Chevrolet Resolves Technical Issues With Bolt, But Commercial Issues Remain

MAY 5 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 189

Chevrolet Bolt EV - Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

Chevrolet Bolt EV – Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs

Chevrolet Bolt EV _ Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

Chevrolet Bolt EV _ Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

According to Financial Times, General Motors has “pretty much resolved” the technical challenges of producing its groundbreaking Bolt electric car,but Mark Reuess, GM’s head of product development, says that “commercial issues” remain to be resolved.

Here’s Reuss’ comment on the technical issues:

“We’ve pretty much resolved most of them.  We know how to do it.  We’re doing it and evaluating it.”

Could his words be more vague?  We guess that the most challenging technical issue would be fitting 200 miles worth of battery into such a compact car, but what are these unresolved commercial issues? Price? Marketing?  We’re not sure and the Financial Times article provides no indication as to what the commercial issues might be.  However, there are some additional technical comments from Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles:

Ms Fletcher said GM had the “right proposition” for the battery. “We’re moving forward with that proposition,” she said.

Ms Fletcher, meanwhile, stressed that the issues with designing the Bolt went beyond the challenges of producing a suitable battery and reducing the vehicle’s weight. Much of the work was going into reducing air drag on the vehicle.

“Mass is important,” Ms Fletcher said. “Aerodynamics are an even bigger lever in vehicle efficiency.”

Source: Financial Times

Categories: Chevrolet

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189 Comments on "Chevrolet Resolves Technical Issues With Bolt, But Commercial Issues Remain"

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Scott Franco, the greedy republican

“Aerodynamics are an even bigger lever in vehicle efficiency.”

Use GMs political clout with the government to get the mirror requirement overturned. That would be a good start.

Speculawyer

I’m with you on that. Keep them as an option for those that want them. But I’d like to get rid of them personally.

Zim

Mirrors aren’t going to make the difference for what BEV’s are lacking in terms of range for the money. You’re squeezing blood from a stone.

Speculawyer

Oh, it is certainly just a minor tweak that will only affect things by a percent or so. But every bit helps.

mr. M

Its around 2% improvement.

Speculawyer

That’s pretty good. It all adds up. That would be many millions of barrels of oil over time.

CP

Do you have the faintest idea how many “millions” of barrels of oil we consume every year?

CP

I would never buy a car without mirrors, period. Anyone who thinks cameras will do the trick does not have a car with cameras. I do.

Brian

I’m sure many people said exactly the same thing about automatic transmissions 50 years ago.

Jelloslug

After having a car with a GOOD backup camera I would not trade it for fifty mirrors.

CP

I have two cars with backup cameras. I barely even pay attention to them.

Jeff Songster

Makes enough difference that it is a good idea. Camera like Nissan’s all around view combined with small screens inside where we all look for the external mirrors ought to do nicely. Fender skirts… even transparent ones would help too.

Of course the tech issues are already worked out… all they had to do was dust off the EV1 book…

CP

Oh God, fender skirts, and make it look even more nerd-like? No, no, NO!

Breezy

Not even that. EV1 tech is in the Spark and Volt.

Robert

What about having a pop out mirror? The mirror unfolds when you use your turn signal & folds back when not in use.

CP

I guess you don’t want to see in your blind spot. I do.

Brian

200 miles? Check.
$30,000 after tax credit? We’re doing our best.

That’s how I read this statement.

Alonso Perez

I read it as “we haven´t decided how many we are going to make”.

Zim

Well it’s a money loser so they’re incentive is to make enough to please the green crowd but not so many that they flush their profits down the toilet.

CP

If they sticker it at $37,500 as some have suggested, and then actually sell any of ’em, I suspect they’ll make money.

“Well, it’s a money loser”

Umm, false. Nice try, though!

Just_Chris

That’s the “commercial” issue that I see, really 200 miles is a 50-60 kWh battery is something your average enthusiast could do with a donor pickup truck, 200 mile EV for $37.5k that’s hard and how do you go from making 20-30k volts with sub 20kWh batteries to making 100k Bolts with 60 kWh batteries?

Nothing here is impossible but most of the issues I see are “commercial” or production related

Ziv

If the car is relatively efficient, they may finally get to 4 miles per usable kWh. If so a 55 kWh pack that is well managed might be doable instead of 60 kWh. Maybe. And pack price per kWh all in has fallen from $1000 to $625 in 2010 (per Patil of LG Chem) and is now approaching $400 which isn’t even close to Tesla or Nissan but it is the best GM and LG Chem have done. If they get that to $300 a kWh, about what Nissan and Tesla are at now, we are talking about $16,500 for the Bolt pack, all in.
I just don’t see the Bolt MSRP at $37,500 if the pack costs more than $15,000. Tesla may come close to $40k but GM won’t, at first. Or if GM does it will be decontenting in a way that Tesla isn’t ready to do. Nissan may though.

Ontario Leaf

I read it in the same way. Interesting times. I wonder how Nissan and Tesla will price Leaf 2 and Model 3.

DonC

I think that is what he’s saying. Given that four years ago everyone’s hearts were aflutter about a BEV with a 75 mile range for $34K, seems like a 200 mile BEV for even $40K is great progress.

I do think they’ll hit the price target. Might be very stripped down but there will be an entry level model at that price.

Mint

Were they really aflutter at that price? The Leaf tripled sales when its MSRP went down to $28k.

At this point, we need $35k pre-rebate base price for the Bolt to sell 50k+/yr, along with a much better charging network.

Those are the commercial hurdles, IMO.

I agree, the Bolt should come in under $35k to be reasonably successful.

CP

Where did you read a price?

MTN Ranger

“offer more than 200 miles” of electric range with a starting price of “around $30,000.”

http://insideevs.com/official-chevrolet-bolt-details-range-200-miles-starting-price-30000/

Of course they conviently left off the part that it is after tax credit. So the full price would start at 37,500.

CP

It wasn’t in this article.

Breezy

Yep. They need to hit 200 miles EPA. The cost is less certain.

Omar Sultan

Wonder if they are having portfolio positioning issues between the Bolt and the Volt?

Anton Wahlman

So, for the record, this was well-reported by the media on April 13.

Ryan

Perhaps commercial issues with sourcing enough batteries for 30,000 vehicles a year in the timeframe required? Perhaps their costs aren’t coming into line quickly enough to meet pricing targets?

Not as easy as you thought huh GM?

Lensman
Seems highly unlikely that is a problem. GM already depends on LG Chem to supply battery cells for the Volt, and contracts for large scale battery supplies are signed years in advance. Furthermore, LG Chem has publicly committed to building out significantly more li-ion battery production over the next few years. If GM really did say they plan to build 30,000 Bolts per year, then we can be fairly sure they have already secured the battery cell supply for those. If LG Chem has trouble meeting its commitments, it’s more likely to be a newer customer that’s going to be shorted. Not an established customer like GM. An EV designed from the ground up, as they should be and as the Bolt is, is designed around the battery pack. So the first thing GM needs to make a final decision on, is how many kWh of batteries to put into the pack. I wonder if they’ve made that decision yet? This will affect how many Bolts they can make, since they are dependent on an outside supplier for battery cells. The bigger the battery pack, the fewer cars they can build per year. Will the battery pack be 48 kWh,… Read more »
CP

A 48kWh battery pack will give the car an average range 120-130 mile range on the typical 80% of the pack. Summer range will be 150, and range in winter will be 110 in Seattle and 90 in Chicago.

Worst winter day will be 80 in Seattle and 60 in Chicago. Best summer day will be 160. It will not, not, NOT be a “200 mile car” on 48 kWh, nor will it be a mainstream car. And they need to find a different name. Not only does “Bolt” suck as a car name, but it’s going to screw up Volt marketing.

They need to stop pitching the Volt as an electric car and start pitching it as an enhanced-range hybrid. Put it up against the Prius, and they’ll kick some ass.

Lensman
Nobody using common sense would quote EV range at 80% charge as if that’s maximum range. In fact, Nissan changed the options on the Leaf precisely because the EPA was doing that brain-dead thing in rating the Leaf. An 80% charge is the right target for everyday driving, but when trying to get maximum range from a BEV, an experienced EV driver charges to 100%. Not 80%. If Nissan can get an EPA rated 84 miles of range from a big car like the Leaf with a 24 kWh battery pack, then a smaller, better streamlined car certainly should be able to get an EPA rated 150+ miles from a 48 kWh battery pack. Heck, the i3 gets an EPA rating of 81 miles from its 22 kWh battery pack. Twice that would be only 44 kWh. Of course, the i3 uses expensive components like carbon fiber body construction to make the car lighter, but that doesn’t improve range that much. If GM does as good a job with streamlining the Bolt as BMW did with the i3, I see no reason that the Bolt will need anything larger than a 50 kWh battery pack, at most, to hit that… Read more »
CP

Do you have an EV? The way you write, it sure doesn’t appear that way.

Bill Howland

Haha, yeah, I never know where this guy is since, having both a VOlt and a Tesla, its plain as day the volt is the more efficient product in the strictest sense of the word.

Now from a theoretical view, the Volt is also more efficient than the somewhat antiquated technology used in Teslas, although Tesla is working to improve it.

Now do I care that my Roadster (and the “S”, also in this regard) have antiquated technology? Not in the least, since the large batteries and simplicity in my mind are over-riding factors.

But your point CP about essentially “talking through one’s hat” is very germane.

liuping

The EPA combined rating of the Volt is 98MPGe. The Tesla Model S 70 is 101MPGe. That would indicate the Tesla is more efficient. And once the Votl switches to Gas mode it drop s substantially…

I think the Tesla is a lot less efficient when its battery runs dry than the Volt. The MPG of a tow truck carrying a heavy car like that can’t be very good.

Brian

True. But the Tesla is far more efficient between miles 40 and 200 than the Volt.

Bill Howland

Except for 1/2 a year. And, no offense, but anytime you drive a Roadster it is inefficient.

But those ‘official’ numbers are suspect. Especially they do not apply in cold weather even with the heater off. I still have yet to get hard information on the ‘leakage’ in a cold parking lot. But even perfect conditions assuming spring or fall weather, I have no idea whether they are including the ‘parked’ time, which any person who has to pay the bill would include.

Broder started with a “HOT” car. It has to be worse starting with a cold car. He didn’t get any 101 mpge on that 24 hour segment.

ON the other hand, the volt seems quite efficient (if you leave the heater off) during cold weather.

The only efficient item on the roadster is the relatively energy efficient 3 – phase semihermetic airconditioner.

Perhaps, but daily driving statistics show this is an extremely small percentage of driving… and is why Volts use such little gasoline with the existing gas-free electric range that they have.

CP

The Tesla S70 that they haven’t sold any units of? Nice sidestep with respect to Tesla’s S85 that accounts for all of that car’s sales, and gets 89 mpg-e. What is it about the Tesloids that makes ’em think no one will check facts, for God’s sakes?

Speculawyer

That they haven’t sold any units of? Where do you get this stuff? You can find messages on this website from people who have bought it. Perhaps they haven’t built any yet if the current queue is too long but they’ve certainly been selling them.

CP

It’s not a sale until it’s been delivered. To my knowledge, there isn’t a single S70 on the road except maybe a demo here and there. Tesla’s “S” cars are almost entirely S85s. This makes sense, given the reason most people buy them.

Bill Howland
As I say, that 101 mpgE figure does not seem to include charging. IF so, it would have to drop to at least 70 when charging at 120 volts. The S to its credit, seems to have equivalent charging efficiency at all 190-250 volt charging speeds. Id expect less at the supercharger due to heating/airconditioning/charger cooling losses. THey are just about getting ready to turn up the Clarence Supercharger. I’d like to watch a single S charge up there and see the energy consumption on the revenue meter. Unfortunately, the complex is in NYSEG franchise area, and they of course read the meter multiplier, but they have the habit of occassionally not ‘publicly listing it’. I’m going to assume it is either X80 or X160 but Ill watch a car charge and see which makes sense. Then, if the comparison is to straight gasoline (125k btu) or ethanoled (116k), I’ll make my own calculation as to the real ‘gallons gasoline equivalent’ that particular ‘S’ took to regain X number of miles, if I can get the owner to tell me his odometer reading the last time he charged and/or if he remembers how many miles he’s lost being parked. There… Read more »
CP

Ha ha! Another “Carwings” number, then? Why am I not surprised?!

Bill Howland

Since I’ve never owned a Leaf I don’t get the “Carwings” joke. Explain it to me.

The only thing I remember about the Leaf’s battery, is that when Tucson owners were complaining about too quickly losing battery bars, Andy Palmer said they’d ‘software update’ the gas gauges to include more bars.

Whoopty doo. As if that’s going to fix the batteries.

CP

Nissan’s “carwings” (not sure what word to use here — “site” or “program”) takes readings from the LEAFs and calculates fuel economy numbers. But those readings do not match “from the plug” numbers, because they come at later stage in the EV drive system.

In other words, they exclude charging losses, as if they never happened. I am a stickler for accuracy. I have an appliance meter that measures consumption before the juice hits the outside charging unit, let alone the one inside the car.

This is how the EPA measures consumption too. Nissan’s “Carwings” and now it seems Tesla are playing games. I’ve argued with LEAF owners who think they’re getting 145+ mpg-e because they actually take “Carwings” numbers at face value.

Bill,

Generally speaking, the Teslas are very inefficient with charging. I’ve heard that a 20 amp Level 1 outlet will charge a Tesla twice as fast as a 15 amp Level 1 outlet.

That means that at 120V, there’s roughly 10 amps dedicated to charging overhead… YIKES!

In comparison, a Volt can successfully charge its battery at 8 amps, whereas a Tesla would just sit there and burn the energy, never charging the battery. Kind of upsetting.

Maybe they fixed this with the Model S, but I know it was an issue with the Roadster.

Bill Howland

The relationship is more complicated. First off, Im not sure if you can charge an S at 16 amps/120,. Maybe with a 5-20 adapter. But its not listed on their charging charts. The charging efficiency according to them is only around 2/3 what it is at any 190-250 volt rate.

The roadster is optimized for 7-8 kw charging. Anything above or below this hurts, but 120 volts is especially bad, both 12 and 15 amps. There is substantial heating of the hexfets when charging at even 12 amps 110, apparently this is where most of the heat is wasted. But then there are 2 charging methods, the old transformerless, and the new (what I have) transformered PEM.

Bill Howland
CP if I could be allowed to comment on your “the VOLT isn’t an electric car”, I think you are ‘sharpening the pencil point a bit too sharply’. I’ve driven the past 800 miles in my volt without the engine starting even once. Its almost getting ready to do its 6 week maintenance, but thursday after next I’ll be driving over 1000 miles in the subsequent 4 days so that mtc wont be necessary. For all intents and purposes, My VOlt, and My probable ELR are totally electric cars, with an insurance policy attached. I think the analogue would be someone installing a GENSET at their house so that they are prepared for powerfailures. One might say they are either (I’ve heard both complaints with the volt, both of which seem to me unfounded): 1). Since you own a GenSet its a waste of money because it never runs. (They forget the concept of Insurance, which is essentially what a NATGAS GenSet is). 2). The GenSet now makes the Utility Service entrance connection disappear since you COULD run house on the GenSet. (Supposedly, the electric usage , which is the same or greater with the GENSET is irrelevant. I can… Read more »
CP

I hear you about the Volt, but I think it’s a hybrid with a bigger battery than most hybrids. I also think GM would be wise to market it as an enhanced hybrid rather than as an electric car.

There is considerable resistance in the real world to EVs. They are seen by many as expensive, short range, fussy, and even kinda sorta arrogant. Hybrids have hit the mainstream. If GM really wants to sell Volts, they’ll line it up against the Prius.

Spider-Dan

I don’t agree.

I think it would have been short-sighted for Toyota to try to hide or downplay the Prius as a hybrid. Toyota currently enjoys a significant market advantage having promoted the Prius as different than normal ICE cars (when in reality, from a user perspective it operates exactly the same: add gas and go).

Furthermore, I think it’s important that the Volt be positioned as an EV (read: a car you plug in). There’s already a lack of clarity on how the Volt works, and positioning it as an “enhanced hybrid” would likely result in buyers getting 41 gas MPG and complaining that it’s not as good as a Prius.

CP

I really think that calling it an EV at this point lengthens the sales cycle. Call it a hybrid — which, by the way, it is — and they’ll sell it twice as fast.

Spider-Dan

Well, yes, it is a hybrid. And so is the i3 REx.

But again, ICE hybrids are functionally identical to normal ICE cars from a user standpoint: you put gas in them to go. It is more useful to group non-plug-in hybrids with ICE cars and PHEVs with BEVs because of the refueling method.

CP

The i3rex isn’t a hybrid. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the i3rex uses the engine to turn the wheels. It’s accurately described as an EV. Not only that, but you can get an i3 without the rex; not so with a Volt.

Look, I like the Voltec architecture. I genuinely wish it well, and hope it’ll eventually go into a wide variety of GM vehicles. I simply think that, for now, when marketing the Volt, they should call it a hybrid rather than an EV.

Hard as it might be for people here to “get it,” but among ordinary buyers, “electric car” is a net negative. It evokes lots of negatives, starting with expense, low range, and general fussiness and unreliability.

“Hybrid,” on the other hand, that’s an idea that — thanks to Toyota — is well accepted and understood. GM wouldn’t even be lying if they were to call the Volt an enhanced hybrid. That’s exactly what it is, and Mom & Dad America will understand it.

Spider-Dan

Whether or not the gas engine directly powers the wheels determines whether the car is a parallel hybrid or a serial hybrid, but if the car is using gasoline as a source for propulsion, then it is a hybrid. So the i3 REx is a plug-in hybrid, just like the Volt. And yes, the i3 without the gas engine is not a hybrid, but since we’re talking about the one that has one, that’s not particularly relevant.

You are advocating that the Volt be advertised as comparable to a Prius, but the Volt loses the comparison on those terms. You must use the Volt as an EV (i.e. plug it in) in order to see the primary benefits of having it. So marketing it as an “enhanced hybrid” is not only missing the point, it’s actually working against the point.

Bill Howland

GM’s informal ‘Lexicon’ is somewhat more exacting than that. The VOLT and ELR to GM are totally electric cars (EREV’s), which is not too much of a fib since they seem like that until the battery is essentially dead.

Caddy’s head stated the upcoming CT6 is, optionally, “GM’s first PHEV”; I take that to mean that the 4 cyl engine comes on during the ‘electric time’ to help out when the driver floors the gas. So then you get motor and engine working at the same time, and if you have a feather touch on the gas pedal it will remain all electric until the 35 miles are up.

You really need to read the SAE paper that talks about how the Volt (which SAE defines as an EREV) starts the engine 70% less than other non-EREV PHEV’s like the Prius, CMax Energy, etc. and 80% of days being gas free, compared with 10% for the “best” PHEV available after the Volt.

http://www.hybridcars.com/study-shows-chevy-volt-can-burn-less-gas-than-any-other-phev/

This response is to CP by the way (the reply threads get confusing after a while!) 🙂

CP

Speak English, not Acronym, and I might take you seriously.

Spider-Dan

It’s pretty ironic that after jumping on everyone for the use of proper terminology (e.g. “income”) in the comments of the Tesla earnings article, now you’re playing the “just use normal English!” card.

Correct terminology matters. The Volt and the i3 REx are both extended range EVs, and it’s rather absurd to insist that when both of them are running on gasoline power, the i3 REx gets some sort of extra credit because of it’s less efficient serial hybrid operation (as opposed to the Volt’s parallel hybrid operation).

TomH

It would be a huge mistake, in my opinion, to announce this as a 200-mile car if what they mean by that is 200 miles under “optimal conditions”. Optimal conditions are 45 mph, 72 degrees temperature.

It needs to be at least as close to 200 miles EPA rated as the Leaf is to its nominal 100-mile range, which is 84 miles. For the Bolt that’s about 165-mile range EPA. It will need a 48 KWh battery pack for this. A 60 KWh battery pack would get an honest 200-mile range EPA.

Lensman

Nobody who actually follows what EV makers do, would expect GM to cite a real-world range for the Bolt. No EV maker does that, any more than gas guzzler makers cite accurate numbers for MPG.

It would be nice if they did… but they don’t. Even Tesla originally advertised the Model S as a “300 mile” BEV, altho the EPA range was 265 miles, until recent changes to the model.

JakeY

Your Tesla example is wrong. Tesla advertised 300 miles EPA and they achieved 320 miles EPA (2-cycle test, same test as Roadster). What actually happened was during the Model S development, the EPA was switching to the 5-cycle test. So by the time the car was sold, the 5-cycle test was in effect and that’s where the 265 miles comes from.

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/model-s-efficiency-and-range

This is different from the Leaf, where the 100 mile was based only on the LA-4 city cycle, not EPA 2-cycle.

Steven

+1

Hey JakeY, so what you’re saying is that the EPA changed their tests mid stream, yes? And that it’s not Tesla’s fault?

Great. I buy that. I just hope you’re not also one of those people that jump on GM for the 230MPG number with the Volt, because the same thing happened there.

JakeY

While I didn’t personally give GM much grief about the 230mpg thing, the situations are not the same.

In Tesla’s case, when they advertised 300 miles of range in early 2009, the 2-cycle test was still in effect (giving the Roadster 244 miles EPA). So Tesla was using a valid, final published standard in comparison to the Roadster. It just so happens 2012 (the year the Model S was released) was the year the EPA made it mandatory to use the 5-cycle test.

In GM’s case, they were knowingly using a preliminary unofficial standard that they were negotiating with the EPA about and that they knew would change at any time. Even during at the exact moment they were using it, the EPA refused to provide any backup for that number (so obviously they didn’t really consult with the EPA before advertising with it). So GM had to take some responsibility for that.

Also the 230mpg number was *city only* just like the Leaf’s was. So GM knew it was an inflated number even if the EPA decided to go with that test methodology at the end, just like Nissan knew the 100 mile range number was an inflated number.

CP

The real working range of a Tesla Model S is about 160 miles in winter and 225 or so in summer.

So you’re faulting GM for having a car ready to sell before the EPA could make up their mind on the final test?

That seems silly, and semantic. GM did the best they could with the EPA dragging their feet. It’s not a bad thing that GM beat everyone else to the punch with an EREV.

JakeY

No, I’m not faulting them for coming out with a car before the EPA was ready. But at the same time they knew the standard was not finalized, so to say that they take no blame doesn’t make sense either. The 2010 PiP concept came out at the same time and Toyota kept their mouth shut about estimated MPG, instead opting to let the media testers observe the equivalent mpg they can get out to of it in test drives. GM instead opted to go with full on marketing with that 230mpg number and ended up with egg on their face.

GM also played the same game Nissan played by advertising only the city number, something that Nissan got a lot of flack for, so I don’t see why GM should get away with that either.

Dr. Miguelito Loveless

If they stay true to form, I am guessing 150-175 real world miles for range.

Alonso Perez

Which would be very, very good.

Lensman

Yes it would. It puzzles me that anyone would claim that 150 miles of real-world range “isn’t enough” to make a compelling BEV. But then, give some people 400 miles, and they’ll complain it’s not 500; give them 500, and they’ll complain it’s not 750.

If you look at a graph of how far people actually drive in a day, 150 miles would be more than sufficient to cover the needs of the vast majority of drivers:

Even figuring a 25% reduction for driving on very cold days, which would bring the range down to 112.5 miles, it should still be adequate to cover the needs of the majority.

And remember, cars don’t need to appeal to 100% of the market. Given the different needs and wants of different people no car is going to appeal to everyone. But if any car can appeal to 80%, it’s got a shot at being a top seller.

CP

It’s NOT 150 miles of “real world range.” Stop being such an EVangelist! People are going to figure out quick who’s bull****ting.

mr. M

EPA is real world range. Sometimes you get more, sometimes less. If your Argument is that EPA numbers are not the bare minimum you can expect, then you are right.

Speculawyer

This. He is confusing ‘absolute minimum range in worst case conditions’ with ‘typical real world range’.

CP

Mainstream buyers will worst-case it. They simply will not make the allowances that the EVangelists do. For EVs to really break out in the U.S., the range will have to be a) much farther than it is now, and b) for real.

The numbers routinely thrown around are theoretical maximums if you drive it all the way to zero. You have to start by giving all those numbers a 20% haircut. Then you have to make adjustments for winter and altitude. And I always had to laugh when Tesla claimed 300 miles and then told people that it only worked if you drove 55 miles an hour.

Look, if you want to do the EVangelist group grope, I can’t stop you. But I’m going to keep giving real numbers for ordinary buyers.

Speculawyer

Did you know we have all been driving gas cars for a long time and the phrase acronym YMMV is so well-known that it is a generic phrase meaning that your experience may vary. Everyone knows that EPA MPG numbers are not spot accurate and nor are EPA range numbers.

I think people are bit smarter than you give them credit for.

Speculawyer

BTW, So . . . did you run out of charge with your EV once and now you are eternally bitter about it or something?!?!?

CP

I ran out once — entirely on purpose, to calibrate the range numbers for my spreadsheet. No “bitterness,” just an insistence on truth, and a mainstream viewpoint. EVs as enthusiast toys is a boring subject.

Grumpy

I find that EVs are actually much more likely to exceed their advertised range. With the warmer temperatures, I am back to averaging about 52 miles per charge in the 2012 Volt, which has the smaller 16 kWh pack. The last time I got only 35 miles to a charge was driving on the highway at 75 in a rain/snow mix that required constant defroster use. I will admit that my one advantage is living at 5,000 ft above sea level, where air density is lower, but this is just another EV advantage that nobody talks about.

The unfair criticism of EVs is that any moron can’t achieve the EPA range regardless of driving conditions. The last time I looked at long term reviews of ICE cars in MotorTrend, all their cars were generally under-achieving their advertised ranges.

CP

ICE ranges don’t matter as much. Not when there are 150,000+ gas stations that refuel as 5 gallons a minute, as opposed to EV chargers that refuel at rates between 0.6 miles a minute and 5.5 miles a minute.

ArkansasVolt

EV’s will NOT be mass adopted until people can drive long trips without having to stop to recharge for 30 minutes every 170 miles. Ideally 15 minutes every 250+ miles would work great for me. Most people that buy a car do not want to have an EV daily driver then another vehicle for trips.

Speculawyer

Oh they certainly might be adopted even if they are stuck with those limitations.

What matters is the comparison to what else is out there. Gasoline is made from a finite commodity that we literally burn up. The long term price trend of gasoline is up.

So lets say gasoline eventually costs $15/gallon. I predict that even you would be damn happy to drive a 150 mile range EV and you’d have little problem adjusting to a fast-charge during those infrequent long trips.

CP

If the sales pitch is “buy one of these because gas might go to $15,” the answer will be: “I think I’ll wait and see.”

liuping

It’s not so much what people drive in an average day that matters.

For example my daily commute is 40 miles round trip. so most days I drive 40 miles. but on occasion, I need to pick up my kid at school, or go to the doctors, or buy groceries. On those days I can easily drive twice as much. On weekends the range is all over the places. Frequently well over 150 miles.

Unless everyone is expected to have spare gas cars around for back up, high range is important. It has to be well above any average day chart.

Speculawyer

Well . . . one of the things is that these days we DO ALL have spare cars lying all over the place. Go grab a zipcar, use your smartphone to hail an uber or lyft car, or just call an old-fashioned cab. (OK, that doesn’t work in places that don’t have those services but they are now available in a lot of places.)

So these days, it is not so hard to get by even if you have a short range EV when you can just use car-sharing and ride-sharing services.

CP

In Seattle, a Car2Go is even dinkier than an EV, and costs $78 a day.

Warren

From a dictionary:

commercial

1. able to yield or make a profit
2. suitable or fit for a wide, popular market

If you make the crossover people will buy, it is too draggy, and requires a 52 kWh battery, making it too expensive.

If you make it aerodynamic you can get away with a 32 kWh battery, but they won’t buy it because it “looks like a fish.”

Like she said, they know HOW to do it, but how do you make it affordable, and still get them to buy it?

Speculawyer

This is why I think PHEVs will be the bigger market that pure EVs over the next few years. I’ve been kinda surprised that it has been a near 50/50 split between pure BEVs and PHEVs. But I think it is because the hardcore greenies and EVers want pure EVs and they still make up the bulk of the plug-in buyers these days.

That and the fact that if you sell at a high-end luxury EV level (Tesla) then you can stuff in enough batteries such that there is pretty much no compromise compared to a similar priced gas car.

Ambulator

Perhaps putting so much head room in the rear hurts the aerodynamics. Do you want 200 miles with a kiddy seat in the rear or do you want 170 miles with adult seats?

Lensman

According to the Edmunds.com review, the BMW i3 has plenty of head room in the rear. Since the Bolt looks so much like the i3, I suspect head room in the rear seat won’t be a problem.

Ambulator

But the i3’s range suffers quite a bit at highway speeds, unlike the Tesla Model S. I wonder just how much EPA range the Bolt will end up with?

Speculawyer

Yeah, I think the i3’s design leaves much to be desired in both aesthetics and aerodynamics.

Warren

Yup. And a Bolt/i3 will require 52 kWh minimum for 200 mile range, and will not be “commercial” without government, and car company incentives to sell them.

Perhaps in 10-20 years with better/cheaper batteries.

Lou Grinzo

I am intensely curious about many aspects of the Bolt, but in particular:

1. How will they fit the big honkin’ battery into that small a car.

2. What will the EPA range really be when it ships?

These are obviously connected. At $37.5k you can easily get 200 EPA miles, but how big a battery will that take, and where will you squeeze it? If the pack protrudes noticeably into the cargo area, ala the Focus EV, then GM has a humongous problem.

I’m quite sure that right now there’s one heck of a battle going on inside GM between engineers and management over what they can do vs. the resulting cost of production. I hope some documentary film maker has access and is recording this, because it would be a fascinating watch.

Lensman

Lou Grinzo asked:

“How will they fit the big honkin’ battery into that small a car.”

Since the overall shape of the Bolt is quite similar to the BMW i3, I’m guessing that it will locate the battery pack flat under the floor, as is also the case with the Tesla Model S. The Bolt and the i3 both are relatively tall, again suggesting batteries under the cabin floor.

Photo of the i3 “skateboard” including battery pack:

Reuss did say packaging was definitely challenging, more then people think.

I agree they will have to be in the floor. I think this would also give them the “utility” that the Bolt is supposed to have. If you put the batteries below the floor, you could have the back seats on rails to move as needed or even remove them for larger loads.

TomH

A 200 EPA range would require a 60 KWh battery pack.

Alonso Perez

I don’t think so. The Model S 60 got that, but the Model S is a much bigger car, with more cross-section area, more weight, larger tires adding friction, etc.

I think 200 EPA for the Bolt could be done with low 50’s kWh. Maybe 52 or 54.

The Spark EV gets 82 miles with a 20kWh battery. Not that it’s completely linear, but as a rough estimate, 20kwh * 200miles/82 miles = 48.7kWh

CP

If it “gets 82 miles,” that means it actually gets an average of about 65 miles, because EV owners don’t run their cars to empty. And that 65 miles will vary enormously during the year.

You can tell yourself any tale you want, but the mainstream buyer is not going to fall for these exaggerated claims.

Spider-Dan

CP, while I agree with your basic premise (200 EPA miles != 200 REAL miles), the standard is what it is and cars will be compared to each other based on this mileage. An EPA 200-mile EV will get significantly more than 200 miles in the spring and fall, slightly less than 200 miles in the summer, and significantly less than 200 miles in the winter (based on my experience with the Volt, anyway).

There will be a subset of customers who say, “OK, it’s 85 miles one-way to Grandma’s house, and this car has a 200-mile range, therefore we can drive to Grandma’s house for Xmas in this car.” These customers are in for a disappointment, but if we are being honest, 200-mile-range is still not sufficient for a BEV to be the sole family car at this time. So in reality, this family will have another ICE anyway and this won’t be a huge deal.

CP
An EPA “200 mile” EV will NOT get more than 200 miles in summer, because the EPA rating measures from full to empty (wheels won’t roll). In actual use, a prudent EV owner refills at between 20% and 30% state of charge. I just looked at the spreadsheet I’ve kept on my EV ever since Januarry 2013. (I’ve owned it since September 2012, but didn’t start keeping detailed records until I got a Level 2 charger and an appliance meter.) My average refill since January 2013 has been at 29% SOC. In the past year, it’s been at 28% SOC. Taking seasonal variations into account, it has ranged from 26% to 30% at refill. Why so high? Because my Think City’s “guess-o-meter” is conservative, i.e. it tends to tell you that you’ve got less juice left than you really do. I even record the guess-o-meter number so I can tell the difference between it and the actual SOC. The average guess-o-meter SOC has been 19% to 21%. It’s a little like the ICEV I rented on a trip to England a couple years ago. There we are, on a rainy evening on the outskirts of York, a town up north.… Read more »
Spider-Dan

First off, as a small correction: I said that an EPA 200-mile EV would get more than 200 miles in spring/fall, not summer.

Second, you appear to be making an argument for how many miles people will actually choose to use, and not how many they can use. If I drive a Model S for my 30-mile round-trip daily commute, that does not make it a 30-mile EV.

My point is essentially that someone driving an EPA 200-mile EV would be able to get significantly more than 200 miles on a full charge, not that they would need to or choose to.

By the logic you are using, GM shouldn’t list a top speed of 100 MPH for the Volt because most people never drive that fast. And Tesla shouldn’t list a 0-60 time of 2.8sec for the P85D because regularly putting that kind of stress on the car would be unwise.

CP

If they sell a Bolt (terrible name, by the way — have I mentioned that?) as a 200 mile vehicle, for starters they will be using an entirely theoretical number, because no one drives their vehicle until it’s empty. Or at least they don’t do it more than once.

Therefore, by calling a 200 mile car, they can do only one thing: Create the impression that, once again, General Motors is playing games and being less than honest with buyers.

Tesla got away with it because they sell to Kool-Aid drinkers of one kind or another. Witness in a different thread the majority of commenters who tried to misuse basic financial terms because to tell the straight facts might endanger their speculative stock bet.

General Motors is General Motors, as in “middle America.” They were brought low by allowing their general standards to go to hell. Millions of people don’t trust them. Calling a car that, on a good day, will need refilling every 160 miles, and on other days will need refilling as often as every 70 or 80 miles, is a prescription for yet one more flop.

“If they sell a Bolt (terrible name, by the way — have I mentioned that?) as a 200 mile vehicle, for starters they will be using an entirely theoretical number, because no one drives their vehicle until it’s empty. Or at least they don’t do it more than once.”

Haha, well Nissan and others advertise their electric vehicles in that way, so…

CP

And have you noticed that hardly anyone buys electric cars?

Spider-Dan

Then as I said, you are arguing for the elimination of top speed as a metric, as it’s unsafe to drive at those speeds anyway.

Your entire argument rests upon the premise that if someone buys an EV with a 300-mile range, they are totally unable to conceive of a situation where they would not be able to drive 300 miles in one go.

Again, by this same logic, if Ford says that an F-150 gets 18 MPG and has a 23 gallon tank, that absolutely, positively means that that I don’t even have to look at the fuel gauge until my trip odometer passes 400 miles. This is absurd.

Jeff Songster

Like I said in an earlier response… Of course GM knows how to build electric cars… Dust off the EV1 book and scale and update as necessary. Find and replace Induction paddle socket with J1227 plug with DC CCS combo. Find Nimh replace with LiIon… you get the idea. My guess is it will have a 35 to 40 kWh battery and will barely make 200 miles hypermiling. Gotta keep the weight and cost down… gonna be fun to see how each maker does this.
As to where to put the batteries… GM also invented a skateboard form chassis years before Tesla… so there is your basis… stuff it with cells… and off you go.

MTN Ranger

None of that is necessary. They just need the Spark EV components scaled up along with the larger battery pack with the new LG cells. It’s as simple as that.

Anon

Yup, here it comes… The PR Spin to “Realign Customer Expectations” for the real Bolt– not the cool 200+ range prototype ya’ll saw at the car show.

CP

To get an honest 200+ miles of range throughout the United States, an EV needs a 100 kWh battery. EVangelists will duck and bobv and weave, but it’s true. Mainstream buyers — if they fall for it — will figure it out real quick.

CP

… and even 100 kWh wouldn’t give 200 miles of 80% range (aka honest range) in mid-winter in the industrial Midwest, New England, or the Great Plains.

Anon

No. This vehicle is built on a tiny Sonic platform. It’s a small, but tall vehicle that weighs no where near a Model X. GM loves to use thin materials with lots of holes and tiny spot welds. Nothing thick, solid, monolithic and flex resistant like Tesla. 60 to 75 should do it, if the aero ends up not being too terrible.

If GM gets cheap with the thermal management system, range will certainly suffer unnecessarily in the winter months. We’ll see what the fight between bean counters and engineers brings to the market. 😉

Bill Howland

Well CP, My volt also does not perform great during cold weather (the battery range for my ’35 mile VOlt’ has been from 6 to 44); but I think doing mileage tests with the air conditioner and heater off are perfectly fair. In my area the heater uses huge amounts of juice and the air conditioner next to nothing. But Tucson owners would disagree….

They might mention that heater use will greatly decrease range, but then, maybe the Bolt will get cold-weather style heat pump, if this doesn’t increase the cost excessively.

I read somewhere the estimated EPA for the BOLT will be 203 miles. If the recent past is any indication, GM will accomplish this with a reasonably sized battery for the job (one might look at the spark, and do a scale up of both the size of the car, and the increased mileage requirement to guestimate the number of kwh required since GM designed both the spark ev and the volt).

Speculawyer

GM had damn well better do really good aerodynamics for the Bolt. And if that concept is an indication of what they are planning then they are doing it WRONG. They Bolt should be MORE aerodynamic than the Volt. The Volt can always quickly refill with gasoline, the Bolt can’t. It is the Bolt that really needs the best aerodynamics.

I hope GM doesn’t screw this up . . . but ever since they released the original Volt and Spark EV . . . just about every other plug-in thing they’ve is a screw-up. The ELR was stupid. Same with the next plug-in Caddy but slightly less so. The Bolt looks too much like brick. No Voltec SUV, minivan, or pick-up. (OK, they’ve done a great job on the VOlt 2.0 . . . but that is only because THEY LISTENED to the current Volt drivers for what they wanted.)

Speculawyer

100KWH required for 200 mile range? That’s ridiculous. You seem to be looking for an absolute minimum range number from a car in the absolute worst possible conditions. That’s ridiculous. Many people never get the EPA rated MPG for a gasoline car either but that doesn’t mean the EPA number is bad. Weather conditions, driving habits, temperature, tire pressure, and other things all affect MPG & range. People need to take these into consideration.

The EPA rated ranges are quite accurate in average wearther conditions when you drive reasonably. But if the temps are real cold and/or you drive real fast then you are not going to get the EPA rated number and you should be fully aware of that fact. But that doesn’t mean the EPA rated range is wrong.

CP

I insist on commenting from a mainstream perspective. I am well equipped to do that on account of my long experience with all kinds of cars. The mainstream buyer will be quite literal about any performance claims, and will test those claims not on a 75-degree day in the Bay Area, but in much less optimal conditions.

Tesla can get away with lying about the Model S because their buys are early adopter enthusiasts and/or status seekers. More ordinary buyers are a completely different group. General Motors would be extremely mistaken to sell a 48 kWh car as a “200 mile” car. If they do it, they’re going to get shredded for it.

Speculawyer
Well, I am pretty sure that we are ALL well-experienced with cars. However, I must seem to admit that you don’t seem to be that familiar with cars and EPA rated MPGs. If you were, you’d know that the EPA rated MPGs for gas cars are just from one specific protocol created a few years back. It tends to give slightly over-optimistic values since it was created back when people drove slower. Everyone in the USA knows that the EPA MPG figure is not perfectly accurate, sometimes you get more, and often you get less because it is based on slow driving. The EPA rated range is very similar. And most people know that even if you don’t. And yeah, car salesman will lie . . . that is another thing that most people know too. Although there always will be people that get suckered by their lies. Is that what happened to you with your EV leaving you eternally bitter? BTW, the EPA rated number is at least reasonable accurate . . . if you really want to whine about MPG and range ratings then take a look at the Japanese and European MPG & range ratings . .… Read more »
CP

EPA adjusted their gas mileage numbers downward after criticism. In any case, ICEV range isn’t nearly as important an issue when the average small car gets 28 mpg and the average gas pump — from at least 150,000 gas stations — will upload 140 miles of range a minute.

An EV will upload 0.6 to 5.7 miles of range per minute — which is why the “Blink” charger network went bankrupt.

Stan

Actually, you insist on pushing the outlier as the mainstream. There is considerable data showing what average drivers achieve in real life. EPA’s 5-cycle is reasonably representative based on the data.

CP

No, it’s not! The EPA number is accurate for what it is — the full range of the vehicle. But you don’t drive ANY vehicle to empty. It’s flatly misleading to quote EPA range as if this is what a daily driver will get between refills.

CP

Also: The EPA number will tell you the average full range throughout the year. You’ll do better in summer, worse in winter, and a lot worse on really cold winter days. Even in Seattle, where the lowest overnight winter temperature I’ve recorded (yep, I’m one of those guys with a weather station at home — surprised?) has been 18 degrees, my coldest-day range is typically half my warmest-day range.

Take an EV to Chicago or Minneapolis or Des Moines or Detroit or Boston or Montreal or Milwaukee in January and Feburary, and you’ll do even worse.

CP

Finally, two things.

1. GM will not get a 200-mile EPA range with a 48 kWh battery. Period.

2. If GM puts just enough battery in the Bolt (terrible name) to get 200 miles of EPA range, they’d better not lead customers to expect that range. They will face a blizzard (pardon the pun) of bad press when people start telling whoever will listen than they live in Chicago are have to refill their EV every 70 or 80 miles between Christmas and Easter.

ggpa

I am guessing GM is struggling to get a big battery included in the $37.5k price.

One solution would be to use the Tesla playbook and sell 2 models
– Bolt Basic, with 40kWh
– Bolt Plus, with 60kWh

David Murray

I’ve wondered about this as well. And I think that would be a good move, especially if they are going to discontinue the Spark EV. That would give them something to fill the gap for the cheaper EV, as well as fill the higher end. What would make sense is to go exactly double. So a 100 miles on the low-end and 200 on the high end. That way they could use two parallel battery packs on the high end, so they would not need to re-engineer a new battery cell. Or it could be like 85 miles and 170 miles, or whatever.

ModernMarvelFan

The commerical problem I thinks involves the following:

1. long term cost goal once the $7.5k goes away. By the time that Bolt release, GM is potentially 1/2 way there (up to 100K unit total sold in Spark EV/Volt/ELR). If the tax incentives goes away, it would really put a halt on the GM production.

2. Charging network and its support. GM is behind on this one.

3. Selling it through Dealer network. Some of the dealer openly refuse that. How does GM bypass dealers without pissing them off at the same time to risk other parts of the “Old business”…

The commercial issues are trying to figure out what kind of commercials they want to use to advertise the Bolt.
🙂

EVer

why the **** are they trying to improve aerodynamics on a box

just make a damn sleek sedan smh

I agree, a sleek front end and sloped rear window would make a significant difference, perhaps 30% to 40% improvement. But then, GM already has an EV like that, it’s called the Volt! Why not just make an all-electric (BEV) version of the Volt?

Need more packaging room for the batteries.

Speculawyer

Uh . . . see the Tesla.

I don’t think 50kWh would fit in floor of the Volt in the manner Tesla it. Would also have to adjust all of the heights.

Warren

If you think the Volt, or any other conventional car has 30-40% better CdA than a small crossover, like the i3, you are dreaming.

Real aerodynamics requires much more radical design.

Dreaming? I owned a 1991 Firebird Formula with a 5 Liter V8 and it got close to 40 mpg. It was a hatchback with the rear window raked right to the back fender similar to the Tesla Model S. The front end was very sleek similar to the Corvette with NO GRILLE! Instead there was a small baffle plate underneath that deflected air up into the radiator. A truck or SUV with same V8 engine barely got 20 mpg. Do the math!

You need to define if you are talking about 30-40% improvement in MPG or in aerodynamics. That would be a big change in CdA from just tweaking a design.

Warren

A little digging finds this.

Volt Cd .28 CdA 6.70 sq ft
i3 Cd .29 CdA 7.43 sq ft

How does an 10% lower CdA yield a 30-40% range improvement?

Warren

To get a 40% increase in range/efficiency would require more than a 40% improvement in CdA because the mechanical and rolling resistance don’t go down. But let’s ignore that. Lets say you need a 4.45 CdA. The original Honda Insight comes close at 5.10 CdA. The EV1 is a sure winner at 3.95. Like I said typical production cars don’t come close to the efficiency needed for a 200 mile, 32 kWh, $30K car.

Speculawyer

The Volt should be shaped like the Bolt concept (it has a gas engine and can take the aerodynamics hit).

The Bolt should look more like the Volt 2.0 (but perhaps longer and even more aerodynamic).

GM got the two cars reversed!

Speculawyer

EVer, I agree 100%. I think the Bolt concept is terrible. They need to make something that looks more like the Tesla Model S or the various unofficial Model 3 renders.

Alan

“It looks like the Bolt will be the first nominally “200 mile” EV to go into production, and this is one case where being the first mover is a disadvantage rather than an advantage. Other EV makers”

comment image%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.caradvice.com.au%252F217855%252Fmitsubishi-ca-miev-concept%252Fphotos%252F%3B1280%3B734

According to the dealership exec when I collected my outlander PHEV last week told me this would be on sale with 200 miles of range next year and won’t cost the earth !

Bone

CA-MiEV has 28 kWh battery. Sure it looks aerodynamic, and if it’s light and has efficient drivetrain it can have 100 – 120 miles EPA range, but anything more than that isn’t realistic with 28 kWh pack.

Alan

That original concept car isn’t necessarily the one that is being sold next year with 200 miles range, apparently the battery also has some flexibility which I suspect is Graphene ?

Don’t shoot the messenger ! The guy said it is literally ready to go and will be on sale next year.

Bone

I don’t doubt that dealer said that, and I don’t blame You for reporting it. I just don’t consider car dealers as trustworthy source of information.

But we will see. Mitsubishi certainly is a serious player in the EV field, and one that could bring some interesting surprises to the table.

Alan

He had just come from a 3 day course recently when I was there and when I told him my next car would be all electric, he showed me some internet photo’s of the CA-MiEV concept 3.

Fingers crossed !

CP

The 2016 iMiEV has a 16 kWh battery. The EPA gives is 62 miles of range, which means 50 miles on 80% of the battery. No wonder they’ve sold only 227 of them in the United States since 2013.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=36023

mr. M

Lol outlander, 200 miles? Think they meant the leaf.

Alan

Try reading what I wrote !

mr. M

I thought your “this” was meant to be your purchase aka the Outlander. Now i see that you meant propably the picture of the CA… Yes the ca-miev might come soon. This would be cool!

bro1999

Let’s remember, the CEO of GM was the one that introduced the Bolt EV, and the one that dropped the “200 EV miles, $30k after incentives” targets. This wasn’t some off the cuff interview with a senior engineer. The CEO of a company isn’t going to put out hard numbers like that unless they know they will be able to hit those numbers once the car goes into production.

A base Bolt EV will have an EPA rated 200+ mile EV range for ~ $37,500 before incentives, in some form or another.

Londo Bell

“CEO of GM was the one that introduced the Bolt EV…”

Seriously??? Where have you been? Another one that needs to wake up from the sweet dream of “GM is everything to me…”

If Dan could “lied” about Volt being able to drop $10K, why can’t Mary?

If (oh, I don’t know who the CEO was at the time) could lied about the Volt being a BEV, then a plug-in hybrid back then, and also the 230 mpg claim, why can’t this happen now?

By the time the Bolt is released, will Mary still be the CEO?

See where I’m going?

What’s really funny here is that, 83 comments (84 including mine), for a story about NOTHING! That’s classic, lol

bro1999

Akerson was quoted as saying “I think we can decrease price 7-10k”, and accounting for inflation, GM did hit the low end of the price cut projection. So there was no lying at all.

About the 230 mpg claim, it was probably silly for GM to spit out that figure, but it was before the EPA had even settled on an official formula for calculating fuel economy numbers for EVs. The EPA ended up using a different formula (obviously) than the one GM used to calculate the 230 mpg figure.

If the Bolt EV doesn’t have an EPA rated 200+ EV range, I’ll eat my hat.

Londo Bell

Then may I suggest you to get your bib, napkins and forks ready

Kidding aside, i am NOT saying that it can’t happen; rather I am saying that it’s unlikely.

BTW, you may want to dust up your Volt’s pricing reduction info there. It was in 2013/4/30 (around that time) when DA talks about then price reduction. In 2014/6, Volt price dropped by $5k via incentives, with official price cut in 2014/8.

It’s only 2 years, so inflation should be minimal between then and now, and in fact, with US$ so high at this point, cost should be much lower now, as quite a poroportion of Volt’a parts are imported.

Point being, things (PR on pricing and range) can change either way, but usually not as good in the auto industry.

Londo Bell

Sorry, pls change the 2014 year to 2013 in my previous comments.

ModernMarvelFan

Price of 2016 Volt is $34K.

Price of 2011 Volt in 2010 was $41K.

$41K in 2010 is $44K today. $44K to $34K is $10K reduction already.

Londo Bell

Again, all talk and no support.

Can you show that INFLATION was something DA spoke of in his speech?

Or something that GM fans like you keep saying, like, just because you say so?

Mind you, I provided time period on when DA spoke of price reduction, End of Apr 2013. Back then Folt was selling at 39995′ with a $5000 price cut (via incentives at first) in just a month!

What is your aupport that his speech was referring to the price in 2011, and not 2013, when he actually spoke about it.

Please, stop dreaming up your own fairy tales.

Spider-Dan

Direct quote from Akerson: “[I]n this next generation we think we can decrease the price on the order of $7,000 to $10,000, without decontenting.”

Gen 1 starting MSRP was $41,000 (and it was still $41k when he made this statement in early 2013).
Gen 2 starting MSRP is $34,000.
$41,000 – $7,000 = $34,000.
Mission accomplished. No inflation reference necessary.

Chris O

Commercial issues as in this probably will not be able to compete with Tesla’s upcoming Model 3?

Very legitimate concern.

Steven

My reading of it is:

“Yes, we’re selling a cheaply built, ugly car at a loss. How can we convince you to buy a more profitable vehicle.”

Nothing’s changed. GM’s main goal has always been to sell and promote ICE vehicles. Planned obsolescence, cyclic maintenance, limited life span. Bigger the better.

To continue support of that business plan, econo boxes and EV’s need to be curtailed as much as possible. Look at how hideous they made the spark (and in pastel colors at that). Crushed all the EV1’s. Minimal advertising for the Volt. The Bolt will delay and morph to something less than promised. Without a doubt.

Who pooped in your corn flakes?
Let’s revisit the Bolt in Q4 2016.

GM did. My family grew up on Pontiacs and I still have two in my driveway.
There’s their involvement in elimination of electric street cars. From W.-
There is no question that a GM-controlled entity called National City Lines did buy a number of municipal trolley car systems. And it’s beyond doubt that, before too many years went by, those street car operations were closed down. It’s also true that GM was convicted in a post-war trial of conspiring to monopolize the market for transportation equipment and supplies sold to local bus companies.
Then there is the EV1…
Not to mention their successful pressure on CARB to overturn the requirements for zero emission vehicles in California. At a time when GM, Honda and Toyota all manufactured EVs.
GM’s endless marketing to promote trucks and large SUV’s with much less marketing towards fuel efficient sedans and essentially none for EV’s or even the Volt.

Sounds like you are eating Conspiracy Flakes. I don’t want to get into it, but GM has done more for plug-in vehicles in the last 8 years than any other company, and that includes Tesla. If GM hadn’t proceeded w/the Volt through thick & thin, none of the other majors would have followed.

Londo Bell

Wow oh wow, this couldn’t be more incorrect.

You do know that Renault – Nissan has more plug in models then GM, right? Not only that, factories in 3 continents, and manufacture its own batteries too.

Oh wait, did I mention that they also built racing vehicles concepts and raced them iin LeMan 24 hours?

Or, companies like BYD who spent tons on research not only for plug in cars, but also CUV and buses?

There’s a world outside of the GM garden, just so you know.

Spider-Dan

Both Nissan and GM deserve huge credit for pushing EVs forward for the mainstream.

Tesla is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to the image of EVs, but currently they only make toys for the ultra-wealthy.

BMW makes one Rolex-on-wheels (i8) and another car they were willing to sacrifice for compliance credits in the U.S. (the i3).

Mitsubishi makes a really bad city car and a pretty good PHEV SUV (just not in the U.S.).

No one else is even worth discussing, and you can’t even compare Nissan and GM to any of the above when it comes to mass market EVs.

Kdawg,
I’m happy to revisit the Bolt scenario in a year and will be even happier to see my pessimism proved wrong 🙂

Let’s see, GM makes ONE pure EV and it’s available in TWO states. Sorry, but that’s not an indication that they want to promote EV’s. So sad considering that they were actually manufacturing a BEV FIFTEEN years ago (!)

I am excited about the huge potential of the new Volt. However, not holding my breath that GM will promote it in a matter to resonate with the masses.

Bill Howland

CSS you’re right but try not to brag about that fact too much…

If its any consolation, most of GM’s de-electrification was the ‘old – GM’.

Even the old GM had to eat humble pie when they tried to incriminate Ralph Nader, and he got the biggest settlement against a corporation ever.

GM was like AT&T of old. They overused their considerable influence until people got tired of them. No chance of that happening again since they are just a shell of their former selves. The chinese will buy GM or GM partnered cars as long as GM behaves themself.

CP

The crap about GM tearing up streetcar lines would be more convincing if the examples weren’t entirely about Los Angeles, when in fact dozens of cities took them out at the same time. Why? The streetcars got in the way of the automobiles.

Bill Howland

I’m sorry CP but CSS is absolutely correct about the street car issue. Los Angeles, if pictures can be believed, had a marvelous all -electric system that GM bought to intentionally elmininate, the same as they did in every major city in the United States. GM at the time was that powerful and influential.

Sorry to say, if you had to name ONE company that did more to destroy electric transportaion in the United States, the company’s name would be General Motors.

You don’t have to worry about it happening again, since the new GM is a shell of its former self. And all car companies are more worried about their largest market – China.

David Murray

Being that the Spark EV looks exactly like the gasoline version of the spark (which sells well) why would you use the argument that the Spark EV being ugly (to your eyes) is proof that GM doesn’t want to sell EVs?

Speculawyer

And it is not like the Spark EV was ever a real serious EV attempt. It was a combo CARB compliance car and science project to learn from. It’s just a conversion of an existing gas model . . . and damn good conversion as far as conversion go! (Better than the Ford Focus electric.)

Should have clarified. The appearance of the Spark is related to it being a small economy car in their lineup. Their goal is to focus sales on larger vehicles. That comment wasn’t “particularly” relative to their EV intent.

Do you think anyone in GM marking ever said “if you want to sell this car/truck in huge numbers to the masses, then offer them in pastel colors?”

Nelson

A vehicles shape and mass are very tricky traits. They effect aerodynamics and tire friction.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

Priusmaniac

Selling to families a car seating only four is a real commercial challenge indeed! A non starter I would say. How many ICE cars have four seats 0.1% at most.

Speculawyer

Yeah, I’m kinda surprised how big of a deal that seems to have been. I think only having 4 seats has really limited sales of the Volt, ELR, i-MiEV, and i3.

It seems people really want 5 seats. GM was wise to restore 5 seats with the Volt 2.0 and the next Caddy plug-in. (Even if the 5th seat is a bit limited.)

Londo Bell

One shouldn’t be surprised about the 5th seat – and I mean, a USABLE one for even adults, not just for car seats.

Because having one usually implies a larger size vehicle.

That’s a big reason why full size SUVs are so popular in the US!

Anderlan

Whether they know it or not a huge issue, not technically with the vehicle but strategically with the business is the number of CCS ports all over the countryside, or lack thereof.

Carcus

Dealerships make nearly half their money on the service side …. that’s all but going to dry up with a BEV. THAT’S what you call a commercial issue.

“So where does the majority of a dealership’s profit come from? It’s not from car sales: at least not directly. It’s from the service and parts department, which accounts for 44 percent of the dealership’s gross profits, according to NADA.”
http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/where-does-the-car-dealer-make-money.html

CP

The reason many, if not most, dealerships currently shun or downplay EVs is because they have to train two mechanics to work on them. And this would be for only a trickle of business, partly because EVs don’t need certain kinds of early maintenance and partly because there are so few of them to begin with.

It costs lots of money to train a mechanic. What happens when they leave? You get to spend a bunch of money to train the replacement. EVangelists don’t want to hear that car dealerships are in business to make money, as opposed to kissing EVanglists’ feet and other body parts.

Beyond that, is there anyone who’s a bigger pain in the ass than an EVangelist? If I ran a car dealership, I’d hold off as long as I could before catering to that group.

Londo Bell

Then may I suggest you to get your bib, napkins and forks ready 😉

Kidding aside, i am NOT saying that it can’t happen; rather I am saying that it’s unlikely.

BTW, you may want to dust up your Volt’s pricing reduction info there. It was in 2013/4/30 (around that time) when DA talks about then price reduction. In 2014/6, Volt price dropped by $5k via incentives, with official price cut in 2014/8.

It’s only 2 years, so inflation should be minimal between then and now, and in fact, with US$ so high at this point, cost should be much lower now, as quite a poroportion of Volt’a parts are imported.

Point being, things (PR on pricing and range) can change either way, but usually not as good in the auto industry.

ModernMarvelFan

“you may want to dust up your Volt’s pricing reduction info there. It was in 2013/4/30 (around that time) when DA talks about then price reduction. In 2014/6, Volt price dropped by $5k via incentives, with official price cut in 2014/8.”

You might want to dust off your own voice recorder and relisten the talks. The price reduction was talking about from Gen1 to Gen2 Volt.

Gen 1 Volt started at $41K back in 2010 with 2011 model.

Gen 2 Volt started at $34K with 2016 model in 2015.

$41K back in 2010 with inflation adjustment is $44K today (I am sure you can Google inflation calculator to see the number yourself). $44K to $34K is $10K price reduction.

Spider-Dan

Even without inflation, Akerson cited a “$7k-10k price cut,” and gen1 to gen2 is $7k.

Lou

Not sure, but like a lot of readers here, my guess is that the commercial problem will involve pricing of the Bolt. 200 miles EPA they will get, as GM will do whatever it takes to meet that metric. Pricing, however, is another animal entirely. The closer they get to $30K(post Federal Tax Rebate)the better they will appear. In regards to battery size, mileage and reductions due to temperature: I’d driven a Mitsubishi I-MiEV for 2 years. It was rated at 62 miles EPA. In reality, I was getting upwards of almost 90 miles in the summer(at times I got to 92 miles), and probably 40 miles in the winter(with modest heater use). Triple the battery, which IIRC was 16 KW, a 48 KW battery would yield about 185 miles average, 120 winter with heater, upwards of 225 in summer. I could certainly be fine with that. A bigger issue for me would be QC availability. If this were a CHaDeMo system, charging would be plentiful on the East Coast. CCS, not so sure.