The Bolt EV is on the way, but GM has no plans to invest in fast charging infrastructure

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the hero of the hour – reviewers who checked out the production version at the recent Consumer Electronics Show were impressed, and pundits have been hailing it as the EV that could finally break into the mainstream.

But one part of the picture seems to be missing. Many believe that a more extensive public charging network – especially DC fast charging – is one of the keys to increasing EV sales, and most EV-makers, including Nissan, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and Tesla, have been investing in charging infrastructure.

Does GM plan to follow suit, perhaps announcing a partnership with one or more network operators to roll out some new CCS charging stations as the Bolt goes on sale later this year? After all, GM does plan to offer an optional CCS quick-charging port for the Bolt.

“We are not actively working on providing infrastructure,” CEO Mary Barra recently told Green Car Reports.

“We believe all our customers should benefit from any infrastructure spending,” said Executive Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles Pam Fletcher.

With its range and price hitting what have long been considered the “magic numbers,” the Bolt EV has the potential to be an automotive milestone. But, as we’ve seen over the past few years, just producing a great EV isn’t enough. If GM doesn’t follow through with infrastructure investment, a marketing push and a new way of doing business at the dealership level, the Bolt could go down in history as just another compliance car.

Chevrolet Unveils 2017 Bolt

 

Source: Green Car Reports

  • Michael Clark

    Demand Chevrolet make CHAdemo plug as standard equipment on the Bolt

    • John McVicker

      Why is that? Dual-head DCFC exist and should be the norm. To service both CHAdeMO and CCS. A single charger with two output cables. That only adds a small amount to the cost and yet offers twice the driver opportunity. I would like to see a Voltec CUV since that is a huge market in the USA for vehicles. It’s good that GM is not supplying fuel to the select subset of their customers. The right answer is to get power companies to deploy ways to sell their fuel at strategic locations and at fair prices – perhaps a 40-50% mark up to the going commercial rates. Which in my area would be to resell car charging electricity at about 25 cents a kWh which is fair.

    • Michel

      The fast charger on bolt is CCS not CHAdemo . For my self the CCS make more sense.
      First the size of the CHAdemo . Second one plug in for level 1 level 2 level 3 . CHAdemo 2 diferent plug .
      Here in Quebec all public fast charging have CHAdeMo and CCS.
      GM should work on their dealerships to be more pro EV. Also to have an DC fast charging at every dealer open access 24/7. With Spark ev and Bolt with CCS .That can be a good start.

      • Michael B

        Although the early designs were heavy and cumbersome, the newer model Chademo plugs are lightweight and very easy to use.

        • Michel

          Still 2 charging ports.

          • Had Enough n SD

            CHAdeMO is a Japanese standard…time to go forward with the American Standard – CCS/SAE Combo for DCFC.

    • Electric Bill

      I’m not sure why you would mention the S-10 specifically, but I have two full EVs, one of which is an S-10 conversion with 72 cells of 160 Ah each, most of which are in battery boxes mounted beneath the truck bed, so that no cargo space is tampered with.

      It’s rather unique, and I enjoy showing off the battery pack by tilting the bed to the left so people can see the cells in their Lexan-topped battery boxes. A powerful, remote-controlled screw jack tilts the bed to the left so people can see the battery boxes below, which have see-through weatherproof Lexan tops.

      • Michael Clark

        I think when the big three or five car company’s get on board with all electric trucks the EV’s have fully arrived. I work every day trying to build EV infrastructure in East Central Florida.. Michael Clark Palm Bay Florida.

      • Michael Clark

        Electric Bill I like your S-10 What kind of range are you getting and what kind of charge times ? Are you using the J-1772 plug ?? Are you able to do any light towing? I have a Rav-4 EV and I’d like to add towing capability. I have a CamAm Spyder and would like to convert it to electric… Thanks Michael Clark in Palm Bay Florida

        • Electric Bill

          Sorry, Michael, I didn’t notice your comment when you sent it– My range varies significantly depending on, whether I use feeeways, since it is pretty much a brick aerodynamically. But when driven on, city streets, range is probably 100+; although I, have not taken it for many trips of more than 40 miles or, so. Charge time is probably something like 4 hours or more if I charge at home on my Clipper Creek 220V @ 20A, bit not sure because once you plug it in, you, don’t exactly baby – sit it.

          As for towing, “Gadget”Abbott, who designed all that complex hinge hardware & remote control system, and did my battery boxes and much more, and was featured in both “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Revenge of the Electric Car”, has borrowed it on occasion to haul some pretty hefty items. It still has the original tranny, which makes a difference… allows much lower gearing and is easier on the battery pack.

          If anybody would like his services I can forward your info by writing me at: billdale@earthlink.net

          He is in South Los Angeles, about halfway between USC and the airport. He has helped me on two other EV projects as well, including a BMW conversion (YouTube: “BMW EV Conversion Burns Rubber!!!”), and converting a Corbin Sparrow from lead/acid to lithium iron phosohate, which resulted in a weight loss of 260 lbs.(!) and an increase in range from 30 miles to 120.

      • http://www.electricshowroom.com Collin Burnell

        Awesome!

    • Had Enough n SD

      CHAdeMO is a step backwards. All U.S. and European vehicle makes will use SAE Combo going forward for DCFC. Tell Nissan to get on board!

      • http://www.efest.ca Robert (Electricman) Weekley

        Actually – CCS is a step – sideways, CHAdeMO was here First, since no American EV (BEV) had any DC Fast Charging capability, and actually – wasn’t even made yet – except for the Tesla Roadster, which came out before the LEAF – which introduced us to DC Fast Charging via CHAdeMO, and then – the Mitsubishi iMiEV came – with it standard. This was followed up by Kia with the Soul EV using CHAdeMO as Standard in the USA, but only on the premium Model in Canada!

        When Tesla went looking for a Faster Charging standard – they felt the CHAdeMO was to big and bulky, did not offer AC and DC on the same Plug, and SAE first sketches of the CCS were even worse, so they built a system that – with exactly the Same 1 plug – can be used for AC and DC Charging, controlled via the Communication bus pins, as to routing the power through the on-board AC-DC charger and then to the Battery – or directly to the Battery if inputs will be DC Power.

        So – in reality – Tesla is the right plug for the job, and – the nice thing is – anyone of the OEM’s could have it – if they just got on board! Just a little Humble Pie and they could move forward with the best standard!

        • Had Enough n SD

          First is not better relative to CHAdeMO and only Japanese models used it…and even they will convert to CCS in the future.
          The auto industry will never adopt the Tesla connector. I sat through the standards meetings.

  • Dave_SRQ

    It’s starting to become obvious to many folks that the Bolt is really a compliance car. That’s what I expected all along.

  • Bruno Bevilacqua

    It is ugly as hell.

    • Electric Bill

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You are the first to have said that, and personally I have no issues with the design… in decades past the design idiocy was lots of silly, useless fins… in the last several years it has been huge scoops and dams that appear to be largely superfluous and aerodynamically counterproductive. I’m glad this design is more sensible in that respect.

      It is too early to be issuing it a “scarlet letter” as a compliance car… they may be scrambling, as the article says, to form a charging alliance with Tesla or others, which makes the best sense to me, and if so it would be wise for them not to tip their hand until something is concrete. I am hoping that soon we’ll be hearing of a standard to put all this charging talk to rest– perhaps they are all appealing to SAE or some other independent body as a referree to avoid “Betamax” and “AM stereo” -type debacles.

      • Had Enough n SD

        Bolt uses the SAE Combo connector…so no DCFC alliance with Tesla. The need for DCFC is WAY over-rated…even those that have it use it only as EMERGENCY Charging when doing unusually long trips…not a daily use…exceptions exist. As always…this car will do most charging at home.

        • http://www.efest.ca Robert (Electricman) Weekley

          Well, Many folk in Toronto Actually like a Drive down to Florida, and Folk in B.C. likewise like a drive down to LA! So – that could be the start of the CCS Plan to get those points connected, that is – if they would get serious!

          I have a friend who just bought a Tesla 90D – and within a week of getting it – headed off to Key West from Toronto – on a trip he would have normally driven his ICE car on, but because Tesla ‘Get’s it’ and has been steadily expanding their Supercharging stations – the trip was very uneventful – as in easy to do without any charging issues – save one (drive a bit slower) – Pittsburgh to Buffalo, and that long leg will be fixed when Erie, PA Goes online!

          As we know there are no 100 kW CCS units here yet, but even 50 kW units would get the job done, if not as graceful as Tesla’s 120 – 135 kW Superchargers!

          • Had Enough n SD

            “Many” is an over-statement. More the exception to the rule.

      • Bruno Bevilacqua

        Some ridiculous “look ma, I’m electric” desing cues. Maybe that crap can still sell in the US market.
        Maybe, and that’s it.
        Check the numbers for other ridiculous designs like Nissan Leaf out of the US.
        Which leads me to believe, design wise, Americans buy whatever.

    • Linda West

      I love the Bolt, it’s insane! They thought of everything. Unbelievable features to many cool things to list. I don’t think it’s ugly at all.

  • http://www.efest.ca Robert (Electricman) Weekley

    So – [“We are not actively working on providing infrastructure,” CEO Mary Barra recently told Green Car Reports.

    “We believe all our customers should benefit from any infrastructure spending,” said Executive Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles Pam Fletcher.]

    Pretty much sums up the fact that they have not yet even got back on the pony they fell off with the introduction of the Hummer – and the killing of the EV1, as even back then – they put efforts to help EV Charging happen, unless I am not right!

    By the Time they figure out the marketing value of actively extending – even the CCS Charging network with their own dollars, the Bolt may be just another Smart ED – a City Car – but with Longer Range! To make long range EV’s practical – they need a long range thinking company behind them!

    Let’s see what the Model 3 can do, to show what the Bolt could have been!