It’s the most important question about any new EV: is its maker serious about selling it, or is it just another compliance car or halo model? One clue to an automaker’s intentions is whether the EV is offered for sale in all markets, not just in California.
It’s probably far too early to make predictions about the market viability of the Chevrolet Bolt, but a recent report by Autocar has already made UK EV fans ever so cross. According to the British magazine, GM sources “confirmed” at the Frankfurt motor show that the Bolt won’t be made in a right-hand drive version, and thus won’t be offered in the UK.
Earlier, GM CEO Mary Barra said the Bolt “will be sold in all 50 states of the US and in selected markets around the world.” Would GM really leave the UK, where plug-in sales are starting to accelerate, out of the electric party?
Green Car Reports asked GM for confirmation, and received a vague response that seems to contradict Autocar’s unnamed source. “The Bolt EV will be a global vehicle,” said Chevrolet Spokesperson Michelle Malcho. “We have not disclosed which markets and therefore the configurations available at this time.”
Whether Chevy eventually offers a British Bolt or not, some EV pundits found it a bit much that GM execs continue to harp on their “not for the elite” line. GM President Dan Ammann tweeted from Frankfurt: “More automakers unveiling EVs for the elite. We’re focused on EVs for everyone, like the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt.”
As EV advocate Chelsea Sexton pointed out in a blog post, it’s only logical for an automaker to design EVs that fit into its usual market segment. Porsche and Audi have always made cars for the elite, so it would be strange if they suddenly decided to compete with Chevrolet and build an EV for the masses.
Will the Brits get their bloody Bolt? Will GM’s new generation of plug-ins generate a new level of consumer interest? Most important, will the automakers stop wasting their energy on creating artificial rivalries like “elite” vs “everyone” and fuel cells vs BEVs, and put that effort into marketing their EVs for a change? Stay tuned.