Is GM really all in on Electric Vehicles?

The Average American spent more than $42,000 for a car in 2021.

Chevrolet Bolt

Today’s announcement by GM to make its largest investment ever, $7 billion to create 4,000 new jobs at EV manufacturing sites in Michigan is the latest sign that my economic strategy is helping power an historic American manufacturing comeback.

President Biden January 22, 2022

Not long ago, General Motors promised 20 new EV’s by 2023. At the Los Angeles Auto Show GM, did not have a bring a single EV to show. California is far in away, the largest market for EV’s in the United States, Kia, Hyundai, Porsche, Nissan Toyota, Subaru and several EV’s start ups had EV’s at he show but there was not a single Hummer, Chevy or Cadillac EV was on display.

When it comes to EV’s General Motors is all over the place. GM, has the most experience building EV’s of any automaker. They built the first mass produced EV in the late nineties (EV1) , and leased them to the public and while they were very popular, GM didn’t think they would ever be profitable and eventually crushed every EV1.


The Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt EUV

In its first year, the Bolt ( In Europe the EV is called the Ampera- E) won the three of the largest awards in autodom. Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, the 2017 North American Car of the Year,[ The Automobile Magazine 2017 All Star, and Time Magazine’s Best 25 Inventions of 2016. Normally automakers climb to the top of highest mountain to share the good news with the world that their vehicle have received. Not so with GM.

Cracks Overseas

Initial sales of the Bolt started slowly. GM hope they would sale 30,000 annually. By the fall of 2017, the Bolt was the best selling EV in America, besting Tesla. Sales dropped with the introduction of Tesla’s Model 3. Europe and South Korea was there strongest markets outside the US. In Europe, dealers were told to stop ordering the EV due to supply issues, leaving dealers to wondering if GM was committed to building EV’s

In an resent interview on Autoline Network in April. General Motors President Mark Reuss said: ‘The way we went to market with the Bolt was case of we didn’t believe that Electric Vehicles would become mainstream. We didn’t get behind the car from a marketing standpoint. We had a lot of people who didn’t believe in it. There was very little awareness. Having said that, The Bolt community is the most passionate in the company.

Burning Bolts

Nearly 180,000 Chevrolet Bolts were manufactured between 2016 to 2021. A defect in the battery cause some of the Bolts to catch fire. An estimated 25 Bolts caught fire. General Motor and the LG the battery manufacturer replaced the batteries in all the Bolts, with cost ranging from $16,000 to $17,400 per battery. The replacement batteries included a 100,000 mile warranty.

The troubled batteries have been replaced, General Motors and LG have extended the warranty on the new batteries for an additional 100,000 miles. You Tube, Reviewers and Consumer Reports are still fond of the Chevy Bolt, so what is the problem?

It’s not a Tesla

And neither is a Toyota Corolla. The person who buys a Corolla, doesn’t buy it for its Zero to 60 numbers or how fast its goes around corners. The reason people buy a Corolla is because its a competent and safe reliable car that get the driver to work, to the store and weekend drives for a low price.

The refreshed Chevy Bolt is a good car, its praised by reviewers and Consumer Reports. Resently the Bolt was called the third most efficient Electric Vehicle after the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y sold in America.

Is General Motors Really Committed to EV’s?

In 2016, General Motors introduced the Chevy Bolt, 2022 GM introduced the 9000lb Hummer EV at a price of 109K Sometime this year the Cadillac Lyric will bow at price near 70K

The Chevrolet Bolt initial pricing was near $40,000. Unlike the Tesla, GM discounted the Bolt.

Many of the Automakers are using the Tesla playbook. Tesla’s impact on the Worldwide car markets is nothing short of astounding. However, to get people out of the combustion cars, the cars has to be affordable. While Tesla said, the pricing for the Model 3 would begin at $35,000. A needle in a haystack was easier to locate. With so many EV’s entering the market place, no manufacture will be able to duplicate Tesla’s playbook. The newly introduced California based Lucid Air is starting at $139,000, other models will start at $77k the company focus is the Air, however $139K, might close the door for new shoppers.

With numbers at 50K and above, most Americans believe and EV is out of reach. Even Nissan, who sells an EV for less than 30K don’t believe in its product. In a few months, Nissan will release its second EV in the US called the Ariya. Like General Motors, Nissan doesn’t seem to have much faith in EV’s despite the buzz at the New York and LA auto shows. With the Ariya, Nissan would be in the unique position of having two EV’s under 50K. Allowing

Gasoline in Sacramento is currently averaging $5.85 a gallon. All over America, the price of Gas is at record levels . More people than ever are considering electric vehicles. The EV learning curve is still steep. While more than 70% of EV owners charge their vehicles at home. If you don’t own an EV, this is French to you. In its current commercial Chevy is touting its free electric charging and installation with the purchase of a Chevy Bolt. It is a great deal, however its in French for Americans.

For less than $32,000, you can own an electric car that has a range of 259. A base Tesla is $16,000 more, a Mustang Mach E with comparable range is nearly $16,000 more, In fact there are many cars that cost considerably more, than the Bolt with less range. The Bolt is currently, one of GM’s most reliable vehicles.

What has worked for many years, from the Model T to the dreaded Hyundai Excel is price.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV $26,595

If I were marketing the Bolt, I would start and end with the price.

Next spring, GM says they will launch the Chevrolet Blazer crossover SUV next year which should start in the low thirtieis. With the Bolt, Bolt EUV and the new Blazer, would give GM three affordable EV’s Nissan, Chevy’s only rival, hasn’t announced if they were intending to refresh or replace to Leaf. Kia, Hyundai and Volkswagen’s sub 40K, EV’s are two years away.

In a short time, General Motors future as an EV manufacturer has gone from a certainty to questionable. They have spent thousands of dollars on vehicle’s not in production and little marketing on the Bolt. While Kia, Hyundai and Volkswagen are not only marketing their current Ev’s they are marketing a their next generation. Next summer, Volkswagen, Kia and Hyundai will build Ev’s in the south.

The State of Electric Cars 2022

Traditional Automakers who fortunes are linked to ICE vehicles (Internal Combustion Engines) were forced by the largest economies in the world to covert to Electric vehicles or Fuel Cell vehicles. Billions has been invested in the development of BEV vehicles (Battery Electric Vehicles). In 2020, many of some of the largest are reluctant to change others don’t have resources to develop an BEV.

Currently in the United States, The Hyundai Group have the most EV’s models with 6. Followed by Tesla and Volkswagen Group with for each. Tesla currently sells more EV’s then all EV’s combined. This is likely to charge in 2023. Tesla’s Elon Musk, concedes Volkswagen is likely to outsell Telsa in a few year.

Teething Pains

The realities today, some companies will have to jointly develop BEV’s to survive. Toyota builds the Subaru, Solterra and the Toyota BZ4 EV’s Two months after the EV’s were introduced, Toyota recalled every model and stopped selling the EV’s worldwide due to a manufacturing defect. Sharp turns and sudden braking could cause the hub bolt to loosen, raising the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle.

Last week Ford, recalled about 2,900 of its newly released EV F-150 Lightning trucks because a software issue may result in a failure to provide adequate warning of low tire pressure. A week before, Ford recalled 48,924 of its Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles to fix a problem with the battery that could cause the crossover to lose power during operation or be unable to start. The issue, Ford said, is with the battery’s main contactors, which have the potential to overheat on the vehicles being recalled.

The future of GM is depended on its EV model line up. The Bolt and the Blazer will increase sales but not profitability. The GMC Hummer and the Cadillac Lyric is too expensive for most Americans. Missing in the lineup is a $40,000 model. While Elon says Volkswagen is his rival, I think its Hyundai, in the last year the company introduced four new EV’s with the minimum of two new models the Ioniq 6, debuting next spring, followed by the Ioniq 7 SUV, in the fall. Should Hyundai reduce the price of the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Niro, it may be difficult for GM to gain EV market share.

General Motors like many Automakers have made big EV promises. Every EV automaker has taken k a page from Tesla playbook when Tesla was the only game in town. The reality is there isn’t likely to be another Tesla. Currently there are too many $100, 000 EV’s on the market for a very limited audience. Rivian, and Lucid, joined the likes of Mercedes, Porsche, GMC Hummer and Tesla. The sweet spot for Ev’s is between forty four and fifty thousand dollars and GM isn’t there.