Is Electrek’s Coverage of the Chevy Bolt Tinted by Tesla Stock?

Since GM showed the Bolt EV Concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, the company has been adamant the car would compete with Tesla’s upcoming Model 3, in terms of pricing, range and certainly in terms of consumer adoption.

The Teslarati on the other hand, don’t seem to agree.

Tesla’s stated modus operandi since inception is to “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” But for fans of the Silicon Valley brand the M.O has been twisted into Tesla or bust, leading to straw man arguments and arbitrary analysis.

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Electrek’s latest Tesla vs Chevy op-ed by Fred Lambert is a perfect example.

Lambert is resolute in his proclamation that the battle between the two brands is nonexistant, “GM is making a $37,500 car that would sell for $20,000 if it wasn’t electric, while Tesla is trying to make a $35,000 car that would sell for $35,000 if it wasn’t electric.” It’s a distinction Lambert created himself, based on the Bolt being sized similarly to the Chevrolet Sonic, “I don’t think it is too far-fetched to say that the Bolt is shaping up to be an electric Sonic.”

But it is Freddy, it is. See GM itself said recently that despite the Bolt program being born out of GM Korea’s Gamma family architecture, it quickly evolved into its own bespoke platform, sharing no common parts with Gamma II.

Next, Lambert asserts, once again without proof, that “Model 3 reservation holders are informed customers and they know a lot about Tesla. They have been following the company for a while and they are fairly well-informed.” But are they?

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There isn’t much information regarding exactly who Tesla Model 3 reservation holders are, but it would seem to be a healthy mix of existing Tesla clientele, first time EV buyers and shoppers who fear missing out.

Take Joel Moffitt for example, a Cascadia College design student who The Seattle Times described as waiting to “get in on something that has the power or opportunity to change the way we get around.”

Or Toby Nitzsche, who Fortune said spent the night outside a Tesla store in California because “it’s about supporting the technology and keeping it going.”

Neither of these two individuals sound like died in the wool Teslarati who in Lambert’s esteemed words, “know a lot about Tesla.” That’s perfectly okay, but what’s not okay is asserting the Model 3’s entire audience is a well-informed member of the EV movement, when in reality most people don’t buy cars to save the world, they buy cars to get to work and buy groceries.

Some of those looking to switch to an EV cite abolishing fuel costs and oil changes as a major motivator, something which Tesla does not in fact have a monopoly over. These are shoppers who are selfishly looking to reduce user cost, again, little to do with saving the world.

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In fact, using Tesla vs Chevy pre-orders as a barometer of execution and future success is a straw man in itself, pre-ordering for the Chevrolet Bolt won’t begin until next month, just a stones throw from its late 2016 market arrival date.

Inexplicably, Lambert goes on to say that GM’s previous foray into the EV market in the mid ’90s, the lease-only EV1 (which ended up as pile of crushed metal), will push shoppers towards the Model 3. What Lambert and some of the Tesla fanatics may not understand is that the EV1 was a “real-world engineering evaluation” into the feasibility of producing and selling an electric vehicle in the United States. The EV1 was literally the first of its kind.

The EV1 project had it’s roots in 1990, a full 13 years before Tesla would become incorporated, let alone produce and sell an electric vehicle. Yes the EV1 was a premature undertaking when it first became available in 1996, but it’s far from a “scandal” as Lambert calls it.

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Perhaps the source of Electrek’s Tesla tint comes courtesy of the fact “some writers of Electrek maintain positions in $TSLA and other green energy stocks.

Could that also be the reason Electrek completely ignored the launch of the Bolt’s sister car, the Opel Ampera-e during last week’s Paris Motor Show? A car which Opel actually drove 260 miles from the heart of London to the show floor, while still showing some 50 miles in reserve.

For a publication that claims to be “a news site tracking the transition from fossil fuel transportation to electric and the surrounding clean ecosystems,” that’s simply inexcusable.

If as the old adage goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, the mainstream manufacturers wading into the EV arena should be applauded, not chided for sins of the past.

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Maybe if the Bolt was a half-baked compliance car or conceptual idea existing in the minds of executives then yes, Lambert would have a point. But the Bolt is certainly not, it’s a very real product geared towards the modern consumer, with 94 cubic feet of passenger space (equal to the much larger Tesla Model S), technology to touch, and safety features in spades, all rolled into one emission-less vehicle costing less than $30,000 after incentives.

Isn’t that a good thing?

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