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  • G. David Felt
    G. David Felt

    Ultium Chevrolet Bolt, Replacement for the BOLT/BOLT EUV?

      Did Marry Barra just tell us that we will have an Ultium Bolt in the near future?

    Mary Barra has sat down with Marketplace multiple times already during the Month of June 2023 and to clarify, she has stated to get humanity to all electric all the time is to skip Hybrids. Better for the planet, better for the consumers.

    GM CEO on reaching EV goal and charging stations - Marketplace

    The goal here is to be gasoline and diesel free by 2035 with the current plan to be producing 1 million EVs by 2025.


    This brings us to the whole point of this story on an Ultium BOLT and how Mary Barra is currently driving a BOLT. 

    Here she has stated that she just took delivery of a LYRIQ and how GM is working fast to ramp up battery production and Ultium component production. At 9:40 minutes into the podcast here: GM All Electric, All the Time Podcast Mary states clearly that the current Chevrolet Bolt/Bolt EUV is generation 2 of their electric vehicles and that Ultium is the future with a 40% reduction in the cost of the battery packs alone as to why they will stop building it at the end of the 2023 calendar year. 

    GM CEO goes on to state that people relate and understand what an auto is by the name of the auto and as such, the public will identify with a Chevrolet Equinox EV, BOLT EV and the BOLT EUV.


    The podcast interviewer for Marketplace asks Mary Barra on this and she answered as follows: 

    Ryssdal: So why are you stopping making it?

    Barra: Because it’s our second-generation technology. The difference between our second generation and third generation, which is Ultium, is a 40% reduction in battery costs. And we’re leveraging the names of our vehicles that are well understood and known in industry. People, you know, who drive an Equinox today will understand what an Equinox EV, what that delivers to them. But, you know, Bolt is something that has built up a lot of loyalty and equity. So I can’t say more because I don’t discuss future product programs. But, you know, it was primarily a move from second generation to third generation. But that’s [an] important vehicle in our portfolio.

    Ryssdal: Nudge nudge, wink wink, I guess.

    So this brings up the case that the brand equity of the Bolt is worth having a generation 3 of the Bolt/Bolt EUV built. If we go with this thinking, then we move to where the Bolt slots in below the Equinox and we gain a ton of options.


    Electrek did a piece on what they believe a Ultium Bolt would look like and here is there take on that:

    Ultium will afford the Bolt to have decent charging speeds and other benefits as well. Let’s imagine what we’d get in a basic $25,000 Ultium Bolt:

    • 51kWh battery – GM Ultium batteries tend to come in 50kWh increments Lyriq (102kWh, Hummer/Silverado 204kWh, etc). I imagine the base, $30K Equinox will have a ~51kWh battery and around 215 miles of range. With the Bolt’s smaller size, you might be able to get closer to 240 miles of range out of 51kWh.
    • AWD option – GM showed us a small 30kW motor at the 2020 Battery Day that it said it could use to make any of its vehicles AWD. This wouldn’t necessarily be for performance so much as getting out of snow and mud and maybe adding some efficiency to offset the additional weight and electronics of the second motor. Of course GM could just add 2x150kW Bolt motors and get a 0-60 time in the low 3-second area and sell this for $50k and… just take my money.
    • Charging speed will have to obviously be better than the current Bolt’s 54kW but with such a small battery, it will be hard to get it to 150kWh. Still, though if we’re talking about a $25K car, and I think anything over 100kW is acceptable.
    • Efficiency – The Bolt is already one of the most efficient vehicles on the road but with an added Ultium heat pump, improved electronics, and motors, we could be looking at one of the most efficient EVs ever made.
    • $25,000 without subsidizing? Interestingly, Barra in the interview said that the company could save 40% on the cost of batteries using Ultium vs the Bolts 2nd generation EV system. That means they could likely get to the Bolt’s current price point without having to subsidize anything. Of course Barra also said that GM wouldn’t be able to make a profit on sub $40,000 vehicles until 2030 so the ‘it is coming soon’ piece might be wishful thinking.

    Electrek’s Take

    Rejoice, fellow Bolt EV owners! Our favorite car isn’t dead, just going on hiatus. 

    This kind of hidden message would imply that GM is not done with the BOLT name yet for Chevrolet. This also goes hand in hand with the fact that back in December 2022 Mark Russ stated in an Interview with GMAuthority that GM was developing an EV Sedan for the Chinese market, but it could also easily be for any market place globally.

    GM Working On Potential All-Electric Chevy Malibu Successor (gmauthority.com)

    Chevrolet shares more details about the FNR-XE Concept - ArenaEV


    End result is that we should not only see a third generation of the BOLT, but a Malibu replacement could very well happen in the next few years.

    What are your thoughts on the future of the BOLT and a possible Malibu EV?

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    100% they need to make a Bolt or Trailblazer EV sub $30,000 small crossover hatch type vehicle.  And they have to build it in North America to get that tax credit so in effect it becomes a sub $22,500 car.  And a 50-60 kWh battery is fine, that is enough rage for daily driving or a 3 hour trip.  The key is having an EV for the masses that you can sell 1 million of, especially when you consider China, Europe or other markets that need cheaper or smaller cars than the USA.

    The Malibu name plate is kind of garbage right now, they need an EV sedan that is a Tesla Model 3 fighter, might was to resurrect another name for that, but again, if they can come out with a $37,000 sedan get the tax credit down to $29,500 then it is game on.  Need scale and cost, that is how to win.

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    A new Bolt is a good idea.  A new Malibu is unnecessary.  Most GM product that is selling are SUVs, trucks and crossovers of one type or another.  Nobody wants a sedan now.

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