Chevrolet remains keen to learn from its mistakes after a sluggish launch of the first-generation Chevrolet Volt. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t the prettiest, either.
Autoblog had a chance to catch up with General Motors new product and public policy communications chief, Shad Balch, during the 2015 AltCar Expo, and the attitude towards the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV rings extremely optimistic.
Specifically, Balch made sure the Chevrolet Bolt EV made the trek to California for the event, as California remains one of the largest markets for electric vehicles.
The most encouraging part for us out here, being in the market … to be able to explain that we are committed to marketing this car the right way. … We’re trying to make that known as much as possible, because that is the number one criticism that we hear. That’s why events like these are so important, because we can’t wrap up into a 30-second spot what these cars are capable of. I can’t even explain it to you in 10 minutes what it’s like. But the thing is, driving an EV is, in every proof point, better than a gas-powered car, except for charging.
He also touched on the one major problem looming for the 2017 Bolt EV: federal tax incentives. GM has a fair shot at hitting the 250,000 vehicle mark by the time the 2017 Bolt EV rolls out of the Orion Assembly, and Balch said GM is working with the government to show them the data, and possibly extend and expand incentives for the vehicle.
It’s very difficult to keep everybody up to speed and for dealers to even know what the incentives currently are. It ebbs and flows. I mean here in California, we’ve had to have our dealers get up to speed on IOUs from the state, to all of the sudden, the cash is back so we can give you a rebate check here. We need continuity. We need a consistent policy to incentivize these cars to be purchased, at the volume and at the level that will help us sell and meet [the efficiency] standards.
Recently, GM product chief, Mark Reuss, commented the 2017 Bolt EV may come to market under $30,000 after tax credits, making the 200-mile range EV a very competitive offering within the market.
Balch further commented, saying GM has basically fast-tracked the car to production after an overwhelmingly positive response at the 2015 North American International Auto Show last January. The 2017 Bolt EV is expected to be introduced as a 2017 model-year vehicle.