QOTD: How Can a Chevrolet Bolt-based Crossover Avoid Flopping?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd how can a chevrolet bolt based crossover avoid flopping

You heard it here yesterday. General Motors will introduce not one, not two, but three new vehicles based on the increasingly popular Chevrolet Bolt electric hatchback. And it’ll do it over the next two years.

Is this a case of too much Bolt, too soon, or is GM within its rights to go whole hog on its green halo model, given the need to get out in front of looming competitors? One of the Bolt-based EVs will be a car, the other two, crossovers. Let’s focus on the latter models right now.

What must a Bolt-derived electric crossover bring to the table to get American buyers interested?

I place an emphasis on American buyers, as it is not confirmed that all three vehicles will launch in the U.S. market. That doesn’t seem like GM’s style, especially considering how many sales such a vehicle could gobble up in China. GM already sells a Buick-badged Chevrolet Volt and Bolt over there, and a small crossover could prove to be catnip to Chinese buyers.

It also might prove alluring to enough to American buyers to make it worthwhile here. There’s no way GM will let Ford’s future electric crossover go unchallenged, and it certainly won’t let its traditional rival introduce one first.

There’s also little doubt that at least one of these vehicles will arrive with a Buick badge. GM reportedly tested a Buick-badged, Bolt-based crossover with a focus group back in July, and Buick sales chief Duncan Aldred has said the brand will play a “ huge part” in the company’s green wave.

Sharing the same underpinnings, the two crossovers will surely court two different classes of buyers.

But back to nuts and bolts, as it were. What does this pair of vehicles need to offer in order to lure American buyers? Is a bigger battery required, considering the Bolt’s healthy 238-mile range will surely be hampered by extra weight and drag? Or is, say, 200 miles of range still enough? All-wheel drive, at least in one of the models (or on higher trims), is a must in my mind. You don’t field a crossover in the U.S. without offering four-wheel traction, unless your name’s Kia. GM needs to show that electric power can tackle the harsh climes of Vermont, Montana, and Wisconsin.

For this, a dual-motor setup is unavoidable.

And what about price? For either model, undercutting the moneybags Tesla Model X is no challenge, but what price point must one of these crossovers start at to make for a palatable proposal? Just imagine you’re pulling the levers at GM, not Mary Barra. These vehicles are a go, and it’s your job to make them a success.

Weigh in in the comment section below.

[Images: General Motors]

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3 of 28 comments
  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.