If an anonymous source speaking to the Wall Street Journal is correct, GM may have an extra added bonus alongside the 2016 Volt this Monday – a 200-mile range Chevrolet Bolt EV concept due by 2017.
It’s already been reported that GM says it will compete with Tesla’s Model 3 also due reportedly by 2017, but not much else was previously said of GM’s potential electric car that would cost $30,000-$35,000 after incentives and offer 200-mile range.
The Journal reported Friday night the Bolt would receive “more capable” batteries from LG Chem, the Korean company that also supplies the Volt.
The WSJ reports “people familiar with the design” say the concept electric car will be a hatchback made to look along the lines of a crossover vehicle.
GM has said it has no announcements to disclose other than the new 2016 Volt being the centerpiece of its presence at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit from Jan. 12 onwards.
Aside from comments a couple years back by former CEO Dan Akerson, in October global product chief Mark Reuss disclosed to analysts without elaboration that GM aims to add a battery electric car alongside the Volt and Spark EV.
The company has in other quarters caught flak for lacking vision in the alternative energy market, but hopeful comments issued by Reuss strongly suggest GM is not under-motivated.
Reuss was quoted as saying GM laments it did not follow up on the lease-only EV1 from the late 1990s that was designed to satisfy California regulations.
That car was the focal point in the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car,” and more recently, GM has also repeatedly said the Volt is a “niche,” not a mainstream product and beyond that it offers no full hybrids as even Ford does, and its alternative energy assortment has other holes besides.
But Automotive News cited Reuss as saying GM has had a change of heart.
“If you are a slave to monthly sales, you will give up your long-term vision of what you think the future will be,” he said. “And we did that [with the EV1]. We had the first electric car. And we didn’t follow it up. Think of where we would be today if we hadn’t done that.
“And I remind people who weren’t in the company or are younger. I say, we are not going to make that mistake again.”
In August it was widely reported that GM had trademarked the “Chevrolet Bolt” name but given GM’s perceived track record, speculation and hope did not go overly far that this would mean a new EV within five months.
Now a “concept” is reported to be pending a debut in Detroit. A trend among automakers is to develop concepts much closer to pre-production ready, and not only as advanced design exercises that will never be built.
We shall see what GM has in store Monday.