GM’s EV plans start to take form with new lower-priced Chevy Bolts

2022 BOLTS EUV

Source: Chevrolet

DETROIT – General Motors’ linchpin is to become a pure electric vehicle company by 2035 The automaker is taking shape as it prepares to launch two Chevrolet Bolt models this summer before launching a $ 113,000 GMC Hummer EV pickup later in the year.

The all-electric studs – a redesigned hatchback and a new crossover – will both start at under $ 34,000. They are the beginning of what GM hopes to be a full line of “affordable” EVs at some point as the company builds economies of scale to bring down the cost of its next-generation EVs like the Hummer with new battery systems and platforms.

“When you look at what the GMC Hummer EV is and what the Bolt EVs can represent in the body,” said Jesse Ortega, GM’s chief engineer of battery electric vehicle architectures, during a press conference. “That really gives us the solid bookends of what we can do.”

It’s a two-pronged approach to targeting the mainstream and luxury markets. The price difference between these “bookends” is largely due to the battery technologies in the vehicles. The Bolt models are on the automaker’s current EV platform and feature batteries that offer less range than GM’s next-generation Ultium platform and batteries featured on the Hummer EV.

All three vehicles are part of the automaker’s plan to bring 30 new or redesigned electric vehicles to market by 2025 as part of a $ 27 billion investment plan for electric and autonomous vehicles.

“You can see the intended strategy that we have here,” said Tony Johnson, director of Chevrolet marketing. “The goal of these two offerings is really to get the main drag and take electric vehicle adoption across the board. Obviously, the other brands within the company each have their own roles to fill our journey here.”

GM currently has no plans to move the bolts to the next-generation platform, Ortega said.

Profitable electric vehicles

GM CEO Mary Barra and President Mark Reuss have stated that unlike the Bolt EV, the company’s next generation vehicles will be profitable. Johnson and other GM officials declined to comment on whether the Bolt models, which hit the market later this year, will be profitable.

After four years in the market, the GM engineering team “got phenomenal quality of work, driving consistency and cost out of the system,” said Johnson. He said the advances had led the company to lower the price of the stud.

The new 2022 Bolt commercial vehicle starts at $ 33,995. This is comparable to the Bolt EV, which will start at $ 31,995 – more than $ 5,000 less than the 2021 model.

Profitable or not, the vehicles offer GM an EV that is below the price of other competitors, like the Ford Mustang Mach-E crossover at $ 43,000 (before a tax credit of up to $ 7,500, the GM and Tesla – buyers can no longer receive) and Tesla Model 3, which starts at around $ 37,000.

The Bolt EV has a range of 259 miles when fully charged, while the Bolt EUV has a range of 250 miles. This is comparable to GM vehicles with Ultium technology, which are expected to reach up to 450 miles per charge.

GMs added additional technology to the Bolt models to make them more competitive. In particular, the Bolt EUV will be the first from Chevrolet to be equipped with GM’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous motorway driving system, which uses facial recognition to determine whether the driver is paying attention so that he or she does not have to touch the steering wheel while the system is in operation.

“Alone”

Offering the cheaper vehicles is part of the company’s new “Everyone In” marketing campaign, which focuses on increasing adoption of electric vehicles. In doing so, the company hopes to attract new buyers to the segment and retain them for years to come. That includes potentially swapping a cheaper vehicle for a next-generation electric vehicle when costs drop.

2022 BOLTS EUV

Source: Chevrolet

“Our vision is to want customers for life,” said Ortega. “As their needs grow and their lifestyle changes, we want to offer them an electric vehicle.”

One of the focal points for this cost reduction is likely to be GM, which manufactures its own battery cells as part of a joint venture with LG Chem in Ohio. The $ 2.3 billion facility is currently under construction. Completion is expected in 2022.

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