Chevrolet Bolt Designer Says Automaker “Broke The Mold” On Mass Market Electric Car


Chevy Bolt

Chevy Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Designing the Chevrolet Bolt proved to be challenging, says lead designer Stuart Norris.

Norris was on hand in South Korea to field interview questions recently and he revealed that the Bolt was quite possibly the most challenging car he’s ever had to design.

According to Norris, the Bolt’s incredibly tight launch timeline forced the design team to find new solutions and to work at a break neck pace.

Quoting Norris:

“It reminds you of what GM can do when we’re given a deadline and set to it.”

“We broke the mold on the Bolt EV.”

“We need to sell more of these electric vehicles, so we need something that has more broad mass appeal. The Bolt was a very significant program for us.”

Bolt Interior

Bolt Interior

Automotive News states:

“Typically, GM vehicle design is handled by two teams, one responsible for the exterior, the other for the interior. But the Bolt was such a high-stakes project, the company created a special team in Korea that would integrate all aspects of styling.”

But designing the Bolt wasn’t easy, in part due to its size and shape. Quoting Norris:

“It’s a bit of a segment buster. We call it a C-segment interior on a B-segment platform.”

“There’s big-picture stuff, and then there’s just detail, detail, detail.”

But perhaps the biggest revelation from Norris comes on the aerodynamic front:

“It’s a disaster for aero.”

The Bolt has a drag coefficient of 0.32, according to Norris. That’s an awful figure for an electric car, but in an attempt to improve air flow, several design elements and “tricks” were employed.

Bolt Interior

Bolt Interior

Those are described by Automotive News as follows:

” Norris’ design team incorporated a spoiler and sharply creased winglike canards along the tail edge of the car. Other tricks were underbody paneling, air dams and active grille shutters that close at certain speeds to streamline airflow. Designers even adjusted the radius of the A-pillar, modified the mirrors and fine-tuned tire coverage.

“No fewer than six full-sized iterations of the Bolt underwent wind-tunnel testing.”

Norris went out to state that the car’s interior is perhaps its biggest breakthrough in regards to spaciousness, cargo volume and so on. He concluded with this statement:

“Small-car design has always been a challenging area because you’re trying to deliver more for less. This is a pretty unique execution.”

The Bolt is indeed unique and the fact that it will go from concept to production in such a short time frame is proof that General Motors knows just how important a mass market, affordable electric car really is in the grand scheme.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Chevrolet

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318 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt Designer Says Automaker “Broke The Mold” On Mass Market Electric Car"

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Kudos to GM and Stewart Norris for the Bolt program and execution. They probably did “break the [GM] mold” with the Bolt. Kudos too to LG Chem for their program and partnership with GM. Producing the 200 mile vehicle a full year ahead of everyone else is most impressive.
Let’s hope GM also realizes that their [EV/Bolt] success is also dependent on fast charge infrastructure.

Last I heard, GM was still anointing themselves as “Not in the Infrastructure Business”, so, unless they had a Eureka Moment since then, I would not expect much support for helping you actually make great cross country trips in this car, until BMW and VW expand the CCS Network!

That is the beauty of competition. You don’t have to agree with reality, you just have to succumb to it.

Unlike government.

Why would GM do infrastructure work that is not just for GM but for everybody. It is like GM building roads.
VW will indeed invest some billion into EV infrastructure in the US, not because it wants it, but because it is about to reach such settlement after emission fraud. US government may also spend some billions or provide loans. German government has already assigned some billions for that purpose. Tesla proprietary “for me only” network with 0.18 billion book value will look minuscule and irrelevant after few years, just like Betamax video.

You don’t need nearly that much money to build a reasonable nationwide network of fast chargers. At $200,000 ea, you can build 500 4-stall sites for $100 million. 500 fast charger stations strategically placed along the Interstate Highway system would be adequate to cover the country quite nicely.

Why does it need to benefit their competitors? They could own the chargers and charge competitors a higher rate to use them. There has been another company that has managed to both make cars and manage a charger network that provides more benefit to their cars than to other brands.

there is NO electric vehicle that is a “cross country car”. i’ve read of ev enthusiasts who, after a few long distance trips, came to that conclusion. the long waits for recharging get old for all be the most committed ev enthusiast.

it makes no more sense for gm to be in the business of setting up a charging network than it would make for gm to get into the business of operating gas stations.

…except Tesla. Google them.

…and as i’ve stated, i’ve read of tesla owners who grew weary of the long recharge times when using a bev for long distance travel.

and I’ve heard from many of Tesla owners who aren’t at all weary with long charging times. If someone is only doing the occasional long range trip, great, they’re Tesla’s target audience. If someone is doing 600+ miles a day on a regular basis, they’re a very special exception.

Most Tesla owners prefer to stop for lunch, bathroom breaks in the morning and afternoon, and also for dinner if they are driving 600+ miles per day. They arrive much more refreshed and relaxed than ICE drivers. No need to wear adult diapers or eat energy bars in the car for their meals to set world record for 24 hr. travel. LOL.

As for why GM should help with fast charging infrastructure: To sell cars, of course.

GM does not have to pay for it, they can charge thier customers for fast charging when they buy that option. They do not have to do it alone either. They can join up with the other automakers that have CCS and Chademo cars. Third parties are not going to have a positive business model until there are tens of millions of EVs on the road. Government chargers are usually out of order. It is up to the automakers to “prime the pump” with both EVs and fast chargers on highway routes. May the strong survive.


They can use some of the millions they pee away in advertising and build a whole network. Does anybody think that Tesla’s white and red branded supercharger stalls are not advertising?

i’ve never seen a tesla supercharger station.

I don’t always agree with Rick, but I do on this one. It is an aspect that I had not thought of before he mentioned it. They are a form of advertising. Great point Rick. I know it would be a tough sell for the bean counters, but it would be cool if someone up higher said wtf lets show we can create some anyway. They would show an interest in new tech and general good pr.

I have seen Superchargers both where I live as well as times when away on trips to other regions. They are well branded like McDonalds. Keep your eyes open and/or get out more.

I think the VW settlement crap will just make it a bit harder to justify to the cautious, so I would be surprised to see it happen though.

Exactly, GSP!

At the end of the day though charging does not mean the car is not suitable for cross country. Plenty of folk still do it happily. Most trips may take an hour or two longer, sure, but clever people charge during rest stops. Tesla has enough range that enough time elapses between rest stops that you’re actually ready for a rest.

Exactly, Will!

I have wondered this myself. It seems to me that a PHEV like the second-generation Volt makes the most sense–use electricity 90% of the time and then use gas only on long trips.

i have taken a long trip in my volt and it was great. you have to stop every 250 miles (i have a 2012 volt) or so, more often than you would if you had an ICE like a malibu because the volt has a smaller gas tank, but each stop is 5 minutes and you’re on your way.

i’m not an ev enthusiast, so i don’t necessarily want to stop for an hour every 250 miles. this is why some tesla owners have come to realize that the model S is not really a highway car.

Lol as a Teslas Model S owner, I can promise you it is more of a highway car than anything else on the road. And I would be shocked if you ever actually heard from a Teslas owner otherwise. I’ve taken 4 road trips in my Model S and they were all amazing in this car. Charging time is about the same time it takes to run to the bathroom and grab something to eat. No comment, please don’t talk about a car you know nothing about.

Volt owner here. I like the faster refuel range topping option, but I happen agree with you MS70D. The main reason is after talking to one of the first people I know who got a Model S, I learned how many miles he put on his second Model S (85d) he swapped out for his first one. He had already put as many miles on it in a year than I had in almost 3 years in my Volt. We have similar not so long workday commutes so obviously he puts some serious highway miles on taking trips when on vacation. For the minority of time driven on trips the Volt the spends less time stopped to acquire more range, while the Model S would give more cargo space. On our longer trips that fast refuel is kinda nice if the youngest kid is asleep and I want to keep getting miles in toward where we are stopping for the night. Likewise that extra space would be nice due to all the crap that comes along on these trips. When space is a constraint (and has been for a couple of of trips) it means we take our other less… Read more »

Yeah, without interstate highway charging the Bolt will remain a long range city/suburb car that will easily snap up all would be Leaf sales for its first year of production until…the new Leaf comes out.

Then sales will split again between the 2 for the city/suburb EV demographic the following year until…the Model 3 comes out.

Stop dreaming about the model 3 it wont be on the market before 2020 and no supercharger unless you add a few thousands $

After you add a few thousand $ for SuperCharger Access Model 3 will still be cheaper than the Bolt.

And Tesla will deliver a Model 3 to an actual customer in St Louis Missouri before any Chevy dealer in Missouri actually has a Bolt in stock.

GM can always drop the price, after the release of the M3!

Even if GM gave away the Bolt, there’s no way GM will be able to compete with Tesla for volume sales in 2018 or later. Tesla is building the Gigafactory; GM is dependent on whatever fraction of LG Chem’s battery output they can contract for… two years in advance.

I think the Bolt will be a popular EV, despite its limitations in the long-range driving department. But GM has signaled pretty strongly they have no intention of producing the car in large numbers.

There is no evidence that LG will not be able to increase production beyond 2018 or that GM will be battery constrained. LG and Panasonic should both be able to increase production levels if demand requires them to.

gm would have lined up other sources if they really believed that there was enough market to sell the bolt at a rate of a half million/year.

and no, 400,000 “deposits” from people, many of whom were acting like they were lining up to buy an ipad, is not proof of 400,000 deliveries of the model 3. that people would be willing to put down $1,000 for a car where they don’t know exactly what they are getting or when they are getting it sounds more like exuberance than rational purchasing. i don’t expect to get a running total of people who decide to request a return on their deposits.

It’s an undeniable show of interest regardless. Plenty of people who did not bother with a deposit will buy it when it becomes real, even as many depositors walk away. What it shows is that there is a market need, that Tesla has the brand credibility, and that it has the media reach, even without advertising.

Dismiss this data at your peril.

Agreed. Letting someone hold onto $1000 for a year+ shows there some real interest. This is good news for Model 3 as well as the Bolt and whoever else wants to produce an EV with a similar range and price. Its all good. Some of these commenters must depressed.

Just_Chris said: “There is no evidence that LG will not be able to increase production beyond 2018…” Nobody claimed that. Of course LG Chem will be increasing production, as they have an ever-growing list of customers for their batteries. The point is that GM has to get in line, along with every other customer trying to buy the finite supply of batteries LG can produce. Sure, GM can contract with LG for a larger supply of batteries… two years after the contract is signed. GM isn’t in control of how many batteries it can get; LG determines that. Just as Panasonic determines how many batteries Tesla can get, and will continue to do so until the Gigafactory starts producing in volume. It’s all very well to say that GM can pay LG to make more. But Tesla couldn’t get Panasonic to ramp up battery production as fast as Tesla needed to, despite much pressure from Tesla. Do you think the same thing won’t happen to GM that happened to Tesla and Nissan? Do you think GM has some special magic that makes them immune to the same business constraints? “…or that GM will be battery constrained.” Really, no evidence? Why… Read more »

It’s absurd for you to write that GM would have to “get in line” for providing batteries for an LG/GM joint venture. Seriously, if one LG battery plant is at capacity, the others can pick up the slack easily. GM is a partner and will get as many batteries it needs.

Taser54 said:

“GM is a partner and will get as many batteries it needs.”

No doubt there were people at Tesla who thought the same about batteries from Panasonic. How did that work out, again?

how much do you think that “buyer” in missouri would be paying to take delivery of a tesla model 3 that would presumably occur before the bolt is sold there? if that missouri model 3 “buyer” needed to take his car in for service, how far do you think he would have to travel?

no comment posted FUD:

“how much do you think that ‘buyer’ in missouri would be paying to take delivery of a tesla model 3 that would presumably occur before the bolt is sold there?”

Pretty much the same price as anyone else, since Tesla doesn’t haggle over prices. And what’s with putting the word “buyer” in quotes?

What you wrote makes even less sense than usual for a perpetual Tesla fraud-spouting FUDster like you.

“if that missouri model 3 ‘buyer’ needed to take his car in for service, how far do you think he would have to travel?”

He wouldn’t have to travel at all, since Tesla will come and pick up your car for you if you need service… as I’m sure you know, altho you’re pretending not to. Tesla has service centers in Kansas City and St. Louis, the two largest cities in Missouri.

as to your first “FUD” allegation: my statement was not one of location, it was one of *timing*. when do you think tesla will actually deliver a model 3 that is priced at $35,000? being the first kid on the block to own a model 3 has economic value. tesla would be fools (which they are not) to not recoup some of that economic value. so the first model 3 deliveries are going to be loaded with upcharges.

as to your second “FUD” allegation: tesla would have to pick up your car and take it to the nearest service center, which may not be anywhere near where the driver lives. stuff isn’t free in this world, p2, ultimately the buyers of tesla cars pay for this.

Robb Stark’s comment, to which you were supposedly responding, was this: “And Tesla will deliver a Model 3 to an actual customer in St Louis Missouri before any Chevy dealer in Missouri actually has a Bolt in stock.” He’s likely to be correct. While GM will get the Bolt into production sooner, the limited production means few if any Bolts will go to non-CARB States, and even fewer to the “flyover” States here in the Midwest. Chances are, as Robb said, that if you live in Missouri, you’ll be able to get a Model ≡ sooner than a Bolt because Tesla will make every effort to ramp up production ASAP… and GM won’t. “no comment” continued his FUD: “tesla would have to pick up your car and take it to the nearest service center, which may not be anywhere near where the driver lives.” Amazingly, this happens every single day, for Tesla car owners across the world. And don’t pretend you don’t already know that. “stuff isn’t free in this world, p2, ultimately the buyers of tesla cars pay for this.” Discussion of service charges on the Tesla Motors Club forum rather strongly indicate that Tesla car owners pay sharply… Read more »

Is GM paying you to FUD EV Forums? *laughs*

Tesla 3 could be out late next year,
2017 is far sooner than the 2020 you mention.

LEAF, Focus EV, Spark EV and other’s sales would be reduced after Bolt arrives.

SparkEV will be discontinued probably this month, so sales of SparkEV will be very low, or zero, when Bolt is released just from lack of inventory. Already, I see the inventory at autotrader down far more than past few months (about 300). Maybe it’s discontinued already, and at this rate, there may not be any SparkEV available in a month.

How about late 2017 and supercharging for 1000 bucks? That better?

i don’t think that gm is going to try to position the bolt as a car that you could own as your only car as they have done with the volt. only an ev enthusiast would buy a bev and make it their only car – and there just aren’t enough ev enthusiasts out there to constitute a viable market segment.

On the east coast, the bolt can already drive from Richmond to Boston with existing CCS chargers. Private companies are rolling out CCS chargers.

The last report on this I saw said the Bolt won’t be equipped for CCS charging. Has GM announced a change?

The Bolt was always designed for CCS chargers. It will probably be an option, though.

A GM engineer said that 50 kW charge rate charging would be an option, and that they hadn’t ruled out a faster charge rate. I am hoping that make it capable of 60 kW charge rate, even though EVGo California is the only place CCS chargers are out there. It would kind of “future proof” the Bolt so that in a couple years when CCS chargers commonly charge at a rate faster than 50 kW, the Bolt will be able to take advantage of at least some of the improvement.

Why only 60kW? I thought that the next step (“v2.0”) for both Chademo and CCS was 150kW. It would seem silly to up their maximum power by only 10kW!

The grand scheme is that autonomous cars are coming fast and GM is going after the autonomous market.
But a fully electric car is a prerequisite, because the economics wouldn’t make any sense with autonomous ICE car fleets.

I suspect the Bolts won’t be as available as we think for individuals.

Then GM would be radically changing their sales model. Our dealership sells the Spark like cheap cell phones, discounted heavily and sold hard to anyone who gets near one. GM is one of the most aggressive sales/discounters in the USA.

By Spark do you mean the Spark EV?

They won’t have a choice. ALL ICE car makers have to go autonomous-electric or else die.
Like it or not autonomous cars are coming and nothing will stop this trend because $$$

Well some driver cars will stay for the die-hard who absolutely wish to have their own car or drive by themselves.
Electrics will deploy faster than fully autonomous for social reasons, and both will nail the coffin of the black poison era.

Once insurance companies start offering lower rates for self-driving cars than for human-driven ones, most people will pretty quickly get over their resistance to the idea of giving up control to the car.

Sure, there will be a few die-hards who will refuse to adopt the new tech. There always are. But they aren’t an important market segment.

don’t hold your breath on that one; the verification process for autonomous vehicles is much more complex than you think it is. you can’t just test a few cars and open the flood gates, because there is no knowing how a mass scale deployment would operate. autonomous vehicles will be a slowly phased-in process.

“Slowly” is a relative term.

I predict that within 8 years, at least 75% of new cars sold in first-world countries will be able to reliably self-drive on all paved roads with clear lane markings and at least two lanes. That will include the ability to reliably handle intersections and “read” stop signs and stop lights. Certain conditions, such as snow covering the road, will likely disable the self-driving feature.

your vision appears to be straight out of the movie “2001, a space odyssey”. we’re a long way from that: a world in which robots take over from humans. there are emergency situations where you are still going to need a human to intervene because a specific set of circumstances were not anticipated. a decade from now, it does not seem unreasonable that there would be some form of human-monitored autonomous driving.

“no comment” said:

“…a decade from now, it does not seem unreasonable that there would be some form of human-monitored autonomous driving.”

Oh, do try to keep up, “no comment”. That’s happening today, with Tesla cars using Autopilot/AutoSteer.

And as I understand it, Google’s newest self-driving cars don’t even have a steering wheel.

I usually forerun technology but on driving in my place, count me on the die-hards for sure. I simply don’t want that. That’s my right as much as it is someone else’s to want selfdriving. Everybody is and will be able to chose if he want that or not. I don’t want that because I like driving and I have above average record with no fault accidents on 3 decades. It is simply a matter of being cautiuous and adopting a circumstance related way of driving with a general defensive attitude. Of course you can always fail but out of the artificially favorable two lane road with perfect markings I simply don’t believe in the selfdriving myth. For example how would a self driving car decide on a child crossing a road and forcing you to deflect on a front coming car with no place left on the side? How will it obey Sheriff injunctions? How can it perceive other drivers gestures? There are so many specific conditions that the more time passes, the less I think it is possible. Only the easy stuff can be, but when the difficult part set in it will go back to an improved… Read more »
Priusmaniac said: “For example how would a self driving car decide on a child crossing a road and forcing you to deflect on a front coming car with no place left on the side?” I think the best option would be the one you didn’t mention: Veer right (or left, if it’s in a right-hand-drive country). Going onto the shoulder, into the ditch, or scraping the guard rail is certainly preferable to a head-on collision with an oncoming car! And unlike the human driver, the self-driving car will take whatever action it’s going to take instantly, without having to stop and think about it, nor waste time agonizing over the decision. So that alone will reduce the likelihood that, in the situation you describe, someone will be killed or seriously injured. “How will it obey Sheriff injunctions?” You mean, pulling over and stopping when you hear an emergency vehicle’s siren? I’m assuming that most of the time, there will be a passenger in the car. The passenger should hear the siren and order the car to pull over and stop. If there is no one in the car, then ideally the car should be wirelessly connected to a local, computer-operated… Read more »

Except GM refuses to sell the Spark EV in the vast majority of the country. If I go to my dealership, Chevy will refuse to sell me one in North Carolina.

I think you will see wider sales on the Bolt.

GM is promising to sell nationwide “when inventory is large enough”. Who knows what this actually means. One could be forgiven in translating this as it’s going to sell in Compliance states first and then Lyft fleet and then maybe it’ll trickle out to a few more states. The Tesla Model 3 deliveries might start before the Bolt is available in all continental US states.

gm wants to test the market first. they have no idea how popular the bolt might be.

GM wants to sell ICE vehicles not EVS, and now that gasoline prices are dropping even more GM is singing “ICE ICE ICE BABY”.

gm wants to sell *cars*. i don’t think they care as much about the technology part. what is motivating companies to introduce *ev’s are government regulations.

GM certainly cares about its profit margin on the cars it sells. So long as it’s making a bigger profit margin on gasmobiles, GM will continue to prefer selling those over less profitable PEVs.

It’s always that way in a disruptive tech revolution. Market leaders selling the old tech have no motive to compete with their own products by selling the new tech. And of course, that’s why so many market leaders selling the old tech fail to make the transition in a disruptive tech revolution. The Stanley Motor Carriage Company, maker of the once best-selling Stanley Steamer automobile, is no longer in business.

I’m confident this has been true all the way up to when Tesla received 373,000 $1000 reservations. I’m sure the Model 3 reservation event woke a lot of manufacturers up.

To you utopianists who believe all the autonomous car hyperbole, tell me and the lawyers who will be liable when a fully autonomous car kills/maims someone and damages personal property?

Obviously, the guy with the biggest pockets: the manufacturer.

Currently, it’s in the hands of the individuals and their insurance companies, the latter of which would really wish the former would go away. The idiocy of the individuals is what causes car collisions about 98% of the time.

If auto collisions were investigated like airline accidents, then the requirements for having a driver’s license would be utterly fascist. Kind of like getting a commercial pilot’s license, in fact. Instead, sometime in the distant past, the government decided that everyone should own a car, and… here we are. With all the pitfalls that entails.

The USA has committed to the culture of the automobile. That means rather limited deployment of mass transit, and it also means many areas where there is no provision for pedestrian/bicycle traffic. Another result of this commitment to the automobile is to let nearly everyone be able to drive. If there were strict limits on who could drive, then a significant fraction of Americans would have no practical way to commute to work and back, and the economy would collapse. That means, unfortunately, pretty lax requirements to get a driver’s license. Where I really wish we could tighten up things is with enforcement of drunk driving and distracted driving. I once asked a policeman why the cops don’t position someone outside a bar and follow those leaving, to see if they exhibit signs of drunk driving. He said that would be “entrapment”. Idiotic! It used to be said that half of fatal car accidents involved drunk drivers. And as we all know, the incidence of distracted driving has risen greatly in the past several years, with people texting or talking on cellphones… or even playing Pokemon! It would be better for everyone if the laws were changed to allow police… Read more »

The world you wish for seem to be a quiet aseptic one. Ok to check on excessive alcohol and retract driving license on perpetrators but not banning people the right to drive. Otherwise, what is next in that aseptic world, a ban on non marriage sex, a ban on non genetically screened babies? The world is what it is with life in it and dramas and joys and everything in between. Trying to turn the world to what seemed perfection has usually turned into dictatorship and hell. It is far better to check on the few excesses and let general freedom thrive. It is not perfect but at least never a complete hell.

Exactly what is your complaint here? That I’m suggesting people do not have the right to drive drunk, or under the influence of drugs, or while using a cell phone? And that there should actually *gasp* be sufficient enforcement of those restrictions that such behavior would be largely eliminated?

If that’s your argument… well, let’s just say that I entirely disagree, and leave it at that.

Your “slippery slope” argument isn’t even worth refuting.

the product manufacturer would be brought into a lawsuit under a product liability theory. that’s why you generally don’t see auto makers being pulled into lawsuits – if you can’t establish that the automobile contributed to the accident, you have no basis for pulling the manufacturer into any lawsuits surrounding auto accidents.

RexxSee said:

“…the economics wouldn’t make any sense with autonomous ICE car fleets.”

Why? An autonomous car needs a sensor suite, an autonomous driving computer program, and an interface with the driving controls.

Don’t see why any of that would be more expensive to add to an ICEV than to a BEV.

An ICE requires a system that stops the car from gassing people. It is also harder to run diagnostics on an ICE. How would you know that the exhaust manifold has fallen off, that someone has left the car attached to the petrol pump or that the air intake is blocked. None of it is impossible but IMO to monitor an ICE remotely is far harder than a BEV. Traditionally people have relied on the fact that when an ICE is going wrong it normally makes a smell or funny knocking sound. Easy for a human to detect but expensive for a computer to detect.

I have no idea if those costs are high enough to make the autonomous car uneconomical but if I was going to choose a car to automate I would be going with a Bolt over a Cruze.

“Traditionally people have relied on the fact that when an ICE is going wrong it normally makes a smell or funny knocking sound. Easy for a human to detect but expensive for a computer to detect.” You’re setting the bar rather higher than is needed merely for driving autonomy. What’s needed is for the car to be able to drive itself, and have an accident rate substantially lower than with human drivers. Things like making sure the car doesn’t idle for long periods of time while in an enclosed area (so the car doesn’t “gas” anyone, if that’s what you mean), and stops if for example the muffler falls off, might be nice, but are not actually required for basic self-driving cars. The car will need to be equipped to detect major mechanical failures, such as a wheel falling off. And anything that can be detected by a computer program doesn’t make the car significantly more expensive. You only have to pay to develop the software once. For example, things like a flat tire or brake calipers seizing up could be detected if the driving software detects a repeated or steady pull to the right or left on the steering… Read more »

Hold on here. When you say “what’s needed for autonomous driving” it actually sound like “what’s needed to impose and force feed autonomous driving”, that’s just plain wrong and a tendency to dictatorship against people’s freedom. You cannot impose things but only propose things. That’s very different and selfdriving car is at present just a myth inflated under the pressure of programmers locking to get more money and power by further over interacting in peoples lives. If let unchecked it would just end up replacing traffic injuries and deaths by dictatorial torture and death imposed on enslaved massed by an upper ruling programmers cast of year 2200. They take control of your life dependent steering wheel for god sake! Not at all the rosy future it is presented as.

I don’t know why you’re riding this hobby horse, Priusmaniac. I never advocated that autonomous driving should be mandatory rather than optional.

But it’s inevitable that someday, it will be. Not soon, of course; maybe in a couple of human generations. Larry Niven predicted that in several of his Known Space science fiction stories, most notably “Flatlander” (not to be confused with his collection entitled Flatlander, which confusingly doesn’t contain that story.)

And I think Niven’s argument is unassailable. Once fully autonomous cars are shown to reduce the accident rate substantially, governments will slowly but surely move to restrict human-driven cars, until eventually they’ll be completely banned from public roads. And why shouldn’t they be, once it’s demonstrated that human driven cars are, let’s say, 10 times as likely to kill someone? Or perhaps even 100 times more dangerous. You’d have to be crazy to advocate such dangerous vehicles should be allowed on public roads!

Whether you or I actually want that to happen is irrelevant. The public will eventually demand it. Not soon, probably not within my lifetime (I just turned 61), but someday.

I set a point on this because I have seen far too often something presented as a potential help ultimately being imposed as an unwanted obligation. So I am a big a wet kat fearing hot water here.

I also don’t see banning driving as inevitable, even with injuries, after all, smocking is still not banned and it kills far more people than cars. Smockers don’t want it to be banned and non-smockers just don’t want to ban it enough to make it a rule. Future drivers will likely resist anti driving laws and pro ban people won’t want it enough to make it a rule similarly.

I will be on the drivers side and probably still drive like a smoker still smokes, when proven that selfdriving cars have less accidents because I like driving like a smoker likes to smoke.

So until Gataca or the Brave New World set in, and manual driving is banned and its danger is replaced by some other type of danger, we will indeed have some generations to debate on this.


“…smocking is still not banned and it kills far more people than cars. Smockers don’t want it to be banned and non-smockers just don’t want to ban it enough to make it a rule.”

On the contrary, once the danger of second-hand smoking was established, laws were put in place pretty quickly to ban smoking; first from restaurants and bars, and not many years later from all public places.

I don’t think the danger of riding in a car needs to be scientifically proven. Statistics show quite clearly that it’s one of the most dangerous things the average American does, and that’s why car insurance is so expensive.

Once it’s proven that self-driving cars are significantly safer than human-driven ones, I think the laws will be changed pretty quickly. The one area where legislatures actually move swiftly is where lives are shown to be at stake.

I think it will take longer for the courts to fully settle the question of liability for cars operating autonomously.

A drag coefficient of 0.32? Is that the best that GM can do with their billions of dollars at their disposable for R&D. I am sure they will sell out their limited supply for the first two years, but that is only around 100,000 cars. Once the Tesla Model 3 is available to non-reservation holders I do not see how the Bolt from GM can compete. For reference the Model 3 has a drag coefficient close to 0.20. Huge difference when it comes to efficiency driving at highway speed.

32 CD & this article is “BS” It’s a COMPLIANCE CAR PUT OUT THERE Thoughtlessly FAST for carbon credits ,And, To show that the Big Bully “GM” can threaten Tesla,BUT.. This will be of N0 threat to Tesla …With a HIGH price for a small car ,and no “Place To Charge It” ….It’s Destined to Fail…

If the Bolt is a compliance car then so is the Model S, Model X and Model 3.

You don’t know the meaning of COMPLIANCE…

my mistake..I meant to say., You don’t know the meaning of “Compliance Car”……Cheers !

Your obviously a Tesla worshipper but I don’t think you’re a Tesla owner. I can’t imagine anyone as feeble minded as you are being able to afford a Tesla.

We’ll see about That …f00L …..

Well neither do you then.

Can a F00L like yourself explain what ..”Compliance Car” Really Means??

My this is a thrilling discourse. But, in the interest of helping you out here, a compliance car is one that is built to fill the requirements of the government and little else. Typically they are not marketed much and don’t sell in high numbers. Often they are not even sold in every state. The Bolt clearly does not meet this typical definition of a compliance car.

That’s a fairly lame definition. A compliance car it’s true is made to comply, but comply with what? They’re only built to meet California regulations for zero-emission vehicles–which is why they’re called “compliance cars.”
You mention other states in your definition but fail to mention that those states have adopted CARB, the California Air Resources Board, standard, and that’s why those cars will be sold there.
1. Car will be sold in low volumes.
2. Car will be sold on a assignment basis with the CARB states at the top of list.

So it seems pretty much like a compliance car to me. Or at least mostly a compliance car.

The Bolt hasn’t even hit the market yet, how can you say it’s low volume? I can understand this Jimijon fool saying it’s a compliance car but I thought you had more sense.

I think have I just have common sense. So that does not really seems so special as by definition it is common. Though these days I think it might be that common sense is rather uncommon.
I also have a good sense of direction as to which way the wind is blowing. Ahoy Mates, compliance car off the port beam, it’s the ‘Chevy Bolt’.

I will say this though, that is, that jury is still out on the what the Bolt actually is. In a year or so we will know better. It’s sort of a hybrid compliance car at this point, if there is such a thing.

COMPLIANCE CARS>>. , IN ORDER TO ACCUMULATE “CARBON CREDITS” TO OFFSET THE BIG GAS GUZZLING POLLUTING ICE Vehicles & SUV’s they build .these EV’s which give them credits so can build more of the big profit gassers., Otherwise there is a limit on how many BIG ICE Vehicles they can build. These EV’s are Built so that the ICE makers Can “COMPLY” with these rules & Limitations .Hence COMPLIANCE Cars…….f00

Yes and that is the very purpose of the CARB program, so what? GM being forced to produce EVs means more EVs on the road and more people trying out EVs. Then they sell themselves. Pretty soon GM won’t need to produce gas guzzlers anymore because people will be wanting EVs

Here’s my rule-of-thumb definition of a “compliance car”: One that’s sold in quantities of, on average, less than 450 cars per month. (Obviously some limited edition cars are exceptions.)

Since the Bolt will be sold in substantially larger numbers than this, there isn’t any good reason to label it a “compliance car”. Anyone who claims it is, in my opinion is engaging in GM bashing.

There are hundreds of car models sold in the US and I have read that the monthly sales for the median car model is around 2,000 per month. When the Volt was selling 24,000 cars a year back in 2012 and 2013 it was actually selling more cars than half the car models sold in the US.
Push, I have to agree with you on your number. If a car is selling 1,000 or more a month, it is by definition not a compliance car because it isn’t selling in limited numbers. If the Bolt gets to 2,000 sales a month it will be outselling half the cars on the market and obviously won’t be a compliance car either.
It is kind of amusing in an irritating fashion having the Tesla fanboys hating the Bolt because it isn’t Tesla pure, and the ICE die-hards hating the Bolt because they don’t have the vision to see how quickly electric cars are improving.

Nothing about your commentary style or content suggests that you should be taken seriously. Grounded maybe, or losing you allowance, but not taken seriously.

It is normal for a Wagon/SUV shape car of this size. Nothing can be done as long as the roof line is kept high to maintain cargo capacity.

True. Ever wonder why Honda FITs and Smart cars don’t get great MPG? One may expect such small cars to get 60mpg.

Aerodynamics is key, just as Stuart Norris points out. Even though a car is small, it has to accommodate certain rigid specs in height and width to carry humans and cargo. Short length plus tall cabin mean a bigger, more drastic upsweep in the nose, hood and windscreen. This pushes more air. Plus, the air doesn’t exit cleanly off of a sharp, tall area such as the back end of this shape of vehicle, creating vortexes that suck the car back.

Larger/lower cars don’t have to worry as much about this as the length allows for steeper angles of approach in their shapes.

or, “Why the frunk matters”

I’m sure they can do better but old habits die hard. They lacked the wisdom of what’s really important for an EV. Good aerodynamics provide better range for free. But former gas car designers don’t appreciate that enough.

The same can be said for small minded people who don’t realize that for a family with dogs the M3 isn’t going to work whatsoever. The Bolt on the other hand can.

Not everything works for everyone. That is unless you’re a small minded Tesla fanboy and even then they only think it does…

+1 it could have the aerodynamics of a brick and I would still want one.

The Model Y is being designed specifically with that family in mind. Thank goodness for Tesla’s patience- they are doing everything that needs to be done, but taking the time to do it right, as opposed to rushing it as this Chevrolet man concedes they have done.

It’s the model 3’s low drag that resulted in the shitty rear room and non existent cargo space. Outside of a small group of people who think drag coefficients are the reason why people buy cars, there is the real world where people use cars for their interiors.

I saw this sticker (or one like it) on a cube the other day and had to laugh.

Aerodynamics would be overrated & useless , only in outer space…… l o l ….

Exactly – I wouldn’t mind a coefficient of .22 or .24 if it meant we could get a hatch instead of a restricted trunk lid, and a normal roof instead of a huge sheet of glass.

Wha? This is the same company that designed the EV1 which had a Cd of 0.19. In the article they even say it went through 6 iterations of areo design, so to say they don’t care about it, is a mistake. Also, whether a car is an EV or an ICE car, aerodynamics matter.

Drag is secondary as long as the battery is big enough to compensate. As someone stated above; Interirori spaces is also _very_ important.

Utility is key here. Compare the utility of the M3 with it’s established Supercharger network + seating for 5 6′ individuals and a competitive-sized trunk for midsize sedans + the famous FRUNK.

CUV advocates insist the typically tiny space behind the rear seats can hold taller cargo than a comparable sedan or even a midsized sedan. My experience has been – I prefer aerodynamics and efficiency over the probability I may want to haul a bookcase vertically.

There are two specific buyers for these two different types of vehicles. M3 targets a Camry Limited, Avalon, or Acura buyer wherein a Bolt EV buyer may also be in the market for a small CUV.

Compare small CUV prices with that of entry-level BMW 3 Series or those cars I listed, and those looking for small CUVs are less likely to pay up for an all-electric small CUV.

In that, I see Tesla M3’s upside as far larger than the less aero, yet handy Bolt EV that has almost zero fast charging infrastructure.

In all, both have their likely demographic. Just that M3’s seems quite a bit larger.

You can’t seat 6′ individuals straight in Model S back if it doesn’t have sunroof, your head reaches roof. How on earth you would imagine it in smaller Model 3? Of course it is distant vaporware and everything is possible in dreams, but it doesn’t look likely.
When you are young and don’t have family, sedan may look great, but try to put some bicycle, stroller, skies or whatever oversized item you just bought into sedan – too often it doesn’t fit, and you waste time going around and looking for a truck.

Do you have any information to back that up, because my understanding is that this is not true. Also, not all 6′ tall people are built the same. I’m 5’6″ but I have extremely short legs and a very tall upper body, meaning I sit tall, like what you might expect from a 6′ person. I have been in several Model S’s and haven’t had a problem.

Looks like zzzzzzzzzzz is making the same mistake I did once, in assuming a lower roofline over the back seat of the Model ≡, as compared to the Model S, means it can only accommodate shorter people.

The alternative is that perhaps the rear seat in the M≡ is lower, giving the same amount of headroom.

Kumar, the Tesla S backseats are pretty tight. Have you ever sat in the back of the new Volt? It is kind of cramped if you are 6′ or taller and Edmunds says its headroom is 35.8″.
The Tesla S is 35.3″. Even more cramped than the Volt Gen II.
The Tesla S is a great car, but the back seats are for kids or petite women.

Smaller drag = smaller battery = bigger interior space.

They all go hand-in-hand

Not really, aerodynamics won’t make that much difference. If you look at the efficiency of the various EV’s on the road they range from around 0.15 kWh/km to 0.25 kWh/km so an extra 5 kWh would give you 20-34 km range. Looking at the Bolt what they have done is make the battery in the floor much thicker and then kept the rest of the car the same on the top which makes it taller and less aerodynamic. I think that is a fair pay off. The battery is much bigger giving it the range but the car is not too short (wheel to roof), long (nose to tail) or narrow to make it a pain to park, uncomfortable to sit in or difficult to get things in. I am sure they could have tweaked everything to get a similar range out of a car with a 50 or 55 kWh battery but the payoff’s would have been very irritating. Pretty much all the current gen EV’s have a more aerodynamic shape than the bolt but there is always a pay off the I-miev and i3 are really narrow and the volt has a pretty useless third seat and limited… Read more »

Aero plays a much bigger role in range vs. things like weight. It’s a delicate balance between aero, utility, weight, battery costs, etc. But that’s why the engineers make the big bucks. I’m happy the the Bolt EV design, but my concern is getting the costs down for more people to afford one. Especially once the tax credit is gone. GM is over half way there already. If they can somehow put a smaller battery in their designs yet still achieve the 200 mile, and also balance that with utility, that would be a great goal. It’s easy to see why they said the car was very challenging w/all the targets to be met.

you’re concerned about cost and you put down a deposit on a tesla model 3??? how much do you think that model 3 is going to cost? do you *really* believe that it will be less expensive than a bolt? really???

i give elon musk credit for trying to set realistic expectations from people (maybe he was pressured by his board of directors) when he stated that the starting price of the model 3 would probably be the lowest price that tesla will offer.

do you *really* believe that it will be less expensive than a bolt? really???

I’d say that nearly everyone who knows enough to have an informed opinion believes that… except perpetual Tesla fraud-spouting FUDsters like you.

Not sure what your point is, but no, I don’t expect the M3 to be cheaper than the Bolt EV, at the out-the-door price.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want cheap EVs for everyone. It’s not just what I can afford, its about what mainstream buyers can afford, if we ever want Evs to go mainstream.

the more mainstream *ev is probably going to be the phev for the foreseeable future. but when it comes to *ev technology, the “foreseeable future” is only about 10 years.

The 3 will be a better highway car, the Bolt will be far more practical for urban driving. Better in this case is absolutely subjective. My belief is that they will both be great vehicles for their intended market, and that more choice is good for buyers.


Excactly. Bolt EV would be great for (sub)urban use and occasionaly highway travelling. M3 seems not that well suited for everyday commuting with kids and groceries but ideal (for an EV) for highway and long distance travelling. I am glad for both cars.

What don’t you get about them compromising internal space height and width as a trade-off. Compare the hatch areas as well.

This car will be mainly used around the cities which seems like it fits perfectly for.

I travel in my Tesla. It is a railroad system and takes some effort in planning and dealing with it once you arrive. ie. I was in Asheville NC recently and without the supercharger there my activities would have been pretty limited. We were watching battery miles regularly. Luckily my son and I are above average tech but not fun (stressful/limiting) for the normal folks to deal with.

BMW i3 has a drag of 0.29, the Bolt is more spacious so 0.32 is not a surprise.

Some people here are literally crazy. “The Volt is too small, we need bigger!” followed by “The Bolt drag is too much, what a failure.”

Sometimes you can’t break the rules of physics.

The coefficient relates to the shape of the car, a big car can have the same coefficent as a smaller car. The difference between a big and a small car is its frontal area which you multiply with the drag coefficient. The Model X has a drag coefficient of 0.24, same as the Model S.

I don’t care about the drag coefficient. As long as it has well over 200 miles of range, CD is mostly irrelevant. I say mostly as I don’t want an EV that uses a full kWh/mile. Something in the 300Wh/mile is a nice consumption rate. As far as the Volt being too small, it is. I would prefer the BOLT be a mid-sized SUV with the 200+ miles of range.
My only issue with the Bolt is the price, but time (for the model 3 to release in force) will correct this error in pricing.

This is actually a huge advantage for GM. The gen 1 Volt and the Spark EV went DOWN in price during their production run, while still offering generous cash incentives, and inexpensive “no money down” leases. It’s just the way Detroit operates.

There is one very simple way GM and the Bolt can compete with Tesla M3, lower the price dramatically. I suspect over time this may happen as the Bolt just doesn’t look to me like a $37k car, especially when compared to a $35k M3. Of course I may completely change my mind once I sit in and drive both of them, this is just based on photos and what I have read so far.

Until there is a M3 to be sold and at a similar volume GM doesn’t have to lower anything. Also the M3 is not a one size fits all vehicle.

Price is everything. GM puts the base price of the BOLT at $28K before tax incentives and they won’t be able to build them fast enough. At that price, all the “Model 3 is better” arguments evaporate. Since GM priced the Bolt at $2,000 higher than the Model 3, of course it’s going to get raked over the coals. GM is stating the Bolt is a better vehicle … by 2 grand. Obviously, a lot of people (373,000) disagree.

maybe you had better wait to see what the model 3 actually is before you start comparing it to other cars.

This seems ignorant. The Spark EV has about the same Cd as the Bolt EV and it’s light years more efficient than a Model S. There are many factors in how efficient a vehicle is. Aero is important, and Cd is an important part of aero, but it’s just one of many factors.

No doubt GM could make a sedan, almost any sedan, with a lower Cd. But then it wouldn’t have anywhere near the passenger or cargo space. My guess is people will care about range and space rather than something as theoretical and tangentially relevant to utility as the Cd.

From this press release, it seems that the deadline was the primary motivating factor in that.

So if you have any problems with the design of the car, you can thank GM for being first to market.

Given GM has designed cars before they knew going in what the aero was going to be like. Just look at the prototype. Also people are discounting other efficiencies the Bolt has like a permanent magnet motor and lower top speed. In the end it might be just as efficient if not more than the model 3 because of other choices throughout the vehicle. Everyone is focusing on this one number, but not looking at the overall package.

AustinAnthony said:

“I am sure they will sell out their limited supply for the first two years, but that is only around 100,000 cars.”

It appears rather unlikely that GM will sell that many. They plan for 25k-30k in the first year of production. Do you really think they will triple that in the second year? I seriously doubt that their contract with LG Chem would allow them to get that many batteries, even if GM wanted to make that many.

LG Chem writes contracts for battery deliveries two years in advance.

Have you seen the contract? Contracts like this normally have a lot of provisions to deal with demand. It could even be written in such a way that below certain quantities the price benefits GM but higher volumes benefit LG (higher cost to GM).

I find it amazing that you believe Tesla can build to demand even though they have limited funds and Panasonic isn’t exactly bending over backwards for them. Yet GM along with LG have no chance at all.

theflew said: “I find it amazing that you believe Tesla can build to demand even though they have limited funds and Panasonic isn’t exactly bending over backwards for them. Yet GM along with LG have no chance at all.” As is nearly always the case with large legacy auto makers, it’s not that they can’t do what Tesla is doing; it’s that they don’t want to. If GM was really committed to building the Bolt in large numbers, then GM would be doing different things. They wouldn’t have contracted with a company with no experience building automotive powertrains to build the Bolt’s EV powertrain. They would not have single-sourced the entire powertrain from a company like LG Electronics, which makes consumer electronics. And as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, but for some bizarre reason most people posting here ignore: If and when GM is serious about making and selling long-range PEVs in large numbers, then they’ll start building their own battery factories. GM doesn’t allow itself to be dependent on outside suppliers for the gas engines for its gasmobiles; GM builds its own. And for exactly the same reason, GM won’t depend on outside suppliers for battery packs for their long-range… Read more »

+1 Pushmi-Pullyu

I’ve been writing this for years. So funny how many just don’t get that basic fact.

They assume legacy car companies WANT to built EVs and PHEVs…

Tesla is not perfect. I am such a big fan because they are LITERALLY the only company dragging the ICEmakers into the electrification future – NOW.

Yeah. GM has pretty much built a car that matches Tesla model 3 in range and within 1 sec 0-60 and practically the same price range, so they have the know how to build proper EVs, but the economics (profit margins} lay with the ICE. Still this development of their EV technology gives them the readiness to make the jump to mass EV production when the tipping point comes. I believe Mercedes has plans to build their own battery facility, the large automakers I believe see it coming and are reading themselves for it. After all with the large amount of revenue available to these manufacturers , how hard can it be to replace a combustion engine with a battery pack and motor. When the incentive is there, i.e in profit margins, these manufacturers will turn them out just like they did with ICE vehicles, and probably without the stress Tesla is having with early production quality issues and demand strain.

Actual drag is drag coefficient x frontal area. Small cars have less frontal area than larger cars, hence the total aero drag is penalty is not proportional to the drag coefficient.

A Ford F150 has a Cd of 0.38 and the SCd is e en higher, 0.32 is bad but not as much as other vehicles. Obviously the steep front and back are not favorable to a good Cd.

what about the bolt is challenging? LG chem is the one that did all of the work. now they have EV competence and can go on continue making EV platforms for other autos. nothing about the bolt other than the ground up powertrain and batteries is ground breaking. not in the least. it looks like every other gm compromised product.
being the first isn’t necessarily the best. expectations for the bolt are going to get decimated by the competition.

“what about the bolt is challenging?”
Packaging. If you’d ever worked on car design, you’d know. Also, GM told us that since day 1.

“LG chem is the one that did all of the work.”
LG built to GM’s design. They are a supplier.

I believe them when they say it was their most challenging project. Looking at GM products, it’s not very hard to see that they have a hard time coming up with anything impressive. In my books they didn’t come up with anything, not even the idea. They just executed it super fast without doing the best job, proof? Look at the drag coefficient, it’s very bad. Torsion beam suspension, usual cheap plastic interior etc. Their strategy was just to say we were first. But they weren’t.

Wow. Time to wake up and smell the coffee. The American companies have excellent products. For example, most reviewers find that the Cadillac sedans outperform the sedans from the German luxury brands. Consumer Reports had the Chevy Impala as its highest rated sedan. As for quality, in the 2016 JD Powers initial quality survey the Detroit brands collectively had lower problem levels than all of their import counterparts combined.

Unfortunately if you last bought an American car in the 70s it’s understandable why you would miss this. Things change.

American reviews. Cadillac tries, but not there yet. In Italian they say Vorrei ma non posso. Let’s be honest about ourselves here. I want our brands to be better but quality wise the Germans have us beat for the time being.

German have more attention to detail in the finish of they car, but for quality of engenering both gm and ford are now better than BMW Mercedes, audi and VW.

What reference do you have that indicates that German quality is better than US car companies? Something from Spiegel?
Here is a data point that has no German cars on it:

Ok, maybe one German SUV, but plenty of GM vehicles. And as a former Volt owner (only GM product), I see GM vehicles as extremely well built products.

American reviews.

…are in general far more fair towards German make cars, than German reviews are towards American make cars. The strength of the “German engineering only” prejudice in Germany is notorious, and rather shocking.

Push, I couldn’t agree more with you on the prejudice of most countries in favor of their own products. Koreans, Japanese, Germans all think their cars are the best cars, or the best value, in the world. Here in the States (and in the UK) a huge portion of the car buying public believe just the opposite.
Drive through the parking lot of an upscale mall in Virginia or California. Count the cars built by American car companies. You won’t need to count too high.
But part of this is simply that the car companies here in the US reacted to the oil crisis by building light, and very poorly built, smaller cars. The Chevy Chevette begat the Aveo, and Chevy’s reputation will pay for those unreliable pieces of dung for years to come.

I’m always surprised by this misconception of German “quality”. It’s a parlor trick. They add wood trim, leather, polished knobs, and good paint. Once done, they charge at least $20K more than a comparable model without the parlor tricks. Yet, the actual quality of the car is no better than a Chrysler, just to show how bad that is.

I’m not too convinced about the quality thing. They make more complicated vehicles for sure. interior is one thing and the mechanical parts another. Germans are far ahead in that department in terms of innovation. Newer technology usually has more reliability issues. Tesla is familiar with that. I’m proud of American cars like tesla, but let’s face it, everyone including us have a bias, we want our cars to be better than the rest of the world.

Would seem GM just no longer stresses over Cd…The Gen2 Volt is the same as the Gen1 Volt and the Bolt is even worse…The Model X is nearly a third better at .24…They start with a .34 Cd Sonic hatchback, employ their “tricks” and get it down to .32…

6 iterations shows that they do. And I’d like to know who’s wind tunnel Tesla came up with those #’s.

Tesla’s numbers were independently verified.

For the Model X?

you never know about the source of this stuff. tesla announced the model x had a coefficient of 0.24 a few weeks after audi announced that their audi quattro concept suv had a coefficient of 0.25.

is either claim actually true, or is it just marketing positioning? i have no idea. it does seem a bit suspect that the model x would have such a low coefficient. i actually saw a model x last week, and it is a fairly high car. i would think that the massive windshield in the model x does help things quite a bit, though.

Those are valid questions indeed. Every carmaker does it’s own wind tunnel tests and offers those numbers to the press and public. There is no standardization for wind tunnel testing.

“loosey goosey” , just like EPA numbers for MPG. The automakers self test, provide the EPA with the numbers and they publish them and put them on window stickers. It’s only when the public starts realizing poorer numbers and complain to public agencies do the questions begin and class-action lawsuits follow.

Kinda messed up. Don’cha think?

HERE is a great article for you to read regarding nonbiased comparison of top aerodynamic cars sold in the USA by Car and Driver recently. Titled DRAG QUEENS – Aerodynamics Compared.

6 different prototypes to go down .2 Cd…Despite being low-profile, perhaps those roof rails weren’t the smartest idea for a commuter/city/suburb car? Guessing there won’t be any universal racks/containers that will fit…Will have to buy overpriced accessories from GM only, until someone creates an adapter…

BMW i3 killer

Not for those of us for whom a 4-passenger EV is sufficient, who don’t need 200+ miles of range, who are willing to pay for quality, and who prefer a light, nimble EV with a sophisticated rear suspension, rear wheel drive, and lightweight corrosion-resistant construction (aluminum, CFRP, thermoplastic).

Say hi for me to the 11 people that actually care about all those things.

I hate to type LOL, but bro, I literally did just laugh out loud at your comment! Took the words right out of my mouth.

I don’t hate to type it.


The Joe Schmoe’s that make up the overwhelming majority of car buyers in the U.S. don’t care about any of that stuff. $$$$, range, and looks/features/drive is all they care about.

Those things are nice, but not at nearly double the price. The i3 is not a mass-market vehicle. It’s a vehicle for people who will accept compromises. The Bolt EV is a mass-market vehicle and, if it doesn’t do what GM says it will, people will not accept its shortcomings.

I don’t think are enough high quality buyers to keep i3 alive and less the range match the 200 miles

Why would you need rear wheel drive for a car size of i3? You are not going to race it on track, except maybe when dreaming. And it would be more difficult to handle in winter if you have real winters with mud, snow and ice covering roads.

I have been driving rear wheel drive car for the last 10 years and yes, in winter condition.

If you can press the pedale to the middle in hope the car will more forward, then stick with a front wheel drive.

Rear wheel drive will always give you a better sensations. And you can have some serious fun, in any condition. It’s not because you can’t drive it that it’s automatically bad.

As for the i3, no problem, all the weight are on the rear wheel, add to it the battery weight and I had no problem problem driving in 20cm of snow.

I love the i3. It is sophisticated, and has an AMAZING interior. Yet with all the wonderful tech you mention and a very high price, it doesn’t result in much greater range, interior space or performance than a humble Spark EV. Still a wonderful, daring, high quality EV, and worth every penny if you have enough of them.

Right, cause BMW buyer demographics are the same as Chevy’s.

BMW is going to increase i3 battery size each year 1.5x. And i3 leases are quite cheap in the US, so it will likely to survive this assault just fine.

BMW i3 inspired would be more appropriate?

Remember the concept?

Oh and the “it’s a C class in a B class”, that’s exactly what BMW said in 2013 when the i3 came out. They said, it’s the interior room of BMW serie 3 in the shell of a BMW serie 2.

And remember, the i3 will get it’s first refresh in 2019.

The Bolt will be a great EV, the i3 has some key value (it is still the most efficient car on road and suspect, Nissan will be the one to grab that title in 2018, not Tesla).

Answer this to me, which EV is the least efficient at the moment?

Sounds like GM liked the idea of the i3 so much they copied everything but the range, homelink and ACC…

0.32 is alot. Audi A2 had 0.25 16 years ago and it too has a “boxy” design. Aero is hard and GM probably didn’t have/use the resources/talent necessary to get the Cd down lower.

How about BMW, i3 is 0.29 not much better, 0.32 is normal for the shape of the car. As mentioned in the article it is a C-segment interior in a B-segment chassis. Something gotta give.

Hell. Chrysler had the Ghia more than 60 years ago that had a CD in the teens. Seems that 60 years later even with all the advances in computer modeling even Tesla sucks at having a low CD…

DJ said:

“…even with all the advances in computer modeling even Tesla sucks at having a low CD…”

On the contrary, I think you’ll have an extremely hard time finding mass produced cars with as much interior room as a Tesla car, yet with a CD as low.

With the exception of some much higher-priced, limited production “supercars”, Tesla is beating the other EV makers in the streamlining department hands down.

True and yet the i3 is the most efficient car on the road. Cd is only one part of the equation.

This sounds like a misunderstanding to me… the Cd WAS .32, then several tricks were used to get that unimpressive number down. At least, that’s how I interpret the wording.

0.32 is not a good start.

It meaningless number without some comparison car, tested using the same method on the same wind tunnel, and taking front area in account. That is CdA. And even then, the range and to some extent mgpe and weight are what really maters to end customer, not CdA.

CDa is over 8 sq ft. The Model S has 6.2 sq ft, just like the Prius. The Model S is already one of the most efficient vehicles available at 65+ mph. The Model 3 will be even better.

Tesla is actually one of the least efficient EV.

I’m sure GM will get the Bolt as efficient as the Spark.

How are you going to manufacture it now if you broke the mold?

Really bad choice of metaphors. “Broke the mold” is used to refer to a one of a kind thing/person.

They don’t mold cars in general, they stamp them.

So it would be more correct to say “they broke the die”.

Better that than to die broke, amirite?

There was a guy that wrote a book with that title, I think he’s dead. Ur right!

Better to die broke. What, you’re going to take it with you when you die? Spend it all before the reaper separate you from your money.

That’s true but I never like ‘broke the mold’ as implying something unique, as in what about all the other ones that were made before the mold broke? Mold are usually used in making statues, eventually they break or get worn down so that edges are less clean. So they will break the mold at that point too, or if they are making a limited run.

Though it has come to mean something that is so special and nearing perfection or uniqueness that no other one can compare or should be, or can be, produced.

Musings #1

I should mention that the probably origin of this saying refers to a single item that was made and the mold broke, so that no other of that unique item could be made unless an identical mold were created. It is also quite rare, and a real bummer, for this to happen adding to idea of it being a rare event. So it can also have negative connotations.

So you could slam someone by saying they broke the mold when they made you, luckily.

speculawyer said:

“How are you going to manufacture it now if you broke the mold?

“Really bad choice of metaphors. ‘Broke the mold’ is used to refer to a one of a kind thing/person.”

Indeed, I mentally winced when I read that horribly misapplied metaphor.

As you likely know, speculawyer, but for those who don’t: The “mold” referred to in the expression “broke the mold” refers to casting ceramic or metal using a mold, and suggests that after making a single item, the mold was broken, so that no others can be cast, making the item unique.

To apply that saying to a person can only be a metaphor. To apply that to a mass produced car is… an indication someone doesn’t know what “broke the mold” actually means.

As long as it gets 200 EV miles on the highway, who cares what the CD number is. $37.5k before incentives and 200+ EV miles is what counts. And availability before 2016 is over.

The Bolt will convert more than just a few Model 3 reservation holders once they realize how long a wait they are truly in.

Anyone that drives long distances cares.

So what # would the Bolt need for highway EV range to satisfy you? 225? 250? 300? 1,000?

The Bolt has MORE interior cabin space than a Model S. Mull that one over for a minute. The S is at least 2-3 car class sizes larger than the Bolt, depending on what measurement standard you use. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

[citation needed]

But only if you stack the passengers laid out horizontally.

Really not everybody is little kid’s size and don’t want to fold into pretzel when getting into their wannabe racer car that requires laying down on floor like in real race car. Large part of population simply can’t do this exercise because of age and health reasons. You should notice it on the road with tall SUVs getting ubiquitous even if very few take them offroad.

Horizontal? Bolt EV has more headroom, taller seating position than the M3.

The Tesla S has really tight back seats. Even the Gen 2 Volt has more backseat headroom than the S according to Edmunds.

The model S has a very spacious interior. If the bolt has equal or greater interior area that will be a serious contender for high sales

Yes, but they are different. Bolt is taller and more narrow. Model S is wide and has low ceiling, especially in the back. Bolt has much less space for luggage, but it is hatchback and rear seats can be folded.

“So what # would the Bolt need for highway EV range to satisfy you? 225? 250? 300? 1,000?”

That depends on the distance between chargers. With Tesla, they’ve methodically made sure you can travel with their range in mind. Chevy has not addressed this, so the range would need to be higher or the charger network would need to be expanded.

bro1999 asked:

“So what # would the Bolt need for highway EV range to satisfy you? 225? 250? 300? 1,000?”

You’re missing the point. GM could increase the range just by putting in a bigger battery pack. But for long-distance driving, the rate at which charging can add miles becomes very important. The worse the car’s energy efficiency, the longer it takes to add a mile of driving range by charging.

The Bolt is doubly crippled in that regard. Not only does it have lousy streamlining, and thus has an unnecessarily high energy use per mile; it also isn’t equipped for CCS charging, which means that charging on the road will take longer.

Huh? The Bolt will have a CCS port option. Should be standard, but whatever.

In areas where CCS stations have proliferated, long distance travel should be that much of an issue.

Try to drive cross country? That is a whole other story. But even travels in a max range Model S can be hairy even with Supercharging.

I could not disagree more profoundly. As you know it does support CCS, the port just isn’t standard equipment. The option might be inexpensive tho. And the charging time babble..! In practice, we are speaking of an additional five to ten minutes once or twice a year for a user like me. And you of course try to make this out to be some sort of hugely important consideration. If it was the reverse situation and the Tesla has the comfort, practicality and time to market advantage, you’d be touting these points instead. The only difference is then you would have a point..!

$750 option on the Spark EV. I’m hoping it’s that cheap for the Bolt too.

In practice, we are speaking of an additional five to ten minutes once or twice a year for a user like me. The question auto makers must answer is not what most appeals specifically to you. The question is what will most appeal to the largest number of potential customers. “And you of course try to make this out to be some sort of hugely important consideration. If it was the reverse situation and the Tesla has the comfort, practicality and time to market advantage, you’d be touting these points instead.” Funny how so many Tesla bashers write as if we admire and appreciate Tesla’s vision and accomplishments because we’re Tesla fans, when it’s exactly the opposite: We’re fans of Tesla because of its accomplishments and vision. Tesla has earned an enormous amount of admiration and praise for pushing forward the EV revolution; GM has not. To cite a single exception, I have often expressed my admiration for GM’s engineering of the Volt; both its switch-hitter performance and its reliability are worthy of much praise. Unfortunately, after 2010 GM then sat on its hands and didn’t improve the Volt or offer Voltec drive in any other car (except the overpriced… Read more »

Your track record of prognostication is very poor.

I’d say your objectivity in counting my successes and failures in that area is very poor.

Your number of successes is easy to count.

Sure for a 2 years lease until they get Model 3.

Yep. When the model 3 comes, my bolt is going to shift to my wife, who will be ending her lease then.

Nice timing.

Actually, since the EPA highway testing only has an average speed of 48 mph, the 200 mile range based on the combined EPA 5 cycle method won’t reflect how poorly the Bolt will do with range at highway speeds. The Bolt would have a hard time making real world Supercharger jumps at highway speeds if it had a compatible inlet.

Tesla uses the same EPA ratings.

Tesla rates their cars at 65 MPH. This is different from KIA, who uses 60, and Nissan, who uses 55. I can verify the last two from extensive personal driving experience. The Tesla comment is direct from Tesla.

I should have said “55 or lower” for Nissan. Their range is the most fraudulent of any I’ve seen.

Citation, please?

The EPA strictly mandates criteria for driving tests. Tesla can’t just arbitrarily use different speeds for EPA testing. They certainly could use whatever they want for their own tests, but for an official EPA rating they have to strictly follow the EPA guidelines.

Ridiculous. Tesla and others can rate however they like, but the EPA OF COURSE rates Nissan and Tesla and everyone else in the same way.

The Bolts bad drag coefficient, if it has one (the text is so unclear it’s impossible to say), is relevant because drag increases with the square of speed. Rolling resistance increases proportionally with speed.

Hence, the less slippery the car, the more it’s range will suffer as speed increases beyond the EPA test. Two cars with same EPA rated range may have significantly different ranges at higher speeds. And drag coefficient will be the decisive factor.

So wrong.

Every manufacturer has to follow a set testing regimen establishing by the EPA. For PHEVs and BEVs, there are 5 sets of conditions a vehicle must be tested to come up with final ratings.
Manufacturers, like Tesla, can post some “___ range at 65 mph” figure, but that is 100% a Tesla-derived figure, not an EPA number.

Bolt won’t get 200 miles on the highway. EPA highway MPGe ratings for boxy 0.3-ish Cd EVs run about 10% lower than their combined rating. A 215 mile range would thus be about 195 miles of highway range.

Real world highway range at 70 mph will be noticeably lower. I’d estimate 180 miles. Fast charging will add 70-75 miles of “70 mph” range in 30 minutes. So you drive an hour then charge for a half hour. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Bolt is CLEARLY not designed for long trips. If you want to drive coast-to-coast buy a Volt.

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

So you’ve driven the Bolt and have data to back up this claim.

It gets 200 miles, pragmatic but correct.

For some reason, people find rear fender skirts as unacceptable as an atheist president. Anyway, since nobody uses those, there must be another reason for the bad Cd number.

It is the rear roof line, stupid! Notice how it is almost horizontal at the end? Notice how the Tesla X curved down at the end? Just like the standard Prius vs the Prius V. Guess which of those has the lower Cd?

I don’t think believing that you are god makes you a non-atheist.

I really hope it turns out that GM is battery constrained. It would mean that people really want electric cars. And not just those that are part of a celebrity cult.

I’ll go with computer data from a wind tunnel vs. someone eye-balling a design.

It is the rear roof line, stupid! Notice how it is almost horizontal at the end? Notice how the Tesla X curved down at the end? Just like the standard Prius vs the Prius V. Guess which of those has the lower Cd?

It’s a trade-off. The Tesla Model X and Model ≡ have better streamlining; the Bolt has better headroom in the rear. Which is more important depends on the buyer. Different people use different criteria for buying cars. If they didn’t, then there would be only 1 model of car and light truck rather than hundreds.

“It is the rear roof line, stupid! Notice how it is almost horizontal at the end? Notice how the Tesla X curved down at the end? Just like the standard Prius vs the Prius V. Guess which of those has the lower Cd?

That is actually a very good example.

Prius V has much lower MPG as a result of that as well but carries far more cargo.

Bolt is really designed to be carrying max interior space for min exterior space.

For mega city driving, it is perfectly okay to have a relatively “poor” Cd.

Exactly! Toyota knew that the Prius V would have a worst Cd than the standard Prius. They wanted a wagon, with more storage space. Chevy knows that they could reduce the Cd by tapering the rear roof line. The shape is a trade-off for utility. If they had made a two seat fastback hatch, with 2000 mile range and a smaller battery, I’d have been thrilled. But they would sell a lot fewer of those.

200 mile range

GM should have first made a Volt EV. Maybe they still will.


The bolt is the volt EV.

No. One is a compact sedan the other is a compact utility vehicle. The seating and proportions are completely different.

I think what Nelson is asking for is a Volt with the ICE removed and more battery added.

A Volt ev would be interesting if they give it five seats, butthat is exactly the sedan ev GM doesn’t want to see on the mass market because it would sell like cake. Exactly what the Model 3 is doing, selling like cake.

when companies build cars, they usually develop a marketing concept of the car. the marketing concept for the bolt is not a bev.

tesla is the only company that is “all in” on the bev approach. most companies are introducing more cars that are based on a phev approach. i think auto makers are just not convinced of the existence of a market for bev’s that extends beyond ev enthusiasts – and most of the enthusiasts don’t actually buy bev’s.

FWIW, the drag coefficient of a current gen Corvette C7 is 0.29 according to official GM numbers. So the bolt’s CD is only .03 more than a ‘vette.

The Bolt’s CD is pretty good compared to the average gasmobile. It’s only poor by comparison to other modern PEVs.

It’s the very limited energy available in a battery pack which makes streamlining so important in a PEV. With a gasmobile, which is already wasting most of the energy in gasoline/diesel anyway, wasting a bit more from mediocre streamlining doesn’t matter that much.

That’s right and yet another reason to favor a sedan instead of a Bolt like shape. A sedan can be made to a lower Cd and therefore provide more range for a same battery energy. The model 3 is the optimum of the optimum car model type.

Stuart Norris sounds like a fictional character the way he speaks. The next time I need to head to the airport with a suitcase made out of a reclaimed Mexican poncho and a chair I stole from an office lobby, well, this is the car to do it. Who the heck picked those two items? Put a bicycle in the back, or some moving boxes, please. This photo is about as useful as knowing 5 billion hamsters fit inside the volume Gigafactory 1 when it is complete.

It’s funny how my Outlander PHEV which has a drag coefficient of 0.33 which lots of people seemed to want doesn’t matter but a 200 + mile pure EV for families for less money does !

Should we not be focusing on the positives that this car brings ?

It’s from GM. That alone will always bring hater-lemmings.

So true.

They made their bed; now they have to lie in it. Nothing remotely unfair about it.

Re-read what you replied to. I said nothing about it being unfair. I agree with what Alan said, and I think it is funny when people loose objectivity and stop being honest about what is important for their needs. Those doing that loose credibility. That said, if money were no object, I’d pay extra for the Tesla because I like what they are doing in the industry more than any other automaker. I appreciate those that have supported them by purchasing their higher end cars, and I’d love to be able to do the same. The best I could do is reserve a Model 3 early. However, when it comes time to decide to convert the reservation to an order I will take an honest look to see if it makes sense for the money compared to something like the Bolt, the 2nd gen Leaf, or any other competitive EV. If it is a close call between these choices, I’ll go with the Tesla for the reason I said above. I feel sorry for anyone without a budget for cars much higher than mine who can’t make an objective decision. Also, Tesla has no chance of accomplishing what they said… Read more »

Cd number seem to vary a lot based on the wind tunnel and test methods used. For whatever reason the numbers GM report tend to be on the conservative side. I once had a short chat with a GM aerodynamics, she mentioned tests of competitor vehicles in the GM wind tunnel were often way lower than what was listed on their specs.

In regards to the Bolt’s .32, I think GM designed the Bolt to be a multi-national city/commuter car. As such, interior packaging and exterior size takes precedence over drag. To me this seems a fair trade-off. I’m waiting to see if they can deliver on their promises, same for Tesla on the Model 3. If either or both deliver on their promises it will be a major step forward towards vehicle electrification.

Toyota stated that the Gen 3 Prius had a 0.25 drag coefficient when they announced specs for it.

Then GM did a wind tunnel test on a Gen 3 Prius and the Gen 1 Volt in 2009, and found the Volt actually beat the Prius in the wind tunnel (0.28 compared to the Prius’ 0.30). The Prius Toyota tested to come up with its 0.25 official figure had 15 inch tires. GM put 17 inch tires (same size as the Volt) on the Prius when they did their wind tunnel testing.

So CD numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt.

How much different is the Bolt from the Prius C? Looks similar in shape and size and functionality. Prius C manages to have a CD of .26 so I fail to see why the Bolt couldn’t be closer to that.

Prius C is much smaller interior space at 104CF vs 111.3CF for the Bolt.

Prius C is NOT 0.26.

It is about 0.28.

Regular Prius is about 0.26 to 0.27.

Larry4pyro said:

“…tests of competitor vehicles in the GM wind tunnel were often way lower than what was listed on their specs.”

It’s true, some auto makers list shockingly inaccurate CD values in the specs for their cars.

If that .32 CD rating for the Bolt is a true .32 rating, then perhaps it’s not that bad… or perhaps not really bad at all… compared to other PEVs.

Still not going to sell regardless what the specs are. Look at the Ford C-Max Hybrid, supposedly bigger, better, faster, and cheaper than Toyota Prius, and when is the last time you see it on the street.

Driving a GM makes me feel less accomplished of my life

“Driving a GM makes me feel less accomplished of my life”

This is literally the most pathetic thing I have read on the internet today… If you have to have an expensive car to feel that you have accomplished things in your life than you really haven’t accomplished much.

BTW – I parked next to a Fusion and C-Max plug-in this morning so I see them all the time 😉

It’s sad. There are some people that really think that way. For instance the logical extension of that sort of mentality would be that drivers of fancy cars would expect lesser vehicles, driven by the less accomplished, to get out of their way. And it’s true, some do think and act that way.

Bmw drivers are apparently the worst acting like complete a-holes.

The Volt-B is more expensive than the Tesla Model III at base price, by $2500.

Ford’s MPG fiasco (*TWO* MPG reductions on the C-Max) surely didn’t affect its sales, right? *rolleyes*

After those reductions, Ford realized the C-Max brand was tarnished in the U.S., which is why it will quietly fade into the sunset, with MY17 being the last year of the C-Max in the U.S.

Since I own a Fusion Energi I see one quite often, usually as my wife drives it out the driveway.

freeewilly said:

“Still not going to sell…

“Driving a GM makes me feel less accomplished of my life”

Well, I certainly agree that the Bolt isn’t going to sell to those who have a self-esteem problem; people who feel compelled to buy a a hot sports car or a “macho” oversized pickup/SUV to compensate for low self-esteem.

Fortunately, not everyone is so afflicted.

it’s all state of mind, really. i’m driving a chevrolet volt, but i’m riding like it’s a benz.

If the Leaf 2 will be near the IDS concept (0,20) it will go 240 miles with the 60 kWh battery, means the Model 3 has a ~ 55 kWh in the base (and Leaf 60 kWh top).

The Soul EV has Cd of 0.35 but has an EPA energy efficiency rating of 32 kWh/100 miles, which is better than 33 kWh listed for the Tesla Model S 70D. It looks like the importance of Cd on energy efficiency is being overestimated here. I concede that the Cd for the Model 3 will be lower but the energy efficiency ratings of the Bolt and the Model 3 might be very similar and certainly not enough different to worry about.

BTW, the frontal area of the Soul and the Bolt are almost identical with the Bolt being a touch smaller.

Average EPA test speed is some 48 mpg, so not a big deal. However it makes more difference on highway when you keep constant 70+ mph speed to go with traffic, and it is the time you more likely would want maximum range.

If I need to maximize range I’m not going to be going 70+ mph regardless of what speed everybody else is going. If I’m traveling at 70+ mph that means I have more than enough charge to get to my next charging destination and I probably don’t really care what my energy consumption is. Besides, most people make car purchasing decisions based on EPA energy ratings, not Cds.

Soul EV combined Wh/mile is about the same as Model S, but highway Wh/mile is much lower. At real world highway speeds the difference should be ~20%. At 70 mph a 60 kWh Model S might go 220 miles vs. a 180 for Bolt.

Not to go negative on GM.


This project was a challenge alright. They are stuffing 10 pounds of sh*t in a 5 pound bag. If you are going to go to all that trouble designing a nice power train like the one in the Bolt, then why not put it into a more desirable body than a little compact?

If you look at the Bolt cutaway there’s so much stuff jammed into that compact car that there is no room for a Frunk. Why not stretch it out a little and give yourself some room to put stuff. Drop the vehicle height and get a lower Cd. If they had done that then IMO they could have had a bigger, more desirable car for the same battery size.

They don’t want to cannibalize their SUV cash cow sales (Equinox/Terrain, Trax/Encore).

The latest Car and Driver issue had them asking the Bolt’s chief engineer, Josh Tavel, why it has a space for a spare tire in the rear hatch floor, even though the Bolt will not come with a spare tire. Tavel didn’t answer the question.

It made the C&D guys think the Bolt platform will be used for other future, larger vehicles that will need a spare tire option made available.

Hopefully GM has a Model Y fighter waiting in the wings.

Or there may be room for AWD in the Bolt for a future release.

We don’t have the marketing data, but from what I read, compact utility vehicles are hot right now. People want the upright seating, not the ass-dragger sedan. Also remember, just because the outside is small, the interior is mid-size-level. It will be fun to actually sit in one next year, as that is the only true test.

PS: Did you see the Mythbusters episode about “stuffing 10lbs of sh!t into a 5lb” bag? It was very entertaining.

Priceless – their cliche testing episodes are among my favorite!

I will repeat…..

The Bolt sales will be directly proportional to the efforts of the “Stealerships”.

As a major Tesla fan it pains me to say that half of the pro Tesla posters here are more anoying than the Tesla shorters…

Just because you dont like the car it doesnt mean it is no good…
Just because you want auto company X to fail doesnt mean they will…
Just because there is not competing “supercharger” network for CCS today doesnt mean their wont be in a couple of years…
Tesla built their supercharger network because they had to not because they wanted to…
And auto company X doesnt need to build it because someone else will just like they built gas stations…

I certainly agree that the constant nattering about non-Tesla PEV makers not building out their own nationwide (for Europeans, continent-wide) fast-charging network, is rather annoying. GM isn’t going to do that. Nor is Ford, or Toyota, or Nissan, or any other gasmobile manufacturer. They are never going to do that. They don’t have the motive that Tesla does to do so. 100% of Tesla’s cars need Superchargers. (Even Tesla Roadsters, which can’t use them.) Only about 1% of GM’s cars do. From a business viewpoint, it would be downright stupid of GM to pay to build out a network to rival Tesla’s Superchargers. Even if GM didn’t want to protect its gasmobile sales by refusing to support long-range PEV driving, it still wouldn’t make any sense for GM to pay for that. GM didn’t have to pay for gas stations to be built, so why would they feel compelled to build public EV chargers? When the day comes that a significant fraction of GM’s cars are PEVs, then they’ll need a support network of DC fast chargers between cities, just like Tesla has built. And most likely, by the time PEVs are that common, there will be enough demand for… Read more »
I think the network of fast chargers will fall into place if one of two things happens: non-Tesla manufacturers bite the bullet and invest in licensing the use of a competitor’s existing network, or a whole lot of someones work their tails off to ensure that the ChaDeMO or SAE or whatever standard is built. I’m doubtful that manufacturers will do either. In my town, there is a thriving multitude of ChaDeMO chargers, and I know the guy who put them there. However, it’s one major US metropolitan area. Not the boring bits in between. Tesla Motors wants GM to build electric cars. Why a pro-Tesla Motors fan would have a different attitude boggles me. I don’t like General Motors because they were caught (in Maryland) funding the anti-Tesla Auto Dealer Association lobbying. They also didn’t innovate, they followed, when it came to releasing a vehicle. They followed the Roadster ten years ago, and they followed the announcement of a Model III by racing to build the Volt-B, which they didn’t really build, it was built out of South Korea mostly, which means LG made it, mostly. This explains why it looks like a Power Rangers/Voltron vehicle, which apparently is… Read more »

Cd of Chevy Bolt = Cd of Nissan Leaf. Both are 0.32. I haven’t heard of anyone passing the Leaf by over its drag coefficient.


Yes, the CDa of the Leaf at 7.8 sq ft versus the Bolt at 8.05 which is pretty close. The Bolt is heavier due to the much bigger battery, so the overall MPGe is likely lower.

No one is saying that in 2017, the current generation of the Leaf is terrific next to a Bolt. But the goalposts are moving. Given the Bolt’s price point, it will be interesting to see if people opt for the Volt instead, or just wait for a Model 3 which will likely be cheaper.

You think the Model 3 is going to be cheaper?

Your frontal area numbers are wrong. The frontal area for Leaf is about 23 sq. ft., about the same as the Model S and most of the other EVs. The Bolt and Kia Soul EV are much bigger at about 26 sq. ft. The Model X is the biggest EV at almost 28 sq. ft.

my suspicion is that gm expects the volt to sell better than the bolt. the bolt is more of a trial balloon to test how receptive bev’s will be to an audience that is larger that of bev enthusiasts.

At best the MSRP of the 2017 Bolt will be 2,500 more then the firm price of the 2018 Model 3 assuming the model 3 isn’t delayed a few years. However we have no idea if the 2018 Bolt will have the same MSRP of the 2017 I mean 2,500 drop in price has been seen. Also who actually pays MSRP for a vehicle.

“It’s a disaster for aero.” – it is misleading quote taken out of context. He wasn’t speaking about resulting Bolt aerodynamics, but about initial shape, that is hard to make aerodynamic, and later went on details what they have done to improve it.

Most of you guys are just a bunch of whiners…

LEAF got tested by Car and Driver in the “Drag queen” comparison and got a Cd of 0.32 also.

Nobody complained about that with LEAF sales leading BEV world wide…

You guys are just nitpicking to find fault with the Bolt.

Bolt is trying to maximize its interior space for its given exterior space. When that happens you suffer in terms of Cd. Engineering is about trade offs.

Model S and Model X are both a very long car (comparable with a Honda Minivan), thus it is easier to have a lower Cd.

Bolt is designed to be spacious and easy to park in crowded city. Perfect for car services such as Lyft.

Also, anyone who care about head room (#1 complain about the Volt) will be happier in the Bolt. Neither Model X nor Model S have too much head room.

And the majority of LEAFs had 24 kWh batteries. The Bolt has 2.5 times that! I think we should be grateful.

GM certainly deserves kudos for making a car with such a large passenger space in a car whose outside dimensions are so small. The high headroom at the rear and the rear hatch certainly add to the car’s utility.

Unfortunately, all this came at the cost of relatively poor wind resistance (drag). That means it’s going to suffer in the miles/kWh rating, as compared to say the Tesla Model ≡.

But I feel confident in saying that GM will be able to sell a lot of these. I understand why GM chose to aim at only 25k-30k during the first year of production, due to the failure of the Volt to sell as many as GM tried to in its initial years. I hope that GM will increase Bolt production in future years… and that they’ll start building their own battery factories so they don’t run into the same production limit that Nissan and Tesla did.

I think so. You want to put your toe in and test the water first. Imo GM knows what they are doing and will slowly roll the Bolt out, get some out there and create some buzz.
20k in it’s first year, perhaps.

“Unfortunately, all this came at the cost of relatively poor wind resistance (drag). That means it’s going to suffer in the miles/kWh rating, as compared to say the Tesla Model ≡.”

Only in the real world hwy cruising range.

It will make very little difference on EPA testing cycle which has relatively low average speed for both City and Hwy cycles.

You’re improperly attempting to dismiss the significance of the impact of aerodynamics/streamlining on EV highway range.

At a speed of 55 MPH, the average car spends half its energy fighting wind resistance. And this goes up quickly at higher speeds; the force of wind resistance increases as the cube of the speed!

That certainly has a significant impact on gasmobile MPG and on EV range at highway speed.

This is why the Prius, the Leaf, and the BMW i3 all have their awkward-looking, unstylish shapes. If wind resistance wasn’t so important for EVs, with the limited amount of energy their battery packs can carry, then we wouldn’t see such odd “dorkmobile” styling.

And again kudos to Tesla for avoiding the “dorkmobile” appearance yet managing to deliver cars with low, low wind resistance. (That means minimizing frontal area, not just drag. CdA, not just Cd.)

“You’re improperly attempting to dismiss the significance of the impact of aerodynamics/streamlining on EV highway range.”

I don’t understand how can you make this statement after I said this:”Only in the real world hwy cruising range.”

So, I basically agree that Cd does make a difference in Hwy driving.

And 55mph is typically what low range of hwy driving would be considered….

So, I don’t know what you are trying to argue where.

I only said that as far as EPA rating goes, Cd don’t matter much as EPA testing have low average speed.

You’re also negating potential efficiencies of the Bolt’s motor (permanent magnet), geared for lower speeds, etc… It might have lower cd, but luckily there are other factors that determine how efficient the vehicle is.

When tested on the same EPA test cycle, the Tesla Model S has almost precisely the same miles/kWh rating as the much lighter Nissan Leaf. Suggesting that Tesla does not have superior drivetrain efficiency is ignoring the evidence pretty firmly.

I’m confident in predicting that the Model ≡ will have a higher energy efficiency than the Bolt. In fact, Tesla already signaled this will be so, because they plan to use a smaller battery pack to achieve the same range as the Bolt. The Bolt has a 60 kWh battery pack; the Model ≡ has… what? A 55 kWh pack?

There’s a lot of speculation around pack size and range. In fact, neither GM nor Tesla have committed to an EPA range number. Both could come to market higher than expected. One thing is for sure, Elon won’t be out done. If the Bolt comes to market with 215 miles of EPA rated range, you can bet your last dollar that the Model 3 will be more than 215.

“When tested on the same EPA test cycle, the Tesla Model S has almost precisely the same miles/kWh rating as the much lighter Nissan Leaf. Suggesting that Tesla does not have superior drivetrain efficiency is ignoring the evidence pretty firmly”

According to fuel

Nissan LEAF with 30kWh (the heaviest version) has a rating of 30kWh/100miles.

Tesla Model S 90D has a rating of: 33kWh/100 miles

Tesla Model S S70 has a rating of 38kWh/100 miles.

Tesla Model S 70D has a rating of 33kWh/100 miles.

All are worse than the LEAF by at least 10% if not more. The D version are generally better even with more weight. But the S70 which is the lightest version is 26.6% worse than the LEAF 30kWh in terms of efficiency.

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

My Spark EV routinely gets 4mile/kwH combined city/hwy driving and more often in the 4.5-5.0 range with higher city travel and that’s with a heavier foot and AC on.

From my readings, Tesla routinely lives in the 3.0-3.5 range.

Even with reports of 215 Mi and 60KwH that is better than most Tesla reports in efficiency despite their get Cd bragging.

I don’t know about others, but I tire of this GM SPEAK of ‘we broke the mold’.

If they want to brag about their still to be released car, how about revealing detailed specifications and Bragging about THEM.

Or make a Hard Sell advertisement of it – comparing it to any other car they feel like.

But this stuff of constantly patting themselves on the back reminds me of another car company that constantly picks on others. GM isn’t doing this here, but I wish they would stop talking weirdly.

As a for instance, when Jay Leno looked at the Cadillac ELR, an engineering dude with Caddy said ‘ we use EREV technology similar to another product ‘.

It would be nice if they could just talk in conversational English.

The uninitiated may have even left being confused as to whether you could plug the thing in the wall or not.

it’s marketing talk: gm isn’t trying to publish a white paper on automotive design here. they’re just trying to put across the simple concept that they took a novel approach to the design of the bolt.

“If they want to brag about their still to be released car, how about revealing detailed specifications and Bragging about THEM.”

Bill, they already released a bunch of specs…

From interior dimensions to exterior size. From motor size to battery size. From charging speed to cargo size…

So, based on what they released, it has more interior passenger volume than both the LEAF and Model S, yet it is on one of the most compact exterior possible. GM said that it is the lease overhang car they ever designed. So they have push the wheels to the extreme 4 corners…

That is spacial efficiency which is worth bragging.

That’s true MMF, but they claimed a few weeks ago “In just a few weeks, we’ll release Detailed Specs on the BOlt!”.

Time is up. I want to know price, epa range, and range with a light foot. GM probably has most of that right now.B

as to lack of the release of more detailed information on the bolt, there might be some marketing strategy going on. if gm discloses the details too soon, it gives competitors an opportunity to negate any advantages that gm might want to claim before the bolt is available.

if i were to look at the list of people who made deposits on the tesla model 3, i suspect that your name wouldn’t be on the list.

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

Blah Cd blah efficiency blah blabh blah
–bottom line: 200+ mile range will address any range anxiety metro users.

Only most ardent Tesla drivers take on regular supercharger network for repeated distance driving. I would love to see how many M3 option the (guessing) $2000 network fee–waste of money option IMHO.

GM has a singular advantage as shown with it’s Spark EV — financing arm leases will dominate and crush the competition.

I am willing to safely bet that GM is more capable to ramp from 25k to 100k than Tesla has been able to do so to date. Tesla can’t even make current year production goals let alone a much more aggressive ramp (and service demand) of the M3.

An anticipating to get both if they meet my expectations. If Bolt is anything close to Spark EV 2.0, I’d be a happy camper.


“I am willing to safely bet that GM is more capable to ramp from 25k to 100k than Tesla has been able to do so to date. Tesla can’t even make current year production goals let alone a much more aggressive ramp (and service demand) of the M3.”

I’d agree with you except for two rather important facts: Tesla is spending billions of dollars to build its own high-capacity battery factory… and GM isn’t showing any signs of planning to do the same.

I think it’s not merely wrong, but irrational, to believe that GM could ramp up to 100k Bolts per year while still depending on a fraction of LG Chem’s battery supply.

Pu-Pu… If the past is a good estimation of what will happen in the future

1) Tesla will miss it’s delivery dates (having 1 car out of the factory doors doesn’t count as if this was the bench mark, we would say GM is already producing the Bolt)

2) Tesla will miss it’s production number/ramp up

3) Tesla will start with full version of the TM3, meaning an average price over 45K$USD as stated by Elon himself.

When people are “sh….ting” on GM and saying they won’t able to produce 30K units per year, let’s see how long it takes for Tesla to reach that number.

Sure, Tesla will almost certainly miss its guidance for ramping up production of the Model ≡. But while Tesla’s history shows they won’t make their guidance, it also shows they won’t miss it by all that much.

So what if Tesla’s ramp up is 15-20% slower than guidance? Or even 25% slower? They’ll still be vastly out-producing GM’s 25k-30k within a year, and they’ll keep ramping up every year until they can satisfy demand… which GM won’t.

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

There’s no data to support such a claim.

We have NO idea on LG’s capacity as we don’t have ANY idea of Tesla’s capacity (NONE at the moment). They haven’t even delivered on any sizable powerwall units and in V2.0 already.

You could have mention point 0. Tesla will completly underestimate the 400000 reservations tsunami.

That would have set another reality fitting positive tone.

Every carmaker does it’s own wind tunnel tests and offers those numbers to the press and public. There is no standardization for wind tunnel testing.

“loosey goosey” , just like EPA numbers for MPG. The automakers self test, provide the EPA with the numbers and they publish them and put them on window stickers. It’s only when the public starts realizing poorer numbers and complain to public agencies do the questions begin and class-action lawsuits follow.

Kinda messed up. Don’cha think?

HERE is a great article for you to read regarding nonbiased comparison of top aerodynamic cars sold in the USA by Car and Driver recently. Titled DRAG QUEENS – Aerodynamics Compared.

Almost 300 comments, what a discourse. Love or hate it, you have to admit there’s an awful lot of interest in the Bolt.

I found out something very important about my FFE the other day, none of the American Ford Focus are rated for towing but most of non-American Ford Focus are rated for towing. It seems that in places like Europe towing with small cars is much more popular so manufacturers build the cars to tow.

So what this means is that even though the FFE owners manual does not recommend towing the FFE was actually designed to tow. The important thing about this in regards to the Bolt is that the Bolt than likely will be designed to tow since it is also being offered in non-American markets. So if your Bolt owners manual doesn’t recommend towing, check the European ratings and you will probably find how much the Bolt is rated to tow.

What are they towing with cars that small…and with a <100 mile EV, no less?