The fire issues and recalls that have plagued the Chevy Bolt EV are causing problems beyond the obvious. As with the revolutionary Chevy Corvair from the 1960s, once the brand is tarnished, it might be best to drop it. And with how Chevy is positioning the 2024 Equinox SUV EV, it looks like that is exactly what is going on.
Too much negative publicity surrounds the Bolt brand
The Bolt brand has been hammered from the publicity around its unexplained fires, GM’s recommendation not to park it near buildings, and the amount of both time and recalls it has taken to get it fixed. Oh, and the billions of dollars it is taking to make that fix. There have been at least a dozen fires at last report. Some of them occurred in Bolts that had already been recalled.
So this is a daily reminder of how not to build an electric vehicle, just as GM is spending billions to convert the entire company’s lineup to electric. It wants the world to forget the Bolt, and can you blame GM? This all mirrors what happened over 60 years ago.
Though the issues were different, the need to eliminate the Chevy Corvair was not
If you don’t remember the Chevy Corvair, it was an air-cooled rear-engine sedan, station wagon, and coupe. Meant to take on the European imports, yes, even in the late 1950s the Beetle looked to be a concern for General Motors. And the Corvair was revolutionary, especially for a company like GM.
But to cut costs it was initially released without a rear anti-roll bar. This caused the rear wheels to tuck in during hard turns, causing the cars to flip. There were fatalities left and right. Then Ralph Nader published his book Unsafe at Any Speed, the tell-all about how and why Corvair had these issues. Once it became a best-seller and was passed around, the Corvair was doomed. That is where we are at with the Bolt.
Chevy’s 2024 Equinox will feature GM’s Ultium EV system with its BEV2 platform. The range will best that of the Bolt at 300 miles with the smallest battery. For comparison, the highest range for the Bolt is 259 miles.
The 2024 Equinox will list for less than the current Bolt
Also besting the Bolt will be interior space and cargo room. But the biggest guess that the Bolt is out is Equinox’s price. According to GM Authority, its estimated $30,000 price undercuts the Bolt by a few thousand dollars. The MSRP for the base Bolt is $32,495.
There is still some time before we see the 2024 Equinox. It will arrive in dealers in the latter part of 2023. That means some of these specs may change. But the intent is obvious; to offer something better than the Bolt, with GM’s latest EV technology, for a starting price cheaper than the Bolt.
Chevy did a similar move with the completely new Nova in 1968, just one year before the Corvair was gone. So GM only needs to look at its past for the game plan for the Bolt.