Cars

Published on January 13th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan

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Chevy Bolt & Chevy Volt 2.0 — Implications & Comparisons

January 13th, 2015 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Some of the biggest EV news of the year is the unveiling of the Chevy Bolt and the launch of Chevy Volt 2.0. We got out some leaked news about the Bolt a few days ago that was apparently spot on. But below are the key official details about the Bolt and the cool new Volt, followed by my thoughts on the vehicles.

Chevy Bolt

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – front ex 2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – rear ext 2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – glass ro

  • Concept 100%-electric vehicle that is supposed to be released in 2017
  • $30,000
  • 200 miles of range
  • Includes two large LCD screens, 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, and allows a smartphone to be used as a key fob
  • The body includes aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber (lighter materials than the norm, which improves range and efficiency)
  • Self-parking
  • 4 seats

Chevy Volt 2.0

2016 Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt

  • 50 miles of all-electric range (by far, the best among plug-in hybrids)
  • 41 MPG when on gas (12% more efficient than Chevy Volt 1.0)
  • Over 400 miles of combined electric and gas range
  • 19% stronger 0–30 mph acceleration
  • 5 seats
  • Regen on demand


 

My Thoughts

2016 Chevy Volt 4

The Bolt

Starting with the Bolt, the first thing to highlight is that it is a concept vehicle. Among major manufacturers, concept vehicles are often a lot different from the production versions. Some people have speculated that GM won’t build it at all. I wouldn’t bet on that for a second. GM has released an approximate price and range, and Mary Barra herself said this is no science experiment. GM is pushing itself as an EV leader (which it is), and I’m sure it really wants to be the first one out with an all-electric, affordable, long-range vehicle. (Watch the video at the top if you haven’t yet.)

The first comparison that comes to mind is with the Tesla Model 3. Announced much earlier, but with no design released as of yet, the Model 3 is supposed to be the all-electric, affordable, long-range vehicle Tesla has been targeting since Day 1. It is also supposed to come out in 2017. However, let’s not kid ourselves, the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3 are going to be very different animals. Tesla has built a brand that is very different from the GM brand, and it is likely the hottest car manufacturer on the planet at the moment. From its stellar vehicle quality (unmatched by many standards) and continual software updates, it’s going to be hard to compete with Model 3. With planned pricing between $35,000 and $45,000, I think GM would be wise to really keep the Bolt at $30,000 or lower, in order to nab more buyers who are willing to take a step down from a Tesla for a savings of $5,000 or so.

I love that “the Bolt” is the name, as it immediately brings to mind “quick.” The instant torque and excellent acceleration of electric vehicles is one of their two biggest selling points for the masses, imho. (The other is convenience.)

The Bolt’s biggest competitors are likely to come from other mainstream manufacturers. By 2017, BMW could have an updated i3 (which the Bolt looks eerily similar to… with the Bolt even being unveiled in almost the same odd orange that the i3 often has). The i3 could have similar specs as the Bolt, or it could add a bit of extra luxury and performance for a bit of a price hike. Nissan has said it will “soon take range off the table,” which hints that it is planning a similarly long-range and affordable electric vehicle… maybe much sooner than 2017. Volkswagen has mentioned that an electric vehicle with over 300 miles of range is around the corner. One would expect that Ford is working on something or can quickly take advantage of better and cheaper batteries by then as well, but it certainly hasn’t done much to excite in the pure-EV category.

So, what does all of this really mean? It means the time when electric cars will very clearly pass up gasmobiles as the best car options on the market (by a landslide, if you look at all of the benefits of electric cars) is likely to be in 2017 or so. (That’s actually what our readers have been saying for the past couple of years.)

The Volt

The updated Chevy Volt looks like it will be quite competitive. When it comes to all-electric range, it blows other plug-in hybrids out of the water. The Toyota Prius Plug-in just has 11 miles of electric range, the Ford Energi models have 21 miles of electric range, and the Audi A3 e-tron and Volkswagen Golf GTE each have 31 miles of electric range.

Furthermore, the Volt now has 5 seats — one simple but key reason many buyers were going for the Ford Energi models or Toyota Prius Plug-in instead of the 4-seat Volt was that they have 5 seats.

Very importantly, I actually think the new Volt looks really good. I wasn’t a fan of the first Volt, but the new Volt is a big step up in the looks category. I encourage you to watch the video at the top, as it captures the real-world look much better than static pictures. I just asked my wife what she thought of the new Volt, and she mentioned that it looked “sporty” — which was a key aim of GM.

Demonstrating how far battery tech has come in the past few years, the new Volt has increased battery capacity (up to 18.4 kWh) via the use of 192 cells — which is 96 fewer battery cells than in the first-generation Volt. This also brings down the weight of the car by more than 20 pounds, which further helps to increase range. (The new Volt as a whole is about 100 pounds lighter than the original Volt.) Further improvements to EV batteries is what will get us to the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and other long-range yet affordable electric cars hinted at above.

I think the Volt is going to do very well with the upgrades. With a significantly lower price and the many advantages of being a pure-electric vehicle, I think the Nissan LEAF will still do very well. However, I could see the Volt becoming the top-selling EV in the US again. I think the biggest EV questions for 2015 are now: Will Nissan roll out an updated and massively improved LEAF? Will GM bring the new Volt or a sister vehicle to Europe (and other markets)? Will the Model X arrive? This is already shaping up to be a huge year for electric vehicles, especially if you throw in the other models hitting the market this year, but if Nissan unveils a hugely improved LEAF, this will really turn into a blockbuster year.


Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.



  • Julian Cox

    Might be worth pointing out that the $30K figure stated for the Bolt is after $7.5K rebate – it’s $37.5K in comparison to the $35K Tesla Model 3 ($27,500 on a level playing field). Stepping down to $5K cheaper than the Model 3 would mean the Bolt must drop to $22,500 after subsidies – which is not what is on offer here.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Working prices for the Bolt and M3 are $37.5k and $35k. That’s $30k and $27.5k after the federal tax credit.

      We won’t know the actual prices until the cars are released.

      (Just for folks now tuning in.)

  • ecotrials

    I am looking forward to getting a Volt in 2016.
    But I can’t help but wish …
    How about a small GMC pickup with the volt “package”. With tall the extra space, up the battery pack three or four fold. Add a second electric motor for all wheel drive, and revamp the ICE to provide electrical generation only, removing and simplifying the design by removing the mechanical link (I understand the Volt needed extra power for tasks like freeway entry, so they added the capability to boost power mechanically (I recall it caused quite a furor early on). Doubling the HP by adding the second motor should obviate the need.
    With the increase in battery power, but decrease in aerodynamics, hopefully capable of around 150 miles under battery power only. Also capable, with an inverter, of providing electrical power at a job site.
    I think there is a growing pent up demand for a truck, and I don’t think Tesla is thinking about one for at least three to five years. If Tesla makes a truck, I hope they publish the electrical spec so that third parties can make range extenders that could fit in the pickup bed. These could be purchased, eased or rented for those who only need them periodically.

    Come on EV makes, give us a pickup truck.

  • Gwolf

    With the , what is likely, temporary lull in fuel prices, I wonder how many people are wondering; wouldn’t it be nice to be unconcerned about the price of gas all of the time?

    These new EVs may make a lot of people more than just curious.

  • “I think it shows that GM is serious about this game…” I don’t agree…showing a Shriner electric prototype does not show serious investment. Teslas “3” at the same price point especially when Tesla throws in an infinite drive train warranty and free charges for the life of the vehicle.

    • Benjamin Nead

      At this point, Phil, the Tesla 3 is even more speculatory that the Chevy Bolt (not quite sure what a “Shriner electric prototype” is, unless that’s some sort of conspiratorial jab at Freemasons.) The photo of the Bolt is of a real vehicle that was publicly displayed a couple days ago. What remains to be seen is if the stated range performance and price point can be accurately met by the launch of the production versions in 2017. I’ll go out on a limb here and speculate that well know GM partner, Sakti3, has gotten their solid electrolyte cells to work and we now have battery packs with that sort of power/energy density “under the hood.”

      The photoshopped image you show of the ‘3 – a sort of shrunken Model S – has been called out by even Elon Musk as bearing no physical relationship as to what the car is actually going to look like. The fact is we simply don’t know yet. But once you start to shrink the size of a car and still have to accommodate for the comfort of average sized human physiology, the car starts to become less sleek looking and boxier (ie: like, more often than not, an over-tall hatchback.) The ‘3 is almost certainly going to be a real looker, but it’s overall form is probably going to be closer to the Bolt than the above blue colored car in the above make believe image (ie: not simply a tinier S suitable only for Middle Earth Hobbits.)

      True: Tesla’s Supercharger network is beautifully implemented. But the cost of allowing their car purchasers to use it “free for life” is built into the very high purchase price of their current vehicles. If you remember, the initial Model S launch had a “poor man’s” version of that car, with a smaller battery pack and no immediate option for Supercharger affiliation. Tesla Roadster owners are also orphaned from Supercharger affiliation. With a Model 3, is it even a given that all iterations will enjoy “free” supercharger affiliation? We simply don’t know yet.

      • Joseph Dubeau

        ” I’ll go out on a limb here and speculate that well know GM partner, Sakti3, has gotten their solid electrolyte cells to work ”

        The batteries are from LG Chem and they are real.
        GM is testing something. Maybe someone will spot it and post a photo.

        Solid State will be the next jump in battery technology.
        (300-400+) range.

        • Benjamin Nead

          You’re probably right about the LG Chem cells, Joseph. To get 200 miles per charge out of an EV the size of the Bolt, though, there is either some serious jump in energy density over what they’re putting in the Volt today, or a much more cleaver way to pack today’s production cells in between the frame members . . . or maybe a combination of the two.

          Google search “LG Chem 200 mile” and you’ll find a number of news stories (with at least here one on Clean Technica) in and around the June/July 2014 time period. So many of these “better batteries are coming soon” news stories are met with a collective yawn or even derision these days. Seeing an actual car roll out that is purported to have them, though, really gets some notice.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      The model 3 is a theory, “where is the beef.”

    • Dan Hue

      If you believe the Tesla M3 will look like the blue car in your picture, cost $37K and have free access to SC for life, then I have a bridge to sell you.

  • George Sears

    It all seems to depend on what a kWh of battery capacity costs in 2 years. Pretty clearly, you can’t do the price and range now. To get 200 miles maybe you need 75 kWh. If you can get that for $150 kWh, the price seems like it would be possible.

    Even a fairly conservative drop in battery prices puts electric scooters and motorcycles in a very good place, in terms of price. I tend to think lighter vehicles, maybe two wheelers, get their day, and electric cars are out maybe 5 years.

    Right now, the battery costs favors electric bikes. This is an exciting area because there are both lower prices and huge technological advances. The efficiency of an ebike is truly remarkable.

    • Yes, GM must think it has a pretty good sense of battery prices in 2017. Same with Tesla. We’ll see.

    • Disqus Tim

      Right now any electric scooter is at least 3 times the cost of a comparable gas model. That’s a fairly large cost gap to overcome.

      • Philip W

        Just wait a little bit. That’s fairly new technology. As production ramps up, they’ll get cheaper. And falling battery prices are doing their part, too.

      • George Sears

        The Genze is $3,000. The developers are an Indian company, Mahindra, and they are looking for ways around the motorcycle laws. It is a 200 pound basic scooter. Right now, it seems like a prototype, something to build on. The cheapest Zero, clearly a motorcycle and a fairly heavy one, runs around $10k with a small battery. Zero seems to be paying $750 for a kWh of battery. That’s what the booster battery costs. If they got down around $200, it could take a big chunk out of the price. Zero figures the bike pays for itself, but it’s tougher with $2 gas. The Zero is a real bike, though they have had their problems. I honestly think scooters have more appeal for more people.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Tesla is apparently paying $180/kWh now.

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/battery-storage-costs-plunge-below100kwh-19365

      Tesla/Panasonic expect a 30% price drop once the new Nevada plant is operating at speed. Other battery companies are also building large battery plants. Production volume and costs should be quite different two years from now.

  • While I am glad the Volt has evolved into a more mainstream design, I was hoping for something that looked more unique than an upscale Civic. I’m fairly certain the changes will result in a dramatic increase in sales which is a great thing. Interior dash and controls are a great update as the capacitive touch controls in the gen 1 center stack were a terrible idea. My wife loves the new design. If they had figured out a way to make the center seat more practical (My family is 5 humans plus a toy poodle large)i.e. get rid of the batteries just in front of the center seat, we could consider it as a replacement for her aging Prius. At this point I’m thinking a used Ford Fusion Energi in a couple of years might be a good next step to full electrification of our fleet.

  • exdent11

    Zach,

    I am seeing conflicting statements about the projected price of the Bolt. Is it $ 30,000 before subsidies or after ?

    • Ian Ray

      I heard “about $30,000 after tax credit” so presumably at least $37,500, + whatever “about” means.

      • Hmm, I thought it was ~$30,000 before subsidies.

        Anyhow, it’s a concept with two years before release, so there’s a lot of room for the price to go up or down a bit.

      • Benjamin Nead

        The reason for “about” is multi-faceted. First, the Bolt is still a concept car and it’s rather difficult for GM to peg an exact suggested list price at this stage. Next, the federal government provides up to $7500 in the form of a one-time-only (year of purchase) income tax break for individuals purchasing a new EV. This is a sliding scale program. If you pay in less federal income tax on the year of purchase, your rebate will be scaled accordingly.

        Also . . . individual states offer their own financial incentives. Direct rebates are particularly generous in Colorado and California, for instance, while other states don’t offer anything special for new EV purchasers. Here in Arizona, where I live, there is no direct rebate at time of purchase, but a significant cut in annual registration, which can add up to thousands of dollars spread over several years.
        Hope this helps explain it.

    • Disqus Tim

      Your guess is as good as any – I don’t pay much attention to references to pricing when a concept car is unveiled.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    Bolt may bring to mind “quick” for the author for me is brings to mind a bolt as in a fastener. I have a better name though; The EV2.

  • eveee

    IMO, the cars in this segment are mid luxury competitors. Tesla has the advantage there. One hopes GM won’t forget that a 30k EV must compete with some upscale ICE. EVs are entering the market at the top and filtering down. Its great to see the competition heating up. Now that NIssan and BMW are in the game for real, it has really forced the competitors to get in or lose out. VW and more are jumping in.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      Indeed, the base price of Audi A4 Quattro is 35 000 dollars. And Audi A4 Quattro is by no means your VW Golf hatchback that starts from 19 000 dollars.

      We should not see that electric cars are competing with each others but electric cars are competing against their equivalent ICE cars.

      • eveee

        Jouni – Yes. People don’t buy Tesla because its electric alone. They buy because its a great car. A bad EV or bad ICE makes no difference. Execution matters.

      • “We should not see that electric cars are competing with each others but electric cars are competing against their equivalent ICE cars”

        Thanks. Something for me to keep in mind in these articles.

  • I’m very excited to read this article and actually see the video showing the 2016 Volt driving out into the spotlight. It looks great, and I’m glad I’m no longer having to see a glimpse of it when two guys in suits are pulling the wool off the hood.

    This event in Detroit is nearly like GM taking a double barrel shotgun and blowing away the competition with not just the Generation 2 Volt but their new concept EV, and I suspect the Bolt will really “Float my Boat” if I can get my hands on one next year or so.

    I’ve been following the news and comments the past few days and still see the occasional troll posting totally off the wall comments, and I suspect these people are the ones who still use fax machines and rotary phones attached to wires on wooden poles. I’d suggest to them to get on the “electric bandwagon” like I did at age 60 when I bought my 2012 Volt. The naysayers need to discover the transportation future because it soon will pass them by in a mighty big hurry.

    In my experience, GM tends to under-promise and then over-deliver. They suggested my 2012 Volt would go about 35 miles on a charge and I was doing 45 nearly everyday on my one-way commute, and then 45 miles back out here in the sticks.

    At 27,000 miles on my first Volt “Dusty” used 42 gallons of gas in the 27 months I owned it (mainly due to one trip in a single day of 702 miles across Texas). And at 7,500+ miles on Dusty Too, the 2015 Volt I own now, and not yet even 5 gallons of gas used it it since August 6th when I drove it off the dealership lot.

    My only concern now, since I am setting my sights on that new concept car they revealed at the Detroit Auto Show, what in the world am I going to name it? Maybe “Nuts About My Bolt :)”… I bet my wife will get a charge out of that one!

    • ha, yes, i think we’re all happy that we no longer have to look at those sneak peek shots. 😀

      “This event in Detroit is nearly like GM taking a double barrel shotgun and blowing away the competition with not just the Generation 2 Volt but their new concept EV”

      -Haha, this! 😀

  • Jouni Valkonen

    It is good to remember that so called “affordable” electric cars do not make economic sense today and not in near future (without subsidies). Therefore electric cars in premium car category sells wastly more than so called affordable electric cars. Also this is the reason why Chevy Bolt will be massively overpriced and therefore low volume subsidy depended car. It is just GM’s argument toward politicians that “electric cars need more subsidies because only thing what we can make is a small hatchback that costs 37 000 dollars although ICE equivalent costs less than 20 000 dollars”.

    Tesla on the other hand aims to prove that electric cars can make sense without subsidies. Imagine what kind of hit all electric Tesla Model 3 P85D will be that can go zero to 60 in less than 3 seconds and its power can electronically limited to safe range for every day driving. Tesla tries to show with Model 3 that today unsubsidized electric car markets could be one to four million cars per year in premium car category alone.

    This is already 10 times larger markets than Chevy Bolt and next gen Nissan LEAF and e-Golf can ever hope to sell. It is just impossible that today or in near future electric cars could compete with VW Golf because relative price difference is so big, around 50 %. But can electric cars compete against Audi A4 Quattro, where price difference is only about 25 % in favor of ICE variant and where customers pay more attention to driving experience than price anyway? This is entirely different story.

    And indeed the car markets in Audi A4 Quattro class are about 5 to 10 million cars annually. This is huge market potential for electric cars to conquer and all electric cars could easily reach 50 to 70 % market share in price range from 40 000 to 55 000 dollars.

    Of course only Tesla is offering electric cars to this market segment, because in this premium car market segment the most profits, that big car business in general makes, is generated. For sure e.g. Toyota does not want to abandon their Lexus business model and to start offering a compelling electric car as replacement for Lexus LE 480. Lexus premium car brand provides about half of all profits that Toyota as corporation is making.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      However, I give my points to new Chevy Volt as it has huge improvement on battery chemistry compared to old battery chemistry. range is improved over 30 % with more light weight battery.

    • RobMF

      In pure numbers alone, Leaf dominated this year at nearly 60K global.

      • Jouni Valkonen

        In 2015 Tesla will sell about 50 to 70 000 cars. And by the end of 2015, Tesla will have production capacity of about 100 000 cars per year. And these certainly are not small hatchbacks, but you could fit Nissan LEAF into the trunk and frunk of Model X.

        • Steve Grinwis

          How are they going to double production? Elon hasn’t said anything about doubling production… I thought they were still battery constrained, and it’s not like Panasonic built a new plant that I’m aware of…

        • Disqus Tim

          In 2014 Tesla will hope to sell 50k to 70k cars.
          We’ll see what happens…

        • coldspring22 .

          Looks like tesla will not make your estimate for 2015. It delivered just 10,030 in Q1, 11,532 in Q2, and 11,580 in Q3. At this rate, Tesla would be lucky to hit 45K cars, unless lots of people are buying Model X for stocking stuffers

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s 33,142. 16,858 would take them to 50k.

            Tesla recently opened a second assembly line which gives them the potential to double their output during the fourth quarter.

            Will Tesla hit 50K for 2015? Hard to say, but the number is in reach.

          • Tesla has been exceeding its quarterly targets. It projected a lot more for Q4, largely bcs of a second production line going up: http://evobsession.com/2-things-to-realize-about-2015-tesla-sales-projections/

          • Bob_Wallace

            11,580 with one assembly line in Q3 2014.

            Assume 11,580 in Q4 from that first line. Assume the second line gets up to full speed by halfway through the quarter. Add in 5,790. Assume half speed for the second line, first half of Q4. Add in another 2,895. That’s 20,265.

            10,030 Q1
            11,507 Q2 (or 11,532?)
            11,580 Q3
            20, 265 Q4

            53, 382 rough guess 2015 total. More than 50k.

            Two lines running at Q3 levels = >90,000 in 2016.

            Wonder if Tesla will build one or two lines next year for Mod3 production? Two would move them really close to the 500,000 per year in 2020 target.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Granted, Tesla dropped the guidance somewhat, but still for the Q4 Tesla has now two production lines active – one for S and one for X. This could well mean 20 000 cars for Q4 as guided. I would be surprised if Tesla could not make to 50 000 cars for 2015.

            After all, the battery and component production capacity has traditionally been the limiting factor. Tesla Factory’s output capacity is now about 2000 cars per week. Which means about 25 000 cars per quarter.

    • Hi Jouni,

      I always enjoy reading your comments, but I must point out that gasmobiles receive substantial subsidies (directly and indirectly) as does the fossil fuel industry.

      “It is good to remember that so called “affordable” electric cars do not
      make economic sense today and not in near future (without subsidies).” — Jouni

      In 2014, the fossil fuel industry (globally) was subsidized to the tune of $600 billion dollars, in 2013, it was subsidized to $550 billion dollars, in 2012… you get the idea.

      http://globalenergyinitiative.org/an-energy-system-as-revolutionary-as-the-internet.html

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/11/09/us-iea-outlook-renewables-idUSTRE6A81U620101109

      http://johnbrianshannon.com/2014/11/16/g20-hints-to-eliminating-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

      Not only that, but billions of taxpayer funded subsidies have gone to GM, Chrysler, etc. (but not Ford) to save them from insolvency/bankruptcy.

      It seems that every time a new ICE auto plant is constructed, it gets millions of dollars of subsidy. (Not every time, but almost)

      And all that’s fine, as long as we remember that the ICE industry and the oil industry are heavily subsidized.

      Then, there is the Externality cost of fossil fuels…

      “Air pollution from motor vehicles is an example of a negative externality. The costs of the air pollution for the rest of society is not compensated for by either the producers or users of motorized transport.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

      Cheers, JBS

  • Dan Hue

    That 5th seat for the Volt is going to make a huge difference. People who shop for a Prius, Camry, C-Max or other hybrids will now put the Volt on their list, and once they drive it, many will be hooked.

    • I envision being able to take your shoes off and using the large center hump and console as a foot rest!

    • Disqus Tim

      I just wish the Volt had more of a traditional hatchback profile, to add more cargo rooom. With a high load floor and a low sloping rear roof, cargo space is minimal.

  • Michael G

    I spent a while on the Chevy Volt site and while I really like its looks inside and out, that “5th seat” is not very sittable for more than drive around the block or a baby seat. Still, a step in the right direction.

    The Bolt looks just right for people like me that want the extra space for the Home Depot stuff, but don’t want a land yacht. That is a big market that Volt doesn’t cover.

    I still think we are in the prototyping stage. If gas were still $4/gal this would have much bigger sales. Right now everything I read in the regular press is that this is the year of “who cares about mpg?” Hybrid sales are down and SUVs are up.

    Nothing lasts forever and with further oil exploration on hold because of price drops, and shale production now a money loser in many cases, this may have a bigger market next year or two.

    I read the increase in world oil production that started the sharp drop in oil prices was only a small percentage – something like 3-5%. Some of the price drop was due to more economical cars (like the Volt).

    Supply-demand happens at the margins. 99 people want widgets and 100 widgets on offer = price drops; 101 people want widgets and 100 on offer = price rises.

    It wouldn’t take much to raise prices. Then cars like this will be flying out the door.

    • More important than the 5th seat is the headroom / legroom of the new car’s backseat.

      • Ian Ray

        Headroom is actually reduced, though. The only negative comment I’ve gotten about the space in the gen1 backseat is regarding headroom. I personally think if the specs were reversed with 0.2 inches less legroom and 0.6 inches more headroom, it would be more roomy in practice.

        • Rear seat “toe room” is at a premium in my Gen 1 Volt and I’ve had several people get their feet stuck trying to get out of my rear seat. I wonder how Gen 2 changed in this parameter.

        • That is really too bad. Thanks for the specifics.

      • ttman

        I would like to see them increase the headroom in the front seat:

        Honda Fit EV Hatchback 40.4
        Honda Accord Hybrid 39.1
        Toyota Camry Hybrid 38.8
        Tesla Model S 38.8
        Toyota Prius 38.6
        Chevy Volt 37.8

        I sat in a Volt at a car show and was disappointed to see that I couldn’t comfortably sit in it due to the headroom.

        • Check out the front seat room in the BMW i3.

          • ttman

            I added the i3 headroom, which is my big problem. I can deal with anything in the other dimensions I think.

          • How tall are you? My brother is almost 6′-7″ and he has more room in his i3 than any other vehicle he has ever owned.

          • ttman

            I am not saying the i3 would be too short, as I haven’t tried it. The Volt definitely is. The 2006 Prius, whatever height that had (I think it was also 38.x) was really a scosh under what I felt I could comfortably tolerate. I ended up with a Toyota Matrix that has 40.6 and that is fine and some room to spare so the i3 would probably work.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I thought Totie Fields was gone.

          • ttman

            Showing your age there, but it hurts that I know who she without having to look her up as well. 😉

    • RobMF

      I think the fuel cost savings and maintenance cost savings of EVs are still huge selling points even at current gas prices. Note that EV sales rocketed in December even as oil prices plummeted.

      • Steve Grinwis

        People who drive an EV, want to keep driving them. They’re just better cars. People are actually willing to pay a premium to drive an EV.

  • Joe Viocoe

    “This also brings down the weight of the care by more than 20 pounds”

    Should be “car” and should be “200 pounds”

    • I think the 20 pound savings is just that from the battery pack. The new motors (and engine?) are 100 pounds lighter. And the chassis has other savings, so the total reduction is over 200 pounds (I saw one reference to ~242 pounds) for the whole car.

      • Steve Grinwis

        That’s true, but it’s hard to make a care weight 20 pounds less, no? 😀

        • It is roughly 10% of the total weight loss. And since the battery is 8% higher capacity, it is a benefit.

          Frankly, I am much more interested in the reduction of the Cd. Knowing that will be interesting.

          • Steve Grinwis

            It was a joke… care instead of car… 😀

    • Thanks for the typo catch. Yes, that 20 lbs was just referring to the battery pack. But I’ll check the GM info — that was sourced from the Gas2 article.

  • Paul

    Got to love this free market battle going on, we end up all the winners. The Bolt looks and sounds like the game changer. With this we should start to see more fast charge stations popping up, hopefully full size gas-like stations.

  • Joseph Dubeau

    Zach have you noticed that GM is getting lot of PR on the Bolt announcement.
    The Volt would have not necessary gotten this much on its own.
    It pretty brilliant if you think about it.

    It reminds me of another company who recently announced a battery upgrade. 😉

    • Yes! 😀 I’m really happy it took this route. I think it shows that GM is serious about this game… that is, if it really make the Volt widely available and markets it better, and if it really brings the Bolt to market. But I think it will. The excitement it is buzzing around these vehicles is great. Shows that the program didn’t die when Lutz left.

      And, yeah, I think the Bolt is the bigger announcement, and seems many others do as well. Even if it’s just a concept, it’s the first affordable, long-range EV that has made it to the concept stage! 😀

      • Joseph Dubeau

        I think this more than a concept. I really like the car.

        • Agreed, and I think GM will do everything it can to bring it to market before the Model 3 or any other long-range, affordable EVs.

          • Dan Hue

            Which shouldn’t be too hard. Most people don’t see the M3 available before 2019. And it won’t be a $35K proposition either. That is too much of a gap with the MS, whose average transaction price hovers around $100K at the moment.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Tesla Model 3 will come on markets around in 2016. It would cost for Tesla around 15 to 30 billion dollars in forever lost revenue if they choose to delay Tesla Model 3 until that. It is very hard to see where would be Tesla’s profits what they will generate if they choose to delay Model 3 significantly.

            In business in general and car business in particular if company Y chooses to delay the product X, then they must calculate very hard that do they generate more profits if they choose to delay the product X. And of course Tesla made quite significant profits when they chose to delay Model X and concentrate on refining Model S production before taking new models in production. The amount of cars that Tesla could sell was anyway fixed, because that depended on the amount of batteries that Panasonic could deliver.

            That is, if it seems in second half of 2015 that Model 3 will get delayed, then it is no problem for Tesla to increase their R&D budged by few billions in order to make sure that the Model 3 will arrive early rather than late. Only reason what I can think why Tesla Model 3 would get delayed, if the construction project of Tesla Gigafactory was halted into some bureaucratic hurdles. And therefore Tesla would have enough batteries only to satisfy Model S and X demand that are more profitable cars than Model 3.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Just because it would cost Tesla to be late to market, doesn’t mean you can just throw money at a problem to make it go away. If that worked, all R&D departments would consist completely of contractors; nameless uncaring entities that turned money into dreams.

            In the real world of engineering, I always assume that any new employee that you bring in will be a liability for the first 6 months they’re with the company. Their output is going to be very subpar as they ramp up on your toolset and process, and they’re going to be asking lots of questions, distracting your other engineers from their tasks. Then there’s the question of finding good engineers. There’s a large pool of engineers looking for work. The pool of engineers looking for work who are good, or very good is actually *REALLY TINY*, and highly competitive. Finding good people is a hard problem.

            Want an example of a company that tried to spend their way through R&D problems? Look at BlackBerry. They hired literally thousands of people, and spent your billions, and they produced a stream of underperforming, unimaginative, uninnovative products until they ran out of money, and had to do a 60% staff layoff. That’s not what I want my Tesla to do. I want them to keep the same awesome, excellent team, and deliver awesome products as soon as they’re ready. I don’t care if that’s 2016, or 2018.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            That is why I said that in second half of 2015 if it seems that Model 3 is threatened by delays, then it is no problem for Tesla to ensure that the car will get done by the second half of 2016. This gives lots of time to prepare. The most time and money consuming part in new car design is the testing cars in various occassions. For example if in normal circumstances Tesla does the necessary testing with 50 prototypes. Tesla can produce 500 prototypes and have massive parallelization with Testing. This of course costs lots of money, but it costs in the end less than to have two month delay while 5 billion dollar gigafactory is standing idle while waiting cars to be produced.

          • Steve Grinwis

            You aren’t getting it. Building a solid team takes YEARS for something of this scale. The size of the R&D and the R&D spend won’t substantially change, because they won’t be able to find enough good people to make a difference in time at this point.

          • jeffhre

            Model S starts at 71K with average transaction at 105K, so the average transaction for the Model 3 will be (much) higher than the base price. Would the high end ones get production priority like with S, and have shorter lead times once they are ordered?

      • Omega Centauri

        I wad disappointed that we have to wait to 2017. It sounds great, but in two years in EVland a lot can happen.

        • Benjamin Nead

          Well, actually, we really haven’t seen an amazing influx of new EVs over the last few years . . . except if you are in a ZEV compliant state, such as California, and count ones unaffordable to all but the most wealthy (ie: all current Teslas.) For most of us, it’s been basically an exercise of watching Volts and Leafs multiply and receive incremental improvements.

          The BMW i3 was about the only true “50 state” EV that was new for 2014, but it’s still a bit pricy for most, has got some fairly significant ergonomic issues (goofy rear passenger door design) and styling cues (hideous looking front end) that keeps me less than enthralled.

          What exciting about the Bolt for me is (in more or less the following order) . . .

          1) It’s been made clear that non-Californians will actually
          be able to buy it.

          2) It’s got real range that will allow many to dump their gassers, hybrids and even PHEVs.

          3) It’s coming in at or near an affordable price point.

          4) It looks as if it will actually carry a reasonable amount of cargo and/or people.

          4) It has a body style – unlike so many alt fuel cars these days (don’t get me started on the Toyota Mirai FCV) – that doesn’t look like Salvador Dali threw it together the day after coming off of a rough LSD trip.

          5) And, although we live in an international age of global sourcing of automotive components and there probably really isn’t such a thing as an exclusively “Made In The USA” car anymore, it’s so nice to see this sort of innovation in an EV coming with an American badge on it. If Tesla can compliment it with similar panache – or even finer polish for just a couple thousand dollars more – with their Model 3, all the better.

    • As some testament to the good press, a reported for the Chicago Tribune contacted me today and sent over a lot of good questions about the Bolt and EVs for a story he’s doing. Will see what comes of it.

      • Joseph Dubeau

        I would like to read it.

  • Marion Meads

    Indeed, my friends and family are super excited for the ramping up of the electrification of our commutes. The next couple of years would be the most interesting, with the oil industry fighting tooth and nail, first through the oil price wars. But we have solar and wind to our side plus other renewables. The solar alone, if you are able to install more, can provide you with free fuel for as long as your EV cars will last, and very long they will last!

    Am getting two Gen 2 Volts! One for replacement of Volt lease, and the other for ownership and trade-in of my Chevy Cruze! And when the Bolt comes, will let go of one of my future Volt.

    There is no going back to pure ICE anymore even if gasoline were free. I have excess renewable electricity to power the two Volts and more. I think I would be able to regularly push the next Gen Volt to over 70 miles per charge, and regularly do so, like I am pushing the current Volts over 50 miles per charge. At the 70 miles per charge based on my driving profile of the next Gen Volt, my annual mileage would be pushed to about 97% EV miles. Kudos to GM for not over hyping the EPA rated range unlike Ford.

    • Was going to ask you if you’d get a Volt 2.0. Congrats! I expect to publish a review from you here on CleanTechnica once you have at least one of them. 😀

    • At 50 EV miles, it’s hard to compete with. The benefits of not having to deal with an ICE and all that comes with it are very nice, but 50 miles is plenty for almost all driving, while allowing you to also make longer trips very easily. Also, it looks pretty dern sweet now, imho.

      • Matt

        Agreed totally, this is going to turn a lot more people.

    • Benjamin Nead

      Congrats, Marion. I wish I had the economic scratch to buy 2 new BEVs or PHEVs. Here’s how our household is transitioning away from petroleum
      on about one tenth the budget . . .

      I got rid of my 19 year old Saturn in April. I easily could have thrown $500 or more into it to spruce up mechanical details, nurse it through another year and then spend about that same amount (or more) each subsequent year. But the advanced age of this thing living outside in the Arizona heat for 2 decades meant that so much of the plastic/rubber interior bits were simply rotting away and I just felt it was time to sell it cheap, while I still could. We became a one car household at this point . . . the first time we had been back to that status in almost 30 years.

      So that I could do my short work commutes, I bought a nice single speed bicycle frame on Craigslist and I’ve spent much time and a good bit of money (easily as much as I might have put into the Saturn, also acquiring an impressive bike tool collection in the process, ) turning it into a truly gorgeous ride. If Copenhagen Wheels actually start shipping in mid 2015, that might be the e-bike upgrade that I can configure at will, while converting back to human-only power with about 10 casual minutes of wrench work. Stay tuned.

      The lone household car left was my wife’s Mazda van, which is a 2004 but with as many miles on it as the much older Saturn had. It was the carpool vehicle of choice while my son and his friends were growing up (ie: lots of interior food spills, etc.) and the car he was driving as a high school senior when experiencing a minor fender bender about a year ago. Actually, he did far more damage to the front suspension then than to exterior sheet metal and a mechanic advised us not to take it up to freeway speeds until we replaced almost the entire front end. It was also a gas hog and we had suddenly moved beyond carpooling school kids as of the beginning of this past summer. The option we chose, instead of putting anymore money into the well-worn van, was to dump it a couple of weeks ago and buy a 2007 Honda Fit for around $7K.

      Why an ICE and not a hybrid? We looked at used Prius’ but anything less than $12K looked really rough or – if it was under $10K – had fried batteries or worse. My wife could have spent a little more for a clean used hybrid or gotten a much more recent used Fit (she really likes the ergonomics of that particular car and so do I,) but I told her that used EVs would be affordable and plentiful by the time she would be thinking of trading in the ’07. In the meantime, we’ve now got a car that’s reliable for 200 mile round trip jaunts to/from Phoenix (where my son is now in college) and getting around 40mpg on the freeway in the process. I’m still on track to get a used i-MiEV or Leaf about a year from now for a 2nd car, suitable for our city-only driving needs.

      The Bolt? It’s more that my wife and I would ever require . . one that would allow us to move back to single car status again AND move us forward to electric-only driving. If they’re selling new in 2017, clean used examples of that vintage will be available in the early 2020s. I’m in then.

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