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I don't think anyone will be surprised if GM goes the way of Kodak.
They see the future, and have firmly stuck their heads in the sand.
 

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So, what I got out of that story is, everything is about incentives. We consumers see the tax credit incentive. The mfr sees the CARB ZEV credits. As the program has evolved, EVs get far more credits, ~3 now for every 1 for PHEVs, incentivizing EV production over PHEVs, aka TZEVs. So, a Bolt sale is far more valuable to GM than a Volt sale.
 

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So, what I got out of that story is, everything is about incentives. We consumers see the tax credit incentive. The mfr sees the CARB ZEV credits. As the program has evolved, EVs get far more credits, ~3 now for every 1 for PHEVs, incentivizing EV production over PHEVs, aka TZEVs. So, a Bolt sale is far more valuable to GM than a Volt sale.
Exactly. Which is why I'm of the opinion that CARB killed the Volt, not GM. So, we'll end up with fewer total electified cars, traveling fewer total electric miles. Take that 60 kWh battery from the Bolt, split it into thirds, put it in 3 Volts, and you'll have 3 times the total electric miles driven!
 

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Wait, the article claims the Bolt is cheaper than the Volt? Not in Canada it isn't, not even close!
 

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Exactly. Which is why I'm of the opinion that CARB killed the Volt, not GM. So, we'll end up with fewer total electified cars, traveling fewer total electric miles. Take that 60 kWh battery from the Bolt, split it into thirds, put it in 3 Volts, and you'll have 3 times the total electric miles driven!
Totally agree with this. This is why some perverse although perhaps well intentioned incentives (CARB) actually end up harming our environment. Unfortunately, this is letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.


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It's interesting. I was speaking to my mom about this (I gave her my 2015 Volt), and she is fully aware of the paradox of Volt ownership. She loves the idea of having a gas backup and not having to deal with potentially inconvenient public charging in day-to-day driving, but she hates the idea of using gasoline.

For many Americans, in order for the Volt to be "truly electric," it needs closer to 100 miles of battery range. Theoretically, GM could pull that off by using battery chemistry more similar to that used in the Bolt EV, but at that point, one really has to wonder whether all of that complication is worth it.

In the last two years, I've seen the debate back and forth about whether the Bolt EV was killing Volt sales or the opposite, but the truth is, I think the Bolt EV just flat out killed the Volt. Compare the two power trains in terms of complexity. Compare the required supply chains. Then compare the capabilities of the vehicles.

The margins on the Bolt EV (and all EV variations based off of it) are far higher than the Volt. The Bolt EV's hardware ports directly over to a number of platforms where the Voltec system wouldn't. Professor John D. Kelly referred to the Bolt EV's motor as this generation's "small block Chevy" engine. It will be ubiquitous.

In a fleet of fast charging, 300+ mile pure battery electric vehicles, I think there's no way to justify the Volt's complexity and cost.
 

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It's interesting. I was speaking to my mom about this (I gave her my 2015 Volt), and she is fully aware of the paradox of Volt ownership. She loves the idea of having a gas backup and not having to deal with potentially inconvenient public charging in day-to-day driving, but she hates the idea of using gasoline.

For many Americans, in order for the Volt to be "truly electric," it needs closer to 100 miles of battery range. Theoretically, GM could pull that off by using battery chemistry more similar to that used in the Bolt EV, but at that point, one really has to wonder whether all of that complication is worth it.

In the last two years, I've seen the debate back and forth about whether the Bolt EV was killing Volt sales or the opposite, but the truth is, I think the Bolt EV just flat out killed the Volt. Compare the two power trains in terms of complexity. Compare the required supply chains. Then compare the capabilities of the vehicles.

The margins on the Bolt EV (and all EV variations based off of it) are far higher than the Volt. The Bolt EV's hardware ports directly over to a number of platforms where the Voltec system wouldn't. Professor John D. Kelly referred to the Bolt EV's motor as this generation's "small block Chevy" engine. It will be ubiquitous.

In a fleet of fast charging, 300+ mile pure battery electric vehicles, I think there's no way to justify the Volt's complexity and cost.
I agree, but would add that the impending loss of the tax credit too, killed the Volt. No way GM could sell the Volt at a profit without the tax credits. There is just not enough profit in the Volt to drop the price accordingly.

Soon the Bolt EV will be faced with a similar dilemma and it will be interesting to see what happens. I'm still holding out hope for some kind of extension of the tax credits, and I'm sure the lobbying efforts are ongoing.

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This just shows why the tax credits should be all or nothing for all manufactures at the same time.

By punishing early adopters we are forcing a company in the wrong direction due to artificial market forces.
 

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The margins on the Bolt EV (and all EV variations based off of it) are far higher than the Volt. The Bolt EV's hardware ports directly over to a number of platforms where the Voltec system wouldn't. Professor John D. Kelly referred to the Bolt EV's motor as this generation's "small block Chevy" engine. It will be ubiquitous.

In a fleet of fast charging, 300+ mile pure battery electric vehicles, I think there's no way to justify the Volt's complexity and cost.
The Bolt is where I started. I was actually confused because I didn't know Chevy had two products. I just knew it was time for a new car and I wanted electric if I could get it. I could not afford a Tesla. I was looking at the Bolt with the idea of a two car solution. For trips, I would take the Wife's Rav 4. And I wanted more of a SUV and not a Sedan. When I looked at the Volt I actually liked the aesthetics. And I liked that I didn't have to change cars for a trip. But I worry about the extra complexity. No one seems to have much problem with that though. So I switched from the Bolt to the Volt. It was a close call.

I looked at some of the other offerings and Chevy seemed like the best value. Just an added 10 miles of range would make it much better.
 

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So, what I got out of that story is, everything is about incentives. We consumers see the tax credit incentive. The mfr sees the CARB ZEV credits. As the program has evolved, EVs get far more credits, ~3 now for every 1 for PHEVs, incentivizing EV production over PHEVs, aka TZEVs. So, a Bolt sale is far more valuable to GM than a Volt sale.
It's not just that there's a 3-to-1 ratio. It's also that TZEV credits can only be a fraction of the total credits.

2018 required credits worth 4.5% of sales of which 2.5 could be TZEVs.
The requirement increases by 2.5% each year through 2025, and the TZEV increases only by 0.5.

2018: 2.5/4.5%
2019: 3.0/7.0%
2020: 3.5/9.5%
...
2025: 6.0/22.0%

(Quebec also has ZEV rules that have copied California and will rapidly catch up to California's percentage, before tracking it).

I don't think the Chinese NEV credit system will have the same restrictions, but there's the same kind of 3:1 credit ratio.
BEVs can be up to 6 credits
PHEVs can be up to 2 credits

Combine that with a bunch of other factors that favor BEV and other form factors and the Volt's an unnecessary car.
 

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No way GM could sell the Volt at a profit without the tax credits. There is just not enough profit in the Volt to drop the price accordingly.
***
Soon the Bolt EV will be faced with a similar dilemma and it will be interesting to see what happens.
I'm not sure I agree. The tax credits don't really help GM other than in being able to move the Volt at its current MSRP. The ZEV credits are what allows them to profit at the current sales price, but automakers are seeing less benefit from PHEVs.

The Bolt EV, on the other hand, will continue to provide ample ZEV credits, which is what allows GM to sell the Bolt EV for what appears to be a loss. To see just how much of a benefit GM gets from the ZEV credits, you simply need to look at the Bolt EV's actual sales price in states like California (it is very easy to pick up a loaded Bolt EV LT for $33k to $34k before Federal and state incentives).

With streamlining of the Bolt EV's manufacturing and supply chain (e.g., moving battery cell and electronic component production to the United States), we should see the Bolt EV's MSRP drop to the low $30,000s. In combination with the ZEV credits, we should see sales prices on the Bolt EV in the high $20,000s within a year or two.

Now, if people really want to see EVs like the Bolt EV move, they should lobby for the ZEV program (as flawed as it is in its current form) to be required in all 50 states. If that were to happen, you'd likely see GM selling about 10,000 to 15,000 Bolt EVs a month in the United States.
 

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The Bolt is where I started. I was actually confused because I didn't know Chevy had two products. I just knew it was time for a new car and I wanted electric if I could get it. I could not afford a Tesla. I was looking at the Bolt with the idea of a two car solution. For trips, I would take the Wife's Rav 4. And I wanted more of a SUV and not a Sedan. When I looked at the Volt I actually liked the aesthetics. And I liked that I didn't have to change cars for a trip. But I worry about the extra complexity. No one seems to have much problem with that though. So I switched from the Bolt to the Volt. It was a close call.

I looked at some of the other offerings and Chevy seemed like the best value. Just an added 10 miles of range would make it much better.
I think the complexity is something that should concern Volt owners, but not in a way that would prevent them from buying one. GM's engineering is topnotch, and any failures would be due to manufacturing (and covered under warranty). The truth is, the Volt is (from the owner's perspective) only as complicated as a typical internal combustion vehicle. Not more. Not less.

The Bolt EV, on the other hand, is a significantly less complicated vehicle to own and drive. It quietly and simply gets you where ever you need to go. The only maintenance that even requires thought is tire rotations. Sometimes I rotate them after 5,000 miles. Sometimes 10,000 or 15,000 miles. It doesn't seem to matter much. Occasionally, I run out of wiper fluid, or the wiper blades need replacing. Oh, and maybe I should check the cabin air filter.

And I never worry about refueling on my day-to-day driving... even on my regular 150-mile-per-day commutes. I need to drive an extra 50 miles out of the way? Zero gas anxiety like there was with the Volt. I simply plug in when I show up at work, and I unplug when I'm ready to leave. Oh, that reminds me... I have to pay for my work charging. I owe for November and December. A total of $102. That represents no less than 4,000 miles of driving.
 

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Had a unusual experience yesterday. Pulled up to stop light at a double lane turn off and what was ahead of me? A Gen1 white premier Volt. I had seen it this past summer at 39 days of July (free music concerts in Duncan in afternoons and evenings from local talent and from round the world). It was plugged in to the free Charge Point by the concert (I was driving the TR7 that day). I had assumed it was from Victoria as I saw a video of some one who had bought one in the States and brought it over. Anyway I wondered what the cars in the lane beside us where thinking. "What are these two identical silent cars (one white one silver), I've never seen anything like that before", perhaps. It kept around the traffic circle to go to the Chevy dealer (not a Volt dealer). For what I wondered? I had ordered a passenger wiper blade there a few months back. Makes me think it's a local car. In other news, I was over to Vancouver for Xmas and saw a Tesla S pull in front of us. First time I've seen one on the road as I haven't seen one on the Island even though we have a Superstation. New Year musings. Happy New Year driving every one.
 

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I'm not sure I agree. The tax credits don't really help GM other than in being able to move the Volt at its current MSRP. The ZEV credits are what allows them to profit at the current sales price, but automakers are seeing less benefit from PHEVs.

The Bolt EV, on the other hand, will continue to provide ample ZEV credits, which is what allows GM to sell the Bolt EV for what appears to be a loss. To see just how much of a benefit GM gets from the ZEV credits, you simply need to look at the Bolt EV's actual sales price in states like California (it is very easy to pick up a loaded Bolt EV LT for $33k to $34k before Federal and state incentives).

With streamlining of the Bolt EV's manufacturing and supply chain (e.g., moving battery cell and electronic component production to the United States), we should see the Bolt EV's MSRP drop to the low $30,000s. In combination with the ZEV credits, we should see sales prices on the Bolt EV in the high $20,000s within a year or two.

Now, if people really want to see EVs like the Bolt EV move, they should lobby for the ZEV program (as flawed as it is in its current form) to be required in all 50 states. If that were to happen, you'd likely see GM selling about 10,000 to 15,000 Bolt EVs a month in the United States.
I don't see why everyone else on the way with head to head competition can't match the Bolt EV in price. They will benefit from a drop in battery prices too, along with other efficiencies. GM drops the price of the Bolt EV, Nissan follows suit with the upcoming long range Leaf for example.

Then on top of that they can offer an additional $7500 off via the tax credit, and it wont cost them a dime to do so. All the Chevy dealership can do is say, "sorry, no more tax credit". Bye bye, sale, and bye bye ZEV credits if GM can't move the Bolt.

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I don't see why everyone else on the way with head to head competition can't match the Bolt EV in price. They will benefit from a drop in battery prices too, along with other efficiencies. GM drops the price of the Bolt EV, Nissan follows suit with the upcoming long range Leaf for example.

Then on top of that they can offer an additional $7500 off via the tax credit, and it wont cost them a dime to do so. All the Chevy dealership can do is say, "sorry, no more tax credit". Bye bye, sale, and bye bye ZEV credits if GM can't move the Bolt.

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I agree that they should be able to match GM in price and capability, but we've been saying that for over two years now. Hyundai and Kia both essentially cloned the Bolt EV. I'd love for Weber State to do a teardown on the Kona Electric because I bet we would see a number of things that border on patent infringement. Still, the Bolt EV's engineering far exceeds what we're seeing out of Hyundai and Kia in ways that really matter. In particular, the weight, structure, and chassis configuration of the Bolt EV are far ahead of the Kona Electric.

To this day, the Bolt EV is the sub $40,000 EV with the fewest concessions. The Kona released in the U.S. will lack active battery heating. The upcoming 60 kWh Nissan LEAF will lack active liquid thermal battery management.

I actually think, though, that this is an area where being first to market is a huge advantage, and GM's decades of experience with EVs puts them very far ahead of most competitors. Similarly, in the luxury category, it's going to be a long while before the German automakers who are chasing Tesla will be able to catch up (again, with or without the tax credit). Likewise, Elon admitted that Tesla is still a long way from making a profitable $35,000 vehicle, so in the average car market, they are also chasing GM.

And again, the Tax Credit is great for those who can absorb the entire credit. The year I bought my 2012 Volt, my income was curtailed, and I could only actually cash in on about $6,500 of the $7,500 credit. For those who make less than $50,000 a year, the difference between a $3,750 and $7,500 credit might be less than the discounts available on an older product. Also, the fact that the Tax Credit isn't a point-of-sale discount means that their monthly payments on a vehicle like the Kona Electric would be higher than their payments on the Bolt EV.

Of course, the other factor that Telsa fanatics keep telling me is false (so I know it's true): EV sales are currently supply constrained, not demand constrained. Now, GM is still making headway in one of their most hostile markets (liberal California) thanks to the Bolt EV, but it's still a struggle. The biggest advantage Hyundai has is that they don't have that PR baggage. They are going to sell as many Kona Electrics in California as they want, but here's the thing... I don't think it will negatively affect Bolt EV sales.

People are going to want a Kona Electric, and some will love it an not be able to get one (because of demand) while others will dislike certain aspects of it. In either case, they will consider alternatives. The Bolt EV is the alternative. Sure, many people will still refuse to buy any GM product, regardless of how compelling it is, but the Kona Electric will drive more Bolt EV sales.
 

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I agree that they should be able to match GM in price and capability, but we've been saying that for over two years now. Hyundai and Kia both essentially cloned the Bolt EV. I'd love for Weber State to do a teardown on the Kona Electric because I bet we would see a number of things that border on patent infringement. Still, the Bolt EV's engineering far exceeds what we're seeing out of Hyundai and Kia in ways that really matter. In particular, the weight, structure, and chassis configuration of the Bolt EV are far ahead of the Kona Electric.

To this day, the Bolt EV is the sub $40,000 EV with the fewest concessions. The Kona released in the U.S. will lack active battery heating. The upcoming 60 kWh Nissan LEAF will lack active liquid thermal battery management.

I actually think, though, that this is an area where being first to market is a huge advantage, and GM's decades of experience with EVs puts them very far ahead of most competitors. Similarly, in the luxury category, it's going to be a long while before the German automakers who are chasing Tesla will be able to catch up (again, with or without the tax credit). Likewise, Elon admitted that Tesla is still a long way from making a profitable $35,000 vehicle, so in the average car market, they are also chasing GM.

And again, the Tax Credit is great for those who can absorb the entire credit. The year I bought my 2012 Volt, my income was curtailed, and I could only actually cash in on about $6,500 of the $7,500 credit. For those who make less than $50,000 a year, the difference between a $3,750 and $7,500 credit might be less than the discounts available on an older product. Also, the fact that the Tax Credit isn't a point-of-sale discount means that their monthly payments on a vehicle like the Kona Electric would be higher than their payments on the Bolt EV.

Of course, the other factor that Telsa fanatics keep telling me is false (so I know it's true): EV sales are currently supply constrained, not demand constrained. Now, GM is still making headway in one of their most hostile markets (liberal California) thanks to the Bolt EV, but it's still a struggle. The biggest advantage Hyundai has is that they don't have that PR baggage. They are going to sell as many Kona Electrics in California as they want, but here's the thing... I don't think it will negatively affect Bolt EV sales.

People are going to want a Kona Electric, and some will love it an not be able to get one (because of demand) while others will dislike certain aspects of it. In either case, they will consider alternatives. The Bolt EV is the alternative. Sure, many people will still refuse to buy any GM product, regardless of how compelling it is, but the Kona Electric will drive more Bolt EV sales.
I really hope you are correct about everything you have said. Perhaps I am being too cynical.

People buy the looks, the brand, and the price, not so much the more subtle details like who has the better TMS etc. I bet most Leaf buyers are utterly clueless about the engineering superiority of the Bolt EV. That goes double for buyers of the Prius Prime, and it's paltry 25 miles of EV range, compared to the Volt.

Again, I sincerely hope I am wrong and that GM will be able to compete in the absence of the tax credits.

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I really hope you are correct about everything you have said. Perhaps I am being too cynical.

People buy the brand and the price, not so much the more subtle details like who has the better TMS etc. I bet most Leaf buyers are utterly clueless about the engineering superiority of the Bolt EV. That goes double for buyers of the Prius Prime and it's paltry 25 miles of EV range compared to the Volt.

Again, I sincerely hope I am wrong and that GM will be able to compete in the absence of the tax credits.

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You are right. It seems most people are pretty ignorant about the vehicles they buy (frankly, I think most buy for emotional rather than pragmatic reasons).

However, that being said, I think the upfront cost is why the loss of the Federal Tax Credit won't be that big of a deal. When people realize that they can't drive out of a Hyundai dealership with a Kona Electric for less than $40,000 upfront, it might not matter that they can get $10,000+ in Federal and state incentives. They might rather go to a Chevy dealership where they can drive off in a comparably equipped Bolt EV for $37,000 upfront, even if it means they might only $6,000+ in Federal and state incentives.
 

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I don't see why everyone else on the way with head to head competition can't match the Bolt EV in price. They will benefit from a drop in battery prices too, along with other efficiencies. GM drops the price of the Bolt EV, Nissan follows suit with the upcoming long range Leaf for example.

Then on top of that they can offer an additional $7500 off via the tax credit, and it wont cost them a dime to do so. All the Chevy dealership can do is say, "sorry, no more tax credit". Bye bye, sale, and bye bye ZEV credits if GM can't move the Bolt.

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The Bolt is worth 4 credits, and ZEV credits can cost up to $5,000 each. HyunKia isn't going to sell many KoNiros in the USA. GM already has significant incentives on the Bolt, and will apply whatever's necessary to sell it.
 
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