The Bolt EV is GM’s answer to Tesla’s rising influence, and it’s impressive by all early accounts. The affordable electric car with a class-leading range isn’t the sum of GM’s interest in electric vehicles, however – it’s just the beginning. GM plans to release a range of electric vehicles based on the Bolt platform, but they won’t be announced until later on.
GM CEO Mary Barra was speaking with CNET’s RoadShow (via Electrek) when she revealed the product pipeline plans. Other carmakers are talking about multiple models in a range of different categories, and Ford has explained to me that it’s introducing a range of EV and hybrid models in order to help show customers that the category doesn’t need to solely be about appealing to ecologically minded consumers.
The electrified Mustang and F-150 planned for 2020 are designed to show what EVs can do for power and low-end torque, for instance.
Barra talked about how EVs are the only way to make autonomous vehicles truly work, too, and that’s another common refrain in the car industry, owing to economics and even the mechanics of fueling concerns. The Bolt is currently the platform for GM’s autonomous testing, which it’s ramping up via its Cruise acquisition from last year, and which it also intends to use in a fleet ride-sharing model in partnership with Lyft.
Where GM is headed with the Bolt EV platform after the Bolt itself will be interesting to watch. EVs are evolving hand-in-hand with autonomous tech, but whether GM pursues more traditional car buyers with different takes on EVs, as Ford has done, will be telling as to their long-term strategy.