The Chevy Bolt was introduced to the Korean market two weeks ago at the Seoul Motor Show, where it was greeted enthusiastically by local customers. The company’s original allocation of 400 cars was spoken for in under two hours. By the end of the show, Chevrolet had received 2,000 orders for the all-electric car. “It completely sold out,” GM Korea CEO James Kim said while unveiling the Bolt. “Next year, we will make an effort to prepare more Bolt EVs.”
The Chevy Bolt is certified by the Korean government to have a range of 238 miles, but recently a team of EV enthusiasts drove one 292 miles to the southern section of Korea — 292 miles on a single battery charge. “I don’t know if I’d position [the Korean Motor Show] as a homecoming, because we worked so closely from the beginning, both in the United States and Korea,” Lelli said. “We’ve been together on this thing from the get-go.”
The Chevy Bolt is very much a creation of Korean engineering. Its original design work was done by GM’s South Korean design center in 2012. The design was completed there in 2015 under the direction of new chief designer Stuart Norris. The battery that powers the Bolt is the result of new technology pioneered by LG Chem, which manufactures the Bolt’s electric motor and drive unit in South Korea. LG Chem also produces many of the interior components for the car.
The people of South Korea are very tech savvy. The technology in the Chevy Bolt resonates strongly with them, says Mike Lelli, chief engineer for the Bolt. “People are drawn to things that are on the forefront of technology,” he says of the Korean market. “The IT infrastructure is extremely strong here. It sort of lends itself to a technical car as well. I think that can help move this from those early adopters to mass ownership.”
The Koreans are strongly attracted to green cars. Hyundai and Kia have introduced hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric versions of their latest Ioniq/Niro cars and are forging ahead with plans for another all-electric car by the end of next year. Renault, BMW, and Nissan are all selling green cars in Korea. Chevrolet also sells the Volt plug-in hybrid to customers in Korea.
Source: Automotive News