It turns out that 2016's best electric car-related Internet prank isn’t the Tesla Model 3 after all. (Don’t worry, you’ll be able to buy one someday. Really, you will.) It was this, the shockingly elaborate website for the Chevrolet Jolt, a car that is 100 percent not real.
The site, which apparently popped up today, purports to show Chevrolet’s new all-electric sports car, a stylish (if Eclipse-looking) two-door coupe called the Jolt. You know, like Bolt or Volt. (Update: It’s actually the old Chevrolet Tru 140S concept car. Remember that?)
I’ll cop to some extreme shock when this came across my Twitter feed today. It’s May, with no auto shows in sight, and Chevrolet has given absolutely zero indication that they’re working on an electric sports car, let alone a two-door version of the Bolt or something similar. No press release, no big reveal, no news anywhere.
And yet here we are! If it’s on the internet, it has to be real, right?
Wrong. The Jolt is not real, according to Chevy spokesman who confirmed the website is not theirs and that the car shown is not any kind of future General Motors product.
But like I said, the fake site is surprisingly elaborate. It includes details on the car’s range, pricing and performance—230 miles, $30,000 after the federal tax credit, a respectable zero to 60 mph time of five seconds flat—and much more. The fake Jolt also boasts a 10.2-inch diagonal tablet display, 4G LTE wifi like any good GM car these days, and a host of safety systems. The website even nailed the Chevrolet fonts and colors pretty well.
It actually sounds like a compelling car, especially if it happened to be rear-wheel drive—maybe even built on GM’s Alpha platform like a Camaro or a Cadillac ATS. Alas, it is not real, even though it has a Twitter and a Facebook presence.
Some cursory digging reveals the site was registered by GoDaddy to someone located in Arizona. I called the number it was registered to and got a generic customer service phone line.
So who put it up? Is it a viral art project? A design project for some kind of school? An experiment to see who many people think it’s real? Bored Elon Musk finding a way to kill an afternoon? Your guess is as good as mine. Feel free to post your theories in the comments.
Update: Our pals at Road & Track found the secret about page for the Jolt, and it reveals the site is from a guy named Matt Teske, who describes himself as a branding and marketing consultant:
In the end, my goal with building this website, the brand of Jolt EV and the supporting assets, is to prove that the market is hungry for more EV options. Chevrolet has a golden opportunity to combine their new EV platform with one of their existing concepts to produce a very exciting vehicle that will only further cement the Chevrolet brand as the leading automaker on the planet.
And Chevrolet, if you are reading this, I am one of your customers. I drive a 2016 Chevrolet Volt and my wife drives a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV. That said, I am also a Tesla Model 3 reservation holder. But if you were to build this idea of mine, the Jolt EV, and develop an EV savvy dealership network that includes DC fast charging, you will get my business instead.
Am I alone in this? I honestly don’t think so. I think consumers are hungry for more EV options, and I think that this proposal for the Jolt EV will help to prove that theory. I only hope that like myself, other consumers hungry for innovation from traditional automotive brands can see beyond what has been a lack of vision and truly be excited for the Jolt EV that could be in their driveway in no time at all.