What is GM Europe doing with the Bolt EV?
Around the time GM sold Opel and all its European operations to the PSA Group, then Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann floated the idea of the brand going all-electric.
Currently, Opel’s only EV is the Chevy Bolt EV, which is sold as the Ampera E in limited locations like Norway. Sales in the EC have been slow with only 13 units delivered in April 2017 against an order book of 4,000 units. GM limited the allocations in each market to extremely low volumes, which forced Opel to ask its Norwegian dealers to stop taking orders for the Bolt EV last month and to later increase the price by $5,500 for the electric vehicle in Europe.
GM Europe is now part of the PSA group so supplies of the GM Bolt is curtailed as GM tries to flog them to US and Canadian punters.
PSA announced that it is expanding its lineup to have 4 electric vehicles (BEVs and PHEVs) by 2020 and a complete electrification of its lineup by 2024.
But now Opel’s new CEO, Michael Lohscheller, announced the automaker’s new strategic plan and it includes leveraging PSA’s tech to develop their own EVs:
“Having full access to Groupe PSA technologies, Opel/Vauxhall will become a European CO2 leader. By 2024, all European passenger carlines will be electrified – offering a pure battery electric propulsion or plug-in hybrid version alongside efficient internal combustion engines. By 2020, Opel/Vauxhall will have four electrified carlines on the market, including the Grandland X PHEV and the next generation Corsa as a fully electric vehicle.”
Lohscheller elaborated on the new plan, which is called ‘PACE!’:
“PACE! will unleash our full potential. This plan is paramount for the company, to protect our employees against headwinds and turn Opel/Vauxhall into a sustainable, profitable, electrified, and global company. Our future will be secured and we will contribute with German excellence to the Groupe PSA development. The implementation has already started with all teams eager to achieve the objectives,”
Furthermore, the company, which is currently mainly selling its cars in Europe, announced that it will enter more than 20 new markets.
We had our doubts about the risk of Opel relying on GM to distribute the Ampera E in Europe ever since the sale to PSA, but it’s now clear that it’s not working.
To be fair, it’s not like PSA’s EV expertise is something to rave about right now either, but the company has been working on electric propulsion for a while now.
Last year, Peugeot and Citroën unveiled 2 new electric platforms to support 4 new EVs and 7 PHEVs starting in 2019.
The Bolt or Ampera-is a five-door, five-seat hatchback, that GM pitch as an affordable rival to the leading EV in Europe: Nissan Leaf, the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf and second-generation Ford Focus Electric.