“We see the Bolt EV as more than just a car,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra said when unveiling the all-electric Chevy Bolt at the CES technology fair in 2016. “It is an upgradeable platform for new technologies” and would help GM launch “everything from car-sharing apps to new ownership models and, one day, self-driving cars.”
At the time, many interpreted Barra’s comments as the customary hyperbole that accompanies the debut of a new vehicle.
But GM has managed to back up the big talk sooner than many expected. It’s now operating in all of those spaces and more using the Bolt EV.
Simply put, the Bolt EV is the symbol of General Motors’ future. It is the start of a new journey for the 110-year-old automaker, which plans to launch at least 20 new all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles globally by 2023 as part of a two-pronged approach to a zero-emissions, autonomous future.
“It’s helped us to see what is possible from full battery electric vehicles,” Pam Fletcher, vice president of global EV programs, recently told reporters at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Mich.
Those lessons, she said, have allowed the notoriously slow-to-adapt automaker to move faster than ever. GM has already developed a next-generation EV propulsion system, battery pack and platform for its second generation of EVs.
The company hasn’t put a timeline on when it will exclusively offer zero-emissions vehicles. But its bets on technology appear to have finally put it in Wall Street’s good graces. Following years of stagnant shares and doubts that GM could keep pace with Silicon Valley disruptors such as Tesla Inc., the stock has gained roughly 30 percent in 2017.
But unlike Tesla, GM must continue to profitably run its traditional operations, while keeping investors intrigued with its potential.
It’s the conundrum that every major automaker faces: how much to bet on future technologies and systems that won’t immediately pay off, compared with traditional business operations that pay today’s bills.
Part of GM’s solution is to stop accumulating those big bills, abandoning uncompetitive operations in Europe and India.
Some suppliers have solved the problem by spinning off more tech-focused business, and some analysts suggest that such a move by GM could be valued at as much as $30 billion.
But GM isn’t doing that. “All of our focus right now is on moving as fast as we can to get to commercial deployment of this technology in the safest way possible,” GM President Dan Ammann said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We believe the best way to do that is having all the capability under one roof.”
Keeping the operations in-house doesn’t mean GM isn’t diversifying its offerings and partnering with tech-savvy companies.
That’s in addition to GM investing $500 million in Lyft and acquiring autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise Automation, which is now on its third generation of self-driving technologies using the Bolt EV as its base.
Fuente: Auto News