Published on December 30th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


Exclusive Video On GM’s Electric Vehicle Path, Plans, & Highlights

December 30th, 2015 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

GM’s Britta Gross, Director of Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy, gave perhaps my favorite presentation at the EV Transportation & Technology Summit. Her presentation was essentially split into two (or three) sections. She first talked about Drive Electric Florida, then Drive Electric Orlando, and then got into matters concerning GM’s electrification path and plans. This article covers some of the highlights from her talk about GM’s electrification path and plans (starting ~13:30 into the video below).

(You can view Britta’s slides here.)

I know we have some Chevy Spark EV lovers who read this site, so I think you will be especially disappointed by essentially the first comments Britta makes regarding GM’s EV products. She notes the Spark EV is only available in California, Oregon, and Maryland and says the reason is, “we knew it wasn’t ready.”

The good news is, Britta and GM see the Chevy Bolt as being “mainstream ready.” GM is apparently ready to push this vehicle toward buyers, who are expected to love it.

Talking about the Chevy Volt, Britta highlighted the statistic that 78% of Americans don’t commute more than 40 miles a day, demonstrating that the 1st-generation Volt’s electric range is sufficient for the majority of the public most days of the year. Going a step further, the 2nd-generation Volt has 53 miles of electric range. GM expects 90% of all 2nd-gen Volt miles will be electric, up from 80% in the 1st-gen Volt, and that 25% more gas will be displaced. GM is expecting 1,100 miles between gas tank fill-ups.

Aside from the 2nd-gen Volt’s 40% improvement in range, it’s also quicker than the 1st-gen Volt. It’s 19% quicker to 30 mph (now getting there in 2.6 seconds) and it’s 7% quicker to 60 mph (now getting there in 8.4 seconds). Of course, there are a lot of little improvements to the Volt that enable all of this and that also make the new Volt better in other ways.

GM Volt EV Miles


Research has already shown that 1st-gen Chevy Volt drivers drive approximately as many all-electric miles in a year as drivers of fully electric cars like the Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus Electric, and Honda Fit EV. Drivers of the 2016/2017 Volt shouldn’t have any problem matching that.

Another interesting finding, which we’ve covered before on EV Obsession, is that GM found just 2 problems per million battery cells produced after 1 billion total miles driven. That’s pharmaceutical-level quality, as Britta noted. That was better than expected, and put to rest any lingering fears regarding LG Chem EV battery cell quality.

Back to the Chevy Bolt, Britta emphasized that it would be available nationwide from the start. She also reiterated that it would cost $30,000 after the $7,500 US federal tax credit, and that it would have 200 miles of range.

Closing out, Britta highlighted 6 key ways to grow the electric car market. I’ll just paste in her slide on those:

GM Britta Gross Presentation

Britta’s closing point was a wonderful one. She pulled it out of a Plug In America report. The point is that, if every EV driver would convince one person to buy an EV each year, in 25 years, we’d have 100% adoption of EVs.

That’s uplifting, isn’t it?

The Q&A session kicked in after that, and there were some interesting questions and answers. For example, Britta explained why the 2016 Chevy Volt couldn’t be rolled out nationwide at launch.

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.

  • Bart Lubbers

    Great for you, but in many countries and cities people are depending on public charging. E.g. In the Netherlands only 25% of the households can (slow) charge at home.

    • Przemysław Lib

      What? Netherland is in EU. 230v is mandated standard here! L2 everywhere. Only local house-to-garage wiring need to be updated if at all. Same for city parking slots.

  • Bart Lubbers

    Ho James, I guess you are right. I always fill up my ice-car with 5 liters of gasoline because I drive 40 km per day. And for road trips there is always a shop nearby that sells 5 liter jerrycans….

    • You miss that 99% of all fuel for EV’s is from home charging. Both my EV’s are fully charged every night. We always have the range needed to get anywhere we need to go. One EV is a Smart ED and it has enough range at 100% charge to get me to work and back plus errands. The other is a Tesla, and we can go practically anywhere in it very conveniently, no matter the distance.

      • Brian

        Many people including myself don’t have garages. If I charge my Electric vehicle in my driveway, people may steal the charging cable.

        • Adrian

          It can be locked to the car. There are also options for having the alarm sound if the cord is disconnected, or for the car to notify you if charging is interrupted.

          It’s largely a theoretical problem, rather than an actual problem.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There may be a percentage of drivers who would be unable to charge at home. We’re already installing chargers in workplace and school parking lots. And if that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s the option of rapid charging.

          Someone driving 13,000 miles a year could charge, on average, six times a month at a Supercharger for 30 minutes.

  • JamesWimberley

    “Keep a laser-like focus on the vehicles” isn’t a strategy but a placeholder slogan. No, GM should not diversify into making soap operas.

  • Bart Lubbers

    Let’s talk About the way forward: 500 km range; 100 kWH battery; charging stations at 300 kW. Only within these parameters the electric car will defeat the ice car. This means massive investments in the production of batteries, electric cars, charging stations, solar, wind. Can we do it? Yes we can ! It’s not too late yet.

    • JamesWimberley

      The growth rates clearly indicate that you are wrong. The quite rapid incremental improvements we are seeing are enough to drive the transition. There is no reason apart from habit to think that 500 km range is essential; the Model T’s range was about 300 km, which Teslas already match. It’s quite hard to drive over 300 km inside England. London to Berwick-on-Tweed on the border with Scotland is 568 km, so one stop. Only lunatics would do without one.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I suspect the threshold at which EVs kill ICEVs is a bit lower. A 200 mile (320 km) range is adequate for almost every driver. I’m not sure who would really need more.

      100 kWh battery packs are like twice what most people will end up using. It looks like the GM Bolt and Tesla 3 will use 50 kWh and achieve a 200+ mile range.

      Over time the cost of batteries should continue to drop and capacity rise. That may well lead to higher range EVs but I don’t think we need to get there.

  • Robert Pollock

    Gosh, I leased a Chevy Spark EV over two years ago. At that time, both Chevy and GM exhibited to me that I was unwelcome, and abnormal. No one I met during the two week process of finding one had a clue about EV’s, other than one mechanic. (He was from Germany) I went to four dealers, only one was a designated EV Diagnostic Center, the others didn’t want anything to do with EV’s.
    In the video above, one bulleted line says ” laser like focus on improving EV’s”. The Chevy Spark by fluke is maybe the most competitive car in it’s class, (all electric, under $30k) but has a couple of simple flaws; Terrible blind spot due to lack of glass, the shifter needs a gate to prevent upshifting from L, up to N or possibly R, the steering wheel blocks all of the readout when turned even slightly and there is poor lumbar support. Other than that, the car is perfect, but did anyone think to ask someone who drove one?

  • Michael Torres

    Work place charging would be amazing. Inquired about it to higher ups and was met with apathy. Bummer.

    • kerrywebster

      Same here. But we are moving our business to a new location in 3-years so maybe that can be thought through before the build out of the campus.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Some utility companies now have programs to assist installation of workplace parking lot chargers.

        At the minimum it would probably be smart to install conduit during construction. Wire can be pulled later.

        • Robert Pollock

          Our 45 year old southern California ranch had a 135 Amp panel. I upgraded it to 200 Amps and brought 4 big heavy copper wires (120V+, 120V-, Neutral, Ground) inside a 2″ steel conduit the 75 feet straight through the attic to a new 100 Amp panel in the garage. I have a 240 Volt Level II charger now, all wired, inspected and ready but not hanging on the wall. Too lazy and don’t need it. We have options.
          But as soon as I can actually find a Tesla Powerwall or similar device (and price), it too will connect to the houses’ grid through breakers on that 100 Amp panel.
          I’m waiting to spring the trap: Edison will sell you as much electricity as you can absorb from midnight to sunup at cost, about 12 cents /kw right now, if you have an Electric Car registration from the DMV, Right now we pay a sliding scale based on tiers, that works out to roughly 30 cents /kw overall, but goes up dramatically if you ‘stray’ into the next tier.
          By sizing a powerwall to hold enough electricity to run the house during the day, we can cut our electric bill by (30-12)/30 x 100 = 66%.
          No solar arrays, no racks on the roof, no workers punching holes in things, contracts, none of that, just plug it in. And if you were the Wall st. type and had dozens of clients, you could size the batteries large enough to have excess power, to sell back to Edison. The suckers are obligated to pay you what they would have charged you (30 cents), not the 12 cents they just sold it to you for.

    • JamesWimberley

      Unfortunately the group of ev owners that could lead a change, Tesla drivers, has little interest in workplace charging. There is scope for regulatory nudges: employee parking gets (unjustified) tax breaks, which could be tied to ev trickle chargers (very cheap) and solar car-park roofs.

      • Generalize much? As a Tesla owner, I am absolutely interested in workplace charging, because some of the people I work with need it. Make sense?

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