and possibly radio and possibly ads in magazines targeted at the demographic who buys “premium” cars, and other lower-priced mass market options… TV advertising being arguably too expensive to get much “bang for the buck”. But presumably Tesla’s bean-counters know far better than I do what’s best for Tesla’s bottom line. If Tesla has decided to increase demand by offering lower-priced MS’s and MX’s, rather than to start using paid mass advertising, then presumably they have a good reason for that. It seems to me that Tesla’s strategy over the past few years has been to manage demand; increasing demand by high-profile promotional events, Elon’s constantly tweeting, and creating much media “buzz” by opening new Supercharger locations, regularly but incrementally improving the Model S’s drag racing ability, and other methods of keeping media interest focused on Tesla and its cars.… Read more »

Of course.

They have so many Model 3 reservations that pulling in some of it early is big advantage to the company.

Less customers to be tempted away by competitors, and even more cars sold.

Do note Tesla trys to rump up production by 50%+ each year.

“Tesla can’t make cars fast enough to meet demand and doesn’t need to advertise to do so.”

That was true in 2014; not so much today. Today “our products are so good we don’t have to advertise” is a actually pillar of their marketing strategy. If you haven’t noticed, they’re building inventory cars and selling them at a discount.

They market- every single store, supercharger and destination charger is marketing. I believe that the single biggest reason they have been able to build out the charging network is because they are able to double it up as marketing, thereby skipping a key cost for every other car company.

Pure and utter lies.

Tesla is not discounting brand new inventory cars.

They charge less for test drive cars and also for obsolete cars (pre-refresh cars or 90 kWh pack cars.)

They are worth less and they charge less for these.

Yes, if you’ll notice, they all have 50 miles on them, because they are fully-loaded test-drive models. They also sell loaners after a time, which often have more miles on them, but not a lot.

No, not pure and utter lies. They’re brand new cars with less than 50 miles or less being sold at a discount. This is not something a production-constrained company does.

Sounds like one of those claim that turns out to be technically true, but completely misleading. Maybe the car had hail damage, or was vandalized, or someone threw up on the upholstery and left a smelly stain, or used it as a service loaner to carry their dog, which peed on the carpet.

In other words, I can see that a Tesla store or service center might want to discount and sell off a brand new demo or service loaner which had been damaged in a way that made it no longer something they’d want to use to show off the product.

Breezy said:

“…they’re building inventory cars and selling them at a discount.”

Why do you keep repeating this false claim?

The only cars Tesla sells at a discount are those demo units sent to Tesla stores to be used for test drives, and the loaners used by their service departments. There are absolutely no, zero, cars built by Tesla to be used as what other auto makers call “inventory”; that is, cars intended to sit around on a lot somewhere in the hopes they’ll attract a buyer.

We know this is true, because ardent Tesla fans track actual VIN numbers. There have not been any VIN numbers show up that indicate cars made for the purpose of selling them at a discount. Not a single one.

I didn’t say they were made *for the purpose of* selling them at a discount.

Whether they’re specifically earmarked in advance to be showroom, loaners, demos, or inventory, they’re brand new cars available for immediate purchase. If not immediately purchased, they may be discounted. Discounts may include a reduction in the price or waiving documentation fees.

And should someone have a problem with calling them inventory cars, they should take it up with Tesla, because they’re listed in the “New Inventory” section at Tesla.com.

Yes, but what Tesla calls “inventory” isn’t what other auto makers call “inventory”. The only “inventory” cars Tesla has is:

1. Finished cars being shipped to the owner, but not yet paid for

2. Cars designated to be demo or service loaner units

3. Abandoned orders; cars which entered production before the order was canceled. (This was mentioned by Jay Cole in comments to this month’s Plug-in Sales Scorecard article.)

To repeat: Other auto makers make cars which sit around on dealer lots, with the dealer hoping it attracts a buyer. These cars are what other auto makers call “inventory”. In general, Tesla doesn’t do that. It’s possible that this happens occasionally for some cars in category #3 (above), but even in such cases, I suspect many or most are simply assigned to category #2.

That is false assumption.

GM/Chevy can NOT build cars as fast as Tesla.
Nobody can.

Where everyone else would find battery packs for it?

Last time I’ve checked LG+Samsung are smaller then Panasonic whos majority of car batteries goes to Tesla.

GM/Chevy is not market leader.

Tesla IS.

GM/Chevy would need to invest bilions in battery pack production capacity and wait years.

20 000 to 30 000 is a good estimate what LG could do if focused only on a single customer (as they do – why do You thing everybody else post 2018 as 200 miles availability???).

Tesla already did more then 30k EVs with bigger battery packs.

przemo_li said:

“Last time I’ve checked LG+Samsung are smaller then Panasonic whos majority of car batteries goes to Tesla.”

Yes, and furthermore, LG Chem (which is supplying all the Bolt’s batteries) added only a minuscule amount of battery manufacturing capacity during the first half of this year, despite the fact that LG keeps adding customers. At least, that’s what was reported in the InsideEVs article linked below. Looks like if GM wants more batteries within the next year or two, they’ll have to look for another supplier, who will be very unlikely to give them the same “sweetheart deal” of $145/kWh.

Would GM be willing to use another battery supplier, pay more for the batteries, and so cut their already thin profit margin on the Bolt even further? Seems unlikely to me.

Those who think GM can just turn a dial and crank up production on the Bolt to whatever they like, are ignoring the facts.

http://insideevs.com/ev-lithium-ion-battery-suppliers-outlook-h1-2016/

LG is over built right now. The have more capacity then they can use right now. The have shown they can add more capacity in a few years once cars start selling.

Unfortunately, traditional marketing campaigns don’t work well for EVs. I think GM is confident they will sell what they want to using more subtle advertising. My guess is it is still too early, give it a month or two.

They should try to get a bunch of them to national drive electric week events next month. Imagine if they got one to every event and let people drive them? Great marketing.

It’s certainly true that GM used traditional advertising, including some TV ads, to advertise the Volt when it was new. Despite this, the Volt significantly slower than GM planned.

So from that experience, it’s not surprising GM isn’t spending much money on advertising the Bolt, and perhaps that’s why GM is being cautious about making only 25k-30k units in the first year of production. Personally, rather than the exact number of units GM makes in the first year, I’ll be far more interested to see if GM changes things to allow faster production in future years. Hopefully (fingers crossed) GM will finally start moving to build its own battery factories, to enable high volume production of long-range EVs.

Lets not forget that Bolt had very good unveiling, and events after that. It’s also riding the Model 3 tsunami wave too.

If GM aim at 30 000 sales first 12th months, it’s unlikely they would need much more advertisement.

They will of course use general availability and start of deliveries for some more PR, because that is obvious.

Still. Those are way too small sales to justify huge nation wide marketing campaigns.

On top of that GM sales a lot of cars, so they would not want to overbook just one of them.

Right now they compete with Tesla for potential sales. They go huge on it and GM Bolt compete with other GM cars.

On top of that, they may not be able to deliver more cars then 30 000 annually for next few years (LG battery pack production capacity being the bottle neck).

A lot of possibilities here. So I would not put too much into ‘no adds in my morning newspaper’. 😉

I think you are on to something. CCS will be there for the taking, but GM has yet to decide on what speed that will actually be. Numerous interviews have mentioned a 50 KWH rate, but also mentioned “To Be Determined” as if a 100 KWH rate is being considered. An hour of CCS on the Bolt EV at the slower rate we heard will not get you full. And 30 minutes will not get you to 80%. Does make me scratch my head a bit.

I think we may have discovered the achilles heel of the BOLT and the GM blindness to the need of DC Quick charging. If GM persists in ignoring or downplaying DC Quick charging as a necessity in the feature list of their nifty new auto… they might as well name it EV2. Yes I realize many folks will drive it and charge it in the urban setting with poor DC charge performance and never know the diff. Those cars sold without DC QC will have lower resale and will end up in the crusher when GM later states that no one wanted these cars because of long charging times… welcome back to the world of ICE… don’t mind the Car B cues and splody fuel. Come to your bi polar senses GM… Make the BOLT and get fully behind it and the movement towards zero emissions that comes with it! Token efforts to prop up dealer profits and water down products is why you guys needed a bailout!

Most people charge at home, I know I do.

The 9hrs to get to full charge is more important to most.

As for DCFC, what’s available in most market is 50kWh max and we know all vendors adapt their approach to preserve the battery. I expect GM to fully show those numbers at launch as this will be one the final card they will show (battery size, DCFC performance)

BMW says the i3 get 80% in 30 min, I got 80% in 20-25 min. Now find that reference on the web site.

We, Geeks, we want that info, most people don’t.

Instead of advertising charging times, while accurate, they should tell it in terms of location:

– Charge at home from empty to full overnight in 9 hours, with a home-based 240V charger.

– Charge to 80% in 20 minutes during a trip using an optionally-equipped CCS fast-charge port, where CCS fast charging is available.

and so on…

Mr. Noctor is being somewhat needlessly controversial here:

A call to the Chevrolet Concierge got me the info that the DC fast charge port (CCS) will give an 80% charge in an hour, something that sounds to me to be somewhat too fast for a 50 kw charging rate – but at least that is the official information.

It was also the first place I found that the DC Jack will be OPTIONAL AT EXTRA COST, something that apparently none of the article writers cared about discovering.

More important to most existing EV users, but not the public at large

My wish is that GM partner with Tesla for the use of the Supercharging Network and option the Bolt EV with a Tesla plug and charging tech. Allow Bolt EV owners to charge at Superchargers for a per session fee.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

The Bolt is not a road trip EV like a Tesla. The CCS network is still very patchy and fairly unreliable. Until they solve that issue, non-Tesla EV’s will not be road trip worthy.

Honestly I see the Bolt as more of a perfect commuter car that can cover driving a lot around a big city without the need of recharging.

Existing sub-100-miles-per-charge EVs are fine for city driving. The only point of the Bolt is its 200-mile range. So it had damn well better be a road trip EV.

Nemo August 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm Existing sub-100-miles-per-charge EVs are fine for city driving. That may be considered “fine” by the majority of those who self-select to be current BEV owners, but it’s certainly not considered “fine” by the average car buyer. Even a “city car” should be able to reliably exceed 100 miles of range, for those of us who live in widely spread cities… like the Greater Kansas City area, where I live. Given the loss of range in very cold weather, or when running the A/C on a hot summer day, and given the loss of range over time as the car ages, I’d think that the average informed car buyer would not accept less than 150 miles of EPA rated highway range for a BEV. Informed buyers would know that that 150 miles of range could drop to 100 miles or even lower, in adverse conditions. And many drivers will demand even more range before they would seriously consider a BEV, even as a second car. There is a reason that most or all gasmobiles have at least 300 miles of range on a single tank of gas. Those EV advocates who say that the… Read more »

Actually data point that 40 miles of range is enough to serve like 90% of road trips.

That’s why 80 milers are ok as second car for almost everybody.

300 miles gas tanks are also necessity.
I have no gas station on my way home-work.

EV would be charged at my garage. Though I would visit gas station from time to time for car washing service 😉

przemo_li said:

“That’s why 80 milers are ok as second car for almost everybody.”

EV advocates are doing the EV revolution a disservice when they keep making assertions like this one. That’s ignoring what people want in a car rather firmly. Telling people “you don’t really need what you want, you only need this”… isn’t the way to convince people to buy a PEV. In fact, it’s going to do exactly the opposite.

The ~80 mile range — and that’s only under optimistic conditions — is one of the biggest reasons (possibly the biggest reason) why PEV sales are stuck at only about a 1% market share. I predict sales will take a sharp upward trend when the 200+ mile EVs start selling.

Exactly. My metro area is roughly 50 miles across and would require a solid 100 miles in sub-optimal winter weather. A 200 miles BEV would be the minimum requirement for me.

Having driven an EV for 5 years now, charging times is one of the most annoying questions I get because there is no one specific answer. But the most common misconceptions by people are:

1) You have to stand there with your car for 9 hours while it charges.

2) Many don’t understand that you can charge at home, so they assume you must stand around at a public charger for 9 hours.

3) It will take 9 hours to recharge your car every time you drive it (even if it is just for 10 miles)

So I prefer to tell people that it can recharge in “a few hours” at home, or in a “few minutes” at a public fast charger. And the truth is, I’ve never spent more than 15 minutes at a fast charger when I was driving a Leaf. It is rare to need to complete the entire charge just to get home.

Having said all of that, the Bolt will most certainly come with DC fast charging in the form of CCS. Why this is even up for debate, I have no idea.

I’ve driven a Leaf since 3/2013, and have NEVER charged it anywhere except the 120 volt outlet in my garage. I charge it almost every night, and it’s ready in the morning.

Yes, my use of a Leaf might not be the norm, but I honestly don’t think it’s all that unusual. As I keep saying, the biggest misconception regarding EVs comes from the people who shrug them off and say, “it won’t work for me”. At least 90% of the time when I hear someone I know say that, I know that they’re wrong, but they just don’t want to drive a “weird car”. Guess what, people: The weird cars are about to take over the world, and you will LOVE driving one.

Actually, someone studied people’s charging patterns and they found out that a fairly large number of people get by on just 120V.

I did it for a couple weeks while waiting for my charger but I don’t think I could handle it.

I have used 110 for 3 years and the only time I wish I could charge faster is when I am plugged in, paying for electricity by the hour at a “faster” charger at some cafe for lunch.
It is easy to fill up my Volt overnight, but if I had a Bolt it might be worth it to get a faster charger at home.

Over half of Volt owners solely use 120V charging. One of the main reasons (besides cost) for GM using 3.6kW charging on the gen 2. Personally, I feel they should at least offer 6.6-7.2kW charging as an option.

Great article. Yes the Bolt’s 7.7kW charging is totally unacceptable by itself and will doom the car and perhaps do a lot of damage to the reputation of BEVs as a whole.

Thank goodness there are existing BEVs that can show how it should be done. (Tesla)

You’re being facetious, right?

Every 60 miles travelled, earns a 15 minute wait at the Supercharger.
ICEV owners wouldn’t tolerate that, but Tesla owners do.
The Bolt can be charged from home, and public chargers for the longer trip.

There are lots of posts that are incorrect and I ignore. Not sure why I am not here but here goes… When the battery is almost empty, I can charge my 70D at 360 miles/hr. The 85 and up batteries charge faster. With appropriately spaced chargers, using 5% to 50% as your supercharging window, you get about 90 miles in 15 minutes. Again better with a bigger battery. But generally, you don’t stop every 90 miles. You could of course but usually you go further. Typical scenario is more like 150 miles and then it takes 30 min to charge. You can do a bit better but that is a reasonable plan. So 60 miles and 15 minutes would be a for a car with a 100 mile range and high C rate charging. When people think of road trips, they must think of really long road trips. For anything under 500 miles, you are talking 1 stop for a meal. You leave full and can arrive empty. That is a big deal. I suspect 500 miles is probably most people’s limit. Maybe out West or Texas people go further. But then there are those planes…. When I was making… Read more »

‘7.7 kw charging rate.’

This isn’t my information, which is one of a peak 7.2 kw, but only if 30 amps is available at 240, or 32 amps is available at 225 volts. Much less if neither is available.

It will also charge from a plain old recepticle.

No fast charging-No sale. I love our RAV4EV, but no fast charging meant we had to have second petrol powered car. No more of that.

Buy the Jademo for your RAV4. Being able to fast charge the RAV4 will change the way you look at EV’s.

Bill

Its not a Tesla EV so we need a anti EV FUD article??
Serisouly… it is not even in production and you are scrounging for ways to knock them down??

SUPERCHARGER NEWSFLASH!!!
No auto manufactuer will use a charger network branded by another auto manufactuer!!!
That is common sense and Tesla knew that when they offered their patents up and said you can use our branded network for a fee…

They didn’t offered their patents for free. I.e. maybe initially Musk was giving such impression and many fanboys still believe this nonsense. But then they added terms and conditions here: https://www.teslamotors.com/about/legal#patent-pledge “A party is “acting in good faith” for so long as such party and its related or affiliated companies have not: asserted, helped others assert or had a financial stake in any assertion of (i) any patent or other intellectual property right against Tesla or (ii) any patent right against a third party for its use of technologies relating to electric vehicles or related equipment; challenged, helped others challenge, or had a financial stake in any challenge to any Tesla patent; or marketed or sold any knock-off product (e.g., a product created by imitating or copying the design or appearance of a Tesla product or which suggests an association with or endorsement by Tesla) or provided any material assistance to another party doing so.” Which effectively requires you to give up all your EV or related patents if you want to use Tesla ones, as you can’t enforce them in legal way anymore. And Tesla can still have a clause to back up: “provided any material assistance to another… Read more »

Really…all that jargon means is that you agree not to screw Tesla over, in exchange for a free license. Makes perfect sense – you can’t have people directly or indirectly ripping you off.

Depends on what part of Tesla’s terms of service you look at. Tesla did add a plain English summary at the bottom: “What this pledge means is that as long as someone uses our patents for electric vehicles and doesn’t do bad things, such as knocking off our products or using our patents and then suing us for intellectual property infringement, they should have no fear of Tesla asserting its patents against them.” If you regard that as legally binding and ignore everything else in the terms of service, then nobody should have any problem with that. But that would be ignoring the section where Tesla allows use of it’s patents only to companies which have not: “asserted, helped others assert or had a financial stake in any assertion of… any patent right against a third party for its use of technologies relating to electric vehicles or related equipment;” In other words, by using Tesla’s patents, the company agrees not to assert its own patent rights in the field of EVs and related equipment. Of course, one could argue that this isn’t what Tesla actually meant, given the plain language summary at the end, but that’s what it says. I… Read more »

> Which effectively requires you ….

What?!

It requires no such thing. That paragraph is written in plain English and is easy to understand.

My thanks (no irony here) for posting that, zzzzzzzzzz. I did not know that Tesla had posted terms of service regarding its Patent Pledge.

Yogurt said: “No auto manufactuer will use a charger network branded by another auto manufactuer!!! That is common sense and Tesla knew that when they offered their patents up and said you can use our branded network for a fee…” Do you think Dr. Evil is masquerading as Elon Musk? [Dr. Evil voice:] We’ll build a superior, well-distributed EV charging system, call it the Supercharger network, and invite other EV makers to join forces with us in building the system! But we’ll put our own logo on every Supercharger, so they’ll all refuse… which will enrage all the EV advocates! BWA HA HA HA HA HA!! Ummm… no, I don’t think so. Sure, Tesla would consider it quite likely that no other major auto maker would agree to that. But I can easily see that a small auto maker, or a startup, would be quite willing to bask in the reflected glory of Tesla Motors. Heaven knows enough of them plaster the Tesla name all over their press releases to attract attention! Tesla didn’t build the Supercharger network out of altruism. It built the network to fight range anxiety, to make its cars more attractive to potential buyers, and to… Read more »

Particularly weird article. How you get from an acorn of the website not mentioning DC charging to the oak tree of GM wanting to sell the vehicle is downright nuts.

Could be an oversight or a mistake, but the overwhelming likelihood is that the market research is saying that the target demographic for the Bolt EV doesn’t care about DC charging, or at least DC charging as presently constituted (CCS network).

Posters here are hardly representative. Will be interesting to see what percentage of buyers are willing to pay for the DC option.

That page _used_ to have a brief bit of fast-charging info which vaguely calculated into 50kW. It’s been removed.

But they’ve said CCS DCFC will be optional, so the only thing I can think of is that since it’s not finalized they realized that they should remove it.

DCFC capability itself is not just about long-distance travel; having it there means that as long as there are chargers on the way, people can push closer to the edge of range and top off if necessary.

DonC I’m a representative poster, in that I charge my GM products at mostly a 110 rate, but 40% of the time at 220.

I also will almost certainly purchase an early BOLT without the CCS option.

I believe the stats for the BOLT/ELR are 60% charge at 110 only, and 40% charge at 220, just like me.

Haha, that was supposed to be VOLT not BOLT.

The volt and elr seem to be equally efficient, whatever the charge rate.

If they continue the ‘standard 8 amp, 120 volt’ rate, then they probably don’t advertise, that, even with an efficient charger, it will take all of 3 days to charge from dead.

If I remember correctly, DCFC is a paid option. You can buy a car with or without it.

CCS is just a standard plug for Level-1 to Level-4 charging. Having CCS does not mean you have DCFC.

CCS (Combined Charging System) means that the j1772 plug (at least in the US) and the DC pins for fast charging are incorporated in one plug, hence the name. Both Level 2 and DC charging are possible with the plug. Not both at the same time, but both types of charging are possible with what could also be called a dual plug.

Yes actually, it does. CCS is the combination of the level 1/2 (120-240v) standard connector with an additional 2 contacts for the ~400vdc. You can plug a standard connector into any EV, but you cannot plug the CCS connector into an EV not equipped for (CCS) DC fast charging.
Chevy charges $750 for the fast charge option on the Spark EV. I would expect the same would be available for all Bolts like it is for all Spark EV’s.

Beat me to it Brandon, I type too slow!

GM is marketing the Bolt as a second car: a commuter or errand-runner. They aren’t marketing it as a long-distance grand touring machine. The nine hours is intended to highlight that the vehicle can charge overnight from empty.

Is that a mistake? Maybe. But I think EV enthusiasts need to consider that the general public may not be as keen at stopping every 2-3 hours to charge for 30-60 minutes as we might be. We look at the Tesla Supercharger and think, “Wow, 170 miles in thirty minutes! Fantastic!” But others will look at say “170 miles in thirty minutes? You mean, like 30 miles in the time it would take to fill my car? No thanks.”

As I wrote above: DCFC isn’t just about long-distance travel. It’s about being able to use your full range and knowing that you can top off if necessary.

My answer to those that complaint about the 9-hour charge is: “when was the last time you drove 200 miles and didn’t know one day ahead of time?”

And if something really did come up wihtout notice, go ahead, splurge $40 on a rental for a day. You’re saving enough gas to cover that expense when/if it comes around.

AND if you take that many long and unexpected trips but can’t afford a Tesla, the Bolt is not for you.

“GM is concerned about uneven rollout of DC charging stations across the country? Unlikely.”

Why is that unlikely, because they refuse to build the infrastructure themselves?

The fact is, if they advertise that it can charge to 80% in 20 minutes, every single person that doesn’t have access to that capability will claim deceit, and class action lawsuits will result. Or at least, that’s how the lawyers are thinking in this day and age with all the lawsuits we have to deal with now.

So I think they are concerned about uneven rollout, in that they can’t advertise that prominently without risk of lawsuit.

That being said, they’re not going to spend millions of dollars to augment what exists with additional stations.

GM is saying 80% in a hour. Even a tesla can’t do 80% in 20 minutes.

I wonder if Tesla could market an adapter to charge the Bolt at their charging stations – independent of GM. Bold owners could buy the adapter and pay per KWH like what’s planned for the Model 111 Could be a revenue stream that could be used to further build out more superchargers.

You can’t just put an adapter on a Supercharger cable and have it charge your EV. Superchargers use a “smart” cable that connects with the battery pack’s BMS, to regulate charge and to taper off the current as necessary to prevent overcharging or damaging the battery pack.

Even Tesla Roadsters can’t use Superchargers, not even those with the new upgraded battery pack, because the car wasn’t designed to use the Supercharging system.

Using a Supercharger to charge a non-Tesla car would likely result in shorting out the battery pack, or at least overcharging it and reducing battery life.

Not to be needlessly argumentative because I might be wrong but Chademo to Tesla is just an adaptor. Expensive and smart but available.

Why would Tesla to CCS be that much different?

Does CCS and Chademo not communicate with the car? Sure they do. Not exactly the same way, but wouldn’t the adaptor take care of that?

The roadster (to my knowledge) never had DCFC capability so that is a bigger bridge to overcome.

Exactly. All it takes is a chip in the adapter to handle conversion between communication protocols. Model S and Bolt battery packs both have 96 cells in series so the voltage is roughly the same.

David_Cary said: “Chademo to Tesla is just an adaptor.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but what you’re talking about is an adapter to let a Tesla car use a CHAdeMO charger. Similarly, adapters are available for Tesla cars to use CCS chargers. Nobody, but nobody, is using an adapter that allows a non-Tesla car use a Supercharger hookup. (I do understand that in Germany, Tesla is required to equip new Superchargers stations with CSS chargers. Not the same thing, at all.) “Does CCS and Chademo not communicate with the car? Sure they do. Not exactly the same way, but wouldn’t the adaptor take care of that?” Do CHAdeMO and CCS both use sophisticated communication with the car? Do they both detect percentage state of charge and temperature of the battery pack, tapering off charge as necessary? I could be wrong, but I didn’t think the communication was nearly that sophisticated. I thought it was basically an on/off thing; either “Yes, I need a charge” or “I’m full; stop charging”. But if those other protocols allow communication as sophisticated as Tesla uses, then of course it should be possible to use a “smart” adapter to “translate” the data from one format… Read more »

This is stupid internet blogger hogwash…

It should be labeled as an opinion blog.

Maybe GM knows that 50kW isn’t good enough but that is the CCS it is dealing with. And maybe it is doing final testing and working on supporting a high potential rate?

Geez. Maybe GM is waiting for the new CCS standards?

Already trying to knock it down.

Too many haters out there.

Or you could just call this speculation…MMF.

Ugh. It’s bad enough that they’ve said CCS will be optional instead of standard.

Nemo, why in the world would you possibly care that it is optional?

Most cars on the lot will probably have that option, but because of where I happen to live, with no fast chargers, I simply don’t want to pay for it, and although I plan to be an early buyer of the BOLT, it almost certainly (there may be unknown eventuallities transpire between now and then to change my mind, but I doubt it) won’t have a ccs port if i can get it cheaper without one. I simply don’t need it that often and don’t want to pay extra for something I would rarely use.

Cautionary tale. I purchased a Leaf 3/13 and there were no Chademo’s in the state of NC. There was no reason to pay for the option. Today, there are 10 within 20 miles. Many free and some not. It would be really really nice to have Chademo. Maybe a breaker trips or you just forget to plug in. Stopping for 20 minutes for that rare event would be nice. We are going to have to sell and upgrade because we don’t have Chademo. Obviously the Bolt has more backup capacity. But then you have more potential functionality. So you want to make a 250 mile trip. 2 hour L2 stop or 10 minute CCS stop. DCFC makes a car much more sustainable. It makes it functional for a longer life. Most anyone who has lived EVs for a while thinks they should be standard as a matter of course. The 10 year old Bolt may need a bump every once in a while in the winter to get around a bigger city. The alternative may be the dump (or a new battery). Not to mention, optional means they have just raised the base price. Sort of like the Model 3… Read more »

I’m seriously considering the Bolt. I really liked the Leaf, but 84 miles of EPA range was scary with max A/C and 75 mph freeway speeds. I have a car so that I don’t need to worry (or contemplate renting a car for spur of the moment changes in plans). Like I said, I really like the roomy, open feel of the Leaf, but the range and passively cooler battery pack was a show-stopper where I live (Phoenix). The Bolt keeps the open, roomy feel of the Leaf, but ditches the weak range, and uncooled battery pack.

I’m not sure what the fuss is about?

GM clearly stated that it will recharge approximately 90 miles of range in 30mins using DC fast charging. This is a similar charge speed to a Tesla Model S 60. And for Level 2 charging this is also around the same speed as Tesla.

When I was at the silent cruise event in Detroit GM had about a dozen Bolt EV’s there. ALL of them had DC fast charge ports installed.

A guy at Chevy told me it was going to be an option too.

Many of the new charging stations being installed don’t even have L2 chargers. Before long ALL EVs are going to have to have DCFC capabilities or they just won’t be able to charge at many public charging stations. It makes sense that the service providers want to get away from L2 chargers so that they don’t have all that extra equipment.

I think here is where the governments need to step in and start subsidizing design of retrofit DCFC packages for older EVs. If all the service providers start to eliminate the public L2 chargers then the older EVs will only be able to charge at home. The governments need to help out owners of older EVs so that they can continue to publically charge at DCFC stations.

Aside from home, the most important charging is DC fast charging, and it will only grow with time. I’ve been in an EV since 2012, and I only look for DC fast chargers, due strictly to the time factor.

If GM downplays DCQC, that makes it all the more important for us EV drivers to emphasize it to our friends and the public, especially at National Drive Electric Week, Sept 10-18.

Texas, Great IDEA!

That of having your state gov’t retrofit all existing EV’s for fast charging CCS. My Roadster ended up in Texas so it would of course qualify.

Also, tell me how you enjoy your new State Income Tax to pay for all this.

Texas will never have an income tax. The federal and state governments subsidize EV to the tune of billions of dollars every and I’m sure you benefited handsomely from those subsidies . Providing a little money to make older EVs more usable makes a lot of sense.

DEAD WRONG…

I’ve received tax credits. For both Solar and EV’s, and a wallbox.

NY State, while planning one, had absolutely no incentive towards electric vehicles..

A tax credit is not ‘government largess’. It is a reduced theft – from money of MINE that they don’t deserve in the first place.

A burgler who only takes a few TV’s instead of the whole joint hasn’t done me any favors.

What you want, on the other hand, is to have government benefits that only you enjoy to be paid for by theft from others.

DEAD WRONG about what? You obviously benefited from the billions of dollars of government subsidies. Not only does it look like I’m DEAD RIGHT, it looks like you are a hypocrite.

No shortage of clowns who can’t do ‘reading for comprehension’, another one to add to my ‘one sentence response clown limitation’.

First of all, the subsidy comment was ridiculous… never going to happen. I’m a huge EV advocate and even I wouldn’t suggest that. If people want DCFC, they need to upgrade their cars.

As to the L2 stations, they add very little cost to the overall installation cost of a fast charger. And I believe it is critical to have at least one or two L2 stations at each facility, even if it is on a highway in the middle of nowhere. Why? That way if there is something wrong with the DC fast charger (which is not that uncommon at this stage) then there is at least something to fall back on Sure, that may mean being stranded there at the station for 3 or 4 hours, but that’s better than having to call a tow truck or something.

So instead of spending a couple of thousand for a DCFC upgrade you want everyone with a 1st gen EV to spend $20k+ for a new car? There ARE DCFC stations being installed that don’t have any L2 chargers so that whole argument that all charging stations have to have L2 chargers gets thrown right out the window. I guess you have to paint yourself ridiculous because government subsidies help pay for your EV, since when do you get to decide where the government spends their subsidy money?

The CCS was an option on the 2014 Spark EV.

Depending of the 50kw DCFC, it recharged anywhere between 43-48kW up to 78% SOC the (usable 17.3?)/21.4kWh battery.

The Bolt with a (usable 55?)/60kwh battery, its C-rate should be theoretically close to 3x faster the little Spark!

Maybe they just forgot to mention it or intentionally to create some speculation buzz. I saw this in one description:

Charging

Given the need for a large battery pack—to provide 200 miles of range—charging speeds will be important. GM is committed to the SAE Combo Cord protocol, which accommodates the standard J1772 connector as well as a special DC fast charging coupler.

With a 240-volt supply, drivers can add about 25 miles of driving range in one hour at the plug. Using its Quick Charging port, Bolt drivers can add about 90 miles of range in 30 minutes.

Interesting observation. No idea why they aren’t listing CCS as a feature. Lots of possibilities.

What I do know is that I won’t buy an EV without some kind of fast charging. It’s what makes 100-mile plus trips possible in our Spark right now, and it’s what would make 300-mile plus trips possible in a Bolt. Does GM get this? I dunno. They sure aren’t supporting any kind of charging infrastructure, fast or slow, which is really disappointing.

On the other hand, the Bolt will probably be a really good car. So for now, I’m somewhat conflicted. And because of that I’m going to wait and watch how they roll this out and promote it (or don’t).

There is a #4 problem. No reliable fast charging network, like the Tesla has. Look at my video from 6 months ago talking about this issue.

Any electric vehicle that is to sell in volumes comparable to gasoline vehicles has to have both fast charging AND long range. Very few people, even home owners, are going to have access to 240V power for home charging without significant investment in charging equipment. So the scenario is that most new EV owners will drive the EVs very similar to how they would drive a gasoline powered vehicles, drive the car for several days or a week and then re-charge or fuel up. Most of the major cities, where the majority of the population is, already have a significant DCFC networks. But with the limited range of first generation EVs, an EV operator has to charge every day or so. People that are use to going a week without refueling are just not going to want to stop for 15 minutes every day to charge their cars. With longer range AND fast charging the equation changes. People may be able to go a week without charging their cars. Then the EV operators can combine the hour or so charge with dinner or some shopping and their lives are to back to just how they were with their gas cars… Read more »

Only one problem with your argument. Basically anyone who can afford to buy a Bolt, probably has their own garage.

That’s a pretty conceded statement from someone that probably already has a garage with a 240V home charger. Not everyone wants to live like you do. A lease on a Bolt will probably be less than $300 per month plus off lease low priced Bolts will flood the market in a couple of years, so no you won’t have to be a home owner to be able to buy a Bolt.

I’ll agree with your argument that not everyone has a garage. And those people won’t buy the Bolt in great numbers. Do remember that most people who purchase new cars have a house. In the US and I’m sure Texas, most houses have a garage (not that it is necessary for charging). The large group that doesn’t would be condo owners and homes without driveways.

But still most new car buyers have access to home charging. Not “Nearly all” or whatever the verbage used.

Name calling isn’t appreciated (regards to another post). Presumably you drive an EV. Most people do not. People often want equivalency to gas refueling – but they really don’t know what it is like to plug in at home. They’ve never done it and most people can’t wrap their head around it. I think EVs will take over the market well before gas refuel equivalency is reached (if it ever does).

Well, the assertion that anyone who can afford a Bolt probably has a garage, does seem to be rather Americentric (USA-centric). I understand that it’s less common for European single-family dwellings to have a garage. And it’s simply not true that you need a garage to own a PEV. An EV charger can be installed on the outside of a house, or on a post, either beside a driveway or next to a stall in an apartment parking lot.

It’s too bad that GM seems to have very limited plans to sell the Bolt in Europe (where it’s confusingly to be rebranded the “Ampera-e”), because I think the body style would be more popular there than here in the USA.

BTW — I think you meant “conceited”, not “conceded”. But perhaps the comment in question wasn’t so much conceited as showing a provincial, unworldly view.

And charging equipment is not usually a significant investment.

But I see the point that DCFC makes living on 120V very doable with a Bolt. Probably many people could use the DCFC once a month.

I do know Leaf drivers that do 120V, partly because they have a free Chademo nearby and work place L2 also.

Me – 2 240 outlets. Couple hours of time. Not more than $100 for 2 breakers, 2 wires, and 2 outlets.

I think these comments are often from OUS (outside US). Relevant for sure. The fact is, cars need to be parked – home and work. L2 can be outside, on the street, in a public garage. Basically anywhere a car can be parked. But there is a transition time. Of course, is there a city left (OUS) that doesn’t care about their air quality? Charging is coming to a city near you.

We will find out in a couple of months, soon enough, right? GM not wanting to sell EVs is as old as GM itself.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

This is such a non-story.

Level 2 – standard
CCS – option – you don’t promote an option straight up (unless you’re Tesla and need to walk it back–supercharger ‘ready’).

It’s known that CCS is capable of AT LEAST 50kwh charger and probably more based on the engineer youtube drive as proof positive.

Anyone speaking of road trip capabilities (or lack of it) on the Bolt have NO Basis.

My argument that a sedan is not road worthy compared to hatchback/CUV/SUV holds more water than anything above.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

The whole fast charging network is so blown out of proportion. Unless you can recharge as fast as a gas-up. It’s too slow.

If I have to dwell at a rest stop for 1 hour to recharge– that’s CRAZY.

Pull out the ICE for those trips. Anyways, a minivan will be involved in most roadtrips. That is why my ePass with my Fiat 500e is so useful. $500 rental credit a year for just these occasions.

Many Tesla owners, including myself would disagree. A typical 400 mile trip for me requires just one 30 minute stop at a supercharger. For the other 340 days of the year it takes 10 seconds (time to plug in) to fill up at home.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

I would believe that few folk owning $80,000 cars would be driving 400+ miles in a day 25x a year. That’s a lot of windshield time for a high income earner.
Regardless, if I had to make such a trip, say between San Diego-LA, would I want to dwell 30min at a choice of ONE supercharger station by itself or some 50+ DCFC stations which most are located within shopping centers?
Or if I’m traveling all day long within San Diego and need to recharge in a pinch outside the house; with my prepaid Tesla, I must plan to be nearby Qualcomm’s single charger (with nothing nearby for 30min) — or have 30+ DCFC stations located throughout San Diego proper to leverage, like the one next to Carl Strauss?
I’m still going to get my Model 3, but the way current Tesla owners talk about the charging network benefit and advantage really perplexes me. I’m glad that the Model 3 won’t carry the surcharge of a ‘free’ network, and hoping Tesla really builds an adapter to fully access all DCFC stations in cases where I actually may need it for an unexpected distance haul.

Help me out here. Why would you charge between LA and SD? You do know that Tesla sells a Chademo charger? And a quick check of San Diego shows most are Chademo (or both).

Most recent data a quick google search could find (1/16) is 1500 Chademo, 387 CCS, and 253 Tesla (locations – all multistall).

While the one Tesla supercharger you know about has a bad surrounding, most have decent services.

But choice is good. Chademo adapter. Surely the Model 3 will use the same one. $450 last I checked

Its kind of sad I have to reference stories from this same blog to enlighten – I guess that’s what happens when its actually something not related to Tesla…

http://insideevs.com/2015-bmw-i3-gets-1000-price-increase-now-comes-standard-with-ccs-fast-charge-heated-seats/

Its so clearly obvious that GM is playing the same games with the first model year CCS ‘option’ in order to get a lower starting MSRP. But come on, no one here knew that the OEMs do this stuff all.the.time?

The signal to noise ratio in the commenting here sometimes…

Yes, pay no attention to the elephant in the room, we’re workin’ on it.

IMHO, DCFC isn’t really needed with the pack the Bolt will have.

I’m not a fan of the Bolt but my guess is there will be an option. It may not be a cheap option but there will be a quick charge option.

Now when the Bolt hits the stealership floors, I ask everyone to please take pics of the sticker price that shows the stealership markups and post them.
😛

You’re joking right? If you only have a 120V outlet in your garage, that’s if you have a garage at all, it will take you 45 hours to charge the Bolt. Without DCFC you are eliminating maybe 90% of the potential buyers.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

Have Spark and used DCFC Once in past 1.5 years. Our Fiat with only Level 2 charging does perfectly fine.

For local travel folk a 200+ mile EV has minimal benefit of the DCFC fast charge OPTION.

On the Spark, I believe it was a $300 option–not a big deal. It will be the same for the Bolt. Not everyone will want it and completely not a deal killer for 90% of the market. GM has data with the Spark, they’ll know what to option balance out compared to the hyperbole here.

Website says CCS option is $750 not $300.

“take 45 hours to recharge the Bolt”.

You’re making the same mistake as was mentioned earlier – that someone who is going to drive 200 miles can’t plan for it a day in advance, really, the only ‘advance notice’ he needs is to replenish what has been taken out that day – maybe only a few hours worth of charging to get the battery back absolutely full.

If the ‘200 mile driver’ is going back to 30 miles a day for the next couple of days after the trip, then the car can easily be fully charged in 4 days, and if the first day after the trip he knows he will only drive 30 miles – for that day he only has to replenish 30 miles – which he can do while he is sleeping while resting from the trip.

Texas FFE said:

“Without DCFC you are eliminating maybe 90% of the potential buyers.”

90%? I think you’re overstating the case, possibly quite a bit. We’ve seen a lot of comments posted to InsideEVs from EV owners who never, but never, charge anywhere except at home or at work.

L2 charging is perfectly adequate for a lot of EV owners. Many have a 2nd car which is a gasmobile, so they don’t have to stop to recharge when taking a road trip.

What a bunch narrow minded Poin Dexters! To compete with gasoline vehicles any electric vehicle has to attract non-traditional EV car buyers. That means the electric vehicle has to re-charge very similarly to how a gasoline powered car re-fuels.

From a guy like you who own a car for quite a bit of time that don’t possess any fast charging capability, I wonder what narrow minded mean??
I have one with CHAdeMo, but haven’t been able to use it in the first 3 years that I had my Leaf 2012 with the 3.4 kW L2 charger.
Just to put that in mind, it now actually have no more than 65 miles of range in average driving an in clear perfect condition.
I knew it, bought it and survive quite well.
Imagine that if I had 200 miles of range and a 7.2 kW onboard charger it would be a lot more valuable car.
And I would gladly buy that alone, even if I would probably add the fast charging if available at a sensible price.
So I don’t think your claim is accurate.

Texas FFE said:

“That means the electric vehicle has to re-charge very similarly to how a gasoline powered car re-fuels.”

Yes, that’s why during the motorcar revolution, almost nobody bought a motorcar until they could power themselves by eating grass in a pasture, or hay in a barn.

Oh, wait…

PEVs don’t need to work like gasmobiles in every respect. They only need to be perceived as being, overall, more desirable by most car buyers. L2 charging at home (or at work) isn’t “as good as” filling up a gasmobile at the gas station; it’s better.

We have a fleet of (20) BOLT EVs in the Scottsdale area doing testing for Cruise Autonomous driving. They all use the DC Fast Charger. The SPARK EV as Sparky notes does fast even on 40 kW Fast Chargers because of it’s good cooling. The BOLT will be the same. Others like the SOUL EV, LEAF and many others drop off at 80% to a much lower rate. Our SOUL EV drops to 4 kW from 44 kW.

Thanks for bringing updates like this.

Yes GM is making just 1 EV because Tesla makes one. When Tesla starts making an Electric Pickup & Van, then GM will follow.

Let us see how many Bolts they sell.

Psst! Tesla currently makes and sells world-wide two EVs the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV with various motor and battery permutations, as well as the drivetrain for the Mercedes-Benz B250e. In the past they made the drivetrain for the second gen. Coyota Rav4 EV, and the Tesla Roadster.

But don’t tell anyone!

Psst, don’t tell anyone, but Tesla didn’t make either gearbox nor motor (i.e. the drivetrain) for the Roadster ( of which the design had to be changed to a copper rotor since the aluminum one burned out – but then so did the first 2 speed gearbox).

Its ok for Tesla to do this, but its not ok for LG to make the Motor for the BOLT?

The commenters here are not conversant with the degree of subcontracting going on in manufacture of a contemporary automobile.

Would you show the same lack of concern if GM chose to start farming out manufacture of its ICE engines to a third party? No, I rather suspect you would, rightly, consider that an alarming sign.

For GM to farm out the entire EV powertrain to a brand spanking new company (LG Electronics’ new automotive division) with no history or experience mass producing auto parts… well, let’s just say that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in GM’s dedication to building quality BEVs.

Yup, my last sentence was illuminating in your case since people never worried that Misubishi engines were in Chryslers.

How odd that this article asks the very relevant question “Does GM Really Want to Sell the Chevy Bolt?”, but then only focuses on the apparent lack of DC fast charging ability. There are other very apparent signs that GM is at best ambivalent about selling the Bolt: 1. GM has contracted with a new company with absolutely no experience in mass producing EV powertrains. LG Electronics is primarily a manufacturer of consumer electronics; its automotive division is new. Auto makers don’t contract with suppliers with no proven record of production, if they plan on producing a car in high volumes. 2. GM continues to rely on LG Chem for its battery cells. GM has shown absolutely no indication of any plans to build its own high-capacity battery factories, as BYD and Nissan have done, and as other EV manufacturers are now moving to do. GM will have to share LG Chem’s battery supply with its growing list of customers. * * * * * All in all, it’s almost painfully clear that GM has no plans to make and sell the Bolt in large numbers, at least for the first year or two of production. I’ll certainly be watching… Read more »

It’s a 30,000 unit trial balloon. No question.

Having said that, I think they’ll sell out. And then GM will be like — “Ah .. it worked. What do we do now?”

I think they’ll sell out, too. And given that the demand will very likely be considerably higher than the supply, I doubt that a limited ability to do DCFC will put a damper on sales. There are plenty of potential customers who won’t use DCFC often enough to care about the lack.

But more importantly, I think, this will likely impact the resale price. With EV makers moving to make 200 miles the new floor level for BEVs, the need for faster and faster en-route charging is going to become very important. In a couple of years, the limitation of only being able to charge at 50 kW — or worse, not having any DCFC ability at all — is going to make the 2017 Bolt look almost as outdated as the 2011 Leaf looks today.

200 miles range and full L-2 charge in 9 hours is great for city & suburban travels. Recharge overnight & drive all day without range anxiety. Even IF it’s occasionally necessary to charge on L-2 to get home, probably an hour would be plenty. However, for realistically convenient inter-city travel, DC, L-3 charging capability is essential.

What an intelligent article. Praising VW for making wild claims about 15 minute charging time. GM has spent billions on lithiun ion technology. If a car could charge faster they would feature it.

Does GM want to sell bolts? Do you want to ever move out of your parents basement? Figure it out and stop hating a good idea from gm just for the sake of it.

Hehe, great points Eweezy..

What gets me is the under 1 kw the volt uses on standard charging was going to cause an ‘overloaded grid’ when it first came out, but now 350 kw chargers (running during the day when electricity is scarce) are MANDATORY, supposedly.

The fact that the volt uses about the same amount of electricity as the amount the average homeowner has saved converting incandescents (now basically banned from sale in the US, at least the commodity ones), to LED’s, and the amount of power consumed by one of these future vaporware vehicles can run 350 gm products, seems to fall on deaf ears.

Eweezy said:

“GM has spent billions on lithiun ion technology.”

Seems rather unlikely. If they had actually spent anywhere near that much, then they should have at least a few battery manufacturing plants to show for it.

Nissan has a few. BYD has some. Tesla is building a whopping big one. Ford, BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover are in talks to form a partnership to build a huge one.

Why not GM? If GM actually spend billions on li-ion battery tech, then it sure looks like they wasted most of the money.

Beyond the slow AC and even DC charging, this is just not a car I’d want to drive long distances in. It’s more like a grocery getter or city car.

You know this because you’ve hours of seat time in it?

It appears from many of the comments above that the DCFC will be an option. Despite what West Coast apartment dwellers believe many potential EV owners are multiple car households with garages who don’t need DCFC. But it is there as an option for those who want it.

I am a Model S owner and haven’t once charged outside my home. Given the choice I would have chosen to save a couple grand and deleted Supercharger access.

GM is only going to make 30k cars a year at first. They will sell out easily, then figure out how to increase prod. Keep in mind anyone not on the Model 3 wait list is unlikely to get full tax credit, but can buy a Bolt and get the full 7,500. This will make the Bolt a lot cheaper than the Model 3 for the 99.99% of people not on the Model 3 wait list.

Wow, this has been a very busy and contested topic. I didn’t expect quite the ruckus but then again, it is the internet and some people are too quick with the insults(none directed towards me, just in general). Anyway, I drive a Volt and charge 100% on 110V. If I had my druthers I’d like to add 240V charging(I think I can run an existing rarely used dryer line to outside, and for the cost of a Gift Card to a local restaurant, a friend of mine will do the installation of a dryer outlet). Then all I need is either do EVSE upgrade or buy a lower cost 240 charging cable. The reason I’d like to do this is because I driver 32 miles every day as my commute and I love driving electric and having 240V charging would allow me to add 10 miles per hour when I get home from work, and in the winter especially that would be nice. Interesting that, because of the 200 mile+ range of the Bolt EV, it’s easy to see how many owners would simply be quite happy with 110V only. If you never “need” a quick refill, then you could… Read more »

240 is the way to go. I put one in for $500.

I think GM is just trying to make a few extra bucks off the option to go with DCFC, or make the vanilla Bolt a bit cheaper, since if standard it won’t be used by all buyers.
Not sure just speculating.

Sorry, you may feel left out by the lack of insults directed your way. Stick around and that situation will be remedied.

Ahh 110v would be almost 60 hours to recharge. That would be nearly useless for a car like the bolt.

I think you missed my point. If one were to consistently need the 200 mile range every day, then 110V is nowhere near adequate. It’s my position that few drivers will drive that kind of mileage on a regular basis. Even 240V charging would be insufficient under those circumstances.

Lou

The bolt is also not affordable. Its a $40,000 car after taxes not counting interest!

Before you speak of a tax credit. Remember you need to make $60k a year to even be able to claim that tax credit. A lot more if you also want to claim property taxes and mortgage interest.

So anywhere from 60 to 70 % of the nations population would not even qualify for the rebate at all.

So its a $40,000 car. Not affordable.

$30,000 would be barely affordable.

Yeah, a $40,000 car is properly labeled “semi-affordable”, rather than “affordable”. The writer of another recent InsideEVs called the Model ≡ semi-affordable, and kicked off an entire (and entirely unjustified) series of comments about how “anti-Tesla” the writer was!

Neither the Bolt nor the Model ≡ will be the affordable “everyman” PEV that we EV advocates have been waiting for, lo these many decades. The EV revolution progresses but slowly.

“…but still, they come!” — Jeff Wayne’s “War of the Worlds”

“Bolt not affordable”.

Yeah, my nephew wants me to buy a bare bones 60 kwh 2 wheel drive Tesla “S” for $67,000 because it looks more handsome than a $37,500 Bolt.

I can buy 2 ugly-duckling Bolts for the same cost, since you get 2 tax credits that way.

Also, if the “S” goes 216 miles, the much more efficient BOLT just has to go much further under identical conditions.

Any word on their Bolt leasing program??? Anyone???

They have shown the CCS port:

http://images.hgmsites.net/med/chevrolet_100541568_m.jpg

This page has a screen capture that says 90 miles in ~30 minutes with CCS charging:

https://electrek.co/2016/01/11/gm-bolt-ev-battery-pack-fast-charging-full-specs/

Maybe they don’t want to hurt Volt sales by making Bolt seem almost as convenient?

Spec sheets are out. DC fast charging is a $750 option in either trim. No big deal.