GM officials -- fired, retired and current -- have said killing the EV1 was one of the worst decisions the company ever made. But in the Bolt, GM's current management team sees a shot at redemption.
"The people who let EV1 perish are not here," Mark Reuss, GM's current head of product development, wrote in a Facebook post last week. "The people who make Volts, Bolts, etc. are here engineering and making them. ... Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."
On paper, at least, the battery-powered Bolt looks like a winner. It's EPA-rated to go 238 miles on a charge, farther than some versions of the Tesla Model S. And its price of $30,000 after tax rebates puts it in line with the typical new car.
One signal that GM will stick with the Bolt, even if it doesn't light up the sales scoreboard, is its groundbreaking sibling, the Volt plug-in hybrid. The first-generation Volt never met sales expectations, and GM could have justified axing it.
Instead, GM engineers rolled up their sleeves and went to work making the second-generation Volt better. It's faster, lighter, far more efficient and less expensive than the original. And it's putting up some of its strongest sales numbers ever: 14,295 units this year through August, up nearly 72 percent.
But that EV1 retreat has GM still playing catch-up. In August alone, Toyota sold 12,984 Prius vehicles -- down 27 percent from a year earlier but still six times the Volt's sales.