The electric vehicle technology used in the Chevy Bolt will be used in other EV models says General Motors chief Mary Barra. Speaking at the Detroit auto show, she said the Bolt platform will be used for a “range” of future electric vehicles. That makes perfect sense. Developing an all new vehicle costs tons of money. The only way to amortize that cost effectively is to spread it over as many units as possible.
According to TechCrunch, “Barra talked about how EVs are the only way to make autonomous vehicles truly work, too, and that’s another common refrain in the car industry, owing to economics and even the mechanics of fueling concerns. The Bolt is currently the platform for GM’s autonomous testing, which it’s ramping up via its Cruise acquisition from last year, and which it also intends to use in a fleet ride-sharing model in partnership with Lyft. Where GM is headed with the Bolt EV platform after the Bolt itself will be interesting to watch. EVs are evolving hand-in-hand with autonomous tech, but whether GM pursues more traditional car buyers with different takes on EVs, as Ford has done, will be telling as to their long term strategy.”
Tesla is hinting it will be doing something similar. When Elon Musk revealed his Master Plan Part Deux last year, it included a reference to pickup truck coming sometime in the future. The speculation is that it will be built on the Model X chassis. He also has suggested the Model X could serve as the basis of a ten passenger autonomous bus for ferrying people around in congested urban environements.
It is an open secret that the forthcoming Model 3 will spawn an SUV/crossover configuration called the Model Y. That part is certain, as it will complete Elon Musk’s desire to have a range of vehicles that when taken together spell the word “S E X Y.” You can even buy a “S E X Y” T shirt today. The only real question is whether the Model Y, when it arrives, will feature the falcon wing doors that are the hallmark of the Model X.
Some wonder why GM has not more use of the plug-in hybrid technology found in the Chevy Volt. Plug-in hybrids eliminate the range anxiety many mainstream shoppers fear. How hard would it be to slip the Volt powertrain into a crossover or small pickup truck? So far, it is contributing to the excellent fuel economy of the new Malibu Hybrid and the recently unveiled Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid. But the Cadillac is built in China and imported to the US. Clearly, GM doesn’t anticipate selling very many of them. And if The Donald gets his way, new import tariffs will make any car manufactured outside the US prohibitively expensive.
What does Mary Barra have in mind for the Bolt platform? Tell us what do you think. How should GM leverage the technology it created to make the Bolt a reality? You can watch the entire interview with Mary Barra in the video below.