2017 Chevy Bolt EV Development: GM, LG Chem Reveal Deep Partnership

21 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chevrolet Bolt Range Could Be Over 200 Miles.

WARREN, Mich. (AP) – General Motors’ entry into the long-range electric vehicle market should be able to go more than 200 miles on a single charge, company officials said Tuesday.Shares in LG Electronics surged over 14 percent after the South Korean electronics giant announced that it would be providing key components for General Motors’ upcoming electric car.General Motors Co on Tuesday outlined a wide-ranging partnership with Korean electronics firm LG Corp for production of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric car that could establish a blueprint for such collaborations in the future.

The company also plans to market the Chevrolet Bolt, a small hatchback car due out late next year, as a crossover SUV as it tries to take advantage of the global thirst for SUVs. The partnership is expected to help GM bring its Chevrolet Bolt EV (electric vehicle) – which was announced earlier this year – to the market by the end of 2016.

Historically automakers’ purchasing departments were the crowbar through which GM, Ford and Chrysler pried billions in savings from suppliers by cutting their prices and squeezing their profit margins. The comments were made at an event at GM’s technical center north of Detroit announcing joint development efforts with LG Electronics of Korea to design the Bolt’s electric motor, heating and air conditioning system, infotainment screen and other components. GM is the latest entrant into the EV market and the partnership with LG is a bid to help it compete with the likes of Tesla as well as the entrance of tech giants such as Apple and Google in the space. “Chevrolet needs to be disruptive in order to maintain our leadership position in electrification,” Mark Reuss, GM product boss, said in a press release on Wednesday. “By taking the best of our in-house engineering prowess established with the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, and combining the experience of the LG Group, we’re able to transform the concept of the industry’s first long range, affordable EV into reality.” LG is supplying a number of components to GM including battery cells and packs, the infotainment system and the electric motor, designed by GM.

The two companies are highlighting their partnership at a time when GM is under pressure from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne to explore an alliance to spread the costs of developing electric vehicles and other new technology. GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra has rebuffed Fiat Chrysler, saying GM can improve economies of scale and advance new technology strategies in other ways. While the Volt is an extended range plug-in backed up by a small gasoline engine, the Bolt will be a pure electric vehicle with a range of at least 200 miles. LG also said it has invested more than $250 million in an engineering and manufacturing facility in Incheon, Korea, to support the development and manufacturing for Bolt EV components. Alternative powertrain vehicles, whether gasoline-electric or plug-in hybrids or battery-only, are facing harsh headwinds in the U.S. market and low gas prices and Americans’ insatiable appetite for towing capacity and cargo space is fueling demand for pickup trucks, large SUVs and crossovers.

While GM and others have made progress in boosting the range of their batteries and reducing weight of vehicles, the cost of producing hybrids and EVs at current sales volumes is a high hurdle. That is a driving factor in GM’s decision to entrust LG Chem with more responsibility on the Bolt which will go into production in late 2016 at GM’s Lake Orion assembly plant. Speculation has been rife that Apple is working on an electric car with chief executive Tim Cook saying at the WSJDLive conference this week that the industry is ready for “massive change”.

Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electric vehicles, said the company will try to get the Bolt classified as an SUV because it has the “spaciousness and utility” of a larger vehicle. The supply agreement is a coup for LG Electronics, which is trying to boost its auto business amid growing headwinds for its television and smartphone businesses. Bolt pricing will be released closer to the car’s launch, but Chevrolet has said it intends to sell it for about $30,000 after buyers apply federal and state tax credits.

The broad range of products being supplied to GM could enhance LG Electronics’ auto business, which recently won contracts to supply information displays to Honda Motor Co and Volkswagen AG’s Porsche. Apple Inc has talked with German automaker BMW AG about collaborating on an Apple-designed electric car, and Google said it is talking to vehicle manufacturers about partnering on a self-driving car.

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