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Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by zambono, Nov 22, 2016.
Driving the Chevrolet Bolt: Dance 10, Looks 3
It's a solid review. Obviously looks are in the eye of the beholder (and this beholder can't get past them), and those who use their car like a garbage receptacle won't mind the interior. The hatchback option is going to attract the people who just have to have a hatchback. But yeah, on price point you'll be getting wayyyyyyyyyyy more car with a Model 3 than with the Bolt.
Quote from that article: "The Bolt’s cool factor, frankly, hovers right around zero. Electric tech aside, there’s no sense of gotta-have, from the kitchen-appliance exterior to a cheapskate cabin that screams “Middle America” like Jim Harbaugh’s WalMart khakis.
The Bolt’s subcompact exterior hews to the Dork Wagon school of EV design, the idea that electric buyers are so focused on pragmatism or planet-saving that they don’t mind driving an insipidly styled car. The only clue that this is a future-forward EV comes from black-plastic trim that recalls the BMW i3; but even BMW’s polarizing EV looks like a modern museum piece compared with the Chevy. The Bolt also conforms to my least favorite automobile layout, the neither-nor crossover that’s not low enough to be a hatchback or tall enough to be an SUV. Over three hours on the road, I never saw a single head swivel toward the Chevy."
And that is why GM still isn't serious about EVs: their first long range EV is ugly. Why, why make an ugly car? Because they don't want to take sales from the ICE models. They only want to sell to who they think is the EV market segment: people who don't care about looks but just want an EV. Incredibly, GM has still not aborted one of the many lessons Tesla has taught us: that EV buyers also want a beautiful car and that a beautiful car can also attract buyers who weren't considering an EV initially.
This statement in the article surprised me, quote: "You can’t have power seats at any price, only flimsy manual controls."
That is bizarre. I thought these days even most low end cars had a power seat option.
Too funny? Are you referring to the review, the car, or the writers abysmal use of a writing device known as a metaphor? ;>
The review actually is a bit more balanced than the three or four others I've read this past week. But a few passages do stand out:
"I never saw a single head swivel toward the Chevy. That’s not a good sign."
Will non-eye catching looks hurt sales? Or will people overwhelmingly buy on what's (not) under the hood? Personally, I love a sleeper.
"...the plastic steering wheel paddle that essentially operates as a second brake pedal, activating the regenerative force that sends heat energy back to the battery in the form of electricity..."
Whoa. Sends heat back to the battery in the form of electricity? Has he got that right? What heat? Mesu politely disagrees. Mesu thinks pedal activates alternator function of electric motor, which as it loads down from making charging current slows the RPMs and axles. (Mesu could be wrong)
"The Bolt and Model 3 are priced roughly atop each other, but the shapely Tesla looks like a car that might cost $20,000 more"
Every single review puts the price of the Bolt as comparable to the M3. Not really! I'm not set up to compare every standard feature head to head with what we expect from the M3, but first of all the Bolt is priced $2500 above the M3. That's two thousand five hundred dollars more. And you have to add $750 to the base price of the Bolt to get fast charging hardware, which is stated to be included with the M3. Right? So now its a $3250 difference. And that's without guessing at which options the Premiere version's $43,800 price tag will be included with the base M3. The Bolt should be $3250 cheaper than the M3 before we even start thinking about it.
And forget about bringing up tax incentives is this context. They are the same for both cars. As long as the incentives hold out anyway.
The Bolt is really a sub-25K car. I suspect GM is hoisting a 40K or so price tag at the starting gate, not because the cost of the Korean made power train leaves no room for profit at any lower price, but rather that GM is counting on the tax breaks to make the car seem reasonably priced. If true, the Fed tax break would be perverted from a citizen's tax break into a windfall profit for GM. Another well-intended government program corrupted by greed.
Once the tax breaks disappear we may see a far lower price on the Bolt. That's assuming the folks speculating that GM wants not to sell the car are incorrect.
Bolt is a electric Chevy Sonic MSRP 15K
Are product managers aiming for the empty set?
Most people who can afford a $40K car want memory power seats, and may feel like they are being taken advantage of, or that an attempt to take advantage is happening.
I drive a $16.5K Honda Fit with leather and 205/55 16 tires on light wheels, and a 2011 BMW 328i e90. The refernce price for the Bolt is $16.5K. The reference price for the Model 3 is $42K.
I don't see how you make transactions happen with that large a gap in refernce price, no matter how well some of the teams did with their effort. The Tesla has more domestic content....
What does that mean?
Compare a two or three year lease and numbers will not even be close.
As a second car the bolt will come out for some as "free" and model 3 as twice the cost.
Tesla has worse leasing plans I have ever see
A few years ago in an interview Elon made a comment in a discussion about car aesthetics, something like (I'm paraphrasing) "You can stamp out an ugly body panel or a beautiful body panel, it's the same process so why would anyone stamp out an ugly one?"
With the caveat that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, while also appreciating that humans can often come to a consensus about what is beautiful and what is not; the Bolt is, if not outright ugly, certainly fairly conventional and boring. Every Tesla made to date is beautiful and distinctive. Definitely not boring.
For someone who is completely immersed in the engineering and technical details of everything his companies do, it is remarkable that Elon also cares passionately about the aesthetics of his products. An example that I think about frequently when plugging and unplugging my car is the Tesla charging cable. It's beautiful. And it's "just" a cable! Look at other EV charging cables. Not beautiful. Tesla certainly could have gone with a more conventional cable style because after all, nobody else makes a beautiful cable and they wouldn't lose any sales if they did it the usual way. But they made an effort to make their cable attractive.
teslas look like a car made by someone who has bought into the Steve Jobs school of estherics. Design sells and desigh makes almost anything look expensive.
Yes, and that's a good thing. Aesthetics matter, as does functionality.
I believe I understand what occurred here. I think the careful reviewer would have written something more akin to:
"...that sends back to the battery energy that traditionally would have been lost as heat".
Is there something wrong with selling a car to the middle America Walmart crowd? Wasn't it the goal to get as many people driving fully electric vehicles as possible?
It's something that some folk will never understand. Most car buyers are not enthusiasts, nor do they want to be. They want an appliance that is easy to understand, easy to use, and reliable.
Proof? Camry and Corolla are big sellers, but the Toyota 86 (aka Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ) sells like crap.
All cost the roughly the same. One is sexy, fun, and RWD, two are boring, soggy, slow, FWD appliances.
The Bolt is nowhere near as vague or pedestrian as the Camry or Corolla. But it is electric, and that will be the problem.
Until "normal" people embrace EV technology, you will have to force them by robbery or gunpoint to purchase them (restrictive laws or financial punishment).
EDIT - Or... Let them drive one for a month. EV drivers are in general very loyal to the technology. It's a superior driving experience. But unless you try it, you will never know.
"Over three hours on the road, I never saw a single head swivel toward the Chevy. That’s not a good sign."
For some, being invisible in a sea of parked/driving cars is just fine. For some, anonymity and lack of flash is fine.
"...trend-conscious EV prospects who wouldn't be caught dead in a Chevy, not matter how great it is...."
There are many people who never ever thought of driving a Chevy and now love their Volt/Spark (myself included - Previous cars being Honda, Toyota, Toyota). So this statement is just wrong on so many levels.
People are rationale - they'll vote EV by buying what they need, be it a Volt, Bolt, i3, Leaf, S, X, 3, or (gasp) some might even buy two diff types of EVs (our household optimal use case would be to have a used Leaf (short hops), 3 (distance) and a Bolt (mid range)). And that's just fine too.
Nothing wrong with that except the same crowd would balk at spending $37k for a car with this styling and interior, which is the problem the author was talking about. If this car cost $15-20k then that's a different story and styling wouldn't matter as much.
I echo the others. Styling is "free" (other than initial sunk costs to the designer), so why do automaker keep falling in the same trap of styling their $30-40k EVs like cars that cost half as much?
I should note however, the point is probably moot for the volumes GM is trying to sell (roughly the same as the Leaf, which looks as bad if not worse and has far less range). GM should easily sell that much, unless they screw up the marketing badly. However if this was to be truly a mass market vehicle (100k+ annual volume like Tesla is trying to do), then this will not cut it.
One has to be suspicious that GM actually doesn't want these to sell, and therefore design them not to be attractive. I can only speculate that GM loses money on each one, without the ZEV credits. Perhaps with volume they can make a profit, so there may be hope they ramp these up to a serious volume. However, despite the lack of style, these will fit some people's need for a small runabout with a hatchback, for local use
The Bolt would make a fine city car (like the Leaf, but without the range anxiety), or a pretty good commuter car, but only at a price that matches its looks. Which is to say, around $20-25K.
You don't put a trailer down on a street of expensive houses and expect to sell it for the same price as your neighbors just because it shares a zip code. Put your car up against it's proper competition (Honda Fit, say), align your price accordingly and you'll sell a lot of them (if you really want to, that is). Sorry GM. I do wish you well. But your EV doesn't meet my expectations much less exceed them.
Will the Model 3?
Do you mean this $37k car? The Honda Fit EV?
Honda Fit EV - Car and Driver
Note that it was found to be very much inferior to the cheaper Spark EV when compared.
Full article at:
Chevy Bolt EV electric car for 'urban' sales: what does that mean?