2015 Detroit Auto Show: Tesla Model 3, Meet the Chevy Bolt

At the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, CEO Mary Barra and General Motors aimed a shot square at the bow of Tesla.  They introduced the Chevy Bolt, an EV concept with a 200-mile range, priced for the under $30k market.

“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”

 

That’s a strong statement of automotive populism.

But it’s based on a logical progression, if you consider what they’ve learned with the Volt.  They also know a thing or two about a nationwide service network–one that could quickly become a nationwide charging network as well.  They also have some institutional knowledge of building cars targeted to the heart of the middle class.

Unfortunately, they also know about bad craftsmanship, mucking up service, as well as being tone deaf to customers.  These are the things that could sink a production Chevy Bolt like a stone, and why I still think the way Tesla came to market is superior.  But…let’s get back to the point.

“We have made tremendous strides in technologies that make it easier and more affordable for Chevrolet customers to integrate an all-electric vehicle in their daily lives,” said Barra. “The Bolt EV concept demonstrates General Motors’ commitment to electrification and the capabilities of our advanced EV technology.”

 

Looks-wise, you’ve seen this before.  It’s an amalgam of different GM vehicles with a dollop design on top.  But it’s not bad looking at all.  It should go into production with all of today’s and some of tomorrow’s bells and whistles:

The concept’s technological intuitiveness can be accessed via a smartphone with the concept Bolt EV Connect app, which is designed to:
 
-Allow a smartphone to perform as the key fob
-Allow ride-sharing management, including reservations, vehicle location, digital key and even payment processing via the smartphone
-Incorporate the concept automatic park-and-retrieval technology, which enables the driver to exit the vehicle and tell the Bolt EV concept to park itself – and when errands are completed, the Bolt EV concept can be summoned to return to the owner’s location.
 
A large, color 10-inch-diagonal capacitive-touch screen, with interface features, complements the concept Bolt EV Connect app. It even allows the projection of all the application and other smartphone data onto the screen.
 

The automatic park and retrieval feature was something Tesla founder Elon Musk had a good time with at an event earlier this year.

I think it makes sense.  The only thing that I fear is GM’s reputation for build and service coming home to the Bolt.

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Copyright 2015 Hybrid and Electric Car News

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Sebastian James

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