I was privileged and blessed recently by a dear friend of mine who brought me along for the fun at the 2015 CIAS Media Day. So not only did I spend some time with the Bolt on Media Day, I also went back during Public days to gauge reactions and interact with the GM reps who are absent during Media Day.
So first up, I got inside the Bolt. I have two pictures of shaky quality (I'm sorry), the penske employee responsible for GM's show cars had walked out of sight and I pounced on the opportunity to slide behind the wheel of what's essentially vapour ware...
Verdict, it feels fake inside. Which is true, nothing is functional, its a pure concept car. But in terms of layout and styling it was laid out ergonomically, and barring a few concept oddities (like the console) I can see most of the design theme carrying over to production.
Underneath, the Bolt is COMPLETELY flat, one of the big advantages to laying a battery flat across the bottom is optimizing aerodynamics.
What I found beyond interesting is that during public days the Bolt was essentially a non starter with goers. Like Media Day the Bolt was on display with the new Volt just in front of it. The Volt had a crowd of people around it all day (I know, I checked back several times) while the bolt was getting a few token snapshots, but nothing remotely resembling the exuberance for the Volt.
Why is that?
I have a couple of theories. For one, as I mentioned above the Bolt is essentially Vapour ware ATM, yes the General is pointing towards production, but only those who care to know will know. While the Volt on the other had has already benefited from 5 years of brand building. The Volt also looks normal, which is a huge factor IMO. Conventional styling already sells so I've always been left scratching my head that manufacturers don't put LESS effort into EV styling. What I mean is currently most pure EV's are over styling in some way in order to make the announcement I AM EFFICIENT. The new Volt comes in a contemporary package and squares with the visual tastes of the segment, excellent.
My second theory is perhaps that major autoshows just simply aren't the show to be pushing EV's at. CES seems to square much better with the type of buyer into EV's. Not that I'm saying they shouldn't be at the shows its just that walking around both the Leaf and the Tesla were relatively ignored by the public which makes me think it may of been a problem with the audience and not the Bolt.
Regardless, the Bolt is still a promise from one of several automakers trying to break the 200 mile barrier. I think consumers are saying SHOW ME SOMETHING first before they're prepared to commit to a conversation...