GM has set its sights firmly on Tesla’s territory by unveiling a 200 mile battery electric car called the ‘Bolt’ at the North American International Show in Detroit today starting at around $30,000.
While specifications for the Bolt were leaked earlier this week GM have now confirmed at a glitzy and impressive announcement.
Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, said: “The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity. Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”
And the Bolt won’t just be a compliance car, promises GM. It will go on sale in all 50 states making it GM’s first modern fully-electric car to go on sale country-wide. The Spark EV, GM’s only other all-electric car, is on sale in just two states.
As with other electric cars, drivers will be able to change their driving mode to a style that suits them or how much range they want to eek out of the car. However, the Bolt will not only change the accelerator mapping but also “vehicle ride height and suspension tuning”.
The Chevrolet Bolt is a compact five-door hatchback, similar in shape to the BMW i3, with little front and back overhang to maximise the room inside the car.
Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design, said: “Form and function have never meshed so well together. No compromises were made when it came to aesthetics and the elements that contribute to the Bolt EV concept’s range, resulting in a unique proportion that’s sleek, efficient and obviously a Chevrolet.”
The 200 mile range places the car firmly in Tesla’s ‘long range EV’ territory and blows Nissan’s ‘double range’ LEAF out of the water.
In fact, a 200 mile range would give the Bolt more all-electric range than the BMW i3REx gets on its battery and petrol motor combined!
Thanks to our friends at GreenCarReports, we’ve even got video of the unveil:
GM haven’t skimped on the technology either. Again, possibly going for Tesla’s crown, the Bolt, through the Connect phone App, will be able to park itself once the driver has left the car and return to the owner’s location all by itself.
And then there’s the advertising, which as many in the plug-in world noted this weekend, could already have a pre-made mascot:
While it wasn’t confirmed by GM in their announcement the leaked information stated that the Bolt will be released as a 2017 model year car, meaning it could be on sale as soon as late-2016. Details such as battery size and how the range was calculated haven’t been announced either, so our guess is as good as yours at this point.
The name ‘Bolt’ has come under a fire for being a tad unimaginative and conjuring up the wrong images, but if the Bolt could be made to be quick enough off the line, advertising campaigns with the slogan of ‘a Bolt of lightning’ do spring to mind.
Owning the show?
With the Bolt announcement and the specifications for the 2016 Volt have been released it could be said that right now GM is ruling the autoshow – at least when it comes to alternatively fuelled vehicles.
We’ll be keeping an eye on what happens at the motor show all through today and will bring you more news as soon as it has been announced and digested.
Does this mark a turning point for GM? Would you consider buying the Bolt ? Or does the EV1 still haunt GM’s reputation? Let us know in the comments below.
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