Today, GM announced an enormous level of partnership on the upcoming Chevy Bolt with LG, saying that this is "the first time that GM integrated a full EV component supplier so early in vehicle development." Of course, GM hasn't made that many EVs — and automakers work extensively with component suppliers all the time — but a pretty diverse and long list of Bolt parts will be either developed or manufactured by LG, ranging from the motor to the batteries to the instrument cluster and the infotainment system in the center stack. All told, GM says that LG has invested over $250 million in facilities in Korea to support the partnership.
For American automakers that aren't named Tesla, the Bolt is a make-or-break electric car, promising real-world range of over 200 miles for around $30,000. In other words, this vehicle is the one that could introduce EVs to the mass market for the very first time — and with Elon Musk gunning for a 2016 introduction of the affordable Model 3, the stars finally seem to be aligning for an electric car that everyday drivers can actually afford. (The Model S and X are great, but you need to be wealthy to put them in your garage.)
It's not the first time GM and LG have worked together
This isn't the first time GM and LG have worked together: subsidiary LG Chem has manufactured the cells for the Volt for some time, operating out of a facility in GM's home state of Michigan. But a mass-market full electric will undoubtedly put substantial new strain on battery supply — something Tesla has been trying to get out ahead of with the development of Nevada's Gigafactory in partnership with its own cell supplier, Panasonic. LG Chem is also working with a number of other major automakers that are heavily invested in EV development, including Ford and Volkswagen.
The Bolt is expected to start rolling off the assembly line in "late 2016."