Case Study: “Chevrolet Volt: A Disruptive Innovation Bridge to Electrified Transportation”


Chevrolet Volt Concept

Chevrolet Volt Concept

The following press release adeptly describes what the case study on the Chevrolet Volt is all about:

Exhibit 12 From Case Study - Click to Enlarge

Exhibit 12 From Case Study – Click to Enlarge

“After a year-long research effort at General Motors, Presidio Graduate School Professor Dariush Rafinejad has written a case study about how the Chevy Volt was created.”

“The case study, titled Chevrolet Volt: A Disruptive Innovation Bridge to Electrified Transportation, details the intricate path of creating the Volt, including how Chevrolet analyzed product strategy, executed from concept car to mass production, designed for mass appeal, developed its pricing strategy, and launched its product into the market.”

“The case study emphasizes the challenge of developing of disruptive technology within a large company, whose internal stakeholders often protect the status quo.”

“I’m very grateful to the GM Executives who were very forthcoming and provided valuable input,” Dr. Rafinejad said. “It’s so important that we not just show business students how sustainability innovation is managed in a large company, but also how persistence through political and technical challenges is a key ingredient for success.”

He added, “This is one of the reasons we have a Cleantech Certificate Program at Presidio–to disseminate the lessons and challenges that companies face bringing disruptive technology to the market.”

“The case study will be taught in Presidio’s Sustainable Products & Services course, which Dr. Rafinejad teaches, and will be made available for any other programs to use as a teaching tool.”

We highly suggest you read the study in its entirety by clicking here (PDF 29 Pages).

Why should you read it now?  Just this graph alone is enticing enough to make you want to read the whole darn thing:

“Volt’s extended range concept represents a disruptive technology that can transform the transportation industry and its infrastructure by creating a bridge to an all-electric system. Volt has also a disruptive potential for the society by enabling environmental sustainability through substitution of oil with electricity from renewable sources. For the end users however, Volt is not a disruptive technology.”

Chevy Volt = the industry disruptor.

For all you Volt fans, this case study should immediately move to the top of your must-read list.  And by immediately, we actually mean read it now.

Categories: Chevrolet


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10 Comments on "Case Study: “Chevrolet Volt: A Disruptive Innovation Bridge to Electrified Transportation”"

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Note this is a 2009 chart, so the companies accurately marked “high uncertainty”. Only Tesla has emerged.

That “case study” graphic is WAY outdated and incorrect. The i-MiEV, for example, appeared on the Japanese market in 2009. The Tesla Model S is listed as “high uncertainty”? Since when does Chrysler have an EREV even in development?

I wish I could get paid to pull stuff out of my @$$ like this guy.

Dear Aaron,


Yours sincerely,

Somebody who isn’t blinded by prejudice and who actually read and comprehended the title of the graphic.

The ‘bridge’ description is exactly what the Volt has always been about. The EV1 experience showed proof to GM the areas where EV superiority over ICEs existed as well as where EVs fell short – limited range and long downtime while recharging. Thus came the Volt to bridge the gap.

Despite resistance from many within the EV community and from various media sources, the Volt has succeeded in its mission – it is the first car dependent upon electricity for its motive power to catch on with the car buying public, creating a momentum which eventually pulled other plug-ins into the picture. The Volt made driving electric painless while keeping all the benefits.

Agreed. I wanted a Leaf, but the GF had major range anxiety (even though the Leaf would likely have been fine for her), so… we got a Volt. The Volt is the gateway drug.

Looking at that diagram . . . Oh . . . the poor Think! Ox never made it to market. 🙁

Apparently they really underestimated the competitiveness of the Model S.

There was high uncertainty about Tesla itself, thus anything they might produce, in 2008 and 2009.

Nice recall of Tesla’s early days. Amazing that only $465 million borrowed from the government was to be spent on engineering and development of the Model S and to buy and set up a factory….. US taxpayers got a damn fine return on our investment, I’d say.

Particular compared to the $5B or so that was awarded to Ford. Don’t know how much they’ve drawn from it nor if they paid it back early like Tesla (doubt it), but the plug-ins that they have brought to market have not impressed. Their EV’s seem pretty half azzed compared to Nissan, Tesla, GM, and BMW.

Last I heard Ford and Nissan took 7.5 Billion in loans (combined) and neither have paid back like Tesla.

The Tesla return paid off, but if it wouldn’t have it certainly wouldn’t have been the first energy related subsidy or loan not too. It isn’t a sure deal that they pay off, but I think it is worth it that we try.

I’m not sure if this chart was made prior to Tesla getting the $465 million or after. I don’t think it was announced that they would get it until June of that year. Things were up in the air with Tesla back in this time period. I have a brother that lives near there headquarters that was interested in putting a deposit down on a car, but thought it was a a gamble. If they went bk, he may have been out $5k. The situation has change significantly in the last couple years. How quickly people forget.