Even with $2 gas, automakers still push electric

The Chevrolet Bolt is on display during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

DETROIT (WOOD) — One vehicle that’s generating a lot of interest at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is the Chevy Bolt concept.

Not to be confused with its hybrid cousin, the Volt, the Bolt is fully electric. The technology that moves the Bolt represents a huge leap in technology, allowing the Bolt to travel 200 miles on one charge.

GM insiders have a two-word talking point when it comes to the Bolt:

“Game changer,” said GM’s Executive Director of Global Design Michael Simcoe. “200 miles and affordable — $30,000 with the incentive — and a practical package.”

But in an age of $2 per gallon gas, will the public get excited about the Bolt?

As you read this story about electric and other alternative energy vehicles at the auto show, you may have recently filled up your SUV for less than 50 bucks. You may wonder why you should care about Chevy’s little concept car.

Part of the answer has to do with the stability of gas prices.

“Gas is kind of flexible. We’ve seen it go up and down. It is historically low. But Chevy takes a long-term view,” Simcoe said. “We’re not in this for the short term.”

Auto analyst Mike Wall with IHS Automotive says manufacturers are thinking about more than future gas price spikes.

“Things like CAFE requirement and some of the other fuel efficiency requirements the governments are mandating, the automakers have to be keenly focused on,” Wall said.

While the hybrid Volt, now in its second generation, has been a slow seller, Wall says there are benefits to the Bolt beyond sales.

“They’ve been able to share that technology and use it across other vehicle lines,” Wall said. “It’s sort of a gift that keeps on giving across other vehicles. I think at the end of the day, you’re going to see the benefits from that technology across a wide variety of vehicles.”

GM is not releasing many technical details about the Bolt. Simcoe says its batteries will be produced by LG Chem, but couldn’t say whether they will be produced in South Korea or at the controversial plant in Holland.

On 24 Hour News 8 Thursday, Joe LaFugey looks at West Michigan’s contribution to the vehicles on the show floor.

WOOD TV8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s