Hybrids & Electrics

Chevy 2021 Menlo EV Just Released: US Won’t Get It?

Another day, another weird move by GM. Today Chevy debuted the all-electric Menlo. It gets 250 miles range and will sell for $23,000. That makes it a great choice for US buyers looking for a good EV with decent range and not costing an arm and leg. This is the latest EV from GM that includes the Buick Velite 6 and Baojun E200. None are available in the US. 

Back in October 2017, GM Announced its “All-Electric Path to Zero Emissions” to much fanfare. In it, GM said it would launch two new EVs based on the Bolt within 18 months. It has now been 28 months. The US has none and China has three though not based on the Bolt. 

The Chevy Menlo would be a great EV addition to the Bolt

2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM-
2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM

“It will meet the performance and styling demands of our customers and at the same time provide the efficiency that new energy vehicle owners expect,” says Scott Lawson, general director of Chevrolet for SAIC-GM. Styling is heavily based on the Chevy FNR-X crossover concept. How much under the styling is Bolt-based is anyone’s guess? It does appear to possibly be a Bolt-related platform. 

The Menlo generates 110 kW of power and a constant speed range of 254-miles. The battery can be fast-charged to 80% capacity in 40 minutes at a fast-charger station. Three driving modes are economical, normal, and sporty. The three energy modes are light free recovery, medium efficient recovery, and strong energy recovery. 

The Menlo’s standard safety features are impressive

2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM-
2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM

A host of standard safety features are included. They are the Bosch 9.3 Electronic Stability Program, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, Automatic Parking Assist, following Distance /Indicator, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  We will continue to see more safety features as standard equipment going forward. 

The center console has a stylish multi-layer design. The center control touchscreen is 10.1-inches with an eight-inch full-color LCD instrument panel. With over 38 cubic feet of storage space. there’s plenty of room for cargo. The panoramic skylight runs almost the full length of the top. 

Trying to understand Chevy’s move to keep the Menlo out of the US is impossible

2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM-
2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM

It is hard to understand Chevy’s decision not to make the Menlo a global vehicle. If it’s afraid of scavenging sales from the Bolt keep in mind that the Bolt debuted at the end of 2016. The Bolt is the second-most popular EV in the US. At that sales dropped almost 10% in 2019 to 16,418. 

Besides the Bolt having a microcar look the interior is dated. Even basic features like adaptive cruise control are missing. GM seemed to have a promising strategy for electrification in its announcement in 2017. What happened?

Maybe GM doesn’t see the Menlo as a Cadillac?

2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM-
2021 Chevy Menlo EV | GM-

To support a new model like the Menlo GM is building a massive battery factory. It seems like it is poised to launch many new EVs over the next several years. Since announcing that Cadillac would become GM’s EV division maybe it doesn’t see the Menlo as a “Cadillac.” 

Whatever the reason the decision to keep the Melo out of the US fits GM’s MO of making mysterious, confounding decisions that make little sense. As most manufacturers are either making or will soon be making EVs one new EV will help pull up others. The general buzz around a new EV entry brings focus on every manufacturer’s similar models. 

In the meantime. you can always purchase a Tesla, which continues to strengthen its image, infrastructure, and market share.