General Motors this week revealed some new details about its Chevrolet Bolt EV, the car in development that aims to hit the as-yet elusive sweet spot in the electric car market of both affordability and a battery charge that lasts beyond short trips through town.
The Bolt, which is scheduled to begin production at GM’s Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant in late 2016, will be the product of a new kind of arrangement between GM and a supplier, LG, which will be providing battery and infotainment components for the car, said Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president for global product development.
LG will deliver 11 components, unique to the vehicle, that it worked side-by-side with GE in developing, including the battery cell and pack technologies, the battery heater, the electric drive motor and power invertor module.
The Bolt is expected to run 200 miles on a single battery charge and cost under $30,000 with the federal electric vehicles rebate. The anticipated cost and battery life are similar to that of Tesla’s announced Model E, projected for release in early 2017.
GM and LG have been collaborating on the development of electric vehicles since 2011, said Reuss. “It was a true collaborative effort from the beginning—one that set aside the traditional model of product development,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The arrangement, said Reuss, was a far cry from the old-school supplier relationship model, where “we told them what to do, how to do it and how much we’d pay for it. What we found was that behavior blows up in your face, frankly. It’s an unworkable and unsustainable model. It often led to vehicle program delays, cost overruns and unnecessary work and waste. And it always led to animosity and lack of trust.
The competitive and technologically complex landscape of electric vehicles requires a different approach, Reuss said.
Pam Fletcher, chief engineer for electrified vehicles, said LG and GM engineers have been in collaborative discussion on “defining what this vehicle will be,” from packaging to size to performance.
The announcement comes as technology and automotive companies are increasingly collaborating, from supplier Continetal Automotive’s partnership with Cisco and IBM to Google hiring Hyundai’s former CEO, John Krafcik, as head of its self-driving car project.