Just one month after it made its world debut as a concept car at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, General Motors has confirmed that the 200-mile all-electric Chevrolet Bolt will enter into production.
Confirming the rumors we’d heard last week, GM North America President Alan Batey said that General Motors would build the subcompact four-seat plug-in car at the same Orion Assembly facility in Michigan as the current-generation Sonic. Based on the same platform as the next-generation 2017 Sonic, it makes sense for the Orion facility to handle both subcompact cars.
In an official statement made accompanying the announcement, Batey said that GM was keen to make its mark on the electric vehicle world again.
“The message from consumers about the Bolt EV concept was clear and unequivocal: Built it,” he said. ‘We are moving quickly because of its potential to completely shake up the status quo for electric vehicles.”
In its concept car form, the Chevrolet Bolt was heavy on both electric car and communications technology, featuring a next-generation battery pack and on-board DC quick charge capability as well as full smartphone integration and promised third-party apps to make it easy for the long-range plug-in to be used in car hire and ride-sharing schemes.
Via the announcement, GM also reiterated some key points about the Bolt which should put the minds of those who worried that it might be another so-called ‘compliance car’ at ease: the production car — we’re going to use the name ‘Bolt’ until we have cause to use something different — will be sold in all fifty U.S. states, offer more than 200-miles of range on GM’s own internal estimates, and sell for a target price of around $30,000.
What isn’t clear yet is if GM’s ‘in-house’ range tallies with the EPA range at all, or indeed if the quoted $30,000 price tag is before or after incentives.
What we can tell you however, is that the Orion Assembly facility and Pontiac Metal Centre facilities where the Bolt will be made will receive a $200 million cash injection in order to prepare it for manufacturing GM’s next-generation plug-in.
Of the total $200 million investment, $160 million will be spent at Orion for tooling and equipment, while the Pontiac Metal Centre will receive $40 million to enable it to produce the new dies needed to stamp the correct body parts for the Bolt.
Don’t think though that the Orion factory isn’t already dong its bit to become green: as GM details in its official press release, the facility is already home to a 350 kilowatt solar array that not only powers the facility but also feeds enough electricity back to the local grid to power 45 homes. Meanwhile, gas from a local landfill site is used to provide the rest of the facility’s power needs, preventing an estimated 6,300 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year.
“We’re proud that Chevrolet has decided to produce the Bolt EV here in Michigan at the Orion Assembly facility,” Gov. Rick Snyder said of today’s announcement. “Michigan unquestionably remains the global automotive leader. Chevrolet is tapping a skilled workforce that includes some of the most talented and hard-working people in the world for this cutting-edge vehicle. Chevrolet is an important part of our state’s automotive history, and Michigan-made products like the Bolt EV point to a bright future as well.”
Now the Bolt is confirmed for production, we’re sure to hear more about it in the coming months. For now however, there are two as-yet unanswered questions we haven’t been able to find the answer to: what the production version of the vehicle will ultimately be named; and if it will enter production next year as a 2017 model, or the year after.
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