Rumor: Chevrolet Bolt Electric Car Heading to Europe in Limited Numbers as Opel/Vauxhall Model

It’s been one of the hottest cars of the 2015 auto show season, going from a concept car at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show to one which had the green-light for production by the Chicago Auto Show a month later.

Now it appears the Chevrolet Bolt, General Motors’ first long-range electric car, might just be heading to Europe when production starts late in 2016/early 2017, wearing an Opel/Vauxhall badge.

Rumor: The Chevy Bolt could be coming to Europe, rebadged as an Opel or Vauxhall.

Rumor: The Chevy Bolt could be coming to Europe, rebadged as an Opel or Vauxhall.

The rumour, viaAutomotive News Europe (subscription required) and courtesy of insiders at GM, suggests that initial sales volumes would be kept low to properly assess market demand and response.

Given GM’s past history with plug-in cars in Europe, that’s hardly surprising. Back in 2012 following the massive success of its first-generation Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car in its home market of North America, GM introduced a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Volt into the European market called the Opel Ampera. Identical to the Volt in most respects, it wore redesigned fenders and offered identical functionality to the Volt, but in a package that was deemed more appealing to European tastes.

In a few European markets, GM also sold the Chevrolet Volt in its original guise, offering customers the choice between the Opel Ampera (Vauxhall Ampera in the UK) or Chevrolet Volt.

Rumours are yet to be confirmed by GM, but we'd say it's a possibility.

Rumours are yet to be confirmed by GM, but we’d say it’s a possibility.

Priced higher than the all-electric Nissan LEAF in Europe and only capable of seating four, both the Volt and Ampera suffered poor sales volume, leaving GM to pull both models out of the European market.

At the time that withdrawal was announced, Opel/Vauxhall CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann hinted that while Europeans wouldn’t get the second-generation Chevrolet Volt when it launched in 2015, they would get a European-market all-electric model.

Most, including us, had presumed this model would be an all-electric version of the all-new Opel Karl city car — sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Viva — but sources talking to Automotive News say they believe GM is now more likely to bring a rebadged Chevy Bolt to Europe rather than an electrified version of the brand new subcompact.

That said, we feel it’s important to note here that the Chevrolet Bolt and the Opel Kadet are both built on the GM G2SC platform — the next-generation of GM’s subcompact Gamma platform — along with the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Sonic.

Would you like an Opel/Vauxhall Bolt?

Would you like an Opel/Vauxhall Bolt?

While that doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily see the Bolt’s drivetrain and battery pack put inside the Kadet, it does tell us that it is at least possible, since the G2SC platform, as with many next-generation car platforms, has been designed with modular manufacturing and multiple drivetrains in mind.

Do you think the Bolt will head to Europe? Would you like to own one? Or do you worry that Europeans will baulk at the likely €27,000 sticker price?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • Matt Beard

    The Bolt will definitely be on my list of options when my latest EV lease is up. Assuming it is available.

  • Ad van der Meer

    Unless they produce the Bolt in Europe the price is going to be significantly higher than u20ac27000. For the EU there is a 10% import tax and than there is the VAT. I expect the price to be closer to u20ac37000.

    • Ezzy

      And didn’t GM shut down the factory where Ampera was produced?

  • Surya

    Low numbers? Really? Will they ever learn?nAt u20ac27.000 this should do well, but like Ad, I don’t think that will be the actual sticker price in most countries. Not including VAT.

  • DKeane123

    While I like the Volt, I don’t think this is an accurate statement: “massive success of its first-generation Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car in its home market of North America”

  • vdiv

    GM is dangling the carrot (the Bolt is orange) two years before it is out. Why?

  • cma0651

    Me want some bolt

  • Ezzy

    27ku20ac would make it about the same as VW e-UP!, but unlikely it’ll be sub-30ku20ac in Finland though. Maybe pre-car tax, which is 5% for EV’s.

    • gok

      would need to compare more favourably in terms of price with the LEAF which starts around u20ac21k in Ireland. u20ac27k is a lot for a very average marque. Lessons learnt from first time around?

      • Ezzy

        Leaf starts at 36ku20ac here 🙁 And no incentives.

  • The problem isn’t the car it’s GM inhibition to make a supercharging infrastructure similar to Tesla. You can’t rely on public chargers to meet the needs of the user of this car if built in big numbers. There is no way for the driver to know if the public chargers are available or working. The public chargers are slow and break down for long periods of time.

    • Ezzy

      And they should just use Tesla’s open patents…they’re so far ahead with SuperChargers churning out almost 140 kW.

  • The supply of battery cells for the Bolt + Volt is said to be under 30,000 Bolt and 30,000 Volt combined based on the output of the existing factory and expansion to use the entire facility. I fail to understand the rationale for shipping a car to Europe that could effectively be sold out at this lower production level in North America.

  • jeffsongster

    Over in the US I just got another Leaf for our home fleet. With my wife and I vying to drive the one we had… as well as a soon to be driving daughter, it made sense not to wait for next generation. I will wait for Nissan’s next vehicle rather than Chevy,Opel,Vauxhall… since this still seems like vapor until it arrives. Nissan’s electric vehicles are proven successes, Love our ‘Leafs’… (sure seems like it should be ‘Leaves’)

  • UKIP Kiddie

    When wireless charging comes in, together with cars that do a minimum of 200 miles per charge, then these vehicles will take off big time.

    • Ezzy

      It’s funny, I only just heard that wireless EV charging has been a thing in South Korea for years…

      • UKIP Kiddie

        That just goes to show how far behind this country is in this respect.

    • Wireless is a great idea except for the efficiency problem:nnhttp://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_charging#Disadvantages