Deep Dive: Chevrolet Bolt Battery Pack, Motor And More

2 years ago by Mark Kane 109

Pre-production for the all-new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is underway.

Pre-production for the all-new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is underway.

Greg Smith, Engineering Group Manager, Electrification, left, Tim Grewe, General Director, Electrification, center, and Stephen Poulos, Global Chief Engineer, Electrification, right, pose with a Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack and drive unit in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

Greg Smith, Engineering Group Manager, Electrification, left, Tim Grewe, General Director, Electrification, center, and Stephen Poulos, Global Chief Engineer, Electrification, right, pose with a Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack and drive unit in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

General Motors opened the curtain concealing the battery pack and drivetrain of the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV (details), which will be launched in little more than half a year.

With the help of LG Chem, GM managed to quickly develop a long-range, appealing electric car with decent performance in an affordable price-range.

Prior to the Bolt EV’s introduction, there simply will not be any electric model with comparable specs.  A 60 kWh battery, over 200 miles of expected EPA range and price from $37,500 prior incentives.

Sure the Tesla Model 3 is coming, in late 2017, but even at that volume production is far from assured from launch…it took some ~6 months to scale up the Model X, and that was a vehicle primarily based on the existing Model S.

Outside of unknown Nissan plans with the second generation LEAF in 2017, the Bolt EV may be the only available option for inexpensive long range driving for up to 2 years.

The Bolt EV’s battery pack stores around three times more energy than in Spark EV, but the weight has pnly increased two times. The whole battery configuration is also flat and packed tight – a first for GM (see photo below).

Battery stats:

  • 60 kWh of energy for over 200 miles EPA range
  • battery weight 436 kg
  • 160 kW power output
  • 288 lithium-ion cells (LG Chem)
  • 350 V nominal voltage
  • eight years or 100,000 miles battery warranty
  • DC fast charging capability (at least 50 kW – we don’t know yet for sure whether GM will enable higher power charging if there will be higher power chargers)
A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack, far right, is compared to battery packs from, left to right, a first generation Volt, a second generation Volt, and a Spark EV in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack, far right, is compared to battery packs from, left to right, a first generation Volt, a second generation Volt, and a Spark EV in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

Greg Smith, Engineering Group Manager, Electrification, with a Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

Greg Smith, Engineering Group Manager, Electrification, with a Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

Greg Smith, Engineering Group Manager, Electrification, left, Tim Grewe, General Director, Electrification, center, and Stephen Poulos, Global Chief Engineer, Electrification, right, discuss their work with a Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

Greg Smith, Engineering Group Manager, Electrification, left, Tim Grewe, General Director, Electrification, center, and Stephen Poulos, Global Chief Engineer, Electrification, right, discuss their work with a Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack in General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack

A Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack

A Chevrolet Bolt EV drive unit at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV drive unit at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A similar presentation of the battery was also promoted for the drive unit by GM, with a permanent-magnet electric motor, which at 150 kW of peak power will be the best in class.

The electric motor was engineered by General Motors, but as is found with most of the critical e-drivetrain stuff in the Bolt EV, production itself was shifted to LG.

According to a CNET article, the Bolt EV motor has nearly twice the rpm speed (8,810 rpm vs. 4,500) and twice the higher final drive ratio (7.05:1 vs. 3.87:1) than the Spark EV, which helped to lower the size and weight.

Specs:

  • 150 kW peak power
  • 360 Nm peak torque
  • 8,810 max rpm
  • 7.05:1 gear ratio
  • total weight of 76 kg
  • 0-60 mph in less than 7 seconds
  • 0-30 mph in 2.9 seconds
  • 30% grade launch possible (28% in case of Spark EV)
A Chevrolet Bolt EV drive unit at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV drive unit at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Laboratory at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

A Chevrolet Bolt EV drive unit

A Chevrolet Bolt EV drive unit

Chevy Bolt

Chevy Bolt EV

source: CNET

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109 responses to "Deep Dive: Chevrolet Bolt Battery Pack, Motor And More"

  1. Vexar says:

    Greg Smith should be smiling, that’s a fine battery pack design. My only input on it is to not stack the cells as there is obvious heat build-up where there is stacking. Of course, that is the difference between a 48kwh battery and a 60kwh battery in this configuration.

    1. evcarnut says:

      Sure the Tesla X was Late Due to “supplier issues” Supplier failed to deliver…Just remember this “There IS More Engineering & complexities in Falcon Wing doors alone ,than there is in this Laughable So called car they call the Bolt????what kind of name is that!!????

      1. SJC says:

        Falcon wing doors and automatic door handles are not necessary.

      2. Texas FFE says:

        You’ve proven again that Tesla zealots are contemptuous and incapable of speaking objectively concerning anything non-Tesla.

        1. evcarnut says:

          JUST the Facts 0ilman…..Cheers

          1. Texas FFE says:

            Calling a car laughable is not a fact. Your whole line of comments would be laughable if they weren’t so pathetic. You give Tesla fans a bad name.

            Do you think everyone that doesn’t sing your Tesla song is an oil advocate? If so then everyone that bought the 900,000 non-Tesla plug in vehicles in the last five years must be an oilman. That’s it, I’m just going to add to my lunatic posters list and ignore your ridiculous comments from now on.

            1. evcarnut says:

              If the Bolt Were Reasonably Priced , I would Not Use The term “laughable” But Since it is Priced More than The model 3 which is @ least 20 times the car, and for less money., & coming from a small start up company like Tesla..I do find the Bolt “Laughable”…These Jokers at Gm have no concept of money & pricing……Don’t get so personal ,I’m just stating my view , just like everyone else here..Though you may not like it , we are all entitled to an opinion…of the cars . ……..Not the bloggers … Cheers

              1. theflew says:

                The point is we have no idea when the $35k model 3 will be available. By that time the Bolt could easily be less than the Model 3. Unlike GM normally reduces the cost of the car in subsequent years. Also we don’t know what content Erik be in that $35k Model 3.

              2. Knarf says:

                Please provide evidence the 3 is 20X the car for $35k. Last I read average booked price for all of those reservations was $42k, not $35k. Until Tesla states what $35k actually buys, no one can say the Bolt is over priced. It could very well offer more options for the money.

                The Model 3 that was debuted was clearly unfinished, especially in the interior, off significantly reduce practicality and usability compared to the Bolt as the Bolt is a hatch back, and could easily consume more energy per mile due to the 3’s induction motor vs. the more efficient PMAC motor found in the Bolt.

                Keep an open mind.

                1. Loaddown says:

                  The 3 will be like buying a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid for $35,190. A fully equipped model is $43,889.

                  1. Sri says:

                    Do you mind read Elon Musk, and how are you fine gentlemen who do not have final specs of a Car compare it to Lincoln. Right now what you have is your expectations. Tesla built a grand total of 100K cars and GM built millions of Cars. When Tesla leaps from thousands of cars to a factor more they are bound to face technical, logistical, financial hiccups and as a result a person in Texas would probably get his reserved Model 3 in 2020, what would be the state of Bolt in 2020, we do not know, may be there will be a refresh with better parts. You cannot compare a full production 2017 Bolt with 201X Model 3 whose specs are not finalized.

                    I root Tesla as much as the other guy, but please STFU and stop dissing other EVs. If it is not your cup of tea, it is not, but for love of god, learn to respect and put things in perspective.

              3. Sri says:

                This is not funny at all. Model S fully loaded is not 20 times better car than Chevy Spark. PERIOD. So I do not anticipate Model 3 being a factor better than Bolt EV. They are different cars catering to different aesthetics, needs and even perhaps regional bent of people.

                Tesla-heads should stop hyping Model 3 as if it can drive over water. It could be better car than Bolt, but we do not know. The AutoPilot features are great but let us not forget GM has bought one of the hottest autopilot start-ups in SV (Cruise).

                People need to relax, if you want an affordable EV with 200+ range from end of this year to perhaps end of next Bolt EV is only game in town, and in many parts of US until 2019, Bolt EV is the only walk in and pick up EV available.

                So Relax. You guys have 300K backlog, take a victory lap and move on.

            2. goodbyegascar says:

              Texas FFE:

              Though I love the little Chevy Bolt (and Volt), they wouldn’t ever have reached production without Tesla paving the way.

              I applaud GM for their excellent plug-ins, and I am confident they will be very successful because they will be very practical and fun daily drivers. Stylish, too!

              But let’s face it, I really aspire to own and drive a real Tesla.

            3. jim stack says:

              FACT. When will GM put in a free DC Fast Charging Network in place across the USA?

              1. telveer says:

                They will not. GM instead, went with an industry standard (CCS), and will rely on 3rd party companies to build the network. CCS is a well supported standard (with even Tesla joining the bandwagon a week ago), and all major EV charging companies (NGR, Blink, ChargePoint, etc) have committed to deploying it. A decade from now, CCS network will be ubiquitous, and much larger to Tesla SC. Until such time, I am not planning to take a BEV on any road trips. EREVs and PHEVs will fill the gap.

      3. Rick says:

        Tesla is the less reliable ev on the market today.

    2. jerryd says:

      Vexar, if you look there is a cooling plate under the top cells/modules that cool it.
      Too bad they couldn’t have designed it lighter, better aero so they could have used a smaller pack. In a car this size no reason to need over 200wthr/ mile or 44kwhr pack to get 200+ miles.
      Though maybe they are sandbagging and will actually have a 240-250 mile range.
      What would have been better, cooler, cheaper is doing the GM UltraLite, the cop car in Demolition Man could do 200 miles with just 35kwhr and cost 50% to produce.
      With the same hp at 1400lbs would be fast.
      And GM had no choice to go to the floor pack as the only way they can put that many batteries plus putting it higher up would instead of helping handling, would hurt it.

    3. HVACman says:

      This article doesn’t have it, but other articles included a detailed diagram of the pack that shows the bottom cooling plate system. The stacked second tier has its own cooling bottom-plate, similar to the main level, with separate glycol feed tubes, etc. It gets the same cooling as the main level. Cell temperatures should be about the same. This is a VERY well-engineered pack.

  2. Rebel44 says:

    I dont see, how battery cooling is handled.

    1. Jeff N says:

      The Bolt EV battery pack has active liquid thermal management like the Volt or Model S. Like the Volt, there are thin aluminum fins or plates that sandwich between each battery cell. In the Volt, these fins contain small channels with liquid coolant flowing inside. In the Bolt, the fins are passive and do not contain liquid channels. Instead, the fins are connected at the bottom to an active liquid thermal plate which has coolant running through it.

      The “coolant” can either be cooled through a dedicated vehicle radiator, cooled through a connection with the A/C system, or heated by a dedicated battery heater located outside of the battery pack.

      Doing thermal management this way is somewhat less effective but simpler, cheaper, and more compact and new battery chemistry is said to be less thermally sensitive than the cells in the Volt.

      1. Grendal says:

        Thank you. Nice detail.

  3. Someone out there says:

    Is there only passive cooling for the battery? That might not work out so well.

    Second, I find it odd that they went with such a complicated motor setup. Why do they have the down-shifted wheel axle go through the motor shaft?

    1. Jeff N says:

      The battery has active liquid thermal management as I explained above.

      The drive unit is designed that way so it can be efficiently packaged and mounted in line with the front wheel drive shafts which keeps the center of gravity lower and leaves room for other equipment in the short frontal area under the hood. The drive unit is mounted in the center of the vehicle between equal length shafts to the wheels which minimizes torque steer. The Spark EV used 2 planetary gear sets for fixed gear reduction but planetaries can have higher friction losses than the single gears used in the Bolt.

  4. OntarioLeaff says:

    GM’s propaganda machine hard at work to deflect atention from the M3.
    I applaud though the Bolt and I own a gen 2 Volt.
    I also have a M3 on preorder. I’d rather use a website where everyone gets the same deal than the dealers that GM so believes in.

    The Bolt looks inadequate compared with the M3.

    1. theflew says:

      First most would call Telsa’s preordering process propaganda. You’re basically preordering on something that you don’t even know the final form of the product. Second no GM dealer will ever argue with you if you want to pay MSRP for a car. If there is a dealer wanting you to pay more because it’s a hot item – go to a different dealer. Actually you can just call them. That’s what I did with my Volt in 2012 in Ohio. I called the dealer and asked if they were selling above MSRP. If they said yes, then I said thank you and hung up. Second dealer I called said they never charge above MSRP – that’s who I order by Volt through.

      1. MDEV says:

        Nice nothing better than shopping an EV and going dealer to dealer buying tire insurance, repair insurance, and hold “let me talk to my manager” gosh how I missed those reap off times, I think I have to stick with Tesla store model for a while.

        1. Braben says:

          When did you last buy a car? If you don’t want haggling, just contact the dealer’s Internet department or go through online sites like Truecar, Edmunds etc. You’ll have full price transparency and will usually get a good price significantly below MSRP without any hassle. You will not get a price below MSRP on a Tesla.

          1. Grendal says:

            MSRP is a made up marketing ploy. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the real price of a car. Tesla is a fixed manufacturer price that they tell you, up front, is 25% above their cost to make.

            That said, you are probably paying about 25% above the manufacturers actual cost to manufacture with a regular gas car too. The manufacturer makes about 15% and the dealer about 10%. This is just rough. There is flexibility into the dealership system since they make more on some cars and less on others.

            Which is part of the problem for the Bolt and the Volt. Unless GM gives the salespeople and dealer a “deal” or a kickback then the salespeople will focus on a vehicle they do get that on.

            MSRP is meaningless.

            1. Braben says:

              “MSRP is a made up marketing ploy. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the real price of a car. Tesla is a fixed manufacturer price that they tell you, up front, is 25% above their cost to make.”

              Tesla tells you nothing of the sort. They claim an overall profit margin of around 25%, but that doesn’t tell you anything about the margin on a particular car that you want to buy (which depends heavily on the options you chose).

              The combined manufacturer + dealer margins on mainstream ICE cars are quite a bit lower than 25%, BTW. However to be fair, the Model S needs to be compared to similarly priced luxury cars which have high margins as well.

              1. Grendal says:

                Ah, yes. I do agree. Tesla, in general, makes about 25% profit per car. That amount shows up in their financials. No question that they make more on fully loaded maxed out cars and less on base line cars.

            2. Rat says:

              Who care what people buy as long as it’s an electric. With arrogance or not electric cars are cool! If all car drivers drove electric vehicles to save the planet – none of would live long enough to see it.

        2. Brian says:

          Don’t forget the dealers who pre install lo jack and charge $800 for it or add items that you have to catch before you buy! Most of the buying public does not notice this or will not speak up for taking it off because of intimidation and sales tactics. And dealer prices and practices highly differing about parts and service.

          Had have a 13 volt and was quoted $130 upfront to even check on a warranty repair! Which was covered fully by another dealer with nothing upfront. That second dealer was great but they gained my trust and tried to sell me a 30k service on a car with 50% oil remaining and only 8000 miles on gas engine. $380 to clean throttle body do filters and oil !!! They are
          Almost never ever ever your friend. Sometimes they are human though.

          Can’t wait for all electric barely no maintenance I just hope the model 3 will have no learning curve on defects right off the line.

          My hope is the model 3 will have

          1. Spider-Dan says:

            Lo Jack? Which century are we talking about?

            Lo Jack is completely unnecessary on any car that has OnStar, which includes every Volt, ELR, and Spark EV ever made.

            1. Unplugged says:

              Lo-Jack or any car retrieval service is unnecessary with any car that has two-way internet data communication. The Focus Electric, the Fiat 500e, the Leaf (I assume), the e-Golf, etc. all have location finding that cannot be defeated, unlike Lo-Jack.

        3. telveer says:

          If you want to haggle, be prepared to haggle. Otherwise, verify TruCar prices and make an offer. 99% of the time, the offer is accepted. The rest of it is baggage that comes with any dealership. You simply say no if you don’t want extended warranty, or tire protection, or financing, or whatever else they try to up-sell.

    2. Mustang_sallad says:

      Tesla gets massive media attention for unveiling driveable prototypes for a car that won’t be available for up to two years. GM is actually in pre-production for a similar car that will be available later this year, and they’re the ones running a propaganda machine???

      1. OntarioLeaff says:

        Tesla came from nowhere. A few years ago no one knew about them. Being able to generate that kind of excitement for M3 is quite amazing.
        Now, I like some of the things GM is doing and I rewarded them with my purchase.
        I like less their speed of doing it. They have a huge advantage over little Tesla but they only electrify small, niche cars. Slowly.
        GM is also fighting to keep Tesla out of some states with their dealers and all. Why fight dirty?
        The only coherent response I heard to the M3 is from Ghosn. I think Carlos is happy to have arguments for Nissan’s own programs when facing his board.

        1. Brian says:

          Gm wants to keep electric cars a niche market. Even though they have built the bolt and volt their main goal is to say the market only can bear 30k cars per year so they can go on selling ice cars that generate tons of money for parts and repairs and planned obsolescence.

          Also the bolt give them cafe carb credits and good green PR.

          Without tesla most al the manufacturers would tel the public electrification of vehicles is bad.

          Also gm made th bold and voltec power train to hedge their bets in case tesla did grow bigger (which they have done) so gm could adapt and move and most importantly make it seem like they always intended to electrify (save face basically).

          Driving the first gen volt has shown me gm made a great car that they didn’t really want to perfect.

          1. theflew says:

            GM would love to sell 100k Bolts/year. GM sells to dealers, dealers sell to you.

        2. Braben says:

          “GM is also fighting to keep Tesla out of some states with their dealers and all. Why fight dirty?”

          Another perspective on this is that GM and other automakers are trying to maintain a level playing field. After all, they are prohibited by law from doing direct sales or controlling the dealerships (even though they would love to), so why should Tesla get an exception? If you want to blame anyone, it should be the dealership lobby.

          Remember when Porsche was trying to establish direct sales in the US in the 1980s? They were shot down too …

        3. Kdawg says:

          “I like less their speed of doing it. They have a huge advantage over little Tesla but they only electrify small, niche cars. Slowly.”
          ———
          So in the last 5 yeas, GM has outsold all other automakers regarding plug-ins in North America (where you live), and you single them out as being niche and slow. Errkay.

    3. ffbj says:

      Reasonable summation of the motivation and intent of GM, and of the superiority of the M3 over the Bolt.

      Trying to steal Tesla’s thunder, with a little lightning Bolt of their own. Still the Bolt will preferred by some.

      1. Brian says:

        The bolt will satisfy people that want a 200 mile car now. People coming off lease or people that don’t care about styling or the great amenities the model 3 will have. Some people even green car buyers care about function and basic details – I can go this far on charge I can afford payment? Cool, I’m gonna buy it and drive it until it breaks then get the next car that is basically the first one I see that meets Asia criteria.

        1. Brian Bradshaw says:

          Meets *my* criteria

      2. Spider-Dan says:

        Yes, GM had a very devious plan to steal the thunder of the Model III.

        Step 1: Reveal a working version of the Bolt 15 months before Tesla shows their first Model III prototype.

        Step 2: Bring the Bolt to market a year before Tesla’s earliest possible Model III date.

        It’s diabolical.

    4. Bill Howland says:

      Oh c’mon OntarioLeaff you’re being too tough a grader.

      The Bolt has an efficient Permanent Magnet Synchronous motor (for a few % points increase in efficiency), coupled to a >96% efficient (at lower vehicle speeds) double-reduction helical gear box.

      The battery is at home in Northern Ontario as it will be heated and cooled, either by ‘free cooling or heating’ or else by heating element and refrigeration in temperature extremes.

      The motor does spin a bit fast, but it is considerably slower than the Roadster or S.

      The Bolt will, for at least a year, be unlike anything else on the market. Most people think that is noteworthy. The simple GREAT INTEREST in the ‘3’ shows there is a market for a 200 mile practical EV that is reduced cost.

      The Bolt is also not a perfect EV. I can live with that. Its the best VALUE to date.

    5. Sri says:

      Have you read about people towing their Model S hundreds of miles to Tesla Service Centers ?

      I am not in love with dealerships but really it is the law in many states, what Tesla was asking in exceptions and in many states they did get it.

      Ok, you got direct sale, Tesla are unrepairable by any local mechanic and their service stations are few are far. For now, having dealerships esp. when you need to get repairs or service is much better deal.

      Tesla has 100K cars worldwide on road once they have a million and with many older than 5 years, they will also run into similar issues like every other auto manufacturer, the only saving grace is EVs do not have many moviing parts that may help them but also repairing EVs is a new and limited skill which means out side of Tesla no one can lay their hand and fix it.

  5. Warren Hurd says:

    Very good looking pack,the wire runs could be a bit straighter though.

  6. Breezy says:

    Different cars for different needs, available at different times.

    The more excited people get about the M3, the better a deal I’ll be able to get on a Bolt. 🙂

    1. georges says:

      Yes. The pricing makes no sense as is. If the TM3 indeed is 35K base price then GM will have to offer some incentives on the Bolt.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        One look tells me Bolt has about the highest wheel base, to length ratios of any car. There just isn’t any “frunk” room.

        Touring mid and large size always made the most sense, for large batteries. Look how well a Pacifica hides a Volt-sized battery. This is GM’s answer to preserving higher margins on Impala, ATS, CTS…

        Innovation is a slice of Tesla’s business model, but believing they wouldn’t be followed is what has paid off the most, IMO.

    2. floydboy says:

      Not if the dealers have anything to say about it. I don’t believe for a second, that franchise dealers are going to be letting a hot item, with likely more buyers than available cars, go at MSRP.

  7. SparkEV says:

    I read similar article elsewhere, and they mentioned the battery will run warmer than SparkEV but it has higher heat tolderance due to Nickel content. Was it error in their article or omission in this one?

    If true, what would be the consequence? Running warmer would imply less efficiency. It wouldn’t make any difference in charging speed with 50 kW DCFC, but it could be few pennies more for same level of energy?

    1. Jeff N says:

      Running the pack a little warmer does not imply less efficiency. Active cooling takes energy so cooling the pack less aggressively actually tends to be more efficient.

      Let’s remember that the Volt’s thermal management was quite vigilant about temperature ranges compared to others including Tesla. Relaxing those constraints in light of battery chemistry improvements is not necessarily a bad thing.

      1. Knarf says:

        To add, just as battery resistance goes up with lower temperatures robbing range, it goes down as temperatures rise helping range. Also, greater heat tolerance means less losses to battery cooling since less is required.

        Another point to keep in mind is that, for example, A Spark EV battery has to deliver 6C (6X its capacity) at full power. The Bolt battery is only a little over 2C. It will see far less heating in use just due to the lower resistance. Also, when cold its voltage won’t droop as far thus preserving more range in cold temperatures.

  8. SparkEV says:

    SparkEV has 360V battery, Bolt has 350V (10V less). That’s fine for 50 kW CCS (~100A) and maybe 100 kW (~200A). But that may not work with 150 kW CCS. I hope GM put in some tricks in there to allow 150 kW by rearranging somehow.

    Tesla’s 120 kW DCFC was staring them in their face for years, one would hope they made it at least as capable.

    1. Frank says:

      500KW at 350V makes for 142A.

      Arn’t 50KW CCS units capped at 125A? If that’s the case, Bolt EV can’t even charge at 50KW ?

  9. Alan Stewart says:

    Why is it that Tesla seems to be the only manufacturer able to shoehorn the drivetrain between the rear wheels, as they have done with the Model S and X and plan to do with the Model 3? The Bolt’s not going to have near as much luggage space with the rear seat up as it lacks the frunk.

    1. georges says:

      Agreed. This is what gets me about the BoltEV. Looks like GM did a great design on the power train but they went out of their way to package it in a compact. The latest SAE article goes into how they moved as many components out of the pack area in order to open up passenger space. This meant putting more components into the engine compartment and as a result…no frunk.

      I wish they had used a slightly larger body.

    2. Jeff N says:

      The i-MiEV and BMW i3 are other BEVs that used rear wheel drive. Tesla had no choice but to use RWD since their high end performance models are not practical with FWD due to torque steer and other issues. Cars with more ordinary performance levels have a choice and FWD is beneficial in some ways.

  10. Ian says:

    Sounds like they build a car and stuff a battery in. Why not design the battery then build the car up from that.

  11. Alex says:

    Great car, why wait for the Model 3.

    1. Proof Reader says:

      Agreed. I’ll be leasing one until my Model 3 arrives.

      I will then promptly turn it in and keep the Model 3 forever.

      The Bolt is a nice car to get people by for a bit, the Model 3 is the sustainable future people want.

  12. Stephen D says:

    I believe that GM has the EV engineering skills to match Tesla, but are burdened with the legacy strategic thinking of the executive level.

    1. Taser54 says:

      GM has half of its powertrain group (4000 people) working on electric and hybrid powertrains.

      GM has produced the amazing voltec, the Spark EV powertrain, the CT6 powertrain, the Malibu hybrid powertrain and the BOlt EV.

      GM Management has turned the ship, and many of you refuse to see it.

      1. goodbyegascar says:

        No doubt, GM will be a powerful force in the EV revolution, making Ford and Chrysler look like also-rans.

        In other words, GM took Tesla’s potential seriously. Smart move.

  13. Forever Green says:

    The Chevy Bolt looked real good until I took a look at the Tesla Model 3 and compared them. The Tesla Model 3 has all-wheel drive (as an option). The Bolt doesn’t. Tesla Model 3 has autopilot (as an option). The Chevy Bolt doesn’t even have active cruise control (as an option). Tesla Model 3 comes with a supercharge Network. The Chevy Bolt doesn’t. I can buy the Tesla models 3 directly from the manufacturer. With the Chevy Bolt I have the dreaded experience of having to go through a dealer. The good thing about the Bolt is the all-electric range is in the right ball-park, and even that might look pitiful in comparison when the final numbers come out for Tesla Model 3. And you know what’s sad? In the next few weeks Chevy Will come out with a statement that says, they love the competition from the Tesla Model 3.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      None of the issues you brought up matter to me, as long as some sort of CCS infrastructure is eventually provided.

      It is just a coincidence that the medium length trips I often take just happen to be near a Tesla Supercharger. Most of the destinations in my area are no where near one. As it is, I make due with a 6 kw docking station to get back home.

      If you don’t like the hastle of dealing with a dealer, you definitely wouldn’t like my experience with my Tesla Roadster. The car was THE most unreliable car I’ve ever had, and that includes $100 junkers I’ve had in high school, I’m sorry to report. Tesla also tried to renig on the warranty, albeit they were changing personnel so quickly at
      the time the new people may not have read the full warranty on the Roadster.

      Other people may have done better, but I think there Is a bit of “EV’s at any cost!!!” – I know I was willing to put up with much more simply because I loved the concept of a long range ev sporty convertible.

    2. Texas FFE says:

      You are assuming a lot about Bolt options. We don’t know for sure if the Bolt will have available AWD or advance autonomous features. Even if the early releases don’t the later releases might, perhaps before you can actually buy a Model 3.

      There have been plenty arguments regarding fast charging and there’s no point in rehashing that now. I don’t think we know enough about the Bolt or the Model 3 to make more than a superficial comparison. Right now my preference is for the Bolt but that could change if the option list is disappointing and I’m sure the option list on Model 3 is better.

      1. Texas FFE says:

        I remember some posts about the Bolt having torsion bar rear suspension. Torsion bar rear suspension would probably preclude the possibility of a rear drive motor on the Bolt. Can anyone confirm that the Bolt will have torsion bar rear suspension?

        1. Knarf says:

          Torsion bar suspension does not impact the powertrain choice. Actually, it creates more room between the wheels. Whether or not the Bolt is ever offered as an AWD vehicle, who knows. There are lots of successful FWD only hatchbacks out there.

    3. Ashveratu says:

      The only real advantage a base Model ≡ has against the Bolt is the super charger network. All of those other options mentioned, you will have to pay extra for which means you are now comparing a 35k dollar car to a 45k dollar car (or higher). The Bolt will most likely have options too, time will tell.

      In the mean time, I am enjoying the Spark EV. (leased until my ≡ arrives.

      1. 787Driver says:

        The Spark EV is a great little car! We love ours so much, we fight over who gets to drive it…

  14. proxymusanonimy says:

    Expect “Stealership Markup” for the Bolt.

    1. taser54 says:

      Why? Volt Gen2 had none, in fact it sells for less than MSRP.

      1. proxymusanonimy says:

        Seriously? You’re comparing a gen2 volt to gen1? My how blind GM fanbois are. Gen1 volt had stealerhip markups from $6k to $9k and up.

        1. Mike says:

          LOL. 6-9k markups? I got $600 OFF cap cost for VIN 777, leased at the beginning of March, 2011.

  15. scott franco (the evil EV owning republican) says:

    The Bolt is a good design. If they could fix that charger issue and go to (say) 150kW charging, I would buy one. As it is, I’ll be leasing it come end of year. GM is going to be forced to increase charge rates by 2020, so bolt model 1 is going to be obsolete soon(er) then the lease end.

    I doubt GM would care. The WSJ ran an article that dealers make more on leasing. But we are a two car family. That could mean two Teslas at end of lease.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Bolt’s large rear opening is far superior to Model3. Frankly, I hate Model 3 rear opening.

      As for Bolt charging, I hope they put in some provisions for faster charging. A simple way could be to reconfigure the battery to be 2X voltage for charging. Then 125A * 700V = 88 kW. Well, that’s the minimum I would’ve done if I was designing it, so Bolt probably has as good or far better approach.

      If not, it could be slower charging than SparkEV due to lower voltage at same max current from charger, something they surely wouldn’t do, would they?

    2. Texas FFE says:

      If I buy a Bolt I would plan on keeping it a very long time. I never planned to keep my FFE very long. I don’t see the Bolt having only a 50 kW charger as a deal breaker for me.

      I have a long history of modifying my equipment. I thought seriously about modifying my FFE for more range and faster charging but the technology of the Bolt is such a huge advancement over my FFE, major modifications to my FFE as new as it is doesn’t really seem practical. As long as I expect these electric vehicles to last, I do expect somebody someday to modify my FFE for longer range and faster charging but it probably won’t be me.

      If the Bolt comes out with a lower wattage charger then I would expect an aftermarket conversation to become available when the higher wattage chargers become prevalent. I think the other specs on the Bolt will make it a usable vehicle into the foreseeable future. With my FFE I could see how vast improvement could be made to the vehicle but with the Bolt I don’t see how improvements would be all that meaningful.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Bolt at 50 kW (or less!) would be a huge turn off especially if it’s less than even SparkEV. That might make it even slower than 30kWh Leaf, never mind the new EV coming to market.

        Modifying EV is not a good idea. It will probably void the warranty. If things go wrong and battery needs replacing and no warranty, that will be pretty much junk yard. For example, SparKEV battery from dealer is over $20K while new SparkEV (the whole car) post subsidy in CA is $15K or less. Bolt at 3X battery, it could cost far more; I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s priced $30K or even $35K.

        1. Texas FFE says:

          I’ve been through this conversation multiple times with the aftermarket suppliers. There is a law that states unless a manufacturer can prove that an aftermarket mod specifically caused a malfunction a manufacturer cannot void the warranty just because there is an aftermarket mod. But I would prefer not to make the mod and not to have to test the law if something went wrong.

          If you have an old vehicle that has a expired warranty then it doesn’t matter anyway. But that’s kinda what I meant by hanging on to the vehicle. I’ve always believed it’s better to hang onto what I’ve got and make mods and repairs than upgrade to something that’s basically the same vehicle.

          1. SparkEV says:

            Well, if you’re mucking around with charging and battery dies or even degrades, Chevy could point to that and invalidate the warranty.

            After Bolt warranty runs out, or even far before then, I suspect there will be lots of great EV on the market. Everyone will come up with something to answer to Tesla 3 calling. You gotta admit, that’s a mighty fine car even with some issues. Then the new crop from everyone else will be even better, making Bolt tweaks quaint at best and not worth your time or money.

            As for batteries from wrecks, that’s not a reliable source. If it was, I might still be driving my Prius. Better would be to rebuild using standardized form, but I don’t think anyone’s doing that other than BMW.

            1. Texas FFE says:

              I would prefer to purchase an aftermarket mod from a reputable provider. There are already companies providing EV mods, I know of one company putting CHAdeMO chargers on RAV4s, of another company adding CCS chargers to i3s and there are sure to be many more to follow.

              Tesla said that their cars could last for 1 million miles. The EVs we drive are very robust, there’s no reason why they can’t be useful for hundreds of thousands of miles. I see EVs as being far less disposable as ICE vehicles and I think they justify modest upgrades to keep them as modern as practical.

              The wrecked EV market is hot right now. If it’s not for buying wrecks for replacement parts it’s people buying wrecks for energy storage. An experience EV specialist can weed out bad battery packs but, when you buy a wrecked EV for a song, you should expect a few problems.

              I can understand your reluctance to modify your EV but I have modified and rebuilt a lot of vehicles. There’s nothing that scares me about modifying an EV to suit my needs. I have made modifications to my FFE but so far they have all been cosmetic.

              1. SparkEV says:

                Quick charge power gives Chademo to Tesla roadster and Rav4EV (JDemo). Tony Williams is involved with that company.

                http://shop.quickchargepower.com/

                But there’s a disclaimer which says that they cannot be responsible for warranty issues with factory. Still, it would be a great option for out of warranty EV to use their service. I’m a big fan of their work.

                I’m not so sure about EV reliability. There are fewer things that can go wrong than ICE, but still many; there’s the radiator, coolant pump, AC, CV boots (they always break on me) etc. etc. Worst is that dead battery out of warranty is pretty much junk yard for most people due to high replacement battery cost. Battery could cost more than comparable used car, which was the case with my Prius.

        2. Texas FFE says:

          The last time I checked I could get FFE batteries from the dealer for about $11K , which is still ridiculous. If I lose my battery and it’s not under warranty I would probably try to buy an aftermarket battery or a low mileage wreck at auction. There are always wrecked EVs up for auction that you can get for a song plus shipping.

  16. Seth says:

    I wish it had a 11kW 3 phase charger for europe.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      No doubt the Ampera – E will have a minimum of 10 amp (7 kw minimum) 3 phase 230/400 charger on a Mennekes jack for the German market to comply with their Single Phase restrictions. Perhaps much larger.

  17. Orygun EV driver says:

    Drives me nuts when people talk like the M3 is a real car that can be ordered. Granted, you can’t order the Bolt yet, but this fall/winter you certainly will be able to. The Model 3 design is not even finalized, let alone work started on a production line, etc.

    Sometime in 2017, you might be able to order your Model 3… IF you are a current Tesla owner and IF you live on the West Coast of the US and IF you want a higher optioned M3 ($50K?).

    It is not outside the realm of possibility that the $35K M3 is discontinued to to lack of demand (like the 40kWh Model S). When everyone orders the higher spec cars (to get them sooner since that is all they will build), Tesla can clain :no orders” for the $35K version and continue to only produce the AWD and other higher spec cars.

    1. Spider-Dan says:

      This would certainly be consistent with history; the “$50,000” Model S was quickly discarded.

      That said, Tesla seems to be resisting their role as the next BMW, and seems to want to become the next GM or Toyota. They can’t do that selling upmarket luxury cars.

  18. Jacked Beanstalk says:

    Great article on the fine engineering by LG and GM.

    The Model 3 prototype is a fantastic looking car but the Bolt will be available in less than a year. Furthermore Tesla has said they plan to ramp up production of the more expensive Model 3 versions first, so it’s possible that the true competition in the $35K range will be between the Bolt v2.0 and the M3.

    My only quibble is that I think the car should be a bit longer in a combination of a longer wheelbase and longer rear overhang. The rear seats should fold flat and there should be more cargo space behind them. This would put it firmly in the crossover class and it would be a much more practical car. GM needs to follow Tesla’s lead and design an EV platform from the ground up rather than adapting an ICE platform.

    On the other hand a 200 mile EV will not be the only car for most owners, and under this scenario the Bolt has plenty of cargo space for everyday driving.

    1. Texas FFE says:

      I don’t think you can justify that the Bolt was built on an ICE platform. The closest thing GM has to the Bolt is supposed to be the Sonic but the Sonic is actually nothing like the Bolt. Besides the fact that the entire floor board is made of batteries, I doubt you could fit an ICE in the motor compartment of the Bolt.

      What GM ICE model do you think the Bolt used as a platform?

    2. All-Purpose Guru says:

      GM SPECIFICALLY said that they designed the Bolt as a ground-up design and that it is not based on any other car. They also said (somewhat sheepishly) that they had learned “a lot” from doing the Bolt design. http://media.chevrolet.com/media/us/en/chevrolet/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2016/Jan/boltev/0106-boltev-design.html (sheepishness removed by GM’s marketing wonks)

  19. h_corey says:

    Does it bother anyone at GM that LG seams to have both the battery and the drive train? Feels like gutting the company if the future involves more and more electrification. GM still seems to be treating this as a niche and not bringing these two pieces in house. And “designing” it at GM does not count. Has GM addressed the scaling issues of 100k Bolts and their 60kWh batteries?

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Doesn’t bother me, other than the fact that the small percentage of GM’s, Fords and Chryslers (FIAT now) made in the states.

      Mostly usually just the engines and the sheet metal, but even here there are exceptions.

      LG stuff used to be pretty good, so time will tell, but not a negative off the bat with me. Especially if they do as much testing with it as they have done with the Volt to make sure it really works ok.

      The GEN 1 Volt is universally loved for its stoutness, even if you hate its other shortcomings.

      As far as the Bolt being too small, it is listed as a MID-SIZED wagon. Supposedly bigger than an “S” with the rear seats down. Its in good company.

      It is time for GM to concentrate on something larger, but the BOLT is a big size improvement, and 203 miles is great.

      Put it this way, NO ONE else is doing this as early as GM. Well done.

    2. Jeff N says:

      GM did a deal with LG to let them supply many of the components that usually come from a number of separate auto parts suppliers in return for cheaper battery prices. Tesla buys a lot of parts and components from the same automotive industry of suppliers.

      GM designed the entire drive unit including the motor, reduction gears, and differential. LG is just manufacturing it. The Chevy Volt motors are manufactured by Hitachi Automotive. GM builds the Spark EV motors itself, I think.

      The battery cells are from LG. The battery pack was jointly developed by LG and GM. GM has clearly been deeply involved in designing the physical structure of the pack and how it tightly integrated with the rest of the unibody structure of the car.

      GM is also doing a lot of integration and “calibration” work to make sure everything works together. I suspect they are also doing a bunch of work with braking and higher level control software. They are also doing a lot environmental and stress testing and testing complete battery packs under harsh conditions.

      During much of the same timeframe GM was also redesigning every aspect of the Volt including a completely new hybrid transmission and motors (also used in the Malibu hybrid), designing a new RWD hybrid transmission for the CT6, and who knows what else that hasn’t been revealed yet (I just took out a trademark that could be for an electric corvette).

      It’s not like LG is doing all the work and then sending over a box of parts and an assembly instruction booklet….

  20. rs_rwc says:

    Here we go again

    Step 1 – Informative, interesting article published on an imminent or existing non-Tesla product
    Step 2 – Tesla extremists say its crap compared to Tesla product several years away (would rather spend $1000 and 5% of their adult life waiting and fantasizing instead of driving) or one costing 2x to 3x as much currently
    Step 3 – Rational posts in response articulating why non-Tesla product may appeal to many
    Step 4 – Reactionary Tesla extremists dismiss as propaganda by big oil/big auto conspiracy or TSLA stock shorters

    Very weird

    1. Mxs says:

      Unfortunately quite the norm here. It’s sad state of open comments. What are you gonna do? We all have choice to ignore the comments section, right?

    2. Trades says:

      Thankfully I’m not the only one who isn’t completely obvious to the Tesla d&*k waving on this site.

      I know Tesla makes great products, but the Volt & Spark EV both proven GM is very much in this EV game just as good as Tesla. Seriously the brand snobbery from Tesla fanboys is almost nauseating after the Model 3 prototype reveal…

    3. sven says:

      I’ve noticed that myself. 🙁

    4. VFanRJ says:

      Not weird, just typical fanboy behavior.

  21. shane says:

    rs_rwc – Thank you! I’m planning to get a Bolt. I think it’s a great car, with lots of room inside for what I need. Does it compete with a BMW for quickness or sexy styling, no – but I wasn’t shopping for such a vehicle. Just a good, 200 mi EV, that is comfortable, affordable, not-odd-looking car. I think the Tesla Model 3 looks great, and expect it will be a great car for someone shopping for an upscale car. But I also think it will be delivered on “Tesla time” and at an average cost well above $35K – which is ok for their target market – it just isn’t me. Once Nissan releases some more detailed info on the Leaf2, I might switch to it – but right now it’s the Bolt for me.

  22. DrJJ says:

    I am very impressed by the progress GM has made in battery pack technology. My ’14 ELR has a 16.5 KWh battery pack weighing 435 pounds (26.4 lb/KWh) According to the article the Bolt’s 60 KWh battery weighs 436 Kg (16 lb/KWh). That equates to a 39% improvement in reducing battery mass.

    1. Ambulator says:

      That would be going from 83 Wh/kg to 138 Wh/kg in SI units. I wonder what the cells are? And the Model 3?

  23. Trades says:

    Nice to see GM being very open & transparent in their progress backed with solid technical details on their products & not fancy speculations with open-ended promises (coughModel3cough).

    I sincerely hope Chevy will make the Bolt a great seller. The battery pack seems like it has room for greater density (stacking cells?) vs. the height of the Volt’s pack and thanks to liquid cooling would be a boon to road-tripping via DCFC highway without risk of overheating.

  24. Speculawyer says:

    Amazing how much it looks like a Tesla battery. I guess it is convergence upon the good design.
    (Large thin battery pack that you can bolt onto the bottom of the car for easy removal, maximum passenger & cargo space, and to keep the center of gravity low.)

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      It is great to see GM drop the 20+ year old T layout designed for the EV-1’s big lead acid batteries. What’s odd is GM heavily touted their fuel cell car’s ‘skateboard’ layout 15 year ago!

      Nice article and nice car.

    2. VFanRJ says:

      They are actually very different. LG Chem’s battery has plates, not cells.

  25. bennyd says:

    The biggest advantage I see is GM’s leasing program against Tesla’s lack of leasing. Why would anyone want to swallow the full amount of any car today with the ever changing tech. Does anyone have an insight as to the Bolt’s leasing program?