General Motors officially unveiled its new Menlo EV Friday, giving the Chinese market its first real look at the car that will spearhead the company's local electrification efforts.
The Chevrolet Menlo likely would weigh in at 200 miles or less by EPA estimates (410 km NEDC). It will also feature MyLink infotainment with smart-enabled features such as remote entry via virtual key and voice recognition.
It's part of GM's partnership with China's SAIC and has nothing to do with the Bolt EV. There's not a ton to read into here when it comes to the U.S. or other markets, but the underlying platform is flexible enough to underpin a wide variety of vehicles, some of which are likely to pop up in other emerging EV markets.
GM says the Menlo is a production derivative of the FNR-X crossover concept, which was pitched as a PHEV. The design came out of GM's Pan Asia Design Studio, hinting at the company's direction for the region. A previous FNR concept shown in the region was configured as a sports car.
While the concept's lofty inclusion of features like self-driving tech and adaptive suspension may be a bit too pie-in-the-sky for the current generation of mainstream EVs, GM is pitching the platform's underlying capabilities and potential for future applications.
It's likely that the next production electrified vehicle GM will introduce to the Chinese market will be an SUV or crossover based on the same architecture. When we last checked in on the FNR-X, we said we didn't know the answer to whether GM would actually launch a plug-in variant based on the concept. Even now, it still remains to be seen.
The Chevrolet Menlo will launch in 2020. Don't hold out to see it for sale in the U.S. in any form—so let it just serve as a thought exercise for the kind of companion electric car GM might have brought to the U.S. alongside the Bolt EV.