This more interesting than you're probably thinking.
According to GM Inside News, the automaker has just trademarked the ‘AV1’ name, though the application is still under review. Could this name be reserved for Chevrolet’s next all-electric vehicle, due in 2021? Probably not. Instead, chances are AV1 will be applied to GM’s upcoming autonomous vehicle fleet, currently in development with its Cruise Automation team. That commercial ride-hailing fleet, set to launch next year, will consist of vehicles based on the Bolt, and the AV1 moniker could be what we end up calling them.
Why not just keep the Bolt name for the fleet? Because GM is embarking on new territory here, so it makes sense to distinguish this fleet from the regular lineup. Also, GM promised some, if not all, of these self-driving cars will lack a steering wheel. The automaker is no stranger to embarking on new, and often controversial technologies. Its first EV was not the Chevrolet Bolt, but rather the EV1 – in 1996. On the one hand, you could say GM was ahead of its time, but the EV1 was really more of an experiment that covered several categories including battery technology. Production ended in 1999 with 1,117 examples built, all of which were subject to lease-only agreements in select U.S. states.
Put it like this: its lead-acid batteries were good for a range of just 70 to 100 miles. Today’s Chevy Bolt has a 238-mile range. The EV1 was also the subject of the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car”, a favorite amongst EV enthusiasts. We expect GM to make some major announcements in the coming months regarding the status of AV1 and its autonomous fleet in general.