Chevrolet Bolt Is The Centerpiece Of General Motors’ Future

Chevrolet Bolt


With the recent announcement that General Motors will begin testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolts, Automotive News now boldly claims that the Bolt is the centerpiece of GM’s future.

Chevy Bolt

Chevy Bolt

Quoting Automotive News:

“General Motors is making the Chevrolet Bolt the centerpiece of not only its electric vehicle portfolio but also of its work on self-driving technology.”

Electric vehicles and self-driving are a natural fit, so we’re not so sure that GM would consider the Bolt the centerpiece of its future, but were okay with major media site making that connection, as it puts the Bolt in the spotlight.

Automotive News did provide us with a statement on Bolt production and rollout though:

“GM is in the early stages of ramping up production of the Bolt at its plant in Orion Township, Mich. It’s building about 100 Bolts a day intermixed with the Chevy Sonic subcompact car.”

“The company said it will expand sales to the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions this winter before distributing it to EV-certified dealerships nationwide around mid-2017.”

By being first to market with an affordable, long-range electric car and soon first with an autonomous version of that car, General Motors has the jump on the Tesla Model 3, but what being first will mean in the long run isn’t clear, as the Model 3 is expected to trounce Bolt sales as soon as it comes out.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Chevrolet

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130 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt Is The Centerpiece Of General Motors’ Future"

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GM put the Bolt at the center of their San Diego autoshow area, but not on pedestal. It’s not like SparkEV hidden in a corner, so they are actively pushing it and literally placing it as “centerpiece” of auto show.

No ACC available with the 2017 Bolt EV, I hope it will be “fixed” later, next MY maybe?

what is “ACC”?

In short, ACC stands for Adaptative Cruise Control

ACC is an available (packaged) option for 2017 Chevy Volt but not 2017 Bolt EV…

GM seems to say they’re not doing ACC, they’re going right to some form of self-driving. And schedule is “sooner than you think”, whatever that means.

The self driving will come in time, it does not pay to put lots of resources into it now.

If they want people to cancel their reservations for Tesla’s Model 3 they’d better work on self-driving at GM.

Best to wait for Tesla 3 for they are way ahead of the competition in every way. They have a Supercharger network that is for Tesla’s that will get you across the country easily.

Super Charger network is only important if you need to drive through the midwest right now. If you are like most people changes on the existing DCFC network will be good enough on the east and west coasts. There are of curse holes in all the networks although all 3 major types have been filling those holes with the chademo and SC networks covering the most area’s with CSS starting to catch up but seems to be around a year maybe 2 years behind of the chademo deployments but at this point I can’t picture very many signal standard stations going in. I estimate by the end of 2017 you will be able to do a cross country trip using CCS but it will be limited to 1 track and could easily have to go the long way out of your way to get there. I suspect by the end of 2019 all interstates to be covered by dual standard stations.

Cruise Automation has been driving 20 Bolts with ACC around here from their Scottsdale Location. They do very well and have been here for 3 months EVen before the Bolt was released. It should be ready this year or next.

no one has ever explained why self driving is better suited for electric vehicles than it is for gasoline powered vehicles. yet, insideevs repeated offers up this meme without explanation. i think the reason why self driving works better for electric vehicles is not because of the car itself, but because of the kinds of consumers who are attracted to BEVs versus the kinds of consumers attracted to ICEVs. consumers in the BEV niche are of higher incomes and are less price sensitive than consumers in the general automotive market. in addition, consumers in the BEV niche are more attracted to “techie” gadgets, and therefore make for better test group for the testing of new technologies. as to the Bolt being a “centerpiece”, i think the better way to put it is that the Bolt is a test bed for new technologies that may find their way into other vehicles in the future. the term “centerpiece” suggests that the Bolt is going to set the market direction for GM. that’s not at all obvious, because until GM comes up with a zero-emission solution that can scale to its entire product line, you’re not going to see GM convert to BEV.… Read more »

I think the unspoken assumption is that most self-driving vehicles will be sold as fleet vehicles to on-demand mobility services like Uber or Lyft. The much lower maintenance and fueling cost of EVs vs. ICE vehicles makes them a natural fit for fleets.

Personally, I believe this switch will change everything about transportation, city planning, even organ transplants. Since many donated organs come from car accident victims, if self-driving cars reduce vehicle fatalities that will greatly reduce the number of organs available for transplants.

Good point, but I’ll take cleaner EV transportation with less organ donations over toxic chemical pollution from ICE transportation with more organ donations anytime. GIVE A HOOT DON’T POLLUTE

based on the reasonable-sounding “fleet” model that you propose, i would not expect self driving to have much impact if the primary impact is on fleets. most driving is by people in private cars, so there wouldn’t be much change in city planning, transportation, or organ donations.

for self-driving to have a real impact, it would have to get into the privately owned vehicle segment. so, in the privately owned vehicle segment, it is not clear to me why self-driving is any better suited for BEVs than it is for ICEVs.

Autonomous fleets will wipe out large chunks of the privately owned segment due to vastly superior economics and convenience.

An urban-ite might travel 10k miles/year. That’s $250/month at the expected $0.30/mile. Parking alone costs more than that in many cities. And urban parking is awful – dingy, dangerous garages, circling aimlessly to find a spot, long walks in weather and traffic, etc. Auto-taxi gives door-to-door convenience, and you can do emails en route.

$0.30/mile auto-taxi even works for suburbanites, though the conversion will take longer. Families will downshift to one car instead of two, or two cars instead of three or four.

i think you’re dead wrong. by your reasoning taxis should have eliminated the market for private car ownership long ago.

it didn’t…

Dunno if you’ve ever been in NYC, but there are indeed a ton of taxis there.

But more to the point, robo-jitneys have the potential to be far more convenient than driver-operated taxis. Cheaper, with quicker response times, no tip necessary, they could actually replace the second family car in a way taxis can’t.

If I call for a taxi at my house, it could be anything up to 45 minutes before it shows up. If instead it showed up in 3-5 minutes, and didn’t cost the way taxis cost, it would be a viable alternative.

things are VERY different outside of new york city. i’ve got to believe that you are aware of that fact.

with regard to the time that it takes for a taxi to get to your house. the reason why it might take 45 minutes for a taxi to get to your house is because there aren’t enough taxis available, not because the taxi is driven by a human being. it’s not like cab drivers are making $250/hr to limit the number of taxi cabs on the road. the thing that tends to limit the number of taxi cabs is the cost of getting a medallion from the city.

so, if you think that going to autonomous taxis is going to magically turn a 45 minute wait for a human driven cab to a 2 minute wait for an autonomous driven cab, then you would probably find yourself disappointed by reality.

Well in Baltimore, Uber and Lyft have a huge foothold and autonomous fleets will be very successful. Why? Because even if a person owns a car, parking is difficult when they get home from work if they drive. Once they are home and parked, they are not taking the car out for errands or dinner. Uber/lyft allow them to in a spur of the moment manner, which is how most people in this city go out after getting home.

Autonomous fleets will be perfect.

No comment – you have no idea what you are talking about.

Uber is cheaper than a taxi and has changed the dynamics. Autonomous changes it by another order of magnitude.

Obviously there will be 1000 times as many autonomous taxis as there are normal taxis today. Hence the 3 minutes door arrival.

Take away labor and $.30 a mile is a huge profit for the autonomous vehicle and a huge alternative to car ownership.

I get you don’t understand this but don’t try to bring anyone else down with you…

1000!!??? I foresee massive traffic jams.

Uber has “changed the dynamics” of taxis simply and specifically by bypassing regulation. Like Airbnb, this is their fundamental business model.

Remove regulation from taxi companies and Uber would disappear faster than you could blink. This is a relevant point, because I doubt there is any person who believes that self-driving taxis will be less regulated than normal taxis; if anything, they will be FAR, FAR MORE regulated.

We have the ability to enter a true Somalia-style laissez-faire taxi economy any time we wish, but unsurprisingly, people seem uneasy with the idea of actually legalizing such an environment. They’d rather keep taxi regulations on the books, but personally save money by rolling the dice with Uber.

David Cary said: “Obviously there will be 1000 times as many autonomous taxis as there are normal taxis today. Hence the 3 minutes door arrival.” And just who is going to pay for, license, and insure all those thousands upon thousands of cars, many of which would have to be aimlessly driving around (or sitting parked in widely scattered locations) with no paying passengers, just waiting for your call? There is a very strong element of wishful thinking in this; the belief that you can shift the expense of owning a vehicle onto an Uber service, with no reduction in convenience. This would require unlimited funds, apparently provided by unicorns and rainbows, so the Uber service can have an unlimited number of cars circling around so that they’re always within 3 minutes’ drive of anyone who uses the Uber app to summon a taxi. In reality, the more taxis there are serving any area, the less each one will earn… because they’ll be dividing the same pie into smaller and smaller slices. At some point, it no longer pays to put another car into service. The medallions that NYC uses to limit the number of taxis merely ensures that there… Read more »

Taxis are quite expensive to use since they need a driver with a salary. Eliminate this cost along with the cost of fuel and you get a completely different scenario.

“by your reasoning taxis should have eliminated the market for private car ownership long ago”

Sure, if taxis were $0.30/mile. But they’re $2.50/mile, so not so much.

Spend a little time running the numbers. They’re overwhelming.

“no comment” said:

“by your reasoning taxis should have eliminated the market for private car ownership long ago.”

Well said.

I don’t understand why so many seem to think that moving from taxis with drivers to taxis without drivers will somehow be a paradigm shift that will cause many to give up the owning their own car, or somehow make it more convenient to depend on taxis to drive anywhere.

Wishful thinking, I guess.

Push, I don’t know if taking the driver out of the equation (plus reducing fuel cost by 50% and probably removing the cost of buying a medallion as well) will be a paradigm shift, but it will change the cost to the rider which will shift the supply demand curve noticeably. Taxi drivers make around $100 up to $300 per 12 hour shift. They spend 2/3 of their time with fares, if they are lucky. So 8 hours with fares can be 100/8 or 300/8, depending on whether they are in a high cost city or not, and on whether they are having a good day or a bad day. So the labor alone for the taxi, not the unit cost of financing the medallion, just the labor cost ranges from $12.50 an hour to $37.50 with somewhere in the middle being the more common cost that is passed on to the rider. So a 10 minute taxi ride has a labor cost of $4, PLUS the cost of the medallion, plus the cost to maintain the car, plus the fuel, plus the taxes and all those costs are passed on to the rider or the taxi doesn’t stay in… Read more »

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned regarding self driving cars is the opportunity for individuals to own a car and when they know they won’t need it for a few hours they will send it out to earn its keep. This will reduce or eliminate Uber’s capital costs and greatly increase the availability of car services.

i assume that you personally do not actually own a car. most people who actually *do* own cars do not like the idea of strangers driving their cars.

the reason why your argument lacks merit is because it’s not like the cost of a taxi keeps people from riding in a taxi. and when you compare the cost of a taxi to the cost of operating an owned vehicle (around 50 cents/miles), one could argue that taking the taxi is *cheaper* than owning a car. but i don’t see people bailing on car ownership as a result.

A taxi costs a good amount more than the cost to drive your own car, even with depreciation and taxes included. Not a lot more, but it does cost more, unless you are one of those people who get a new car every 2 or 3 years. Most taxis cost $2 to $3 dollars to start and then $2 or more for every mile. That adds up quick. 2 quick 5 mile trips out and back will total $25 plus tip. Most trips will probably cost a lot more.
Once you minimize depreciation costs with regards to pennies per mile driven, the cost of owning your own car aren’t that bad. The first year of ownership is the year that makes depreciation so important. When you own a car for 6 or 8 years, though, depreciation is spread over a lot more miles.

Most People have no idea how much there car cost per mile.

I expect Robo-taxi to do well in places the Uber does well. Medium to large cities, college towns, etc. Those are places were owning a car is more expensive and massive transit actual works some. Smaller communities and rural area’s are still going to have high car ownership numbers for the foreseeable future.

Ziv said: “I think A LOT of people will start using taxis/Uber cars if the price is around half what a traditional cab costs.” My disagreement is not over whether or not this will be a significant change in the cost of using taxi services, but rather how much that change will cause people to give up owning a personal car. Consider this: In what areas have most people already given up owning cars? Isn’t it exactly the same areas, large densely populated urban areas, in which it’s already easy and fast to find a taxi at most hours? How could lowering the cost of getting a taxi in such areas actually have much of an impact on what percentage of the population in such areas owns a car, when that percentage is already so low? And why is it that people give up owning cars in dense urban areas? Part of it is the high cost of ownership, to be sure, but another big part of it is that you literally can’t find any place to park. With autonomous cars, that will no longer be a problem. You don’t have to park the car; it just drops you off… Read more »
The transportation as a service (TAAS) model or shared will prevail over the existing private ownership model due to the superior economics and convenience. These advantages will be most pronounced in high and medium population density areas. Uber, Lyft et. al have already demonstrated that the convenience alone is something that people are willing to pay a premium for. Self driving cars remove the largest expense from the shared model. When the cost of the driver can be eliminated then the service will see dramatic growth and will become the default model. When it reaches critical mass it well benefit by positive feed back loops. By virtue of their size they will be able to self-insure and negotiate power purchase agreements which will reduce their costs significantly relative to private ownership. They will be able to significantly increase utilization rates again reducing their costs relative to private ownership. EVs will be the default in the TAAS model because of their superior economics. Although EVs will have advantages in safety (hence cost of insurance), availability, serviceability, reliability, cost of maintenance, durability, and performance the primary advantage will be in the incremental cost of fuel. In the private ownership model where a… Read more »
Frederick Rodney Welsh

You are excellent, well thought-out reply should be considered by all and is well worth rereading.

That’s quite the post.

Good job Gasbag. You could probably make a living with your keyboard.

Gasbag (his choice of Internet handle, not mine!) said:

“The transportation as a service (TAAS) model or shared will prevail over the existing private ownership model due to the superior economics and convenience.”


Owning your own car, and thus having it available for your own use anytime you need it, is a convenience that’s worth paying for. In fact, it’s a convenience that millions or perhaps billions of people around the world have proven to be willing to pay a lot for.

The idea that it’s a “convenience” to have to depend on taxi service… is ignoring reality rather firmly.

The best way to increase the number of organs available for transplanting, is to make it ‘opt out’ instead of the current ‘opt in’.

PLUS, your nearest and dearest shouldn’t have the option of overruling your wishes should you declare before your death that you DO want to donate your bits for transplanting/science.

I’m hoping Ozzy Osbourne and Keith Richards have donated their bodies to science. There HAS to be something genetically different in them to account for how they have survived till now considering the amount of drugs and abuse their bodies have been exposed to ๐Ÿ™‚

Because BEVs can easily recharge themselves wirelessly and gas cars cannot do the same…

what has that got to do with self-driving?

A self driving taxi can recharge itself in between driving runs or the one taking kindergartneers to school can recharge itself…

you can refill an ICEV faster than you can recharge a BEV. so you still haven’t established why self-driving works better with BEVs than it does for ICEVs. so you have the car come back to the garage for a fill up. furthermore, you get more range with a fill up than you do with a recharge. so you fill up at the start of the day and you’re done.

Seriously? Fine, I’ll break it down. The BEV self-piloting taxi refuels itself as necessary. Charge times don’t matter all that much, as nobody’s sitting there waiting for the car to charge (it’s out of service). Further, nobody needs to oversee the refueling, as they would with an ICE. (Even if you contemplate filling the ICE taxi once a day, that’s still all the man-hours necessary to refuel an entire fleet of cars every day.) Add on top of that the much higher maintenance requirements for the ICE, and the BEV is a big win for the fleet owner.

Or, to look at it from the other direction… A BEV would have to sit at the charger for about 1/4 the hours in a day, as compared to the ICEV which only needs to be gassed up and then it’s ready for another day, or at least another shift. If you had, say 50 cars in the taxi fleet, and it takes, say, 4 minutes to gas the car up at the fleet garage, and every car is gassed up once a day, then that’s only 3.33 hours of work out of 24 for a single employee keeping an eye on the garage. If you have two guys taking 12-hour shifts, then that’s even less of each man’s time spent gassing up the fleet. Compared to all the wasted hours of the BEVs sitting around charging up, the ICEV has a significant economic advantage. With BEVs, you’d need all that many more cars to maintain 24 hour operation, as compared to gasmobiles. Those extra cars still need to be licensed and have taxes paid for them, so that’s a significant disadvantage. Now, you may be able to make up part of that with the lower energy cost of electricity… Read more »

@Pushmi-Pullyu “A BEV would have to sit at the charger for about 1/4 the hours in a day”

I find this claim fascinating.

Per Tesla’s website, their current generation chargers add 170 miles per 30 minute session (next-gen will be about 3x faster, btw).

In the 6 hours you claim they will require charging per day, that’s over 2,000 miles of energy per day. To travel 2,000 miles in the remaining 18 hours, these autonomous taxis must *average* 113 mph. Woah!

But have you really thought this through? Because the typical NYC taxi travels less than 200 miles per day, which would require only a single 30 minute charge per day – you know, while the gasoline taxis are also refueling, being cleaned, etc.

Either you’re just pulling numbers out of thin air without doing the math, or I’m missing something really really significant here.

ricegf said: “But have you really thought this through? Because the typical NYC taxi travels less than 200 miles per day, which would require only a single 30 minute charge per day โ€“ you know, while the gasoline taxis are also refueling, being cleaned, etc.” The “napkin math” I did, based on what someone else posted about how many miles an average taxi drives in a year, suggested about 225 miles per day, but I was assuming (perhaps wrongly) that the car would be out of service one day a week, and anyway my figure isn’t that far off from your figure. To be fair, after I wrote my post, it did occur to me that most BEV recharging could be done in the “wee hours” when demand for taxis is pretty low anyway, so the case for BEV taxis is better than I suggested. Your point about faster recharging will likely (almost certainly) be true at some future time when the average BEV recharges at the rate at which Tesla cars now charge… or even faster. Currently, though, it makes no sense to use luxury cars like Teslas as ordinary taxis. So my assertion for hours of charging per… Read more »

The refueling vs recharging issue is a bit more nuanced than the simple comparison of refueling vs. recharging time would suggest.

Any TAAS service will have times of peak demand and periods of slack demand during the day. A thoughtfully designed / operated TAAS system will rotate the cars through charging / refueling during periods of slack operation, when fewer cars are needed to met demand. This will largely obviate the advantage of faster fueling vs recharging.

Fueling in the context of TAAS on the other hand presents significant operational issues and comes with substantial safety related costs. Any TAAS system will be subject to fluctuating and shifting demand during each day’s operation. This will necessitate some form of ‘buffer / queue facility’ where cars get parked during times of slack demand and are positioned to support subsequent demand peaking. In dense urban environments, existing parking structures offer the best located infrastructure, but for safety reasons present a difficult / expensive venue in which to handle refueling. Alternatively, placing wireless chargers in parking slots is cheap, safe, and eliminates the need to move cars through a dedicated refueling station.

Filling up with gas requires a man in the loop. Not so with EVs. That’s the major difference. The cars can truly be hands off.

Unless they come out with an “horseless inductive gas pump” soon…

charge time is down time, and down time means that you can’t make money. since charge time is greater than gasoline refill time, i think your argument fails.

You can’t run gas cars 24/7. Things will break down and if the car does not detect the problem, they can become quite dangerous.

Same is true for EVs but much less so . . . far fewer moving parts.

The charge time only becomes an issue if it cuts into productive time. I can tell you that locally a typical 12 hour shift for a taxi driver spends about half of that time idle and drives a bit less than 180 miles. Even with a slow charging Bolt EV charging is not an insurmountable problem using 50Kw charging. With 150 and 350 Kw coming on line in the coming years this shouldn’t be an issue by the time autonomous vehicles are ready.

Downtime doesn’t matter because of peak demand. Charge during offpeak, then all available cars will be fully charged and ready to go for the home commute, evening errands. Charge offpeak overnight again, and be ready for the morning commute. It’s really not that complicated.

It’s unclear to me why filling up with gas requires a man in the loop and filling up an EV doesn’t.

Wireless inductive charging. It can drive itself to a spot and charge up when not in service.

For example:

Why can’t I just have the ICE car pull up and a robotic arm insert a fuel filler nozzle to fill it?

EVs do have one big advantage on this front. You could inductively charge cars as they travel down the road, if you rebuilt the roads. That’s the only thing they can do and an ICE car cannot.

And while that would be a big boost, we don’t have that no and won’t have it soon, so I don’t see why to factor it in.

Fueling with highly flammable liquid is a lot more concerning. If it were that simple in practice and in overcoming laws on safety, you’d think we’d already have it after 100 years of fueling by hand.

Yup. Robotic arm refueling of ICEVs has been demonstrated. But it’s too expensive for widespread use.

It’s irrelevant, anyway. You have to have attendants at the fleet garage, to clean up the puke from the back seat, and otherwise service the taxis when needed. Doesn’t matter if they’re BEVs or gasmobiles. Those attendants can easily be used to fill up the tank on gasmobiles, so no automated fill-ups necessary.

We do do automated fueling with liquid fuels right now. Just not with cars. If we need it, we can have it. There just has to be a demand for it.

You say you’re concerned, but if the car is empty and the process automated then the danger is actually less than when a human is there. It’s just a car, you can replace it if there is an accident.

The ICEV cannot refuel ITSELF. That’s the whole point of autonomous cars.

That’s what I was going to say. Using wireless charging a car simply needs to drive itself to a charging location and recharge itself when not in use. It would be much harder for a gasoline car to go refuel itself.

Yes and you can place those recharging stations anywhere you like, such as the usual parking places for vacant taxis.

Well, has every City lost ALL the “Full Service” Gas Stations? I live quite close to 4 Gas Stations, and on of them fills the car for you! As to Taxi’s, they could fuel there, instead of the other 3! Just use a plate recognition camera system, and you can have auto billing, too, plus details of which car, when, and for how long.

However, that does not make Autonomous ICE Better, just doable.

I think the issue is a bit trickier, when, the car goes to the Gas Station, and the station has empty tanks, and are 4 hours from next delivery! (This does happen, semi-frequently, in my 4 station collection!), so, will the autonomous ICE be smart enough to go to another station with full service, or will it have agreements in place for billing at other full service stations close by (if there are any)? Or, will it just sit there, waiting to be fueled?

Another thing, what mechanism will the Autonomous ICE use to know Fueling is done, and paid for, or will it just drive away after fuel door is closed? Hence, autonomous gas theft!

When autonomous self drive starts to happen where vehicles drive without drivers or sometimes passengers there will be inevitable backlash. Electric versions can reduce some of the issues. As an example, if several electric cars position themselves to pickup their passengers in a garage or enclosed space while not emitting toxins, those waiting will be less resistive/annoyed of the progress/change.

All the Autonomous equipment takes a lot of electricity. Any large ota update probably needs some electric power or the car to be left running (if an ICE). Self driving is expected first in urban areas where pollution regulations and ev efficiency make EVs a win. Every publicly released autonomous car so far has been at least a Plugin for mainly the first reason.

Really? It takes “a lot” of electricity? Converted to seconds of driving, or yards lost in range, how much? Because those are the kinds of units you’d be measuring it in…

These days you can get an awful lot of computing done for all 20 Watts of power. When driving you’ll typically consume nearly 20 000 Watts.

Based on nvidias site you are looking at about 75 to 100 watts for the two supercomputers in tesla. I’m sure all the cameras, sensors, radar, radiant heaters for all of these to keep them clear from snow, plus all the normal drain from the electronics in the car create a fairly significant load. Not impossible to meet with a large alternator, but you’d probably want a bigger battery than standard. EVs can run all the stuff no problem.

@no comment.
Good points

Automating EV functions is much easier than automating ICE functions. In EV there’s only the accelerator. In ICE there’s the clutch, gears, refueling more complicated etc.

John said:

“Automating EV functions is much easier than automating ICE functions. In EV thereโ€™s only the accelerator.”

At the very least, the self-driving EV’s computer also needs to control steering and brakes. Other functions, such as headlights, turn signals, and window defrosters, can be controlled with no mechanical assist, but will still require programming and electronics to be activated as necessary.

“no one has ever explained why self driving is better suited for electric vehicles than it is for gasoline powered vehicles. yet, Inside EVs repeated offers up this meme without explanation.”

25 responses yet no one provided the correct answer.

Although the industry is changing, ICE cars predominantly get their power steering and power brakes from the engine. The steering by belt-driven hydraulic pump and brakes via vacuum from the engine intake. Both of these are replaced by all electric systems in electric cars (i.e. it is not economical to drive a hydraulic pump by an electric motor and likewise create a vacuum with an electrically powered vacuum pump). Both the power steering and power brakes are designed as assist to human powered actions and not easily converted to computer control. The new electric replacements, however, are a natural for computer control and therefore better suited for autonomous driving.

You are correct that ICE subsystems tend to be mechanical for historical reasons instead of the drive-by-wire needed for self-driving. But ICEs are moving toward electric steering and brake boost anyway, it’s easy to spec such parts for ICE vehicles that will offer autonomy.

Long haul trucks will be early adopters of self-drive (Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be truck drivers) and they’ll be ICE for some time. (Unless we wire up the highways, which would be extremely smart, so we won’t).

ICE vehicles have been moving to electric power steering and brakes (and A/C for that matter) for some time, primarily because of the idle start/stop engine systems that are necessary to ever improve fuel economy

The Volt uses an electronically powered pump for the brakes.

“no one has ever explained why self driving is better suited for electric vehicles than it is for gasoline powered vehicles.”

Really? I always thought it was obvious.

Autonomous electric cars can easily recharge themselves with wireless charging pads.

Gas cars refueling themselves? Not quite so easy.

no comment
December 31, 2016 at 11:00 am

no one has ever explained why self driving is better suited for electric vehicles than it is for gasoline powered vehicles. yet, insideevs repeated offers up this meme without explanation.”

Okay, here’s your explanation:

EVs are more likely to be built with “fly by wire” controls, which can be easily programmed for control by a computer system. Gasmobiles tend to rely more on mechanical systems, especially for the steering linkage. Such mechanical systems would need additional hardware installed for a computer to be able to control them.

That said, I see no reason why we can’t have self-driving gasmobiles, and in fact I’m pretty sure we’ll see those before gasmobiles become obsolete.

At a guess, I would say it was because everything on an electric vehicle is electric, so is more easily controlled by ECUs.

– Lower routine maintenance
– Lower fueling costs
– Brakes last hundreds of thousands of miles
– Can be automatically refueled

Amortize the cost per mile over 100-500K miles and ICE is dead.

No comment you must work for toyota…
Soon you’ll find that fuel cells are fool cells and accept electrics i hope

The BOLT has a poor aerodynamic design, if they made a sleek front end and a sloped rear window (like the VOLT or Tesla S) GM could probably improve range by 30% using the same battery. Also, FWD is a product of the ICE era, it makes no sense on an all-electric EV where the weight (batteries) can be placed in the center. GM needs to offer RWD and AWD before I take them seriously.

With all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. The only way to materially improve the Bolt’s aerodynamics is to make it a lot longer and not as tall. Both are bad for urban ride sharing — the Bolt’s primary target market.

Those two possibilities may be the easiest ways to improve the Bolt’s aerodynamics, but certainly not the only ways.

For example:

The Bolt is awsome you are just being silly…
The aerodynamics is a function of substance over style…
FWD is not a product of the ICE era it is a product of effiency vs AWD and superior traction vs RWD…
FWD is also cheaper and easeir to engineer making the cost of the car cheaper vs RWD…
Furthermore BMW did a study years ago and found that some redioucsly large number of their car buyers thought they were FWD which means they dont have a clue about driving dynamics and were simply buying luxury…
If BMW drivers dont have a clue Chevy and Toyota buyers have even less of one…

Eco that’s what is called “Damning with faint praise”, if there was any at all..

I much prefer the look of the production BOLT to the bulbous prototype, realizing that others feel differently.

I also like the large interior space, and reporters who have test driven it by and large said:

1). “QUIET”

Apparently very large “Gravity Challenged” people find the ‘hammock’ seats quite uncomfortable. I can live with that since some people found my Roadster that way, whereas I always found the car very comfortable, so I anticipate a like outcome with the Bolt.

Tastes vary, but personally, I find the front of the car more pleasing, and ‘Gen 1 voltesque’ as opposed to views of the “3” so far. But then I also loved the look of the old “S”‘s catfish grille, but don’t care for the remodeled look.

Inefficient or not, the Bolt gets 310 miles on the Euro test cycle, which apparently is just about the way I happen to drive. Many people, not just me, find that quite appealing – especially for the low price.

Finally someone that gets it!
Making EVs with bad aerodynamics is a gigantic giveaway of the fact that GM does not understand electric cars. Making small EVs (hoping that the smaller wight will allow you to get by with a smaller battery) is again misapplied ICE engineering. BMW did the same with the i3. Both the Bolt and the i3 could have been so much better (cheaper and with better range) if they had not been built by the wrong kind of engineers.

Well, I guess – 2 things on that: the Bolt already has the Bigger Battery than the i3, and, it has more Normal Back Doors, so will do well, once they build enough!

Additionally, and Amazing enough, not Everyone buying cars, has seen “Who Killed The Electric Car”, so aren’t anti GM EV, due to their famous crushing of the EV1! (Which, I for one, think they should figure out a way to bring back, now that we have better batteries, and sell maybe 100,000 or so of them, as high priced collectors items!)

Also, if the Bolt EV was really the ‘Centerpiece’ of GM’s tech and designs going forward, how long before we see it merging with the other tech centerpiece, the Voltec Drive Train, to give very large EV range EREV’s, 4WD EREV Pickups, PHEV Malubu’s, etc?

Front wheel drive is also more popular due to it’s inherently more safe for muppets behind the wheel.
An under steering car (or getting push, if you’re on the other side of the pond)is safer than an over steer. When the car under steers, your natural reaction is to back off the throttle. If you don’t know what you are doing, the natural response to over steer is to spin and then crash… Especially if you also suddenly lift off when you feel the back end start to slide.

Give a hoot don’t pollute
Drive an EV today

GM need to be selling Bolts everywhere they can right now, not just California.

They have the only none-Tesla EV that has decent, real world range and could be selling them everywhere.

If it takes them until late 2017 to start to sell in the rest of the US they will be running into the mega hype of the Model 3 – and given that the GM marketing budget for EVs is less than the GM xmas party budget, they are likely to get drowned out.

Hey GM – quit tip toeing around and SELL this car properly, there are people outside of CA that want one.

Disclosure – I drive a Leaf, have a reservation on a Tesla Model 3, can’t afford a Model S and don’t intend to own an ICE ever again.

We need more people like you, at least in regard to your view of evs.

sorry – can’t edit
Maybe GM’s grand plan is to trickle out the Bolt to keep tempting people, but making sure they keep below 200K US cars shipped.
That way, when Tesla start shipping the Model 3 they will blow the 200K tax credit limit and GM will be able to sell cars $7500 cheaper ๐Ÿ™‚

OK, I couldn’t find the stats on how close each manufacturer is to 200K US sales so this has no basis in fact……

This is a very common viewpoint. Mostly true, although I see no advantage for a company to deliberately limit its production to make the credit last as long as possible.

Building 250k cars allows the economics of mass production to kick in so it is possible to build the cars cheaper. This is exactly where Tesla is headed. Their initial production line has lots of human inputs like most manufacturers, but Tesla is planning on 100% line automation in 6 years. During that time the number of employees on the production line will gradually be phased out. Only maintenance and engineers will be left.

Tesla expects the full automation to reduce costs and improve quality (robots don’t get tired and make mistakes). The reduced cost will allow them to compete price-wise.

It’s a new strategy. Don’t make that many, don’t advertise it, and make the centerpiece despised and not offered by most dealers.
Still it’s a good car, but it is certainly not the centerpiece of GM’s future.

They will be delivering it to certified dealers. Anyone have a clue how many that is? I am thinking maybe 1/4 of overall dealers with higher percentages in the CARB states.
So how does a car that will most likely only be sold in a fraction of your dealerships become the centerpiece of your strategy?

ffbj said: “Still itโ€™s a good car, but it is certainly not the centerpiece of GMโ€™s future.” Indeed! I was rather startled to see the claim in this article that the Bolt will be the “centerpiece” of GM’s future. Really? Let’s see: 1. GM farmed out the entire EV drivetrain to LG Electronics’ brand-new, inexperienced automotive division. 2. GM plans to severely limit the quantity of Bolts shipped overseas. As I recall, an InsideEVs staff member estimated no more than about 5000. 3. GM has no plans to put a right-hand drive Bolt into production. 4. Despite other auto makers moving to gain control of EV battery production by partnering with battery makers to build factories whose output they control, GM has not even talked about doing that, let alone started making real plans to do so. Nope, GM very obviously plans for the Bolt to be a sideline, and has clearly made decisions which limit the car to no more than that. If and when GM moves to make the Bolt its “centerpiece” of future production, then some or all of the things I list above will change radically. More likely, it will be some future BEV model from… Read more »

While I still disagree with you completely on battery production, I agree GM doesn’t look like they are remaking the company in the Bolt’s image.

They haven’t even done a good job of rolling the Voltec drivetrain out yet. And an all-electric drivetrain is an even harder sell to a wide audience.

I’m sure some of the (coming) Bolt innovations will roll out more widely, over the air updates, self-driving, etc. Heck, just using LG for their telematics in general (although that really started with the add-ons for the Cobalt). But that isn’t really making the Bolt the centerpiece of the company’s future.

As to using outside suppliers, Tesla supplied for the smart ED at its beginning, making MB motivated to drop 50 Million on them, and did the 1st RAV4 EV (new) for Toyota, which got them another 32 million$.

I would like to see a Voltec Drivetrain in the front of a Pickup, with the Bolt EV drivetrain in back, with the Bolt EB Battery in the middle, with about 10 Gallon Gas Tank, for a 200 mile EV Range, 550 mile range all in, as a ‘Centerpiece’ vehicle!

Robert Weekley said: “As to using outside suppliers, Tesla supplied for the smart ED at its beginning, making MB motivated to drop 50 Million on them, and did the 1st RAV4 EV (new) for Toyota, which got them another 32 million$.” Other auto makers got Tesla to develop and/or build the EV drivetrain and/or the battery pack for their EVs, for the RAV4, the Mercedes B-Class, and yes, the Smart Electric Drive. Those other cars were “test market” or compliance cars, which is why the auto makers chose to hire Tesla for EV powertrain development, to limit their own development costs. I admit to finding it somewhat confusing that GM has done something similar, in farming out the entire EV powertrain to LG Electronics and LG Chem, because it appears GM does intend to make the Bolt in sufficient numbers to be profitable; it’s not just a compliance car. So why would GM farm out the development, when it will need that expertise in building EV powertrains for future cars? I think at least part of the answer is that GM got a “sweetheart deal” on a very low battery price from LG Chem, but probably only in exchange for… Read more »

GM might be placing their bets on electric, but their dealers are stuck selling trucks to Trump’s America and happy to do it with those fat margins. Bolt will probably sell like the Volt and they will limp along together.

If GM was committed, they wouldn’t be outsourcing the entire drivetrain and sharing an assembly line with another subcompact.

Yeah, that one bugs me too.

Due to the following replies, I guess I should modify my statement. I do not object to the Bolt sharing the assembly line with its sibling Sonic. That makes good sense, however, it is that the entire driveline (motor, controller, batteries and more) made in Korea portion. Auto companies distinguish themselves as being different from competing companies mostly by designing and manufacturing their own driveline. The core of the car as it were.

The only way the Bolt would be on it’s own assembly line is if GM didn’t care about its profitability because it was strictly a compliance car.

Do you really want to see us go back to 2000, where the cars that automakers offer is based on the party that currently occupies the White House? Even in Trump’s America, it’s clear that the Bolt (and Volt) are long-term products for GM.

Sharing lines is very normal now. Tesla builds the Model S and Model X on the same line. So they aren’t committed to both?

And besides, the Sonic is at the tail end of its model cycle, it’s not selling all that much right now.

It just means they don’t see it as a multi-hundred-thousand seller. And let’s face it, there’s little chance it is. It’s just too expensive for that.

I’m more interested in whether GM adds production outside the US. If there is big demand for this in Europe it isn’t going to make a lot of sense to ship subassemblies to the US just to build cars and ship them on to Europe. If it starts to sell in the same volume in Europe as in the US (or more) it would seem like they have to consider building them somewhere else. Unfortunately GM doesn’t have a Sonic line in Europe except for Russia and they aren’t likely to build it there.

So Porsche isn’t committed to the Boxster or Cayman? And BMW isn’t committed to the 5 series?

I’ve been hearing radio commercials for the Bolt the last couple weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever heard one for another EV.

Seems like capacity is 36,500 per year if there are no shutdown days. 1st full year of Model 3 should surpass cumulative number of Bolts sold.

I’d like to test drive a bolt before I praise or trash it.

In either case, I’m glad the bolt is being produced and people are excited about it. Sounds like a direct challenge to the Nissan Leaf, but less so to the Model 3.

They are only building cars on a single shift each day. They can add more shifts if there is more demand.

GM, or Chevrolet, can build all the Bolt “gliders” (cars without a powertrain) it wants. But to actually sell them, it’s dependent on LG Electronics for the Bolt’s entire drivetrain, and on LG Chem for the battery packs.

I don’t think Chevrolet will try to sell any cars without a drivetrain. That’s unlikely to work very well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Bolt is built on a line that can build 90k cars a year using a single shift. Currently the line is shared between the Sonics and the Bolt. So depending on mix they could do up to 270k cars if they went to three shifts and only built Bolts. Granted that depends on LG producing enough packs. Production capacity is not an issue.

GM’s auto assembly production capacity isn’t an issue.

The production of LG Electronics’ new automotive division is an issue. Even more of an issue is LG Chem’s production of the cells for the Bolt’s battery pack, since LG makes contracts two years in advance for delivery of batteries in quantity.

The continuous notion that LG is hard bound by their two year in advance contracts is not correct.

Yes, that could restrict GM, but it doesn’t mean LG doesn’t have additional capacity available to tap if they should want to… which given how many parts they’re producing, they could make that a priority if demand is there for the Bolt EV.

And of course, we don’t know the exact wording of the contract either.

ClarksonCote said:

“The continuous notion that LG is hard bound by their two year in advance contracts is not correct.”

Then offer some actual evidence to refute that assertion.

Many people have disputed the very clear evidence of history; of Nissan and Tesla moving to build their own battery factories to enable greater production of EVs, and of BYD starting out as a battery maker which moved into making automobiles.

Neither Nissan nor Tesla were able to get their battery suppliers to ramp up production as fast as they needed. That’s a fact of history, and cannot reasonably or logically be disputed. I regard the insistence, by various people posting to InsideEVs, that somehow GM can avoid those same economic factors, that GM can somehow persuade LG to ramp up battery supply rapidly when Nissan and Tesla couldn’t accomplish that with their battery providers, as unproven at best, and wishful thinking at worst.

Let’s see what happens over the next 2-3 years with GM and Bolt production, shall we? Stubbornly arguing endlessly in absence of any evidence in support of these counter-assertions, by you and others, isn’t going to settle anything.

The Bolt is in no way the centerpiece of GM’s short-mid term future plans.

Gas guzzling/CO2 spewing trucks and SUV sales to mostly energy-clueless people who mostly commute solo to their desk jobs in them will continue to drive GM in this timeframe.

Now in the longer range timeframe and certainly in the (thanks to Tesla) fast approaching autonomous era of large fleet sales I’m sure the Bolt is very important to GM.

The Bolt is certainly a hedge against that inevitable future and against Tesla for forcing that future much faster then the laggard OEMs ever dreamed of.

You sure the next 4 years won’t change that?

It’s an interesting situation when GM seems to have a winner of a design but is barely trying to market it. These big corporations work in strange ways. Perhaps if they were more vertically integrated like Tesla, their costs would come down and they’d be more motivated to sell Bolts. Seems like a “wait and see” approach. Good old GM accountants.

One thing is for sure:

If these autonomous taxis run from 6 am to 1 am the next day, travel 200-250 miles and then park on a 11kw wireless pad to charge up in 5 hours, that means LG’s battery pouches are going to be WORKING 24 hours per day.

We’ll find out really quickly how many hundreds of thousands of miles they can really take. That is around 73,000 miles/year.

Well, I assume the battery packs have already been tested 24/7 in test beds where they continually get charged and discharged.

But getting real-world on the road data will be very good.

That assumption is correct. GM has what is probably the largest battery test laboratory in the world. They test batteries from all the major suppliers and put them through hell.

This is why Ford decided to use LG batteries too. They know about GM’s test lab and figured that what’s good for GM is what is good for them.

I rather think that LG Chem selling their batteries at, apparently, a significantly lower per-kWh price than anybody else might have something to do with it.

They have. GM even had a fire at their testing grounds from testing Spark EV packs years before the Spark EV came out.

They surely put 200-300 cycles on multiple packs before they ship the first car using one.

But as you said, you can find out things in real world testing you never expected so it’s good to do that too.

NYC Taxis average 70k miles/year, right in line with your number.

GM definitely looks to gather high duty cycle data from their Lyft drivers.

Sure… I of course have no information as to precisely what routine these vehicles will run on, I just gave it a ‘shoot from the pants guess’, but the fact that the yearly mileage numbers correlate is encouraging. I have no strategic information regarding precisely how prominently EV’s in general and the Bolt/Ampera-E figure in GM’s long term product mix – and unlike the ‘experts’ here who have been so often wrong (they should know they are) I’m not going to say either: 1). GM doesn’t really want to make BOLTS (!!) or, 2). This article’s title, stating basically the future of the entire corporation depends on this one model. I think the truth is somewhere in between, and since GM was plagued with initial OVERPRODUCTION of the Volt (due to too many EV fans refusing to plunk down their cash, for whatever reason, – hatred of GM, not precisely what was needed in a particular family’s case, good value but still too pricey for most, or even some other silliness – although hopefully the vast majority of reasons for passing on the Volt were intelligently made), GM may simply be being cautious until final demand is proven to avoil… Read more »

You’re right that GM got burned when the intense excitement over Volt failed to translate into sales. Of course this was partially their own fault as they transformed the cool $30k muscle-car concept into a $40k aero-egg.

EVs have a hyper-expensive fuel tank. Carmakers have three choices:
1. Sell to EV enthusiasts who will pay extra
2. Sell lux-performance, offsetting fuel tank cost with drivetrain savings
3. Sell to fleets who focus on life-cycle cost

The first market is tiny (despite what EV enthusiasts here and elsewhere believe). The second (Tesla’s market) is larger, but still niche. It’s also a niche in which GM isn’t really competitive. So GM focused on the third market. This market could be very large if the auto-taxi vision plays out. Furthermore, auto-taxis will displace smaller urban cars, at least initially, and not the rural/suburban trucks and SUVs where they make their real money. So it’s a win-win for them.

Of course, GM will happily sell the Bolt to EV enthusiasts as well. But that’s just a side market.

Dr. Miguelito Loveless

I will believe this when GM actually starts to advertise the car the same way it does the Impala. Until the, it’s a compliance car.

So true! Tesla is the worst compliance car since they don’t advertise at all! /sarc

Honestly, I see more ads for Bolt than any car. Practically every web site I visit has Bolt advertising logo (except IEV). I have yet to see any ad for Impala.

Yup. People keep trying to redefine the term “compliance car” so that even Tesla’s EVs fit the term! Ummmm… no. Just no.

I feel frustration over how slowly the EV revolution is progressing, and I presume other Usual Suspects here do too, but bitterly trying to label every new PEV (Plug-in EV) that comes along as a mere “compliance car”, even one like the Bolt that’s almost certainly going to be one of the 3 or 4 PEV top-sellers next year, is at best pointless… and at worst is going to drive people away from useful discussion here.

I saw the Chevy BOLT at the LA Auto Show in November & was very impressed by its massive front & center display of the BOLT & its Volt cousin on a rotating pedestal with a GIANT LED SCREEN that must have been 100ft long with no framed borders anywhere!! VERY WELL DONE GM!! Plus the Bolt was well attended to by a very knowledgeable guy with an ipad to take down comments from the public to give back to GM. Like I said very impressive!! Now I want to go buy one at my local dealer & they don’t have any & don’t know when they will…apart from the 3 that GM delivered in Northern Cali they have no other info about WHEN we are going to get them. Plus there is NO ADS on TV nor anywhere else!! WTH is going on with GM/Chevy? Is this a compliance car??

If you are in LA your dealer can order you one right now. Call Rydell in Northridge if you can’t find anyone else to get you one.

If you’re in another part of the country you’ll have to wait. GM isn’t rolling it out to other states for probably 4 months. Until then, as far as people outside California are concerned it might as well be a compliance car.

No, there are no ads on TV yet. It’s in short supply, no need to buy ads to generate demand for something you can’t meet demand for already.

how unlucky can you be??…this analogy is really STUPID!! Just like the chicken & egg BS… Why in hell did GM spend a trillion dollars on the BOLT to make an affordable mass market EV then KEEP QUIET about it??..
H-E-L-L-O S-T-U-P-I-D bean counters at GM!!
Or else somebody forgot to tell this to Elon about his Model 3! Don’t tell anybody Elon!!

Again, there is no need to advertise something if you can’t sell it to them anyway because you are selling every one you have. Tesla isn’t advertising either.

Once the cars are more readily available I’m sure you’ll see some ads, at least region-by-region.

That doesn’t mean the company doesn’t try to get some free press, as you see with the article you just read. Again, same as Tesla.

ุชุญู…ูŠู„ ุงุบุงู†ู‰