Tessy
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The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:55 pm

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features ... ear-future


If you’re in the market for a car, there are some good reasons not to buy Chevrolet’s new Bolt. Maybe you insist on leather seats, take long road-trips to the middle of nowhere, or have a boat to tow around. If not, GM’s new long range electric vehicle will be at the very least entirely sufficient for your needs. At best, it will be a giddy surprise.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The first affordable electric car to top 200 miles on a single charge was expected to be a vehicle of compromise, a bundle of “buts.” Indeed, the most impressive things about the Bolt are the attributes it lacks. The car is not tiny, boring or slow. And it handily topped its goal, coming in with an EPA-estimated 238-mile range, almost exactly the distance between New York and Boston or Washington D.C. It is not, however, a looker. “Pragmatic” is probably the best adjective to describe the car. It looks like a stubby pod, cluttered by a smattering of busy design cues—swooping creases, bits of black plastic, and too many lights. The odd design works like clown-car magic on the interior, however. Chevy managed to peg the driver’s seat high for a commanding view of the road, while leaving plenty of headroom for tall people in the front seats and in back.

The Bolt’s design is neither futuristic nor timeless, but that’s likely the point. GM has boldly designed electric cars in the past and it didn’t go so well. The Bolt simply looks like a lot of other contemporary cars—a little Buick Encore, a little Honda HR-V and a dash of BMW i3. The shape grows on you. It’s athletic; small without being wimpy, sturdy without being bloated.

Darin Gesse, senior manager of GM product strategy, admitted that design took a second seat to function. “We talked to customers about what they wanted and it all came down to range and price and range,” he said. “Everything else wasn’t even second on the list; it was like 9th.”

On the Road
Forget about curb appeal. On the road, the Bolt is charming. It’s quick, even for an electric car, thanks to a relative dearth of weight and clever gearing of the electric motor. It accelerates eagerly all the way up to its 95 mile-per-hour limit.

Steering is tight and precise with plenty of weight and feedback. The ride is simultaneously forgiving and firm, thanks to GM’s chasis tuning expertise and the big slab of a battery. The 60 kwh lithium-ion monolith keeps the vehicle grounded through turns, stiffens the frame and absorbs the typical vibration that comes with pushing a box of metal through the air at highway speed.

That massive battery, however, comes at a hefty price. GM spends about $9,000 on each one compared with a couple hundred bucks it costs to build a small gasoline engine. The yawning chasm of cost is clearly recouped somewhat inside the car. The cockpit is a cheap collage of plastic and hard rubber that feels down-market even on a $30,000 vehicle. It is “nice” in the way Ikea furniture is “nice,” which is to say it is thoughtful, pragmatic, and not terrible looking. You just don’t want to touch it too much.

KentS
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:39 pm

Unfortunate title to a pretty fair assessment of the Bolt. Function over form is the takeaway.

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oilerlord
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:24 am

The article was from December, 2016...roughly around the launch of the car. I found this interesting:

"Darin Gesse, senior manager of GM product strategy, admitted that design took a second seat to function. “We talked to customers about what they wanted and it all came down to range and price and range,” he said. “Everything else wasn’t even second on the list; it was like 9th.”

This proves that you can go through the focus group exercise, painstakingly research what customers "want", deliver on those objectives - but still fall well short of the mark. While GM can be applauded for accomplishing the seemingly essential criteria of a 200+ mile EV at a price point, clearly the rest of the car also happened to matter. The "everything else", 9th place stuff on the list was ignored. I wonder if "beautiful design" was 9th on the list. Perhaps "comfortable seats" were #10 on the list.

IMHO, the Bolt project was like a bunch of newly-minted MBA's were contracted to design, and market the next electric car. Not one "car guy" was in the room.

On paper, the Bolt is a home-run success. A Tesla killer. A game changer. Analysts estimated between 30,000 - 80,000 units sold in the first year.

http://www.autoblog.com/2016/05/09/2017 ... rediction/

What happened???

The Bolt ended up being a nondescript econobox, that happens to be electric - barely managing 1000 units sold per month. Really, should we be surprised when logic and numbers dictated the project's outcome?

I think the Bolt could have been so much more, but at least GM's customers got what they wanted.
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ArthurL
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Mon May 01, 2017 2:44 am

Function over form. I thought so to, and I like that. The Bolt works in all the ways I want it to.

But everyone that sees it in real life compliments the design. I like its looks much better in real life than photos or videos. One part of me figured maybe no one was knocking her just to be polite... you know Canadians. Then I'm at the car wash...(watch the charger door and fold the side mirrors)...I'm getting those last few drops off...and lady comes over. She wanted to know what model car it was. I tell her Bolt EV. She says really pretty car. I tell her about range and she says.... I like it because it's a pretty car.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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hodad66
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Mon May 01, 2017 9:51 am

as I was sitting next to a Tesla X in Earth day, I was thinking that they couldn't pay
me to own that huge monstrosity. I'm perfectly happy with the Bolt (except for
the roofline) and it may be my last car.......
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powersurge
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Mon May 01, 2017 5:05 pm

People should not be brainwashed by the "FAKE MEDIA" that reports on electric cars. They will ALWAYs find something wrong with them... Electric cars are the "President Trump" of the auto world for many reasons. If its not looks, its range, charge time, size, or even "questionable longevity". If we think like the media, you will never buy an EV.

So they don't like the way the car looks? Then why are they bothering to even write about it?? Because it is newsworthy. It is a landmark electric car that has been recently introduced to deliver on what it is supposed to do. They also didn't like the looks of the Nissan Leaf.. I own a Leaf and love its different look. These cars are valuable approximations in the evolution of the future of transportation. If you want a "cool looking" car, then don't even talk about electrics. A cool Corvette or Lambo can't do what these cars, can do. So I say to complainers of the Bolt's looks... Keep quiet, and go buy something else... The rest of us will marvel at the Bolt, Leaf, and other EVs and buy them...

wainair
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Mon May 01, 2017 6:58 pm

Sedans or Hatchbacks, Blonds or Redheads... I love both! I'm always scratching my head when I hear pundits describe the Bolt as ugly and I think it comes down to the fact that North American Car Pundits generally don't like hatchbacks. If you are predisposed to not like something you should let people know that before you present your opinion about something.

Generally speaking sedans are sexier but as far as hatchbacks go I think the Bolt is a good looking car! It's sleek and a little aggressive looking. Has cool headlights and tail lights. The interior, though not luxury, is well designed and does have interesting shapes and textures to look at. Hard plastics you say? Lets be honest, when is the last time you touched your dash other than to dust it? Plus hard plastics are much easier to clean when they get soiled. The texture they put in the white part of the dash is really cool looking and a nice touch(thank heavens they didn't do another faux leather texture!)! Could you make the car look better? Sure, but that is what the aftermarket is for! What fun would a car be if you didn't want to modify it a bit to personalize your car?

But you know opinions are like belly buttons and butt holes. Everybody has got them and half of them stink! :lol:

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oilerlord
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Mon May 01, 2017 7:11 pm

powersurge wrote: So I say to complainers of the Bolt's looks... Keep quiet, and go buy something else... The rest of us will marvel at the Bolt, Leaf, and other EVs and buy them...


The problem is, the "rest of us" are the tiny, less than 1% of the population that would buy an electric car - regardless of it's looks. Don't we all want more people to drive electric? I could be way off base, but I think if the Bolt ended up looking more looked like this:

Image

...it may have have actually had a chance at being the game-changer / Tesla killer that analysts, reviewers, and GM were telling us it was going to be. Specs, numbers, & logic only goes so far...which I think are reflected in the Bolt's low sales numbers. Remember, GM "gave customers what they wanted" - price & range. If that's all that mattered, Bolts would have been selling like hotcakes but instead, there is a glut of inventory sitting on dealer lots.

The first thoughts that comes to mind when I look at the above photo are "beautiful car"...and "I want one".
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SeanNelson
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Mon May 01, 2017 7:18 pm

oilerlord wrote:The problem is, the "rest of us" are the tiny, less than 1% of the population that would buy an electric car - regardless of it's looks. Don't we all want more people to drive electric? I could be way off base, but I think if the Bolt ended up looking more looked like this ... it may have have actually had a chance at being the game-changer...

I think it would be great if more people drove electric and I believe that GM's utilitarian hatchback competing with Tesla's sporty sedan is more likely to further that goal than if GM and Tesla were both competing with the same kind of car. You don't seem to understand this, but there are a lot of people like me who want hatchbacks, not sedans. You just have to look at how successful the Honda Fit is to see the truth of this.

And I think GM is better off selling the Bolt to a market that's not interested in a sexy sedan, because I think Tesla is going to have that market pretty much wrapped up.

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oilerlord
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Re: The Chevy Bolt Is the Ugly Car of the (Very Near) Future

Mon May 01, 2017 7:37 pm

SeanNelson wrote:
I believe that GM's utilitarian hatchback competing with Tesla's sporty sedan is more likely to further that goal than if GM and Tesla were both competing with the same kind of car. You don't seem to understand this, but there are a lot of people like me who want hatchbacks, not sedans.



I never said the Bolt HAD to be a sedan. There are a lot of great looking hatchbacks too, just that the Bolt isn't one of them. You don't seem to understand that beautiful cars have an advantage over ones that aren't. Can you explain why the "game-changing" Bolt...only manages to sell ~1000 units per month? If we assume that GM successfully delivered price & range in spades...what else could it be? What are the reasons that are holding people back from buying it?
2014 Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive
2012 VW Jetta Sportwagen (not-so-clean-diesel) TDI
2008 BMW X3 3.0 "Beatrice"
2004 BMW 330Xi Sedan
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