It wowed audiences at this year’s 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit — and now it looks like the Chevrolet Bolt will become a production vehicle much earlier than GM had ever hinted.
Announced on Friday in an exclusive report by Reuters, sources at two separate General Motors suppliers have independently confirmed that the all-electric, 200-mile subcompact will enter production at the Orion Township assembly plant in Michigan in October next year.
The car will then likely go on sale as a 2017 model-year Chevrolet some time late next year or early 2017, although the name of the car and details of its final specifications are yet unknown.
As with any concept car that makes it to production, don’t expect the Chevrolet Bolt that we saw in Detroit to be the final version of GM’s production long-range electric car. If we had to guess, some of the Bolt Concept Car’s high-tech features — such as its inclusion of ride-sharing management software and return-to-owner valet parking capabilities — are likely to be at least toned down for a near-future production model.
For now, however, GM isn’t confirming or denying the rumors.
“Bolt EV Concept is just that – a concept,” GM spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm told GreenCarReports on Friday. “We’re currently evaluating the vehicle program, but do not have any production announcements to make at this time.”
Although specifications and production details for this important electric car are sparse, we can tell you that Production Chevrolet Bolt will share its production platform with the next-generation Chevrolet Sonic. Called the GM Gamma G2SC, the all-new platform is GM’s latest global small car platform, with previous generation Gamma platforms underpinning cars like the Chevrolet Spark and Vaxuhall/Opel Mokka.
The attentive will note that this fact ties a production Chevrolet Bolt in nicely with rumors from many months ago which said GM was developing an electric Sonic EV and does make us wonder if the Bolt will be renamed as the Sonic EV for production. Given the fact that the current-generation Chevrolet Sonic is also made at the Orion Township assembly plant, we think there’s bound to be some crossover between both models.
As for Europe? Reuters says the Bolt — or whatever it will be called — will be produced under a Chevrolet badge for North America as well as an Opel/Vauxhall badge for Europe, meaning it is also the long-range all-electric car promised to European customers by Opel when it announced it would no-longer sell the Chevrolet Volt/Opel Ampera in Europe.
When it was unveiled as a concept car last month, GM said the Chevrolet Bolt would go on sale for an expected price of around $30,000, and offer a range of up to 200 miles per charge, with basic autonomous driving capabilities for low-speed manoeuvring and CCS quick charging as standard.
That lead many to say the Bolt would become the natural competitor to the upcomingTesla Model ≡, given its similar range and price point. Like our learned friends at GreenCarReports however, we’re expecting it to cross shop with the next-generation Nissan LEAF.
Given that car is also due to debut as a 2017 model-year car with a 200+ mile range, we think next year is going to be very interesting indeed.
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