Just a month after making its world debut at the Detroit Auto Show, General Motors has confirmed that it will build the 200-mile Chevy Bolt electric vehicle. Details on will be forthcoming later throughout the year, but according to GM, consumers were clear in their desire to see the Bolt get built.
“The message from consumers about the Bolt EV concept was clear and unequivocal: Build it,” said Batey. “We are moving quickly because of its potential to completely shake up the status quo for electric vehicles.” At about half the price as the Tesla Model S but with nearly as much range, the Bolt could be the EV gamechanger the market has been waiting for. More importantly, it could arrive before any other contenders, like the next-gen Nissan LEAF or Tesla Model III, and GM seems to realize the importance of being an early mover.
Of course its one thing to make big promises based on a concept car, and another thing to bring those promises to production. The Chevy Volt Concept was a much different car from the Chevy Volt we all know and (mostly) love. The main areas of concern is the 200-mile range, and the $30,000 price tag, which (it should be noted) factors in the $7,500 Federal tax credit. If GM can manage to hit those marks though, they’ll have an incredibly compelling electric vehicle to sell people on…and you can count me as one of the first to get in line.
GM is investing $160 million into its Orion Assembly plant to retool the facility for production, and another $40 million at the Pontiac plant for new machining dies.The Orion Assembly plant is powered by a huge solar array and natural gas scavenged from two nearby landfills, adding to the green credibility of the Bolt.
While GM hasn’t specifically said when Bolt production will begin, earlier rumors indicated the electric car would go on sale by the end of 2016. If that holds true, it could be GM that ends up disrupting the conventional auto industry, and not Tesla as so many industry analysts expected. Wouldn’t that be something?