Article by David Welch
Here’s a question to ponder. General Motors this week announced a $6.5 billioninvestment in electric-vehicle assembly and battery production in Michigan that includes, among other things, converting the Chevrolet Bolt plant to making electric pickup trucks. So, does this mean the Bolt is marked for death?
The gist of the speculation — which I’ve seen on CNN and Jalopnik — is thus. GM makes the Bolt at its plant in Orion Township, Michigan, a suburb north of Detroit. The plant will convert to making electric Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups underpinned by GM’s new Ultium platform. The Bolt and larger Bolt EUV have been built in that plant using GM’s prior-generation battery pack and a different platform for small EVs. So the Bolt must be dead, right?
The factory part of the argument is rather facile. GM won’t necessarily kill the Bolt merely because the plant is being reassigned. But the name probably will go away for a variety of reasons.
During GM’s investor day presentation last October, the company said it would have more than 60 nameplates by the end of the decade, and at least half would be EVs. Barra echoed legendary GM Chairman Alfred Sloan’s credo of selling a car for every purse and purpose when she said GM’s EV portfolio would offer “options for every price point and lifestyle.” GM might need something the size of a Bolt EUV, but marketers can use any name they want.
The Bolt’s future in the showroom could be something like an electric Trailblazer in the U.S. As for the Bolt, GM may not have called it the EV2 after the EV1 of the late ’90s, but the two may soon share a retirement home in automotive history.
Names come and go. Some are worth keeping. Frankly, I’d agree with continuing a similar size EV in the line-up. Partly because I’m bored to tears at the endless lanes filled with identical mid-size cardboard boxes called SUVs. I’ve been a car geek all my life and I can’t tell most of them apart until I can see the badge – or at least the grill. And EVs don’t need a grill.
And the size works for 2+ size families like ours. Which is why we’re still in my wife’s Fiesta for her, me and Sheila the dog. And maybe someday Ford will ship the Maverick Hybrid she has on order.