GM’s Electrification Path & Plans (EV Obsession Video)

GM’s Britta Gross, Director of Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy, gave perhaps my favorite presentation at the EV Transportation & Technology Summit. Her presentation was essentially split into two (or three) sections. She first talked about Drive Electric Florida, then Drive Electric Orlando, and then got into matters concerning GM’s electrification path and plans. This article covers some of the highlights from her talk about GM’s electrification path and plans (starting ~13:30 into the video below).

(You can view Britta’s slides here.)

I know we have some Chevy Spark EV lovers who read this site, so I think you will be especially disappointed by essentially the first comments Britta makes regarding GM’s EV products. She notes the Spark EV is only available in California, Oregon, and Maryland and says the reason is, “we knew it wasn’t ready.”

The good news is, Britta and GM see the Chevy Bolt as being “mainstream ready.” GM is apparently ready to push this vehicle toward buyers, who are expected to love it.

Talking about the Chevy Volt, Britta highlighted the statistic that 78% of Americans don’t commute more than 40 miles a day, demonstrating that the 1st-generation Volt’s electric range is sufficient for the majority of the public most days of the year. Going a step further, the 2nd-generation Volt has 53 miles of electric range. GM expects 90% of all 2nd-gen Volt miles will be electric, up from 80% in the 1st-gen Volt, and that 25% more gas will be displaced. GM is expecting 1,100 miles between gas tank fill-ups.

Aside from the 2nd-gen Volt’s 40% improvement in range, it’s also quicker than the 1st-gen Volt. It’s 19% quicker to 30 mph (now getting there in 2.6 seconds) and it’s 7% quicker to 60 mph (now getting there in 8.4 seconds). Of course, there are a lot of little improvements to the Volt that enable all of this and that also make the new Volt better in other ways.

GM Volt EV Miles


Research has already shown that 1st-gen Chevy Volt drivers drive approximately as many all-electric miles in a year as drivers of fully electric cars like the Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus Electric, and Honda Fit EV. Drivers of the 2016/2017 Volt shouldn’t have any problem matching that.

Another interesting finding, which we’ve covered before on EV Obsession, is that GM found just 2 problems per million battery cells produced after 1 billion total miles driven. That’s pharmaceutical-level quality, as Britta noted. That was better than expected, and put to rest any lingering fears regarding LG Chem EV battery cell quality.

Back to the Chevy Bolt, Britta emphasized that it would be available nationwide from the start. She also reiterated that it would cost $30,000 after the $7,500 US federal tax credit, and that it would have 200 miles of range.

Closing out, Britta highlighted 6 key ways to grow the electric car market. I’ll just paste in her slide on those:

GM Britta Gross Presentation

Britta’s closing point was a wonderful one. She pulled it out of a Plug In America report. The point is that, if every EV driver would convince one person to buy an EV each year, in 25 years, we’d have 100% adoption of EVs.

That’s uplifting, isn’t it?

The Q&A session kicked in after that, and there were some interesting questions and answers. For example, Britta explained why the 2016 Chevy Volt couldn’t be rolled out nationwide at launch.

7 thoughts on “GM’s Electrification Path & Plans (EV Obsession Video)

  1. Interesting to hear her say that GM is “huge fans” of fuel cell vehicle technology, and that fuel cells are “the only answer” to really reduce carbon emissions and still meet people’s demand for long range and short fueling times. Was not expecting that response.

    (She answered at around 36:00 in the video.)

    Regardless I”m pleased chevy is making the Bolt. It’s really going to push the EV industry forward, with Tesla and Nissan being challenged to compete.

    1. Yes, I’d like to dig deeper with her on that topic. It may have just been a diplomatic approach. Or maybe she doesn’t realize HFCVs’ intrinsic disadvantages. But she added strong notes about HFCVs not making sense if consumer demand isn’t there, and how hard it would be to stimulate consumer demand. Some great points there.

  2. It seems astounding that GM knows and openly says what it will take to “grow the PEV market” and then doesn’t do any of it.

  3. SparkEV is also available in Korea, Mexico, Canada (fleet now, retail in 2016 according to Chevy web site).

    It sounds like she thinks SparkEV wasn’t ready due to 80 miles range. At the same time, she pumps Volt with 40 miles range, and no mention of SparkEV 0-60 times (quicker than Volt) or fastest charging EV in the world.

    80 miles range is an issue due to lack of fast charging infrastructure. But that’s true with all EV, though not as much with Tesla. Even with 200 miles range EV, lack of CCS infracstructure will be an issue as most drive less than 80 miles per day. If the range was the reason why “it wasn’t ready”, Bolt isn’t ready, either.

    Convincing someone to drive EV is far easier with $16K (or $18K outside of CA) than $30K EV. $30K for subcompact car (that’s what Bolt is) is a hard sell, but $18K isn’t as much, especially when it performs better than all gas cars in its price range. If Bolt was available but not SparkEV, I probably wouldn’t be driving an EV today. $30K is just too much for a subcompact.

    I convinced several gas car drivers I met while DCFC that SparkEV is a great car. They were really excited to check out SparkEV due to low cost and fast charging, but probably lost interest upon finding that it was sold out. Yeah, we can convince others to drive SparkEV (cheap and quick), but only if it’s available!

  4. I fully support the request for workplace charging. Assuming most people work during the day, and assuming solar production keeps increasing, then it is wiser to charge during the day rather than at night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *