Chevy Bolt EV to ship to dealers NOW
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, a pure-electric vehicle with a 200-mile-plus range, will begin shipping to dealers in the fourth quarter, General Motors Co. North America President Alan Batey said Wednesday.
Batey told reporters that the car — expected to be priced around $30,000 after a federal tax rebate — will sell below the average sales price of a vehicle sold in the U.S.
“We’re pioneering here with a product that the world’s never seen,” Batey said.
GM and Chevrolet have not released the care’s exact expected range or its price.
The Bolt is an important vehicle for Chevrolet and GM. Batey said Chevy is working on different ways to launch the car and interact with customers, but he said it was too early to disclose those ideas. The Bolt, unlike some EVs, will be available to buy in all 50 states.
It will be produced at the company’s Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township. Some test cars have already been spotted locally in recent weeks.
The company will be introducing the pure electric vehicle at a time when gas prices are low and consumer’s appetites for EVs remains lukewarm.
Batey said GM and Chevy had success with the launch of the redesigned Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric, which gets an estimated 53 miles in electric mode before a gas engine kicks on for total range of 420 miles.
Volt sales are up 74.5 percent through the first half of the year to about 9,800 sold. The car is quickly turning on dealer lots and has grown retail market share by half a percentage point. Average sales prices for the Volt are up about $1,700 in the first half of 2016 compared to the same months a year ago.
Navigant Research predicts sales of battery and plug-in electric vehicles in North America will grow more than 60 percent this year to nearly 200,000. The firm says growth will come from the Volt, the Bolt EV, Tesla Model X, Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric. Electric vehicle sales growth is expected to continue in 2017 and 2018, the firm predicts.
Bolt said the Bolt EV is on a crossover-type platform, has seating for five, lots of interior room and will be loaded with leading technology.
The company has not disclosed its sales expectations for the Bolt EV, but some analysts think GM could sell around 30,000 a year.
“This is on the leading edge of technology. This is preparing ourselves for tomorrow and the future,” Batey said. “This isn’t going to be the best-selling vehicle. It was never designed to be our best selling. This was designed for us to be able to get out, to be able to real world, to continue our leadership.”
The Bolt EV will be out well before the Tesla Model 3, which Batey said gives them an opportunity for some 18 months of real world experience over the rival. The Tesla Model 3 is slated to go on sale around the end of next year for about $35,000. Earlier this year, some 300,000 people put down $1,000 deposits for the Model 3.
Robert Grothe's Sidebar: I got to test drive one of these new Chevy Bolt's last week at a Chevy dealership (available most lots now) near where I work and this is one SWEET ride. Along with all the new car features and touch screen command center that let's you control and monitor the cars electrical systems. It also acts like an entertainment/internet center for the car other times. The power acceleration was excellent, the handling smooth, tight steering that left me feeling in total control of the car even at steep curves on the on-ramp to interstate highways. The auto-regen level 1 was amazing with it's one petal driving. Took a few stop/goes to get use to it's gradual braking distance. (the brake petal still works for hard braking) No more stepping on the brakes as the car auto breaks for you and generates electricity back into the batteries while doing it, extending the range of the batteries by up to 25%. AMAZING! Coming to a complete stop in only a few seconds. I easily got use to it in less than ten minutes. And the acceleration was very good. And with the 238 miles available between charges I'd say Chevy got this one right. The charge rate using a level 2 charger of 25 miles/hour was abit slow for my taste, but the manual says you don't have to wait for batteries to run down completely before recharging. In fact they suggest you use supplemental charging during the day so batteries never run down completely. Makes sense, but will require me to think more about finding charge stations at places I stop/park at for more than an hour. (command center shows map of closest Level 2 charging stations) But that's a lifestle change I'm willing to make and will become routine soon enough because the rest of the car experience feels so good to go totally green with the car. For those questioning this last staement solar panels on the house provide a large chunk of the free fuel.