Chevrolet Bolt EV
Designing the Chevrolet Bolt proved to be challenging, says lead designer Stuart Norris.
Norris was on hand in South Korea to field interview questions recently and he revealed that the Bolt was quite possibly the most challenging car he's ever had to design.
According to Norris, the Bolt's incredibly tight launch timeline forced the design team to find new solutions and to work at a break neck pace.
“It reminds you of what GM can do when we’re given a deadline and set to it."
“We broke the mold on the Bolt EV."
“We need to sell more of these electric vehicles, so we need something that has more broad mass appeal. The Bolt was a very significant program for us.”
Automotive News states:
"Typically, GM vehicle design is handled by two teams, one responsible for the exterior, the other for the interior. But the Bolt was such a high-stakes project, the company created a special team in Korea that would integrate all aspects of styling."
But designing the Bolt wasn't easy, in part due to its size and shape. Quoting Norris:
“It’s a bit of a segment buster. We call it a C-segment interior on a B-segment platform.”
“There’s big-picture stuff, and then there’s just detail, detail, detail."
But perhaps the biggest revelation from Norris comes on the aerodynamic front:
“It’s a disaster for aero."
The Bolt has a drag coefficient of 0.32, according to Norris. That's an awful figure for an electric car, but in an attempt to improve air flow, several design elements and "tricks" were employed.
Those are described by Automotive News as follows:
" Norris’ design team incorporated a spoiler and sharply creased winglike canards along the tail edge of the car. Other tricks were underbody paneling, air dams and active grille shutters that close at certain speeds to streamline airflow. Designers even adjusted the radius of the A-pillar, modified the mirrors and fine-tuned tire coverage.
"No fewer than six full-sized iterations of the Bolt underwent wind-tunnel testing."
Norris went out to state that the car's interior is perhaps its biggest breakthrough in regards to spaciousness, cargo volume and so on. He concluded with this statement:
“Small-car design has always been a challenging area because you’re trying to deliver more for less. This is a pretty unique execution.”
The Bolt is indeed unique and the fact that it will go from concept to production in such a short time frame is proof that General Motors knows just how important a mass market, affordable electric car really is in the grand scheme.
Source: Automotive News