Why Is Chevy Bringing The Bolt Again?

In a latest press launch, Chevrolet introduced that they’re bringing the Bolt again. Particulars are nonetheless skinny presently, however I need to cowl some background (the cancellation), what we all know to this point, and why they’re doing this. Lengthy story quick: that is one more instance of EVs successful over customers, regardless of appreciable headwinds!

The Cancellation

Earlier this yr, CleanTechnica coated the Bolt’s cancelation in a number of articles. Quite than cowl that subject right here once more, I’ll briefly summarize them and level you to these different articles for additional particulars.

My colleague Steve first coated the cancelation itself right here. As a Bolt proprietor, I in all probability would have coated it first, however Steve’s faster to the draw than I’m most days, so he acquired it. However, as typical, he did an amazing job, in all probability a greater job than I’d have. He defined the historical past of the Bolt, each the great and the sick, and known as it a “profitable failure,” an evaluation I agree with. Certain, there have been issues with fires that in all probability led to the cancelation, however on the similar time, it was a groundbreaking car for GM that led the corporate to higher issues which can be coming to fruition later this yr.

Since then, Steve once more reported on the potential for a future Bolt. See, I informed you he’s a fast draw! He reported not solely on the rumor, however did some wonderful evaluation of the scenario, particularly how vital an EV within the Bolt’s value section is. He additionally identified that it could in all probability be rather a lot simpler for GM to show a revenue on an Ultium-based model of the car, making for one thing the corporate can do long run and never as a quasi-compliance automotive.

Despite the fact that I used to be gradual, I did write about this myself. My massive level was that it was financially crucial to finish the BEV II platform (the one which underpins the Bolt and Bolt EUV) and exchange its manufacturing house with Ultium manufacturing. However, GM can also’t simply abandon the $25,000–$35,000 market section and solely produce costly EVs that folks with larger than common incomes can afford. That will each be unhealthy for the corporate and unhealthy for the EV transition.

So, it was considerably inevitable that GM would re-enter that section, nevertheless it was removed from positive that GM would do that underneath the Bolt nameplate.

GM’s Bringing The Bolt Again

In a latest convention name, GM CEO Mary Barra introduced the return of the Bolt, and gave some particulars.

“Our clients love at present’s Bolt. It has been delivering document gross sales and a few of the highest buyer satisfaction and loyalty scores within the trade,” mentioned Barra. “It’s additionally an vital supply of conquest gross sales for the corporate and for Chevrolet.”

She went on to say that they’re going to have the ability to get to manufacturing pretty shortly. The plan is to replace the car with Ultium and Ultifi applied sciences, that means higher batteries, charging speeds, and software program. However, what precisely “replace the car” means continues to be open to hypothesis. They might adapt the prevailing BEV II tooling to just accept Ultium battery modules, making for a quick journey to manufacturing, however they may resolve to go all-in on Ultium and have to revamp a lot of the car. It’s unclear what’s happening there, however I’ll let you realize what GM says about that after they get again to me.

Why, Although?

In the event you’re a Tesla fan who likes to snicker on the expense of GM, this transfer may appear odd. In spite of everything, the Bolt sucks, and it was a hearth hazard, proper? However, solely specializing in the detrimental means you’d miss out on the optimistic aspect of the Bolt and the love individuals nonetheless have for its nameplate.

From a {dollars} and cents perspective, it’s a priceless model for GM’s EV future. First off, regardless of the hearth recall, gross sales for the Bolt and Bolt EUV have been rather a lot stronger than anticipated for GM in 2022–2023. The worth drop should’ve had rather a lot to do with this, however on the similar time, if all public notion was that of Tesla Twitter (or X, or no matter Elon Musk desires it to determine as lately), there’s no value at which these document gross sales may have occurred.

In different phrases, the automotive’s repute was robust sufficient to climate the recall storm and are available out swinging. GM says 80% of Bolt house owners caught with Chevrolet for his or her subsequent car, and 70% of Bolt house owners ditched one other model to purchase their Bolt. So, it’s clearly a automotive that may assist GM get critical EV gross sales sooner or later.

I do know some will nonetheless discover all of this unusual and inconceivable, however as a Bolt proprietor myself, I feel I can supply perspective on why the Bolt model has created some actual worth for itself.

To start with, it was reasonably priced. Not everybody has $40,000+ (generally numerous +) to purchase a automotive. So, the opposite choices on the market are simply not inside attain. The one alternate options in that value vary in prior years have been one thing just like the Nissan LEAF, a automotive that tends to overheat on highway journeys, together with some plugin hybrids (that are getting expensive, too). Folks want a automotive they will really purchase, and no quantity of “Simply purchase a Tesla, bruh!” or tax credit that don’t apply on the time of sale can overcome that.

It’s additionally true that not everybody desires a Tesla. Even when reasonably priced, many individuals simply don’t need a barren, brutalist inside. Folks usually need issues like a flip sign stalk, just a few buttons for essentially the most generally used techniques, and *GASP!* a gauge cluster show that’s in entrance of them whereas going through ahead. A few of us don’t need to use a touchscreen to goal the AC vents after we may simply do this with our arms like we’ve all the time performed, and extra shortly. A few of us additionally aren’t impressed with Elon Musk’s edgy conduct.

No offense of any variety is meant to individuals who like Teslas, Elon Musk, and excessive minimalism (learn: price financial savings that don’t get handed on to you), however you’ve acquired to grasp that completely different individuals have completely different tastes and desires, and that they’re higher served by different automobiles generally.

And charging networks? The following-gen Bolt will in all probability have a NACS connector. In the event that they’re out quicker than 2025, the primary mannequin yr is likely to be CCS with an out there adapter for Superchargers. So, not actual benefit there. Even so, my expertise charging my Bolt has not been unhealthy in any respect, and I’ve taken some lengthy highway journeys in it.

My subsequent EV will in all probability must be one thing with extra inside house, just like the upcoming Equinox EV, however for now, I’m very proud of the Bolt. It serves my wants, it has a minimalism-to-feature stability that higher fits my tastes, and most significantly of all, it’s an EV. If I may swap in an Ultium pack and get 150 kW charging, it could be nearly excellent.

Featured picture by Jennifer Sensiba.


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