The corporate rolled out the most recent model of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, a five-door hatchback that it has been promoting for 4 years, and the one all-electric car it now sells in North America. However the market has been transferring away from vehicles and strongly towards SUVs for the final a number of years. So it was essential to GM (GM) to have an SUV model of the Bolt.

Sunday afternoon, GM formally unveiled what it’s calling the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, for Electrical Utility Car. However the distinction between the Bolt EV hatchback and the Bolt EUV SUV is minimal — a three-inch longer wheelbase, a six-inch longer general size, and solely 2/tenth of an inch increased.

The Bolt EUV would not have all-wheel drive, a typical characteristic on SUVs, though GM executives defended it in feedback to the press on Friday forward of the roll out.

“It has SUV proportions, it has SUV styling,” mentioned Jesse Ortega, the chief engineer of the 2 Bolts. “I would not purchase into concept it has to have four-wheel drive to be an SUV.”

Each Bolts will go into manufacturing within the late spring and are due in showrooms by early summer season. It isn’t the one EV that GM has plans to unveil within the US market this yr — an electrical Hummer truck and the Cadillac Lyriq are additionally due in showrooms. The Lyriq is due to enter manufacturing later within the first quarter, whereas the Hummer is scheduled to be obtainable within the late fall.

The Bolt has its followers — it has among the many highest buyer satisfaction charges within the business, in keeping with Steve Majoros, vice chairman of promoting for Chevrolet. And its US gross sales elevated 26% final yr at a time that GM’s general US gross sales fell by 12%. However its gross sales nonetheless make up lower than 1% of GM’s US gross sales general. Solely about 1,300 of three,000 US Chevy sellers provide the Bolt.

The rollout may very well be damage by a pc chip shortages that has pressured GM to quickly halt manufacturing at a variety of crops for at the least a month. It’s an industrywide drawback. GM is utilizing the chips it may well get to construct its most worthwhile automobiles — massive SUVs and pickups. When requested if meaning the 2 Bolts may very well be affected by the chip scarcity, Majoros mentioned “launch merchandise are crucial as effectively.” However he additionally conceded, “we will do what’s proper for all the enterprise.”

Rising competitors

However every time it is obtainable, the Bolt EUV will face powerful competitors.

A little bit greater than a yr in the past, Tesla rolled out the Mannequin Y SUV that it forecasts will change into its best-selling car, passing its Mannequin 3, which is the nation’s top-selling EV. Tesla would not break down gross sales by particular person product line, however in its most up-to-date annual report it mentioned that it had bought 442,511 Mannequin 3s and Mannequin Ys mixed in 2020, accounting for 88% of its world gross sales.
Chevrolet, alternatively, bought solely 20,754 Bolts in United States final yr.
GM rival Ford (F) began deliveries late final yr of the Mustang Mach-E, an electrical SUV and its first purely electrical car in years. It simply received SUV of the yr honors. And different automakers have electrical SUVs now obtainable or within the pipeline.
GM’s vehicles have the drawback that not like virtually all of its rivals, its US patrons will not get a $7,500 tax credit score for getting one in every of its electrical vehicles. Tesla (TSLA) is the one different automaker that has bought so many EVs to US patrons that its clients not get the tax credit score.

So GM has needed to worth the Bolt EV and EUV effectively under the costs of its rivals.

The beginning worth of a Ford Mach E is about $43,000, whereas the Bolt EUV beginning worth shall be about $34,000.

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The brand new Bolt EV shall be $32,000, which is about $5,000 lower than the pricing of the present EV. And it’s providing a variety of options to draw patrons, together with the GM “Tremendous Cruise” hands-free driving characteristic, which has by no means been provided on a Chevy, solely GM’s dearer manufacturers, prior to now. GM may even pay for traditional set up of {the electrical} tools wanted for sooner charging functionality in most clients’ properties.
GM executives wouldn’t touch upon whether or not it’s getting cash on the Bolts on the present or new pricing, however it’s extensively assumed it’s nonetheless dropping cash on these early EVs, even when they’re anticipated to finally earn more money on them than conventional gasoline powered vehicles.

“Would I like the tax credit score? Completely,” mentioned Majoros, though he added “I am not going to wade into the politics.”

“On the difficulty of profitability, we cannot remark,” he mentioned. “We all know EV adoption shall be crucial. As time has gone on, we have gotten higher.”