Less than a year ago, all we knew about the name ‘Chevrolet Bolt’ was that it had been trademarked by General Motors, possibly for use in a future vehicle.
Then this spring, shortly after GM CEO Mary Barra unveiled a 200-mile all-electric concept car called the Chevrolet Bolt at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, we learned that GM intended to bring the Bolt to market as an affordable, long-range all-electric model as early as October next year.
Since then, we’ve heard little about the Bolt, save for the news that the US Patents and Trademarks Office has granted GM use of the Bolt EV trademark — as opposed to just ‘Bolt’ — as the official name for its $35,000 plug-in. But while we’ve heard little from GM officially, its engineers have been hard at work turning the Bolt Concept car into a production-ready model.
But as our friends over at Autobloggreen detail — via some spy shots they’ve obtained from photographer Chris Doane — GM is already road-testing the Bolt in public, fourteen months ahead of its planned production debut.
Sadly, those road tests come complete with the obligatory automaker camouflage that’s pretty much compulsory on any pre-production prototype until the model has received its official production reveal. To the casual observer and the keen lens of the automotive spy, this makes it tough to discern exactly what the car looks like under the camouflage, making it tough to see if there’s been any chances to design between the concept we saw in Detroit and the current engineering prototype.
What is clearly visible however, is that the rear tailgate of the Bolt looks to have been given a fairly substantial update. In addition to a rear wiper — not on the concept car — we note the license plate is substantially higher on the camouflaged test car than it was on the prototype, leaving us to suspect that GM may be doing away with the two-piece glass rear tailgate of the concept car in favor of a more conventional hatch with just one single pane of glass.
The rest of the car looks fairly similar to the concept however, leading us to believe that aside from a few changes to make it appear less-like a concept car and more like a production vehicle, the Bolt’s current design hasn’t strayed far from the original car.
That said, we’re still a full fifteen or sixteen months away from the car’s official production date, so it’s conceivable some of the smaller details could change yet.
With a promised range of 200-miles per charge, the GM Chevy Bolt will likely enter the market at the same time as Nissan’s next-generation LEAF electric hatchback, and a year or so before the highly-anticipated Tesla Model ≡ enters production.
All expected to be priced between $30,000 and $35,000, all three cars could become direct competitors in the marketplace, meaning we’re in for some very exciting plug-in car sales battles in the not-too-distant future.
Watch this space.
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