A few days ago, we reported that General Motors will skip making more plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt to concentrate on battery electric vehicles going forward. The company says it will debut 20 all-electric cars by 2023. So far, it has one — the Chevy Bolt.
Soon a second model based on the Bolt architecture will arrive, but only in China for the time being. Dubbed the Chevy Menlo, the new car is an attempt to tap into the SUV/crossover/sport-active genre that is the hottest segment of the new car market today. At first glance, it looks like a clone of the Bolt but it is a little bit longer and a little bit higher with exaggerated wheel arches to give it the appearance of a rugged, go anywhere, do anything off-road capable vehicle.
According to Jalopnik, Chevrolet has provided photos of the new car in a declaration of intent filed with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The car is in the modern design idiom, which is to say it features an aggressive face with a multitude of swoops and creases adorning its flanks. Apparently there is some sort of international competition going on to see how many angles, slashes, and folds can be embossed into the sheet metal of today’s cars. So far, Toyota is winning, but other manufacturers are racing to catch up.
Notice that the Menlo will come with a Tesla inspired glass roof, a nice touch if not exactly groundbreaking these days. It’s not clear what the photos of the side view mirrors, front windshield, and door handles are supposed to add to the information package.
Jalopnik says the Chinese version will come with a 150-horsepower motor and, of course, it is too soon to talk about range, although the specs should not be all that different from the Bolt when they are announced.
Apparently Chevy intends to offer a version of this car in North America. With the present turmoil in trade relations between the US and China, it is likely the car will be built in America, probably alongside the Bolt, for the domestic market and in a factory in China for that market. It is assumed the US version, which will be called the Bolt EUV, will have the 200-horsepower motor currently fitted to the Bolt.
Whatever it’s called, the new car breaks little new ground. It is really a Bolt dressed in a slightly larger set of clothes. Chevrolet, sadly, is focused more on design language than building compelling electric cars. Lots of flash with little substance is how one might sum it up. The Bolt has been on sale for 2 years with no siblings to share the road with. GM could — and should — do better.
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