General Motors showed the world Sunday the first new electric vehicle of the 30 new EVs that it will bring to market by mid-decade.
Chevrolet revealed the new 2022 Bolt EUV alongside a redesigned 2022 Bolt EV five-door hatchback car. Chevrolet has sold the car since 2017, but the Bolt EUV is brand new and it’s longer and heavier than the Bolt EV, providing more rear-seat legroom, so Chevrolet considers it an electric utility vehicle.
“The Bolt EV and Bolt EUV share the same architecture, but the EUV has different exterior sheet metal, a more muscular design, is 6 inches longer than the Bolt EV … and it features Chevy’s high-eye daytime running lamps,” said Jesse Ortega, architectural chief engineer of the Bolt EV. “It has 3 inches more rear-passenger legroom than Bolt EV.”
The Bolt EUV will also offer GM’s hands-free driving technology called Super Cruise. Both vehicles will have all-new interiors and extra features to make range anxiety a thing of the past, Ortega said.
The starting price for the 2022 Bolt EUV is $33,995 and the 2022 Bolt EV starts at $31,995, said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet marketing. Both are priced less than the 2021 Bolt EV, which starts at $36,500.
“We’ve been building the Bolt now for four years, so we continue to build a supply base that has a lot more scale,” Ortega said, explaining how GM is able to offer more for less money with the new Bolt vehicles. “We’ve had more sales volume with it and that has allowed us to leverage costs. We are giving more for less, for a better value.”
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‘Adoption is critical’
Chevrolet revealed the vehicles Sunday afternoon. The reveal video can be seen on www.chevrolet.com/ev. Chevrolet was expected to run a 90-second ad called “Magic is Electric” for the Bolts during American Idol airing Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Chevrolet has partnered with Disney World Resort around the Bolt marketing.
The Bolt has been the only long-range full-electric car GM has offered. GM has sold about 100,000 Bolts worldwide.
GM sold more than 6.8 million vehicles globally in 2020 alone, so the Bolt sales volume is a drop in the bucket. But the vehicle is important for other reasons, especially since GM aspires for all its light-duty vehicles to be zero emissions by 2035.
Majoros said about three-quarters of Bolt EV buyers in the United States are new to GM. He declined to say whether the Bolt is profitable.
“We don’t discuss that publicly, but we know that EV adoption is critical and we know that as time goes on, we’ve gotten better with cost reduction and we think we’re giving the customer the features they’ve been asking for,” Majoros said.
Chevrolet is offering preorders only for the 2022 Bolt EUV Launch Edition, which starts at $43,495. It requires a $100 refundable deposit made to a Chevrolet dealer. The special Launch Edition Bolt EUV comes fully loaded with Super Cruise, a panoramic sunroof, unique wheels, special badging and an illuminated charge port.
Chip shortage, battery fires
GM’s Orion Assembly plant in Lake Orion, Michigan will start building the vehicles this spring and they go on sale in late summer. GM gets the motors from a supplier in South Korea.
The batteries used in the Bolt also come from a supplier, LG Chem, that has been connected to a massive GM recall of the Bolt EV. In November, GM recalled all 2017-19 model year Bolts because they may pose a fire risk. It involves 68,667 vehicles globally; of those, 50,925 are in the United States.
There were five Bolts that caught fire without impact and GM said all had high-voltage batteries produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, South Korea, facility.
The 2022 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will use a different version of batteries than the ones used in the recalled vehicles, Ortega said.
“If you look at the recall we’ve got right now, it doesn’t impact 2020 and beyond Bolts,” Ortega said. “Those utilize a different version of a battery chemistry than the ones in the recall. That (new) chemistry allowed us to improve our range in these vehicles.”
Chevrolet provides an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on the battery. After the warranty runs out, “it’s hard to predict what replacement costs would be,” said Shad Balch, Chevrolet spokesman. But Chevrolet has the ability to replace battery modules and sections,” he said. When it comes to end-of-life, GM is focused first on reuse and then recycling them.
GM has also developed its own proprietary battery system called Ultium, which will underpin the 29 other new EVs GM will bring to market in the next few years, starting with the GMC Hummer EV pickup due out late this year. But there are no plans to move the Bolt vehicles onto the Ultium platform any time soon, Ortega said.
GM also faces the challenge of going to production amid a massive shortage of semiconductor chips that are used in many car components. The chip deficit has derailed production at nearly all carmakers including GM, which shut down three North American plants this week. But Majoros said the problem is not expected to disrupt production of the 2022 Bolt vehicles.
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“We’ve been all over this situation,” Majoros said. “We’re prioritizing products that you’d imagine like full-size trucks and launch productions are part of that too. So nothing to announce there, but we’ll be monitoring the situation closely.”
All 50 states
Majoros declined to say how many Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs GM will produce or expects to sell, “but it is fully our intention to build more and to sell more in both of these products.”
GM will sell the Bolts in all 50 states, Majoros said.
“You can’t get mainstream adoption by selling in 12 or 13 states. We’ve worked very hard to make sure we can satisfy demand in states like California,” Majoros said. “There are certain markets where EV adoption is a little ahead of the curve, but make no mistake, there are dedicated EV dealers and EV advocates in every single part of this country.”
Chevy has about 3,000 U.S. dealerships and about 1,300 sell the Bolt EV, but Majoros said, “As more and more products come into our portfolio, that number is going to go up. They see the market and they will be very active participants in our EV future.”
GM’s luxury brand Cadillac recently trimmed about 270 dealers from its network, leaving about 600 in the United States, as it shifts the brand to sell only electric cars by the end of the decade. Cadillac gave dealers buyout packages if they did not want to invest in the infrastructure to sell EVs.
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Get rid of range anxiety
The Bolt EUV will be the first Chevrolet-brand vehicle to offer Super Cruise, which provides hands-free driving on about 200,000 U.S. and Canadian compatible highways. Super Cruise is currently available only on certain Cadillac models.
A single-motor drive unit powers both Bolt vehicles and it delivers 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.
The Bolt EV will get an estimated 259 miles of range on a full charge, Ortega said. The Bolt EUV will get 250 miles of range despite being taller, longer and “a bit heavier” than the Bolt EV, he said.
Standard on the Bolt EUV and available for purchase with the Bolt EV is a new dual-level charge cord. It will eliminate a customer’s need to buy a separate charger for their home. It has a changeable plug that allows the customer to plug into a standard 120-volt three-prong outlet or a 240-volt outlet common in most homes.
The cord can be used to charge at DC Fast Charger station too. For maximum Level 2 charging speed, both vehicles are now capable of 11 kilowatt Level 2 charging, but separate charging equipment is required.
Here are the approximate charging times:
- Bolt EV: 100 miles per 30 minutes at a DC Fast Charger.
- Bolt EUV: 95 miles per 30 minutes at a DC Fast Charger.
- When using a 240-volt home outlet, the Bolt EV or EUV would take about 7 hours to fully charge.
- Using 120-volt takes approximately 55 hours from an empty battery. If an owner has the typical 40-mile commute each day, they can get back to a full charge overnight since the battery wasn’t drained.
Chevrolet will cover the cost of standard installation of Level 2 charging capability for eligible customers who buy or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV, Majoros said.
Chevrolet has partnered with home EV-charger installation company Qmerit to give Bolt owners access to faster charging at their homes, he said. That’s a significant savings given that installation of a Level 2 charger could cost up to $2,000, according to Realtor.com. No standalone charging station is required in this case because of the dual-level charge cord.
Likewise, GM has partnered with fast-charging network EVgo, to triple the number of fast chargers in the country by adding 2,700 by the end of 2025.
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Finally, the myChevrolet app gives owners location access to more than 80,000 chargers in North America.
“Range anxiety is a term we need to get rid of because once you own an EV it becomes a non-issue,” Ortega said.
Here’s what’s new
Besides different exterior sheet metal parts used on each and the EUV’s extra 6 inches in length, there are some other distinctions between the two.
The Bolt EUV, which is part of the small SUV market segment, has a modern, muscular design and a roomier interior and ample rear legroom, Ortega said. It also features a sculpted grille in front with standard LED headlamps and Chevrolet’s brand-specific, high-eye daytime running lamps that double as turn-signal indicators.
For Bolt EV, the design updates include a more upright front fascia, which refers to the car’s front-end features such as the grille, headlamps and front bumper. It also has new front and rear lighting including the high-eye daytime running lights in front.
Both cars have new instrument panels, vehicle controls and seats, with a 10.2-inch-diagonal infotainment color touchscreen and integrated climate controls.
Ortega also got rid of the traditional gear shift. Instead, there’s an electronic gear shift design that uses pull toggles and push buttons to free up more interior space.
Many of the new features came from customer requests, Ortega said.
“Our current Bolt EV customers are some of GM’s most passionate and vocal. We had plenty of firsthand feedback about how we can make these vehicles even better,” Ortega said. “They wanted more contemporary interiors, a sunroof, more room for passengers, more safety features … we listened and delivered on these features and even more.”
The new interior has a flat-bottom steering wheel that incorporates the Regen on Demand paddle, which lets the driver maximize energy to extend the driving range.
The Bolt EUV offers 3 inches of additional rear legroom compared with the Bolt EV. Heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear outboard seats are available on both, along with a panoramic power sunroof option for Bolt EUV.
The vehicles include some standard safety features too such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator and front pedestrian braking.
Additional connectivity technologies include new wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection capability, as well as wireless phone charging that is standard on Bolt EUV and available on Bolt EV, and an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot.
“The Bolt EV has helped make Chevy the No. 2 EV brand and sales were up 26% for 2020,” Majoros said. “It attracts more new customers to GM than any other model we sell. We’ll continue to reimage this vehicle with fresh design and new features.”