The Chevrolet Bolt, a subcompact electric car with 200 miles of range, is to go into production earlier than expected, just 20 months from now. According to a breaking news story early this morning, the Bolt will start production in October 2016–possibly as a 2017 model.
According to a Reuters exclusive this morning, the Bolt–or whatever it is finally named–will go into production at the Orion Township assembly plant in Michigan, where the Chevy Sonic subcompact is also built. Both cars will use underpinnings from GM’s so-called Gamma architecture, but the Bolt will have a flat battery pack under the floor, while the Sonic will use a conventional gasoline engine. According to the report, the production target for the longer-range electric car is 25,000 to 30,000 cars per year.
The price, as announced by GM CEO Mary Barra at last month’s Detroit Auto Show, will be $37,500–although she touted the price as a nice round $30,000, which nets out the Federal income-tax credit of $7,500 for purchase of a plug-in electric vehicle..
With production beginning late next year, the Bolt electric car would go on sale early in 2017–either as a 2017 or 2018 model. A companion model to be sold by GM’s German brand, Opel, will also be assembled at Orion Township and exported to Europe for sale there. The Orion Township plant now assembles both the current-generation Chevy Sonic, in hatchbackand sedan models, and the Buick Verano compact sedan.
The Sonic was launched as a 2012 model, and will be replaced by a new model during 2017.
Green Car Reports reached out to General Motors, whose spokesperson Annalisa Bluhm provided the following statement:
“Bolt EV Concept is just that – a concept. We’re currently evaluating the vehicle program, but do not have any production announcements to make at this time.”
Many commentators have suggested the Bolt will compete with the promised Tesla Model 3, also a 200-mile electric car with an expected price of $35,000, that is targeted for production sometime between late 2017 and 2019. But it is more likely to compete with the next generation Nissan Leaf, expected to be unveiled late this year or early next, which will go on sale as a 2017 model.