I Figured Out How Chevy Can Sell A Ton Of Bolts And It Involves Tesla

Illustration for article titled I Figured Out How Chevy Can Sell A Ton Of Bolts And It Involves Tesla
Screenshot: Chevrolet/Jason Torchinsky/Tesla

By now you’ve possibly heard that there’s a new Chevy Bolt coming, and it’s going to have a very competitive range of 259 miles and a very competitive price of just under $32,000. You likely haven’t heard all that much about it because even though it’s a modern, capable EV built by a company that’s been building cars in quantity for over a century, it’s not a Tesla. And, as a not-Tesla EV, nobody gives a shit about it. But I have a plan to fix that, a way for Chevy to really sell a crapton of Bolts. And it involves a whole new kind of engineering.

You’ve heard of reverse engineering, right? Where a company takes a competitor’s product and figures out how it works? And you of course know about badge engineering, where a carmaker slaps its name on some other carmaker’s car to somehow make money, yeah? Well, consider this concept: reverse brand engineering.

What I’m suggesting is that Chevrolet needs to work out a licensing deal with Tesla that lets them offer an option to sell people Bolts re-branded as a Tesla. Let’s call it the Tesla Model 2.

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It could be one of the Bolt’s trim packages, like this:

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Screenshot: Chevrolet

The TLS trim package is the one we’re talking about here. This package would offer a full Chevy badge/bowtie delete, ideally even in the little white print in the corners of the windows, too. No Chevy badging anywhere, as that will all be replaced with Tesla badges, which includes a new faux-grille panel without Chevy’s distinctive diamond pattern.

So, we’d go from this:

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Screenshot: Chevrolet
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...to this:

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Screenshot: Chevrolet/Jason Torchinsky/Tesla
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Just the nose badge, the “grille” panel, and a Tesla badge on the tailgate, along with a MODEL 2 badge. Oh, and wheels without the Chevy logo.

There would be an adapter included so you could charge your disguised Bolt at any Tesla Supercharger station, and then be able to rub well-lotion’d, world-saving elbows with fellow Tesla owners, where you can talk about Bitcoin and make jokes with the numbers 69 and 420 in them.

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Also, all of the Bolt’s instruments will get a UI re-skin to match Tesla’s look-and-feel (this is easy! It’s just software on a screen!) and the Bolt’s center-stack infotainment display screen will get a similar makeover, along with some ability to run Tesla infotainment applications, like the one that makes fart sounds or shows a fireplace or plays Atari games. 

Hardware permitting, it should just run some licensed variant of Tesla’s infotainment software, but even if it’s just emulated or copied, that’ll probably be just fine.

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Also, it should have GM’s SuperCruise Level 2 semi-autonomy system installed, just re-named Autopilot SC. This could be considered an upgrade, depending on who you ask, even.

Another very important part here is the very obviously Tesla-branded key fob. This should be big and showy and unmistakably Tesla. The key is key.

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All that, plus a glossy 8x10 headshot of Elon Musk, ideally signed and with some sort of Tesla Certificate of Authenticity printed on the back, to be produced in case of arguments from gate-keeping Tesla owners, should complete the package.

I’m telling you, with this package, Chevy will move Bolts like they were electric hotcakes. It’s got everything people want in a modern electric car: a Tesla badge!

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Plus, unlike a Tesla-built Tesla, the Model 2 will have bumpers that stay on in the rain and novel Sta-Put™ roofs and the parts and service side of things won’t be a total mess.

As far as what Tesla gets out of it, I guess it’s mostly money from their sweet licensing deal with GM, and an entry-level model below the Model 3 on the road with zero effort from them. Plus, plenty of brand visibility, too!

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Also, it may help Tesla’s perceived reliability, kind of like how Pontiac benefited that way when it sold Toyota Matrixes as Pontiac Vibes. Kinda.

This is really Chevy’s best bet to finally get people buying Bolts, because, as we’ve already seen with the perfectly fine first-gen Bolt, nobody really gives a rat’s rectum about them. But mainstream culture is absolutely smitten with Tesla, for reasons that transcend logic.

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Why fight it, Chevy? Just pay Elon some cash and start slapping Tesla Ts on your Bolts, and watch those things fly off the lots. You think I’m kidding, but deep down, you know there’s some painful truth here.

As always, you can just Venmo me my cut.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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DISCUSSION

kaiserserser
Kaiserserser

This plan relies on the average Tesla buyer being a blindly brand loyal idiot who just wants to be able to say they drive a Tesla for their social status and don’t actually care about having the best car.

So it should work flawlessly because that’s 100% true.