2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept First Look
The two-box 200-mile CUV that aims to undercut Tesla on price
We love surprises and Chevrolet’s full-on battery electric Bolt EV concept was a shocker. Based on “unique architecture,” we’re promised the concept signals a production car for which we’ll be hearing solid plans “within a year, year and a half,” according to Mark Reuss, GM’s global product development veep. That signals that planning and development are well along for this 200-mile range concept, and Reuss further confirms that the technology is sufficiently mature (thanks to its decades of electric-vehicle experience) to be profitable at the asking price of between $30-35K.
Sized about like the new Trax, it’s envisioned as a five-passenger CUV, with useful cargo space (although the concept seats four). Making this happen required a few packaging miracles, including a long wheelbase with minimal overhangs, a unique new battery pack (with distinct configuration and/or chemistry from that powering the Volt PHEV and Spark EV) that rides Tesla-style beneath a flat floor, and new ultra-slim-profile seats. We’re also told to expect a mix of materials ranging from steel to aluminum, to magnesium and carbon-fiber, leveraging some unique new GM-developed materials-joining technologies. All of the above makes the profitability claim tough to swallow, but perhaps accounting practices will number among the Bolt’s many innovations.
As with the Volt, various driving modes will be tailored to different driving styles (daily commuting, quick canyon runs, etc), with the modes adjusting accelerator pedal mapping, and suspension tuning. Aerodynamics will play an important part in achieving that impressive range, so expect to see all available tricks employed, from grille shutters to variable ride-height to vented rear fenders. Naturally it will also feature the latest in connectivity, with the concept boasting apps for ride sharing and automatic parking.
No further information was provided about the battery pack cell design, chemistry (lithium-ion is presumed, but there are many sub-categories), overall capacity, charging times, but it is designed to support DC fast charging. The Bolt is not meant to replace the Spark EV, and it will be distributed nationwide, unlike that West Coast EV. It will also be sold in other global markets, though no further specifics were provided.