Building the Bolt EV
Generally, pictures of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV) are along the lines of this: Not this: But that second shot is important, in that it is taken on the inside of the General Motors Orion Assembly plant in Michigan, where the vehicle is being built.
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Generally, pictures of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV) are along the lines of this:
But that second shot is important, in that it is taken on the inside of the General Motors Orion Assembly plant in Michigan, where the vehicle is being built. It is a prove-out of material handling in the plant.
Orion Assembly, where the Chevy Sonic and Buick Verano are also built, received an investment of some $160-million for tooling and equipment to build the Bolt EV, and the nearby Pontiac Metal Center, where stampings are produced, got $40-million for new dies.
Arguably, the Bolt EV, which is said to have a range of in excess of 200 miles per charge and a price, after government incentives, of about $30,000, is the most important vehicle that GM will be launching this year—and possibly for years to come.
Clearly, GM is setting up Orion Assembly for production volumes of the Bolt EV, not craft-like builds.
While the current low cost of gasoline will certainly have an impact on the sales of the Bolt EV (as well as other vehicles with electrified propulsion systems), (1) the Bolt EV has an attractive package of electronic amenities on the inside that would make it appealing were it powered by an internal combustion engine and (2) once people realize that they can completely forgo visits to the gas station, there is the possibility that the car will do fine, present conditions notwithstanding.
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Several years back, one of the authors visited a major North American assembly plant engaged in the launch of a new vehicle program. A "ramp-up" schedule was prominently displayed on a bulletin board deep in the heart of the plant. The schedule indicated that the day of the visit was the same day the plant was originally planned to achieve full capacity production of its new product. Yet the plant was actually producing only a few units an hour! The assembly plant's tardiness is certainly not uncommon, but did contribute to our interest in the wide range in vehicle launch performance across major vehicle firms.
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