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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys,

I had a conversation with Mike Lelli head engineer on the Bolt and Volt when I beat him to an EVGo station by about 10 min just south of Chicago, he was driving a pre-production 2019 Bolt. I learned that in house they call it the Victor Volt to differentiate from the Bolt to avoid confusion. He refused to comment when I asked what the marketing team was thinking when they named the Bolt :D

Main differences in the 2019 are revised front seats, improved suspension (different springs and shocks) in the front to reduce thump and jounce when going over road imperfections, and having several choices of what % to charge the battery to rather than just having 88% hilltop reserve and 100%

I asked about upcoming improvements and he couldn't really talk about the future other than that GM is committed to an EV future. He did ask me what I thought needed improvement.

He said he knows that battery size and charging speed are the top two things, but what else :)

I said that improvements to the infotainment system like displaying charging amps, voltage, and KW when fast charging instead of just time to 80% would be great, and having either wireless android auto or a native app based infotainment system with something like Google Maps or Ways rather than having to use a USB cable would be a big improvement. I also said that some form of spare tire at least as an option would be a hit, Millennials may think that a cell phone and AAA will get them out of any jam, but a side wall failure when you are in the middle of no-where without cell phone coverage would benefit from a compact spare. I pointed out how Mazda used to have a deflated (and thus even more compact) spare as standard equipment on the 1st gen Miata. I also said that AWD would be great at least as an option, for utility in a "crossover" as well as improved acceleration for performance enthusiasts.

He asked about adaptive cruise control and I said it would be great for long trips, and for people that commute in heavy traffic, but that super-cruise with lane centering rather than ping-pong back and forth lane keep assist would be even better.

When he asked if a larger battery or faster charging was more important I told him that my opinion had changed in the last 6 months due to the Electrify America build out and the plans for several coast to coast travel corridors. I now would prefer faster charging, over a larger battery, and that of course both would be welcome.

I asked about roof rails that don't cost a fortune, and he asked who really needs them... I said until they make me an electric pickup truck I need them to haul lumber :) I also asked about a tow rated trailer hitch instead of the one offered now that is only authorized for cargo pods and bike racks. At this point I went into a whole pitch for how useful an EV pickup truck would be, and that with the Electrify America charging network and high speed DCFC an EV pickup could even haul a trailer all over the country.

The one thing I forgot to ask about was the ability to lower all 4 windows with the key fob like I used to do with my 2016 Volt. I don't like to pre-condition at work since I am not plugged in. I also asked about a useable charging station finder since the one built into the mychevrolet app is pathetic. I pointed out that everyone I know uses PlugShare, but that it has no official support from the charging networks.

We talked for about 2 hours, he arrived about 10 min into my first charging session, I finished the majority of my charge (2 45 min sessions) and turned the plug over to him so he could top off for 45 min before I did my final top off.

I asked about any clarification he could give on battery capacity and explained the controversy, he said the only thing he can say is that it is 60 kWh... no specification on if that means total capacity or useable capacity, but it was clear in my opinion from further conversation about Li-Ion battery top and bottom reserve that even though he wouldn't say it out loud that the 60 kWh refers to usable capacity.

I also asked about the rumor that dealerships had to install a DC fast charger in order to sell the Bolt. I already knew that this was not true from personal experience (I purchased my Bolt from a dealership without a DCFC, and I can get a Bolt EV at any dealership in a 238 mile radius from my house and NONE of them have DCFC stations.) He said he didn't know how that rumor got started, and that GM cannot legally force a dealership to install them. He thinks that they will see the Nissan dealerships around them installing DCFC's and hopefully catch a clue, but that there is nothing GM corporate can do about it.

I am probably missing many of the things we talked about in over 2 hours of shooting the breeze, but these are the points I remember.

Later,

Keith
 

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Hey guys,

I had a conversation with Mike Lelli head engineer on the Bolt and Volt when I beat him to an EVGo station by about 10 min just south of Chicago, he was driving a pre-production 2019 Bolt. I learned that in house they call it the Victor Volt to differentiate from the Bolt to avoid confusion. He refused to comment when I asked what the marketing team was thinking when they named the Bolt :D

Main differences in the 2019 are revised front seats, improved suspension (different springs and shocks) in the front to reduce thump and jounce when going over road imperfections, and having several choices of what % to charge the battery to rather than just having 88% hilltop reserve and 100%
Wow, lucky you!

Did you get a sense of why they were adding the choices for battery charge? (e.g., consumer demand or because it's needed for some reason)

In general, I'd have loved it if you'd talking about the expected life of the battery, degradation, and whether or not any of the various rituals that some of or members here do to baby their batteries have any point to them. Did anything like that come up?
 

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Main differences in the 2019 are revised front seats, improved suspension (different springs and shocks) in the front to reduce thump and jounce when going over road imperfections, and having several choices of what % to charge the battery to rather than just having 88% hilltop reserve and 100%

I asked about upcoming improvements and he couldn't really talk about the future other than that GM is committed to an EV future. He did ask me what I thought needed improvement.

He said he knows that battery size and charging speed are the top two things, but what else :)

Later,

Keith
So they are listening. :D

Thanks for the update, Keith!

And this is one of the reasons why I came away underwhelmed by the Kona EV. Almost all of its advantages were software based. If GM is smart, they can negate many of the Kona EV's advantages with just a few lines of code. Leaving GM with a lighter, faster, more spacious Bolt EV with similar functionality.

And if GM is really smart and wants to win at PR, they would roll out an OTA update that addresses most of those issues for original Bolt EV owners.
 

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Main differences in the 2019 are revised front seats, improved suspension (different springs and shocks) in the front to reduce thump and jounce when going over road imperfections, and having several choices of what % to charge the battery to rather than just having 88% hilltop reserve and 100%

Revised front seats! That's exciting to hear! ?
 

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Wonderful Report, Fivedoor! Quick question ... is it possible for GM to add adaptive cruise control and/or super-cruise via a software update to the Bolts?
 

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The new front seats will be narrower and have less cushioning to save weight... If they put normal seats in the Bolt it would be the perfect car for me.
 

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Wonderful Report, Fivedoor! Quick question ... is it possible for GM to add adaptive cruise control and/or super-cruise via a software update to the Bolts?

I don't believe existing Bolt EVs have the requisite hardware, but I could be wrong. Charging speed (as referenced by OP), however, could potentially be updated by a software update I imagine and that could be very interesting as Electrify America builds out their network.
 

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The new front seats will be narrower and have less cushioning to save weight... If they put normal seats in the Bolt it would be the perfect car for me.
@discodanman45 What is your source for this info? I figured with the number of complaints they've had with the front seats, any adjustment would be in the other direction. Thanks for any info you have! :)
 

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Hey guys,

I had a conversation with Mike Lelli head engineer on the Bolt and Volt when I beat him to an EVGo station by about 10 min just south of Chicago, he was driving a pre-production 2019 Bolt. I learned that in house they call it the Victor Volt to differentiate from the Bolt to avoid confusion. He refused to comment when I asked what the marketing team was thinking when they named the Bolt :D

Main differences in the 2019 are revised front seats, improved suspension (different springs and shocks) in the front to reduce thump and jounce when going over road imperfections, and having several choices of what % to charge the battery to rather than just having 88% hilltop reserve and 100%

I asked about upcoming improvements and he couldn't really talk about the future other than that GM is committed to an EV future. He did ask me what I thought needed improvement.

He said he knows that battery size and charging speed are the top two things, but what else :)

I said that improvements to the infotainment system like displaying charging amps, voltage, and KW when fast charging instead of just time to 80% would be great, and having either wireless android auto or a native app based infotainment system with something like Google Maps or Ways rather than having to use a USB cable would be a big improvement. I also said that some form of spare tire at least as an option would be a hit, Millennials may think that a cell phone and AAA will get them out of any jam, but a side wall failure when you are in the middle of no-where without cell phone coverage would benefit from a compact spare. I pointed out how Mazda used to have a deflated (and thus even more compact) spare as standard equipment on the 1st gen Miata. I also said that AWD would be great at least as an option, for utility in a "crossover" as well as improved acceleration for performance enthusiasts.

He asked about adaptive cruise control and I said it would be great for long trips, and for people that commute in heavy traffic, but that super-cruise with lane centering rather than ping-pong back and forth lane keep assist would be even better.

When he asked if a larger battery or faster charging was more important I told him that my opinion had changed in the last 6 months due to the Electrify America build out and the plans for several coast to coast travel corridors. I now would prefer faster charging, over a larger battery, and that of course both would be welcome.

I asked about roof rails that don't cost a fortune, and he asked who really needs them... I said until they make me an electric pickup truck I need them to haul lumber :) I also asked about a tow rated trailer hitch instead of the one offered now that is only authorized for cargo pods and bike racks. At this point I went into a whole pitch for how useful an EV pickup truck would be, and that with the Electrify America charging network and high speed DCFC an EV pickup could even haul a trailer all over the country.

The one thing I forgot to ask about was the ability to lower all 4 windows with the key fob like I used to do with my 2016 Volt. I don't like to pre-condition at work since I am not plugged in. I also asked about a useable charging station finder since the one built into the mychevrolet app is pathetic. I pointed out that everyone I know uses PlugShare, but that it has no official support from the charging networks.

We talked for about 2 hours, he arrived about 10 min into my first charging session, I finished the majority of my charge (2 45 min sessions) and turned the plug over to him so he could top off for 45 min before I did my final top off.

I asked about any clarification he could give on battery capacity and explained the controversy, he said the only thing he can say is that it is 60 kWh... no specification on if that means total capacity or useable capacity, but it was clear in my opinion from further conversation about Li-Ion battery top and bottom reserve that even though he wouldn't say it out loud that the 60 kWh refers to usable capacity.

I also asked about the rumor that dealerships had to install a DC fast charger in order to sell the Bolt. I already knew that this was not true from personal experience (I purchased my Bolt from a dealership without a DCFC, and I can get a Bolt EV at any dealership in a 238 mile radius from my house and NONE of them have DCFC stations.) He said he didn't know how that rumor got started, and that GM cannot legally force a dealership to install them. He thinks that they will see the Nissan dealerships around them installing DCFC's and hopefully catch a clue, but that there is nothing GM corporate can do about it.

I am probably missing many of the things we talked about in over 2 hours of shooting the breeze, but these are the points I remember.

Later,

Keith
When you write pre-production 2019 Bolt, did you actually mean 2020? The 2019s are already in production. Did you get to see the seat or sit in it?
 

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When you write pre-production 2019 Bolt, did you actually mean 2020? The 2019s are already in production. Did you get to see the seat or sit in it?
Mike Lelli could have been driving it for some time. I received my Bolt EV in December of 2016, and at the time I signed on to Bolt EV Stats! with just a few hundred miles, there was already a Bolt EV registered with over 30,000 miles (a vehicle issued to a GM employee).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Wow, lucky you!

Did you get a sense of why they were adding the choices for battery charge? (e.g., consumer demand or because it's needed for some reason)

In general, I'd have loved it if you'd talking about the expected life of the battery, degradation, and whether or not any of the various rituals that some of or members here do to baby their batteries have any point to them. Did anything like that come up?
It sounded like a customer demand. When we were talking about battery capacity and the top and bottom reserves he made it clear that GM does not want any warranty claims on the battery due to degradation and that the charging profile (current limit vs SOC), and capacity limits on the top and bottom will ensure that in the worst case scenerio's. My impression is that the members who plan to own the car until they die and baby their battery will have slightly better battery capacity 20 years from now, but that in the real world of people who trade their car in at less than 10 years old it doesn't make that much difference.

Later,

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So they are listening. :D

Thanks for the update, Keith!

And this is one of the reasons why I came away underwhelmed by the Kona EV. Almost all of its advantages were software based. If GM is smart, they can negate many of the Kona EV's advantages with just a few lines of code. Leaving GM with a lighter, faster, more spacious Bolt EV with similar functionality.

And if GM is really smart and wants to win at PR, they would roll out an OTA update that addresses most of those issues for original Bolt EV owners.
I brought you up in the conversation, he knows about your YouTube channel :D

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wonderful Report, Fivedoor! Quick question ... is it possible for GM to add adaptive cruise control and/or super-cruise via a software update to the Bolts?
The adaptive cruise in the 2017 Volt was a hardware change from the 2016 Volt, so I doubt a software update would be possible to add that function.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't believe existing Bolt EVs have the requisite hardware, but I could be wrong. Charging speed (as referenced by OP), however, could potentially be updated by a software update I imagine and that could be very interesting as Electrify America builds out their network.
I asked about a software update for charging, he said that the hardware is limited to 54 KW, so a software fix would not be useful.

I asked about higher amps for longer into the charge cycle to improve average charging speed up to 80% and that is when he talked about the current ramp down being there to keep stress on the battery low to prevent degradation, so I doubt it any update will be available.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When you write pre-production 2019 Bolt, did you actually mean 2020? The 2019s are already in production. Did you get to see the seat or sit in it?
It was one of several pre-production 2019's that he had been driving for testing before their release. I find the current seats comfortable, so I didn't even think to try out the new seats... I doubt I would have noticed the difference since I find the current seats comfortable.

Keith
 
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