GM's Response To Model 3's Reservations

GM's Response To Model 3's Reservations

Dan Nicholson, GM's vice president of global propulsion systems:

"GM’s balance sheet is in pretty strong shape, so we don’t need to take $1,000 of your money just to hold a spot," Nicholson said today at SAE World Congress. "And you can actually get it in 2016."

Let's see how many Bolt's are "got" by the date of the first delivered Model 3!

Red Sage ca us | 13 april 2016

Wow. Let's see what type of shape those balance sheets are in come Q2 2018, shall we?

Bluesday Afternoon | 13 april 2016

Actually, I hope they do ok on sales since it's all electric even though visually unappealing.

Red Sage ca us | 13 april 2016

The BOLT will represent 0.3% of General Motors' worldwide sales. They'll barely notice it, one way or the other. The Model ☰ will hopefully represent no less than 50% of Tesla Motors' sales over the same time period. Only one of them will be designed to be at least 12% to 15% profitable.

adias.angel | 13 april 2016

While GMs VP seems to have his feathers ruffled a bit by Tesla getting all the publicity even though the Bolt was unveiled first, I wish them all the luck in the world. The more EVs out there the better. I personally won't buy a GM product but I hope there are others who do.

Octagondd | 13 april 2016

When they start fighting back, you know you have won.

Tesla is not a novelty to them anymore. 3/31/16 will be a huge day in automotive history.

Haggy | 13 april 2016

If Tesla wants to prove it can do it without the money, all they need to do is offer to return the money at any time, and to apply 100% of it toward the purchase of the Model 3 or anything else the customer wants, thus making the reservation cost nothing. But they already did that.

The money isn't just to hold a spot. It will get applied as a deposit. If GM feels they don't need the money, then let them have a reservation system where no money is needed. The problem is that if they did that, anybody could be added to the list and the whole thing would become meaningless. It's not as if Tesla can't do it without the money. They can't do it without a realistic expectation that a reservation will convert to a sale.

Red Sage ca us | 13 april 2016

Haggy: +42! Precisely. The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything about "Why Does Tesla Motors Need Reservation Money for Model ☰?" Just as most locks are designed to keep honest people honest, a Reservation fee is meant to ensure participation.

Tropopause | 13 april 2016

GM,s balance sheet is "strong" at the expense of the taxpayers who funded their bankruptcy.

ColoDriver | 13 april 2016

If GM made an AWD Bolt that looked as good as the Model 3 I would happily give them a $1000 to reserve one. But they don't and they never will. GM won't build a better looking and possibly AWD electric car until Tesla represents a significant and lucrative market share.

Want to see electric innovation from the Big 3? Wait for a competitively priced full size electric Tesla pickup. It may never happen, but if it did, that's when Detroit finally kicks into action.

bcfireworks | 13 april 2016

[crickets] Did I mention that the Bolt comes with a spare tire standard? [janitor passes by sweeping]

Bluesday Afternoon | 13 april 2016


Excellent point about a Tesla truck. When Tesla builds another plant to produce their TT then all bets are off. A challenge to Ford's domination will be historic. But, I have a feeling Ford will enter the EV or ET field well before Tesla. I would reserve a TT to join my 85D and Model 3 instantly. As with my Model 3 reservation, sight unseen!

jordanrichard | 13 april 2016

I guarantee you GM will not willingly release order or sales numbers of the Bolt, once they do start to allow people to order/buy them. It will be far too embarrassing. At that point, they certainly can not use the old "there is no demand for these things", line.

JeffreyR | 13 april 2016

@jordanrichard +1
"They cannot use the line, 'there is no demand for these' now."

That is truly something insightful.

MB stockholders are wondering about the plans to compete. GM is bragging they are so well off (after going bankrupt) that they don't need $1000 for a reservation. Now w/ close to 350K M≡ reservations nobody can say people don't want an EV anymore. The best that can be said is they don't want YOUR EV, after 3/31.

eandmjep | 14 april 2016

I am extremely annoyed at the idea that TNB GM took how big of a taxpayer bailout? Their balance sheet wont look so good after the lawsuits and recalls are taken care of. I have seen several articles that start 'The Nearly Bankrupt' alluding to how much it will cost them to fix a record number of recalls etc. I am a Ford guy myself and saw that the F150 sold more than double the units the first part of 2016 compared to Chevy. However I have reserved a M3 and would love to see a Tesla Truck. I never want to have to deal with another dealer again, worry about engine and transmission repairs and I really think that is My future.

normr | 14 april 2016

In my opinion I think the money represents the need for control, it's just like when Disney started requiring deposits for restaurant reservations because it got out of control with people making tons of reservations just to hold a spot in case and then never showing up.

Hi_Tech | 14 april 2016

ummmmm.... If GM has such great balance sheet, then mind paying back some of the $11billion us tax payers lost in the bail-out?

Hi_Tech | 14 april 2016

From a different perspective, would GM even be able to take reservations? Asking this because of the auto dealership agreements, etc. GM's customers are dealers only, not the final users/drivers. Right?

carlk | 14 april 2016

The Model 3 phenomena should serve as a waking call for GM and other companies too. Tesla has firmly established the brand image as the EV to have the same way as iPhone the smart phone to have. It's not like in the past that Germans just need to maintain the slight lead over the Japanese and Japanese the Koreans. Now they are put in the uncomfortable position as being the follower instead of the leader. It's going to be tough for them.

CDAVIS | 14 april 2016

I give GM +1 for with the Bolt being first to deliver to market an affordable 200+ EPA mile EV. But GM not providing a supercharger network solution for Bolt buyers is a HUGE miss for GM.

It will be a decade or more before a robust national supercharger network open for all EVs (like current gas stations) is built out be it by a consortium of car makers, electric utility companies, federal/state government, or a combination thereof.

Tesla has done many clever things to create for itself competitive advantages...the Tesla Supercharging network is at the top of that list slough not yet fully appreciated (yet) by the traditional car makers.

jordanrichard | 14 april 2016

CDAVIS, not to split hairs, but the Bolt has not hit the market yet and that "200" was based on their own testing. That is not a EPA rating.

Also I am not giving GM any credit because this is all half ass. A EV car that can't travel long distance is half of a car because you will still need another gas car to complete what cars are supposed to enable us to do.

martinmitchell | 14 april 2016

The Bolt is said to have a 60 kWh battery pack. Even at a nominal 3.8 miles to kWh, that's a range of 228 miles.

The Bolt is also 16" shorter than a Model 3 coming in at 164" vs. 180". It's not easy making a short car look good while giving rear occupants decent headroom.

Red Sage ca us | 14 april 2016

Lots of awesome replies! Happy to see I agree with most of them. Carry on, folks!

dsvick | 14 april 2016

Where did you get the 180" for the model ☰ length?

Red Sage ca us | 14 april 2016

dsvick: Various estimations online presume the overall length will be ~180 inches. I expect the wheelbase is no less than 110", possibly as much as 114". Add 36" or so fore and aft and you get a range of perhaps 182" to 186". Only as an educated goes, of course.

Red Sage ca us | 14 april 2016

Hmmm... Gotta watch autocorrect on the tablet... Make that 'guess'... ;-)

I would not be surprised if the overall length is shorter though... Perhaps 172" to 176" instead... Even with the long wheelbase.

dsvick | 14 april 2016

Got it. Thanks Red

martinmitchell | 14 april 2016

The Model 3 is frequently compared to a Mazda 3 sedan which is 180.3 inches.
The Mazda 3 hatchback is 175.6 in by comparison.

PhillyGal | 14 april 2016

The funny thing about GM building out a fast charging network (if they wanted to) is that they already have access to PLENTY of locations. Thousands of locations.

Toss two SAE Combo chargers at every dealer. Done.
Better yet, toss 2-4 at just 1 out of every 4 dealerships, throw the owner/operator some cash or a Camaro for their troubles, and they'd "beat" Tesla in number of fast charging locations in a year.

Of course, we know they don't really want to.

Hi_Tech | 14 april 2016

@PhillyGal +1

The other point is that the tech they moved forward with is limited to 50kw charging, if I remember some articles correctly. So, even if they put those "fast chargers" at their dealer locations, you are talking about couple of hours of wait time... as opposed to the 120kw SuperChargers by Tesla out right now, and most likely plans for improving those.

sp_tesla | 14 april 2016

PhillyGal | April 14, 2016
The funny thing about GM building out a fast charging network (if they wanted to) is that they already have access to PLENTY of locations. Thousands of locations.
Toss two SAE Combo chargers at every dealer. Done."

Genius idea, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, should jump all over this & offer sponsored free shuttle to local restaurants/shopping center.

jordanrichard | 14 april 2016

martinmitchell, this is the first I have heard of the M≡ being compared to a Mazda 3.

Even if they did force all of their dealers to put in fast chargers, that doesn't help you on a road trip. Unless of course your road trip is via back roads. Now here in my town there is a Toyota dealer right off an highway exit, but there is no place to eat apart from the vending machines in the dealership or the Shell gas station, a 1/4 mile down the road.

Bluesday Afternoon | 14 april 2016

If GM is serious then they need to compete with the Roadster. Come on, I could see the Corvette as a stylish/sleek/fast EV. Ford can also get into the game by bringing back the stylish 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint as an EV option (sorry, couldn't resist imagining my first car's reincarnation). 8-)

jordanrichard | 14 april 2016

Once the traditional automotive "complex" (factory and dealers) figures out how to make the same amount of money with EVs, then they will make/sell them.

I like others still say that for the most part, it is the dealers that are jacking things up. I don't know how much Tesla spent developing their motor/drive units, but I am sure it is a lot less than what GM and others spend on developing/emissions certifying all of their ICEs, developing/testing transmissions. There is a lot of money to be saved if they got away from ICEs. However, for now and foreseeable future, that would gut the revenue stream for the dealers who are their real customers.

finman100 | 14 april 2016

GM does have that nostalgia/back in the good-ol-days why not bring back 'old' cars with new EV drivetrains? Many GM customers harken back and maybe, just maybe, that could work to further Elon's master plan? and I don't know very many GM nameplates, sorry. Maybe our high-school mascot vehicle, Buick Electra? Wait, did Red Sage mention that aready? sorry, um, how about ChEVelle, with the EV bold and lightning bolts like the slash in AC/DC? yep, it's a bit slow at work, haha.

jordanrichard | 14 april 2016

They can't bring back the older designs due to current safety regulations.

finman100 | 14 april 2016

sorry. I wasn't specific enough. bring back the 'old' car names with clever EV-themed model names in modern-ish sheet metal with EV drivetrains . Too true that a metal dash of a 50s Bel Air is not gonna pass modern safety regs. Think HHR styling (that i dislike).

PhillyGal | 14 april 2016

@simply red - I think I read somewhere that Chevy filed for trademark for Corvette E-Ray.
Ya never know...

Bill Korea | 14 april 2016

The simple suggestion to GM is to just build a good quality product. The industry relies heavily on marketing hype to ignorant consumers, but in the end, good products count. Personally, I think it doesn't matter if the Bolt does 200 or 300 miles on a charge. It's the long-term durability of the battery that counts, and so far there is no information from GM and partners in that area.

cweber | 14 april 2016

Because it would be irresponsible not to speculate: a selected number of Bolt vehicles will be designed and delivered with a hidden software "bug" that will be triggered when a specific set of sensor parameters are met. The "bug" will initiate a lithium battery thermal excursion and fire. After dozens of events and massive publicity (encouraged by GM with support from Koch Bros), the public perception of EVs will be irreparably damaged, sales will falter, TSLA will crash, bankruptcy is inevitable...

dsvick | 14 april 2016

Because it would be irresponsible not to speculate lol!!
So I should TSLA now or wait until there are some Bolts on the road to explode? :)

Bluesday Afternoon | 14 april 2016

GM, please pay attention to Tesla. If you snooze, you lose. You borrowed my hard earned money to pull your keester out of financial ruin. So listen to Joe Public and move away from your "we've been around forever" stance and put together a compelling option to ANY of the Tesla products. Hello, GM! is there anybody truly listening. By the way Tesla reservations are nearing 400,000 in just two weeks (as stated by Dairmuid O'Connell, Tesla VP of Business Development).

Tesla-David | 14 april 2016

I beg to differ. Tesla over the past five+ years has established their brand and managed to weather the few MS fires, so if GM and the Koch brothers attempted to discredit EVs by doing something that stupid, I would expect Tesla owners to stand up and cry foul, and discredit that attempt. After 3+ years of ownership, and my second Model S, with Model ≡ on order, I would not sit idly by and let a substandard car (Bolt = my opinion) destroy everything Tesla has done, and neither would TM.

cweber | 14 april 2016

I hear what you're sayin T-D. I'm 2+ years with a S85 and a M3 on order...but this GM Bolt smells (and looks) a lot like a classic Trojan Hearse ploy, with Koch fingerprints all over it. This objective of this vehicle is far more insidious than a planned low-volume compliance car. Possibly. This thing is intended to be sacrificed on the altar of the ICE gods to drive a stake into the idea that EVs are safe and reliable transportation. I think Bolt and I see fire.

Octagondd | 14 april 2016

I am wondering if the Safety standards are specifically addressing battery pack and High Voltage protection. I believe they already address fuel system safety, but curious if High Voltage safety is now a specific part of the system. That is the part that scares me the most about Bolt. We saw what happened before Tesla added more protection for the BP, so if Chevy does not do the same thing, they may just hope someone else runs over a trailer hitch in the roadway.

Maxxer | 14 april 2016

Wow those &*@&?ers at GM asked me to hand out my credit card for a $500 deposit when I visited them to see the 2016 Volt. They had none in stock. They were arriving 2 months later, 8 of them.

I guess you don't need to take 1000$ deposits from 325 000 person when you're planning to produce less than 25 000

Haggy | 14 april 2016

There's no charging network for the Leaf or the eGolf or anything else, but that doesn't stop people from charging at home or work. A 60 mile range means that a commute is no problem, and neither is a side trip to the grocery store, but a second trip to work the same day might be a problem. A 200 mile range fixes all of that. It's not a solution for long trips, but might be just fine for a second car. There are plenty of two car families where one is an economy car used mostly for a daily commute, but is not the one the family is piled into for a road trip.

What Tesla has shown is that many people can have an EV as their only car, or have several EVs and have no need for an ICE as a backup. I currently have a Model S and have no qualms about being without an ICE. But I've had at least one as a second car the entire time I had the Model S. Had road trips not been practical, I wouldn't have been stuck. When I get the Model 3, I won't have an ICE. I also might not have a compelling reason to ever use a supercharger. If I'm going to take a major trip, it will be in the Model S. I can't say for certain that I wouldn't lend it to my son for a road trip, but that's still a long way out.

It's the range that's the milestone. Tesla owners already know that it real life, it comes down to taking a few seconds to plug in at night, and that you don't think of range in terms of how often you used to buy gas. But if the car had a range under 100 miles, there would be plenty of concern and superchargers wouldn't help.

As much as I'd like to say that superchargers are an advantage, and even though I can say that I've traveled thousands of miles using them, at the time I bought the Model S I had no idea if I would ever use them. I probably would have flown instead of driven for almost all of those trips.

jjs | 14 april 2016

No one, san Tesla has real world experience with long range (200+ mile) vehicles. Tesla's BMSs are unparalleled. I am suspect of the Bolt's BMS and long term battery health. The smoking gun, IMHO, is their 0-60 time of < 7 seconds compared to Telsa's reported 0-60 time of < 5 seconds for the Model 3. Why is this a smoking gun? Because it speaks directly to the speed of battery discharge which will have a linear relationship to the rate of recharge. In simple words, the Bolt will never be able to recharge as fast as a model 3. For long range travel this is very important. So even with a national charging infrastructure they will be at a severe disadvantage to the Model 3. This speaks to the chemistry of the batteries, the sum of the surface area and the heat exchange hardware/software in use. It all adds up to the same thing. Telsa is significantly superior, with tested tech. GM's soon to be released, brand new, amazing tech's PROMISES, are not even as good as Tesla's current reality.

mos6507 | 14 april 2016

Is there less environmental impact to do a long-distance road-trip in a Tesla vs. flying? Let's assume two passengers in the Tesla vs. a full plane.

Garcia.steve | 14 april 2016

Nicholson is a tool. He is bragging of how an enormous company that has been around for over 100 years can build their cars quicker. Haha! GM is lucky that there is a wait for the Model 3. If there wasn't the Bolt would be embarrassed when anyone with a pair of eyes and a brain would choose the 3 over the Bolt.

diegoPasadena | 14 april 2016

With his comment on the deposit, Nicholson completely missed the point. The question is not "Does GM need to take deposits?". The question is "*Can* GM take deposits?". If it took $1k to hold a reservation for a Bolt, would they have any takers?
For Tesla, that question has been answered "yes" going on 400,000 times.
The comment shows that the auto industry still is punch-drunk. Once they wake up, they better act, or they'll go down the path of airplane seat ashtray manufacturers.