At the start of 2015, General Motors surprised the automotive world by unveiling the Chevrolet Bolt EV — a 200-mile all-electric concept car — at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At the time, GM CEO Mary Barra described the Bolt as a concept car which represented what a future, affordable all-electric crossover could look like, but it then took GM just a month to confirm that based on overwhelming positive feedback from its Detroit debut, the Bolt would enter into production in late 2016 as a 2017 model year car.
Despite confirming production however, GM executives admitted fairly quickly that confusion over the similarly-sounding Chevrolet Volt range extended electric car and Chevrolet Bolt EV meant that GM hadn’t decided if the car would keep the name given to the concept car or get a new, less confusing one.
It hasn’t helped either that the Bolt’s unveiling as a concept car coincided with the official unveiling of the all-new, second-generation Chevrolet Volt, which will go on sale later this year as a 2016 model year car.
Now it appears GM top brass have finally made a decision on the naming of the car with the announcement from GM that the Chevrolet Bolt EVwill remain the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The only difference between it and the Chevrolet Volt when spoken? Those two all-important letters: E and V.
Made in an email statement to The Detroit News yesterday, a GM spokesperson said that the Chevrolet Bolt name, despite being almost indistinguishable from the Chevrolet Volt name to most ears, had already become synonymous with the brand.
“Since unveiling the Bolt EV three months ago, the name has quickly become associated with Chevrolet,” an official spokesperson said. “Therefore, we will use this name when the vehicle goes into production.”
Ever since the Chevrolet Bolt was unveiled in January, many news outlets — including this one — have pointed out many reasons why “Chevrolet Bolt” is a bad name for GM’s long-range electric car. Even some GM insiders we’ve talked to admit there’s been internal confusion over the name.
But in an interview with the USA Today, GM’s marketing chief Tim Mahoney said that the confusion has turned out to be a good thing, saying that the association between Bolt and Volt “connotes good things,” and that confusion between the two cars “can be an advantage” in the marketplace given how well-known the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car is in some markets across the U.S.
As part of its decision-making process into the finalisation of the Bolt’s name, GM reached out to many of its customers and dealers and found a great deal of support for the name.
“[They affirmed] our belief that the name is a good fit and the association with Volt was seen as a positive,” GM said in an official statement.
We’re guessing that GM may have not asked the opinion of that many Spanish-speaking customers, for whom the letters “B” and “V” are pronounced almost identically.
Based on the all-new GM Gamma G2SC platform — a platform shared by the next-generation Chevrolet Sonic and Opel Corsa F cars — the Chevrolet Bolt EV will enter into production next year at the Orion manufacturing facility in Michigan where the current-generation Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic are built. With officials at GM confirming the Bolt is on a “fast track to production,” most insiders say that the Bolt should enter into production some time next fall, arriving on dealer lots late next year as a 2017 model year car.
If those predictions are accurate, it would closely mimic the launch strategy of the original 2011 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car, which entered into production in the latter half of 2010 and began deliveries in key U.S. markets in December that year.
For its production, expect the Chevrolet Bolt EV to lose some of the high-tech features and four-seat layout of the Bolt concept car for a more practical, everyday interior with seating for five. Given the Bolt will be sold nationwide at all Chevrolet dealers, we’re guessing a production model will tone down its futuristic edge a little, just as the Production Volt did in 2011 when compared to the Chevy Volt concept car which went before.
What mustn’t change however, is range and price: at a promised 200-miles of range per charge and $37,500 price tag before Federal and state incentives, the Bolt is going to be a tough car to beat in the electric car marketplace.
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