It opens the door to a future where we drive electric cars rather than gasoline fueled cars.
The Chevy Bolt is an all electric car with a 200+ mile range between charges that will sell for less than $30,000 after tax credits. History may well include this car with the iPhone as one of mankind’s most ambitious technology innovations. Combined with the growing emergence of autonomous driving, digital convergence and the shared car economy, the Chevy Bolt holds the potential of reshaping transportation, your life and environmental sustainability.
What is a Chevy Bolt
The Chevy Bolt is GM’s newest all electric car. It hits the hot buttons that car lovers. It looks great. It is fun to drive with acceleration at the speed of electrons. After tax credits it costs about what the average car now sells for. The dash is a digital wonderland that looks like it was designed by Apple or Google.
It easily seats four with an interior space design that will accommodate laptop computers, iPads, smart phones, sports gear and extra luggage. In short, it is the first all electric car that is at least as good, and in many ways better, than the average gasoline powered car.
Why the Chevy Bolt is so transformative
The Chevy Bolt is a transformative technology because it is the first mass marketed electric car that delivers on price, range and performance. It opens the sales door to a future where we drive electric cars rather than gasoline fueled cars.
The first generation of cars like the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Spark have the sales challenge of overcoming buyers’ electric range anxiety. Yes, we all know that there are maybe 12-24 days a year where we actually drive more than 100 miles per day. But it is my personal experience that logic or facts does not overcome the fear of running out of electricity during a typical day of commuting to work. And that fear has been a huge sale barrier for electric cars.
Of course, an all electric car alternative is a Tesla priced at $75,000 to $100,000. You will be driving a technologically stunning car with a range of up to a 300 mile and acceleration that will smoke 700 horsepower super cars from zero to 60. But for most of us that is a lot of money we do not have or do not want to spend on a car.
The Bolt hits the desired sweet spot of range, price and performance. It is as affordable as most cars. At a 200 mile range the Bolt will cover most trips except longer vacations where range anxiety will continue until we have a national network of fast charging stations.
What makes the Bolt transformative is its potential for gaining manufacturing economies of scale. The current monthly pace of a few thousand electric car sales makes them a niche technology. But if the Bolt can achieve sales of a 100,000 per month then manufacturing economies of scale will drive costs down to levels where tax subsidies are not required to achieve price competitiveness with gasoline fueled cars. Battery technology is also about to enter its manufacturing economies of scales that will lead to lower battery prices .
Additionally, battery technology innovations are emerging that will deliver range comparable to a tank of gasoline.
The final step toward mass market adoption of electric cars will be the development of a recharging network that rivals that of gasoline. The Bolt has the potential of jump starting this path to electric car economies of scale.
Transformative trends that will drive car economics
We are on a technology cusp that will transform car economies.
The Industrial Age model is:
- Buy a car that now costs $33,000 on average through a five to seven year loan
- Buy car insurance
- Drive the car and avoid an accident
- Drive the car to the gas station and fill up with gasoline
- Maintain the car by driving it to a service facility
- Take the car for emissions testing and fund compliance
- Sell the car for a newer car.
This model places considerable cost, time and responsibility on individual car owners.
Next- Autonomous driving technologies plus services like Uber or ZipCar examples