If you have any doubt that EVs have a future in an arena mainly populated by things with pistons, watch this show
Rob Mantinan was a self-described “gearhead” growing up in metro Detroit. He had a Camaro when he was in high school. His dad was a UAW worker at a GM facility in Warren. He went to Kettering University. And started right out of school at GM. He has a mechanical engineering degree from the school with a specialization in automotive powertrain. Which is arguably what a gearhead would get.
But then, while working at GM, he pursued a graduate degree and obtained a master’s in energy systems engineering. He was working on things like the Chevy Volt and his focus began to shift.
Which makes a whole lot of sense for what he is doing now: Mantinan is the program engineering manager for the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Bolt EUV.
On the subject of going from one propulsion system to another, he admits, “I got converted pretty quickly,” adding, “I’ve turned from a piston guy to an EV guy. And I can’t see going back—other than as a toy.”
It is certainly good to be a strong believer in what you are doing. It makes doing it all the better and satisfying. And arguably results in a better outcome.
On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Mantinan talks about the development and characteristics of the Bolt EUV, which is based on the Bolt EV platform, but stretched in terms of overall length (it is 169.5 inches long vs. 163.2 inches) and wheelbase (105.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches), with most of the addition space being used for rear passenger legroom (39.1 inches vs. 36 inches).
From a styling point of view, Mantinan says that the Bolt EUV is moving the Bolt “to the mainstream”: it resembles more of a crossover than a five-door hatch.
And the Bolt EUV is being offered with tech that is only otherwise available on. . .Cadillacs.
That’s right. On a vehicle that starts under $40,000 Super Cruise Level 2+ tech can be obtained.
One of the topics—which seems to come up whenever EVs are discussed—is the range. The Bolt EUV range is an estimated 250 miles. When asked whether they considered providing enough battery to allow a greater range, Mantinan notes (1) for existing Bolt customers, the range has not been a problem and (2) they wanted to assure that the Bolt EUV was accessibly priced for the buyer who isn’t interested in making the hefty payments that are associated with some other brands: This is a Chevy. (In addition to which, GM will be bringing out an array of EVs—including some with the bowtie on the front—that will be using its Ultium battery technology, but that’s in the future and the Bolts are now.)
Mantinan talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Jeff Gilbert of WWJ-950, and me.
Then the three of us discuss a variety of subjects, including VW’s Power Day, Cruise Automation buying Voyage, Foxconn’s reported EV plant plans, and a whole lot more.
You can see it all here.