GM Will Build and Test Thousands of Autonomous Bolts Starting in 2018

Over the past year, GM execs have mentioned the American automaker would manufacture and deploy autonomous vehicles in ride-sharing fleets, but never released when this would actually happen and with whom as a partner, even though it was assumed it would be Lyft, given GM's investment.

An autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV shown running at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

The Los Angeles Bolt expansion comes a week after Maven announced its expansion into the car-sharing market of Atlanta.

When can I buy a Chevy Bolt EV electric vehicle?

The City of Los Angeles said in a statement that it wants "to evolve mobility and provide easier, more sustainable and more convenient options for Angelenos to navigate the city".

As reported, Maven City auto sharing in Los Angeles has seen an average of 56% member growth month over month since launching in October 2016, and Maven will leverage this existing platform, as well as in-city infrastructure, fleet management capabilities and operational insights, to help advance the City of Los Angeles' Sustainable City pLAn.

As part of the roll out, Maven will work with electric charging infrastructure companies to help build a more robust EV network.

Maven is now available in 17 cities in the United States and Canada, with more than 24,000 members and 27,500 reservations to date. The automaker also says that the average trip length is 12 hours and 121 miles - meaning that users are likely booking a auto for a full day to run errands or commute to work - or both.

Loading the Maven and Express Drive fleets with GM's new electric vehicle helps achieve several goals: It introduces the auto to possible customers and helps it test out infrastructure needed for electric autonomous cars.

And Maven's not the only fleet application for the Bolt EV in LA, either.

It's one of several efforts to add a dash of Silicon Valley to GM's core business of designing, making, and selling motor vehicles. In addition to being available in Maven City carsharing, the Bolt will be offered in the Lyft Express Drive program in Los Angeles.

Of course, existing Maven members in the city may already have learned that they can test-drive a Bolt EV through the service, without the involvement of any dealership sales staff.

  • Zachary Reyes