Orion Assembly Welcomes Back Local-built Bolt Ev for a Special Pitt Stop on Its Way to New York Climate Week

Sep 28, 2018 5:25 PM ET

Employees at General Motors' Orion Assembly plant recently held a homecoming ceremony for a very special Chevrolet Bolt EV. Pun intended, this locally-built EV was charged with traveling cross-country as part of the New American Road Trip, an 11-day, nearly 4,000-mile journey from the San Francisco Global Climate Action Summit to New York’s annual Climate Week.

The trip in part aimed to bring national attention to EVs while building momentum during local events between coasts, all in the name of fighting climate change. Events brought to the forefront stories of people, cities and technologies striving to fulfill the nation’s pledge to mitigate climate change, creating jobs and economic prosperity, reducing climate pollution and ensuring a clean energy future.

The Orion, Michigan-built Bolt EV made stops along several major U.S. cities as it made its way east. Highlights included:

  • San Francisco – the adventure kicked off nearly two weeks ago at the Global Climate Action Summit closing ceremony. California Governor Jerry Brown, local and state officials, business owners and other leaders pledged over 500 commitments to climate action and sent the Bolt EV on its mission to bring the summit’s “Call to Global Climate Action,” drive awareness and support, and engage with ordinary people, heroes and officials on its way to New York.

  • Las Vegas – the Bolt EV had its first official stop in Sin City, where casinos and entertainment venues are increasingly investing in renewable energy. Climate activists were joined by former New York Mayor and UN special envoy Michael Bloomberg and others for remarks and EV ride-and-drives.

  • Boulder, Colorado – Mayor Suzanne Jones and actress and comedian Jo Firestone hosted a variety of speakers, alternative energy vendors and ride-and-drives for local attendees. The Bolt EV was also able to charge up using EVmatch, a peer-to-peer network for EV charging.

  • St. Louis – Mayor Lyda Krewson and comedian Erica Rhodes celebrated local climate change heroes that included waste reduction and modern transit innovators during their own sustainability pep rally. Guests were also treated to sustainably-crafted beer, brewed with 100 percent renewable energy, thanks to Anheuser-Busch.

  • Pittsburg – a little rain couldn’t stop the speakers who braved the weather to participate in the NART’s final stop before it took on the Big Apple. We learned through Duquesne Light that EV registrations are up 30 percent in Pennsylvania, and Mayor Bill Peduto urged local leaders to embrace building a future economy through action.
  • New York – the tour concluded during the UN General Assembly and the 10th Climate Week on September 27, where the original pledge along with signatures gathered from the many stops across the road trip were delivered to the United Nations and received by the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy of Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake—a fitting end because it was she who charged the NART to take the pledge to the U.S. people.

Perhaps the most beloved stop on the journey was the Bolt EV’s homecoming to Orion, Michigan, where the UAW-GM Local 5960 team greeted the EV with open arms.

In an interview with Global Climate Action Summit, Orion Assembly Plant Director Jim Quick emphasized GM’s commitment to an electric future.

“We are creating a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion; we believe in a vision of an all-electric future, driven by battery electric and fuel cell electric technologies,” said Quick.

Plant employees added their names to the pledge and spent time discussing the Bolt EV’s fun road trip encounters as well as customer wants and needs related to EVs.

“We know our customers want shorter charging times, and we’re applying our technical savvy to help achieve this,” added Quick. “One example: we’ll deliver a prototype vehicle capable of a 180-mile range with less than 10 minutes of charging to Delta Electronics for official testing as part of a new U.S. Department of Energy initiative.”

The NART was organized by Purpose with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Hewlett Foundation, the JPB Foundation, the IKEA Foundation and Climate Works Foundation.

At General Motors we believe there’s economic opportunity and a social imperative in lowering emissions and addressing climate change. To learn more, see How GM Moves forward, Sustainably in our 2017 Sustainability Report.