Chevrolet Bolt EV ConceptEnlarge Photo
When General Motors CEO Mary Barra unveiled the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV concept last January at the Detroit Auto Show, the 200-mile electric car was a shock to the industry.
But equally startling was the launch schedule that emerged over the following months: The Bolt EV is to go into production before the end of 2016.
Now GM has revealed how it managed such an aggressive timeline: It partnered with its Korean battery supplier LG Chem for large parts of the car's running gear and electronics.
Automakers routinely contract out large sub-assemblies of new vehicles for not only assembly but in many cases engineering and even detailed design.
Seats, instrument panels, heating/ventilation/air conditioning modules, and other complex units are often designed by the most experienced and trusted global parts vendors.
Yesterday, during a roundtable for automotive media, GM’s head of global product development, purchasing and supply chain Mark Reuss called his company's partnership with LG Chem "unprecedented."
Mark Reuss discusses GM-LG Chem partnership on Bolt EV electric car [photo: Jeffrey Sauger for GM]Enlarge Photo
While GM was responsible for the design of the electric motor, the battery-control system, the integration of the powertrain into the vehicle body, and validation of all systems, LG Chem went far beyond its previous role as the supplier of lithium-ion cells for the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV.
The Korean company is designing, engineering, and testing the battery system, several other components, and the infotainment module for the Bolt EV.
Multiple LG companies participate in the Bolt EV effort, including LG Chem, LG Innotek, LG Display and LG Electronics, the latter of which is investing more than $250 million in a Korean facility to support development and manufacturing of Bolt components.
Specifically, according to a list GM provided, LG Chem will supply all of the following systems:
"By taking the best of our in-house engineering prowess established with the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, and combining the experience of the LG Group," Reuss said, "we’re able to transform the concept of the industry’s first long range, affordable EV into reality."