GM unveils next ‘big’ electric vehicle: the tiny Bolt EUV
In January General Motors announced the “aspiration” to switch completely from traditional gas-powered cars to electric vehicles by 2035. It has now taken the next step on that path — a step of a few inches.
The company rolled out the newest version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, a five-door hatchback that it has been selling for four years, and the only all-electric vehicle it now sells in North America. But the market has been moving away from cars and strongly toward SUVs for the last several years. So it was important to GM to have an SUV version of the Bolt.
GM formally unveiled what it is calling the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, for electric utility vehicle. But the difference between the Bolt EV hatchback and the Bolt EUV SUV is minimal — a three-inch-longer wheelbase, a six-inch-longer overall length and only 2/10th of an inch higher.
The Bolt EUV doesn’t have all-wheel drive, a common feature on SUVs, although GM executives defended it in comments to the press ahead of the rollout.
“It has SUV proportions, it has SUV styling,” said Jesse Ortega, the chief engineer of the two Bolts. “I wouldn’t buy into idea it has to have four-wheel drive to be an SUV.”
Both Bolts will go into production in the late spring and are due in showrooms by early summer. It’s not the only EV that GM has plans to unveil in the US market this year. An electric Hummer truck and the Cadillac Lyriq are also due in showrooms. The Lyriq is due to go into production later in the first quarter, while the Hummer is scheduled to be available in the late fall.
The Bolt has its fans with among the highest customer satisfaction rates in the industry, according to Steve Majoros, vice president of marketing for Chevrolet.
GM is using the chips it can get to build its most profitable vehicles: large SUVs and pickups. When asked if that means the two Bolts could be affected by the chip shortage, Majoros said “launch products are critical as well.” But he also conceded, “we’re going to do what’s right for the entire business.”
General Motors’ new EV initiative was among the top car tech features at 2021’s virtual Consumer Electronics Show: