We solely have a crumb for now, observers gathering morsels of intel on what to anticipate of the next-generation Chevrolet Bolt. Throughout GM’s Q3 earnings name, CEO Mary Barra confirmed the hatchback’s return, telling analysts, “I do know there was some hypothesis available in the market as to why we’re creating a brand new Bolt EV. Our technique is to construct on the great fairness now we have within the model and to do it as effectively as potential.” The effectivity bit is the important thing phrase in that sentence, Barra explaining that GM can get the brand new Bolt to market faster than a automobile program from scratch whereas ” saving billions in capital and engineering bills.” A giant a part of that financial savings comes from the plan to make use of lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, that are markedly inexpensive than the lithium-ion pack within the present automotive and the nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) chemistry in GM’s Ultium packs. Barra defined, “That is will likely be our first deployment in North America of LFP expertise within the Ultium platform.”
LFP cells are going into extra autos throughout the EV panorama, already utilized in base variations of the Tesla Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y since 2021, and the bottom Ford Mustang Mach-E, and they’re headed to the F-150 Lightning. They’re headed for a brand new entry-level model of the Rivian R1, which means we would not be stunned to see them within the Rivian R2 as nicely. Toyota’s planning LFP cells for its lower-cost EVs. One analyst mentioned he believes 250 EVs will run on LFP cells by 2030, not that carmakers need you to know that. Based on a chunk in Ars Technica from the start of the yr, LFP batteries have been 20% inexpensive per kilowatt-hour than nickel-manganese-cobalt cells. A PC Magazine report on the chemistry opined that carmakers just like the batteries for his or her price, efficiency, longer lifespan, and decrease danger of overheating, however do not like speaking about them, maybe due to their associations with cheap trims and their charging efficiency that lags behind the pricier chemistries. The cells appear a very good match for a brand new Bolt relying on the worth, though we’re sure some potential clients will not just like the downgrade irrespective of the associated fee.
Barra did not point out the battery provider. There are alternatives: Chinese language vitality firm CATL makes LFP calls, GM accomplice LG Vitality plans to provide them in Michigan. Earlier this yr, GM put cash into Silicon Valley firm Mitra Chem, but it surely’s not clear when Mitra Chem’s batteries will likely be prepared for manufacturing. The eventual pack is anticipated to enter an Ultium platform and use Ultium motors, however who is aware of.
For that matter, we do not know when the brand new Bolt will likely be prepared for manufacturing, both; Barra defined the standard automobile growth cycle will likely be reduce by two years, so maybe 2025 if the new automotive’s already been within the works for a yr. Having offered extra Bolts within the first three quarters of this yr than in any earlier full yr of gross sales, Chevrolet will need it to be quickly.