[THE INVESTOR] General Motors’ first full electric vehicle Chevrolet Bolt will make its Korean debut in the first half of next year.
The US auto giant on Oct. 26 announced the plan at the opening day of the Korea Electronics Show where the carmaker unveiled the Bolt EV to the public for the first time here, ahead of the car going on sale in the US later this year.
From left are GM Korea CEO James Kim, Lowell Paddock, vice president of product planning and program management of GM International and Martin Murry, deputy director of electrification engineering at GM China.
“Today, I am so pleased to officially announce that the game-changing Chevrolet Bolt EV will be introduced in Korea in the first half of 2017,” said James Kim, president and CEO of GM Korea at the forum on the sidelines of the KES. “This vehicle was developed using GM’s world-leading EV technologies upon customers high expectation to bring the innovation into Korea.”
GM maintains crucial partnership with South Korea’s LG Electronics, which supplies 11 core parts for the vehicle ranging from battery cells and packs to motors, inverters and infotainment systems.
According to a GM executive, the tie-up between LG Electronics came naturally.
“We have had a good relationship and experience with LG Electronics because they have been willing to grow in the direction that is helpful for our customers,” said Martin Murray, deputy director of electrification engineering at GM China, during a group interview conducted after the forum.
“We expect industry of suppliers and partners and electrification is continuously going to expand,” he said, adding GM will increase partnership with other companies as well.
The Korean unit said the Bolt EV can drive a whopping 383 kilometers on a single charge, outpacing its current rivals in the market. Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq EV runs 191 kilometers on a full charge, while Tesla Motors’ upcoming Model 3, the first mass market model of the iconic EV maker, is expected to run up to 346 kilometers.
“What make the car a game changer is a range of nearly 400 kilometers,” said Lowell Paddock, vice president of product planning and program management at GM International. “The idea that the car doubles what the current competitors offer will fundamentally change the way you think of the EV.”
However, Paddock declined to compare the Bolt EV to the Tesla Model 3.
In the US, the car is priced at about $30,000 after the government’s tax breaks. Industry watchers predict the Korean price will be of a similar price range, though GM Korea declined to reveal the pricing and other specifications.
In terms of sales forecast, Paddock declined to offer exact numbers. “I think it’s too early to call what the longer term volume of the vehicle is,” he said. “The reaction to the vehicle so far has been very strong. So I think when people have the chance to experience the vehicle, they will be as enthusiastic as we are.”
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)