Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV Coming Sooner Than Anticipated


Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer of autonomous tech at GM, told Tech Insider:

“So what I would say is this car (Chevrolet Bolt EV) is a big part of a transformation of transportation and mobility.”

Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior

Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior

She didn’t specify a timeline as to when the Chevy Bolt may be released to the public with autonomous technology or as part of an autonomous ride-sharing program, but she did make it clear that it would be sooner than expected.

General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft ride-sharing company back in January after it announced such plans at CES. Two months later, the company bought autonomous tech start-up Cruise Automation.

By May, Cruise Automation was actively testing its self-driving tech on Chevy Bolts. Lyft and Cruise aren’t working together as of yet, but it seems that that will be the future direction of the anticipated programs.

Wall Street Journal reported that GM may have a fleet of Lyft self-driving cars on public roads for testing prior to the end of this year. Fletcher explained:

“We have not made that announcement yet, but what I would say is this is all coming much faster than people anticipate, so I’ll say that much. We have been transparent about that. We are working on an on-demand ride-sharing network with Lyft, it’s not something we are thinking about, it’s something we are very much readying for consumer use.”

Fletcher is a big fan of EVs and was GM’s chief engineer for electric vehicles prior to moving to the autonomous car program. She sees the Bolt EV as the perfect vehicle for autonomy and more specifically, for fleets and public transportation. The affordable, long-range, all-electric crossover will go into production in October. Fletcher said:

“They (EVs) operate very smoothly, they operate very quietly, seamlessly, and so you can create this very positive experience inside the car. People they want that, they want to get in the car and for it to feel like a cocoon, so they can take a nap or have a conference call.”

Without being specific, Fletcher made is quite clear that the Chevrolet Bolt will be the vehicle of choice for urban mobility and autonomous ride-sharing applications . . . and everything is in place to bring this to fruition very soon.

Source: Tech Insider

Categories: Chevrolet


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47 Comments on "Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV Coming Sooner Than Anticipated"

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The day of the affordable EV has arrived. Cost to operate will be significantly lower than with ICE cars ,….. therefore, GM does not want to sell it to you. They will operate the car for you and pocket the savings themselves.

Same with Tesla, same with Ford, … etc…..

Meet the new boss,… same as the old boss.

We will get fooled again.

I expect some savings if I don’t have to own/operate/maintain/insure a car.

WTF are you talking about?

Tesla does not want to sell you an electric car? ROTFLMAO!

Tesla will give the the option to own it,lease it, pimp it out for rides via App, or hire it for rides via App.

….. let’s see,

You’ve got unruly red hair, a face full of freckles, a Tesla lunchbox with a dead toad in it, .. and you answer to “Little Johnny” …?

Yeah, but “Little Johnny” is correct in what he says!?

Everything he posted was correct, and the “mean girl” style response isn’t a valid counterargument.

At $35,000 (bare minimum, likely “adequately equipped will be closer to $45,000) for a compact sedan,.. Tesla is not offering up an affordable EV. And an “electrified Chevy Trax” for $37,500 doesn’t really fit the “affordable” mark either.

But the battery prices have come down substantially, and “they” could build something affordable (i.e around $25,000 for a 150+ mile BEV) if “they” wanted to.

It’s looking like “they” will not do that. They’re going to switch gears (totally changing their business models) and push non-ownership rideshare, …. unless you really really want to own one, and then they’ll sell something “upmarket” to the elite crowd.

/is my point really that hard to understand?

If by “boss”, you mean “for profit automobile makers”, then yes. All of the companies you mention are exploring different revenue streams, and will most favor those with the greatest profit margins. It’s definitely a “thing”.

Good grief.

By any reasonable standard, car sharing should be nothing but beneficial, both for the poor and for the environment. And the car companies will still be happy to sell you a private car if you want it and can afford it.

Most EV auto manufacturers, including Tesla, continue to give us EVs that look like ICE vehicles, hence the functionless front hood. This useless long hood adds weight and cost to the vehicle. Chevrolet with the Bolt gave us a completely different design approach, make the motor compartment only big enough for the electric motor.

The elongated hood approach is senseless. I know some people will say the hood space can be used as storage but I would rather have that storage space behind me where it’s much more usable. As auto manufacturers continue to try to reduce EV costs I believe we going to see many more EVs come out with a shortened hoods.

Pickup trucks and SUVs would prime candidates for the short nose design approach. All that metal at the front end of a pickup trucks and SUVs must weigh hundreds of pounds and cost thousands of dollars. Maybe Tesla will get the message and come out with a short nose pickup truck and/or SUV.

Long hoods also provide crush zones for added safety and better aerodynamics.

Is the Bolt EV going to have a Cd of .21 or less and five star safety in all categories?

Well we will have to wait until the crash ratings to come out on the Bolt but minivans have a similar design and they have been around for decades. Besides crash worthiness is a function to crumple zone design not front storage space.

In the Euro NCAP front crash test Renault Zoe is better rated the Model S. Look at the hood of both!

I don’t know what the coefficient of drag is on the Bolt but I would expect it to be very good. The transition between the hood and the windshield always produces a high pressure point, that’s why old hot rods use to use cowl induction. Without such a dramatic transition between the hood and the windshield on the Bolt wind resistance should be reduced.

Bolt Cd = 0.312
Model 3 is targeted Cd = 0.21

Please provide links to where you got these numbers.

Use the Google…

Cd w/o frontal area does not tell the whole story an individual car’s drag.

Frontal area was given as 25.8 square feet with 0.312 drag coefficient. This was part of information given to Car and Driver.

That’s results in a CDa of 8.05, which is quite terrible. Here’s some comparisons:

Bolt: 8.05
Leaf: 7.8
Prius: 6.2
Model S: 6.2

The Model 3 has both a smaller frontal area and a lower drag coefficient than the Model S, probably bringing the CDa into the low 5’s.

That’s why a Bolt will likely have a hard time making Supercharger jumps if it were equipped with a compatible plug. It’s real world highway range will suffer with such poor aerodynamics.

Your post reads like more Tesla worshipper smoke. I looked on Car and Driver and could find anything on frontal area or coefficient of drag for the Bolt. Provide a link to your information for confirmation.

Okay, I looked at the information on the link posted by vdiv and I concede that your numbers are accurate but you didn’t tell the whole story. The Bolt is larger than the Model S or at least it has a larger frontal area, 25.8 sq. ft. compared to 23 sq. ft. So this means that the Bolt could be much shorter and consequently lighter than the Model S and still have the same cargo capacity with a taller passenger compartment.

The Bolt is bigger than almost all the other EVs and is almost as big as the Kia Soul EV which has a frontal area of 26 sq. ft. The smallest EV on the list is the FIAT 500E at 22 sq. ft. and the largest and only EV really larger than the Bolt is the Tesla Model X at 27.9 sq. ft. The spreadsheet looks pretty comprehensive but the link is to so I don’t know if the information is tainted by Tesla enthusiasm.

The Bolt sits higher than the Model 3, which many like. It will also have a larger battery than the Model 3 most likely.

The Tesla models historically have very poor energy performance starting at 33 kWh per hundred miles for the Model S compared to 27 kWh per hundred miles for the BMW i3. I’m not buying into your numbers. We will just have to until the EPA numbers come out to see if the Bolt or Model 3 performs better on energy.

Yeah, I don’t know anything either, but have made up my mind on everything too 😉

Zoomit keeps a nice spreadsheet with various EV models and their parameters gathered from the manufacturers or C&D tests:

The production Model 3 has not been announced yet, so we won’t know for a while. The Bolt EV is also not really out yet so we don’t know either, only what GM is telling us.

BMW i3 uses much less energy in the city because it weighs 28xx lb vs. 48xx for the Model S. This is because the i3 is:
1. Smaller,
2. Made of (expensive) carbon fiber, and
3. Is a city car with low range

Model S can go cross country because Tesla gave up some city efficiency to maximize highway range. Note that highway kWh/mile is almost the same for Model S and i3, despite the size disparity. That’s impressive.

At 35xx lbs the Bolt will come in between i3 and Model S in the city. From what we know so far, it will not be efficient on the highway. The Bolt is designed for metro travel via Lyft, not for cross country driving.

You don’t know that the Bolt won’t be efficient on the highway. This is just Tesla worshipper nonsense.

Your personal tests are not accurate if you are relying on the speedometer inside the vehicle and if you don’t have either identical test tracks or specially laid out test routes with known elevation changes. We know the Bolt won’t be efficient at high speeds because of the specifications that GM has released about the Bolt. It has worse CDa than a Leaf, which is in turn worse than a Model S and therefore worse than a Model 3. Plus, it is heavier than a 30 kWh Leaf by 238 pounds. At 70 mph, the 24 kWh Nissan Leaf uses 359 Wh/mile as tested by Idaho National Labs. That’s well above the Model S. And since the Bolt has worse CDa and is heavier, it isn’t likely that the Bolt is more efficient than that. By the way, the Ford Focus Electric comes in at 325 Wh/mi at a steady 70 mph. Again, you can’t use your vehicle’s speedometer. As for the actual total energy used, the Ford Focus Electric has a terrible on-board charger efficiency of only 82%. That means a total trip efficiency of 78%. A Tesla Model S85 gets 89% total trip efficiency. That means the Model… Read more »

One of the most vehicles one the market with one of the worst EPA ratings. Sounds like you need to explain to the EPA how to perform thier tests. If you can get the EPA to revise their tesls numbers then I’ll quit talking of you as a mindless Tesla worshipper.

The Model S 60 and probably the Model 3 have the same size battery as the Bolt. According to your definition neither of these Tesla models are/will be capable of cross country travel.

EPA testing is very skewed towards low speeds and city driving. The average speed of their high speed test is only ~48 mph.

Tesla’s are optimized for long distance highway cruising, as opposed to urban high traffic environments. At a steady 70 mph, the Tesla Model S 85 kWh is more efficient than an i3.

Idaho National Labs has run a series of tests… here’s their full library:

Here’s the links to the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S 85
2014 BMW i3:
2014 Tesla Model S:

At 70 mph, the BMW uses 313 Wh/mi, while the Model S85 is 301 Wh/mi. Note that the S85 is on the least efficient side of Tesla’s Model S lineup. The dual drive units are more efficient.

As a result, the Model S is one of the most efficient vehicles at real world highway speeds.

I don’t know about all that but I do know that my FFE gets 293 Wh/mile at 70 mph. My FFE also gets 163 Wh/mile at 40 mph, 193 Wh/mile at 50 mph and 236 Wh/mile at 60 mph. I also have a 40,000 mile average of 267 Wh/mile.

I did extensive testing with my FEE last year so I knew exactly how far I could go on a charge at different speeds. The EPA energy consumption rating for my FFE is a little bit less than the Model S at 320 Wh/mile. I agree that the EPA ratings can only be used for comparison test and not real world driving conditions but very few of us sustain much less get up to 70 mph every day.

Texas FFE said:
“I know some people will say the hood space can be used as storage but I would rather have that storage space behind me where it’s much more usable.”

I disagree. My wife’s cousin owns a Model S, and he says “Frunk is good place to put sheep.”

Thanks, now that is stuck in my head all day.

You’ve never tried lamb from the “microwave”?

If the sheep fits, Frunk it.


Would be funny if he pulled up to a group of muscle cars and they asked “How many HP does that Tesla have?”. He pops the hood and says “Just 1 sheep power”.

Yes, but would it not be Battery power?

But the important question is: Was that a “cliff-trained” sheep?

How about

I had hoped Tesla 3 would take revolutionary form like Schlorwagen and have Cd under 0.18, but they went conservative with 0.21.

VW pioneered having 1 – 2 feet of space between you and whatever you hit with the VW bus. Turns out that its inability to achieve more than 35 miles an hour did’t prevent it from killing massive numbers of flower children.

People don’t care on Cd stuff – they care about 5* safety; function, and range.

A hatchback isn’t going to have the same specs as a sedan.

Just because EV and 200+miles doesn’t mean same car. They have a Different target audience. We’re looking at both, but for different reasons.

All this talk of autonomous BOLTS and we can’t even get adaptive-cruise [confirmed] as an option according to GM. Something seems very strange…

I wonder if the Bolt buyer will have the ability to activate adaptive cruise or autopilot after the car is sold. Wishful thinking, I know.

Most of the big players are making serious investments in autonomy, and they’re all promoting that fact. And as is so often the case, science is going somewhere new that our personal experience and our governing systems haven’t experienced.

Interesting race, and at the very least, GM is in it.

When you compare the Safety web pages for the Volt and the Bolt they look almost identical. We have heard from reports that the Volt has Adaptive Cruise Control but all the Safety web pages indicate is something called Front Automatic Braking system with a graphic that looks like ACC. If the Bolt doesn’t have ACC right out of the gate I don’t expect it will be long before ACC does become available for the Bolt.