GM’s Future Rides On The Chevrolet Bolt
General Motors has pledged to bring at least 20 new electric models to market, and the Chevrolet Bolt has paved the way.
When GM CEO Mary Barra first introduced the Bolt, she talked about it being a platform for the future in more ways than one. At that time, no one knew if it would be successful or if her words were just fluff. However, now it’s clear that GM has a plan, which would live on through the Bolt. Barra said at CES 2016 (via Automotive News):
“We see the Bolt EV as more than just a car. It is an upgradeable platform for new technologies … everything from car-sharing apps to new ownership models and, one day, self-driving cars.”
Not long after the Bolt made its debut, it wasn’t selling all that briskly, and many news stories still seemed to point to GM continuing down a road filled with ICE vehicles. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the automaker was spreading news of its electric future.
GM’s new vice president of global EV programs (a brand new position created mainly due to the Chevrolet Bolt), Pam Fletcher, shared:
“It’s [Bolt] helped us to see what is possible from full battery electric vehicles.”
GM has been hesitant to adapt in the past. But, the Bolt seems to have changed that. The Bolt just arrived this January, and the automaker is willing to plan its future around it. GM has its second-gen EV platform, battery pack, and propulsion systems already developed. Automotive News writes:
“Simply put, the Bolt EV is the symbol of General Motors’ future. It is the start of a new journey for the 110-year-old automaker, which plans to launch at least 20 new all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles globally by 2023 as part of a two-pronged approach to a zero-emissions, autonomous future.
The company hasn’t put a timeline on when it will exclusively offer zero-emissions vehicles. But its bets on technology appear to have finally put it in Wall Street’s good graces. Following years of stagnant shares and doubts that GM could keep pace with Silicon Valley disruptors such as Tesla Inc., the stock has gained roughly 30 percent in 2017.”
The automaker has started to make major changes in order to secure the future, while still being able to live in the present and maintain sound financial decisions. Currently, most OEMs are facing the same struggle. It’s difficult to bank on costly future technologies in hopes that it will pay off. GM has already dropped unsuccessful operations in Europe and India to begin trimming the fat. GM President, Dan Ammann, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV (via Automotive News):
“All of our focus right now is on moving as fast as we can to get to commercial deployment of this technology in the safest way possible. We believe the best way to do that is having all the capability under one roof.”
Added to all of this, GM has acquired Cruise Automation and is already deploying third-generation self-driving Bolt fleets for testing. The automaker has its own mobility brand, Maven, which leases Chevrolet Bolts to use for ride-sharing. To further the cause, GM has invested $500 million in Lyft to serve as its ride-sharing partner.
The Bolt has brought a significant amount to the table for GM in a very short time.
Source: Automotive News