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Aiming To Beat Tesla's "3", Chevy Tests and Teases a Cheaper 200-Mile Electric Car 249

PC Magazine is one of many to note Chevrolet's upcoming effort to beat Tesla's Model 3 to market with a car that is "affordable" (a lot more affordable than the Model S) but which tops the 200-mile range that right now only Tesla beats in a widely available pure electric car. The Model 3 is expected to feature many of the features of the currently Tesla S variants, but in a smaller package and with a much lower price tag. The linked article features GM-supplied video of Chevy's all-elecric bolt, about which it says The car maker doesn't reveal much beyond what we already know: 200-plus-mile range and a starting price tag of $30,000. The video shows various Chevy engineers putting the camouflage-wrapped Bolt EV through its paces—climbing hills, accelerating, and coming to a stop, as well as enduring extreme heat and charging.
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Aiming To Beat Tesla's "3", Chevy Tests and Teases a Cheaper 200-Mile Electric Car

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  • diluting the market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by electrosoccertux ( 874415 ) on Saturday June 27, 2015 @07:48PM (#50004079)

    Like most low end Chevy vehicles it'll probably be a complete shame and do the meaning of the word 'electric', that Tesla has worked so hard to craft prestige into, a disservice. 200 miles isn't enough. People will walk away from electric like they walked away from Atari going 'huh, video games are dumb'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aurizon ( 122550 )

      Ah yes, a vehicle designed by GM, to require frequent maintenance, and to rust out in northern area in 5 years, all to keep the replacement parts and dealer system alive.
      Tesla wants to eliminate that entire costly tier, a tier that was required by gas cars that wore fast and needed adjustment and complex transmissions etc.
      What does an electric car need of a transmission. A differential can be needed, but Tesla might craft a car with 2 rear motors or 4 motors for 4 wheel drive - all direct drive = zero tran

      • by Anomalyst ( 742352 ) on Saturday June 27, 2015 @09:43PM (#50004463)
        Dont forget the BigBrother onstar installation with no way to disconnect or disable it.
        • Well, you could just unplug the batteries....

        • by aurizon ( 122550 )

          Re: Onstar - I thought that was free for year one and then stopped unless you paid a monthly fee. The Tesla is also accessible over the wir - WiFi or Cell++ I do not know.

          • The service is not active but it's still an active cell phone registering itself with towers. Bet ya a warrant will get ya tracking data hell even a live audio feed.

      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday June 27, 2015 @09:47PM (#50004479) Homepage

        Huh. My 2000 GMC 3/4 ton pickup would like to run you over. Still runs fine, only mild rust despite spending 14 years in a 'precipitating marine environment. Yep, it's had various bits replaced but that's how a piece of equipment runs for 20 years.

        • by aurizon ( 122550 )

          3/4 trucks have thicker steel - last longer than the lighter ones.

          Still 14 years = a good run.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday June 27, 2015 @10:07PM (#50004545) Homepage

        Now of course your comment touches on the future of electric vehicles, keeping in mind the electronic companies hiding in the background behind Tesla Motors testing the waters based upon Tesla Motors Experience.

        Forget Chevy, Ford, GMH, the new motor builders or road appliance manufacturers will be the electronics companies. Some mergers, some acquisitions and of course Korea's unique vertical integration of manufacturers mean they are already there.

        So say Sony and Panasonic motors, with a largely electronic vehicle, running FOSS but with content management as an extension to the Big Screen Computer, the Tablet remote, the mobile phone and of course the ultimate mobile (also all the other home appliances), the car or more a utility vehicle with greater emphasis on function, the all electric compact SUV, in the city or out in the country on a picnic and still providing access to shared content and helping to create new content.

        That better battery is drawing a huge amount of focus, lighter with greater capacity and low manufacturing cost, the current technological holy grail in so many areas, cars, mobile devices, home energy generation and storage. With that level of focus the better battery is likely not that far off and it puts current automotive manufacturers under serious threat as well as of course the fossil fuelers.

      • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Saturday June 27, 2015 @11:33PM (#50004805)

        Probably 2 electric motors is enough, one for the front axle and one for the rear axle. You don't really want to put the motors out on the wheels because the weight of them interferes with the suspension's action and makes it less reactive to bumps in the road.

        • by aurizon ( 122550 )

          avoiding unsprung weight is good.
          I want zero mechanical complexity = no differential and 2 inboard front motors and two inboard rear motors for 4WD

    • As someone who arranged the lease on a VW eGolf today, 100 or 200 miles is plenty. As a commuter vehicle that's all you need.

      That said, I did still lease it, because 1) the battery will probably be getting crappy in 3 years, and 2) the tech will be *oh so much* better in 3 years time (heck, hopefully I'll be able to lease a model 3 by then).

      • I'm curious...

        What is your payment, what was your downpayment, and what is the buyout at the end?

      • I agree with this. People shouldn't discount electric cars based on the fact that they may want to drive far a couple times a year. Especially with so many people owning two cars. Even 100 miles should be plenty for commuting. If you're spending more time than that in a car every day, I wouldn't want to be you. That's way too much time wasting away in a car.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        As someone who arranged the lease on a VW eGolf today, 100 or 200 miles is plenty. As a commuter vehicle that's all you need.

        As a commuter vehicle, even the Renault Twizy [wikipedia.org] would serve my purpose. The problem is that with depreciation, insurance, parking and all those other costs it's not worth having two cars and having to pick up a rental every time I do something outside the commuter box is hassle, though it'd probably make economic sense. My ICE car covers 100% of my needs, except when it's so far that I'm flying. Somehow the cost/benefit - or rather saving/benefit isn't very compelling.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The cost of battery is proportional to range but the the mileage at which the battery needs replacement is not proportional to range. This means that higher the range, higher the cost of battery replacement per mile. In fact, for Tesla equivalent car, the cost of battery replacement will likely exceed the amount it will save on gas. For Nissan leaf, it will be break even. At current battery price, even 200 is too much. For mass production profitable car without government subsidy, the cost of battery replac

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Saturday June 27, 2015 @07:57PM (#50004099)

    which tops the 200-mile range

    Sounds to me like Chevy is picking a range that they can beat, rather than competing with the Tesla. I have a friend with one and it's range is a little better than 280 miles on a full charge. And believe me, on a long trip that difference is critical. He's done several trips (and I've been on one with him) where a 200 mile range just wouldn't have cut it. But if you can't match the Tesla's range, I guess the next best thing is to pick a lower number and call the Tesla's range "over" that so that you can claim to be over that new lower number too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      which tops the 200-mile range

      Sounds to me like Chevy is picking a range that they can beat, rather than competing with the Tesla.

      Model S base = $69K
      Bolt base = $30K

      That's not really a fair comparison. On top of that, the 200 mile marker was set by Musk when he announced that the Model 3 will have "over 200 miles range in the real world." Musk also stated that "anything below 200 miles isn't a passing grade." So why is Chevy's use of 200 miles arbitrary and Tesla's use proper? For the record, I have Nissan Leaf which I lease in anticipation of getting a Tesla Model 3 or X when the lease is up, so I'm not a Tesla hate or Chevy fanboy.

    • And believe me, on a long trip that difference is critical. He's done several trips (and I've been on one with him) where a 200 mile range just wouldn't have cut it.

      I've been saying for years now that unless there's an order of magnitude breakthrough in battery charging technology, using an electric car on a long trip is going to remain stupid. It's telling that the solution closest to working thus far (that doesn't involve stopping for 30+ minutes every 2.5 hours) is swapping the battery pack (all 1200 p

      • Simple solution to range anxiety: put the power grid into the road so your car runs off the power grid while you are on the highway. That means long distance driving doesn't use your batteries at all. Yes this would be expensive, but the power billing would pay for it and the drop in oil consumption would be in the national interest.
  • We need something that is much cheaper than the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, Smart EV or Chevrolet Bolt.

    The first company which can make a 10000$ electric car (and that is road-legal in all countries) will dominate the market.

    • The first company which can make a 10000$ electric car (and that is road-legal in all countries) will dominate the market.

      You mean how like Commodore dominates today's computer market because they were the first ones to introduce an inexpensive personal computer?

      • If you mean the Commodore PET, then the Apple II beat that by a few months, and indeed Apple does pretty much dominate the market now.

        Maybe you mean the VIC-20, but then that's picking an arbitrary definition of "inexpensive". The Atari 400 for example was cheap and earlier, though not quite as cheap as the VIC-20.

        Anyhow, that's a bit by the by as Atari isn't in business any more either. Other than Apple very few computer manufacturers from that era do still exist.

        If the analogy was a predictor (and they ne

    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      Slightly snarky but true: a lot of cities have special provisions for cars/vehicles that don't exceed 35mph and are banned from highways. They look like overgrown golf carts. There's a taxi service here in Dallas that operates a fleet of electric golf carts that seat between six and nine people, and a couple of bars in the Clear Lake (distant costal suburb of Houston) that operate a private (and free) electric car taxi service.

      With a battery pack cosing about $7000 still, I don't think you can expec

      • by yzf750 ( 178710 )
        Got a link for a bar in Clear Lake with a private electric taxi service? Clear Lake is not a "distant coastal suburb of Houston." It is not coastal and is within the city limits of Houston.
        • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

          Jackies Brickhouse. I guess they're technically in Kemah but there's about 10 cities that wrap around Clear Lake. And yes technically it's not coastal, thanks for being a fucking pedant about that. I sail offshore a couple times a year I'm aware, but for 99% of america, as far as they know, Houston is a port city on the coast of Texas so I just roll with it. Sorry to get your panties in a wad.

    • you cant buy a crapbox with no options for 10K anymore. with all the federal safety regulations its not possible anymore
      • you cant buy a crapbox with no options for 10K anymore.

        2015 Chevrolet Spark base model is $12,270, not too far off. Indeed a crapbox, though.

        • exactly, the bolt is pretty much a spark with an electric drivetrain
          • I'm imagining a crash test between a Bolt and a Tesla, they would need a broom to clean up what's left of the Bolt.

          • I doubt it. That's what people like to say about the Volt - that it is a Cruze with an electric motor. Except that's not true at all. The Volt is much more luxurious ride and is better appointed than a Cruze. I suspect the Bolt will be similar.

      • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )
        2015 Nissan Versa S [nissanusa.com] Close, Base price is $11,990. Of course that doesn't get you much.
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      The first company which can make a 10000$ electric car (and that is road-legal in all countries) will dominate the market.

      The GEM car guys [cnn.com] will be happy to know that their market domination is imminent :^)

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Impossible. The required safety gear is more than that in some places, and the standards aren't unified, so they have to have different cars in different countries to meet similar (but not aligned) standards.

      Hopefully, that will cause GM to fail, as it's GM that caused it. GM deliberately lobbied for rules that were different from foreign markets to make it harder for foreign entrance into the US. That level of isolation and insulation was to prevent others from entering. But since Toyota became a larg
      • you may want to read up on the ranger. because your facts on it seem to be WAY off
        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          On December 22, 2011, the last USA-built Ranger rolled off the St. Paul, Minnesota assembly line.

          The Ranger is no longer made in, or sold in the USA. The rules that made Ford stop it were initially put in place to stop the Tacoma, and done with full Ford approval and support.

          Yes, I'm aware that after Ford lobbied for the rules, they were later modified to something Ford didn't want. But if Ford had opposed the rules in the first place, and hadn't lobbied themselves into a corner, then they'd be able to
      • Hopefully, that will cause GM to fail...
        I hope this makes GM fail.

        Where have you been? GM is too big to fail.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Nope. They'll go the way of Chrysler next time. Sold to a foreign maker, who then sells them off for a loss later. Effectively dead, but alive in name only, for now.
      • GM deliberately lobbied for rules that were different from foreign markets to make it harder for foreign entrance into the US.

        And that's why there are no longer foreign cars sold in the US.

        The Ranger's not sold in the US because Ford closed the Minnesota plant where they built them and decided not to sell them in the US and the market for small pickups has tanked. Has nothing to do with "rules".

        http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2... [pickuptrucks.com]

        http://www.fool.com/investing/... [fool.com]

        North America Plans
        Officially, Ford says it is

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          The Tacoma is not seeing a sales drop. Ford has just decided to sell the Ranger as a full-sized truck in foreign markets. If the segment was dead, they wouldn't be making them for the global market, and the Tacoma wouldn't still be going strong.

          The difficulty in making the Ranger for the US and global is what killed it (that and the rules for CAFE that the US makers helped make that punish the larger vehicles that don't make the GVWR cutoff, which is what helped seal th
        • by dasunt ( 249686 )

          The Ranger's not sold in the US because Ford closed the Minnesota plant where they built them and decided not to sell them in the US and the market for small pickups has tanked. Has nothing to do with "rules".

          I always figured that pickups in the US was an entirely screwed up market anyways.

          Look at an old pickup truck - full size bed and a regular cab. It was a great vehicle for its intended purpose - hauling supplies and gear. The bed was long enough (8') and wide enough (4' between the wheel wells) fo

          • Because they are about a lifestyle, they no longer function like a truck.

            Only if you define hauling 4x8 sheets as the purpose. In my area they're used more for hauling trailers, firewood, trash, and numerous other things that are more flexible in their dimensions.

            If I need to haul 4x8 sheets, I'll just load them into my trailer.

        • And that's why there are no longer foreign cars sold in the US.

          Harder doesn't equal impossible, and the rule variances DO limit which models foreign makers chose to import.

  • not using safesearch
  • by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Saturday June 27, 2015 @08:20PM (#50004193)

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/05/04/new-car-transaction-price-3-kbb-kelley-blue-book/26690191/

    "The estimated average transaction price of a new car or truck sold in the U.S. in April was $33,560"

    Stop bitching about "expensive" electric cars. These new models from Chevy and Tesla are pretty much the same price as the old fashioned gasoline burning, fume belching models.

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Stop bitching about "expensive" electric cars.

      This appears to be a similar size to, or smaller than, a Honda Civic, and costs twice as much without the thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money being thrown at subsidies. So, yes, it's a damn expensive car.

      It's also a damn stupid name, since my first web search found numerous page on Chevrolet wheel bolt patterns before it actually found anything about the car.

      • It's also a damn stupid name, since my first web search found numerous page on Chevrolet wheel bolt patterns before it actually found anything about the car.

        Of course that will change by the time it's a production car, thanks to how pagerank works.

    • "The estimated average transaction price of a new car or truck sold in the U.S. in April was $33,560"

      Stop bitching about "expensive" electric cars. These new models from Chevy and Tesla are pretty much the same price as the old fashioned gasoline burning, fume belching models.

      Ahh, statistics can be fun!

      $33K buys you a LOT of car these days, with a lot of features, including NO range anxiety!

      Even at $33K, none of the electrics in that price range compare, which is why they are less than 1% of total US sales of vehicles.

      The fact is, the world isn't beating a path to their door, they cost too much and have too many compromises. Sure, hippies and extreme liberals will buy them, but they won't gain mass acceptance until the price comes down and the drawbacks go away.

      • $33K buys you a LOT of car these days, with a lot of features, including NO range anxiety!

        I'm not saying that it breaks even, but a $33k gasoline vehicle is going to be more expensive in the end than a $33k EV. It's when getting an EV is a $3k option over the gasoline 'equivalent' that it very much starts looking cheaper.

        As I mentioned elsewhere, right now EV and hybrid buyers are overwhelmingly multi-car households. If they need the range, they take the other vehicle. Meanwhile they have one that doesn't need oil changes, visits to the gas station, don't smell, etc...

  • GM has too many cars, but many of the cars they have are good and sellling well. Having many models is a winning strategy for BMW, which builds the many models out of pieces of other models; and it's going to be an even better strategy for them going forwards if they adopt the i3's construction methods for more of their low-production vehicles. Using their particular method of using carbon fiber is less expensive than typical processes (it saves less weight too, but still saves most of it) but eliminates most of the tooling costs. For limited production runs (like the i3) eliminating the tooling needed to stamp sheet metal panels saves hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Right now, Chevy has the Cruze, Sonic, Spark, Impala, and Malibu cars at a time when car sales are declining and crossover sales continue to rise. That is probably too many cars for a struggling (if venerable) marque to sustain while also marketing the Bolt and the Volt (ugh.)

    With that said, the Bolt and the Volt are two of the most interesting cars on or near the road at the moment — not from an enthusiast standpoint, but from a sales standpoint. "Everybody" is interested in high-mileage EVs for low money, and the Volt is the hybrid of the hour. But Chevy's model strategy still seems a little confused.

  • This is basically what the Volt should have been.

    Even though the Volt degraded into a disappointing electromotive hybrid with engine assistance while still being far in advance of the Toyota HSG, it took least one billion dollars of research before GM went bankrupt. Hopefully, GM can recoup some of those lost dollars with the Bolt and give us the electric vehicle we were promised with the Volt, but this time, it will have no petroleum engine.

  • Here's my opinion on a 200 mile range:

    For me, if I can get 200 miles per tank out of a conventional car, that is no problem whatsoever. I'd like it to be more, but 200 is honestly fine for me. I don't speak for everyone else but my suspicions is that for most people, they could live with having to refill their car with gasoline every 200 miles.

    200 miles for an electric vehicle, specifically an electric-only vehicle... well it's just not the same. It sounds the same but it really isn't. When you have a c

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