General Motors (GM) must have gotten a pretty stellar response to the Chevy Bolt concept electric car that it unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show last month (heck, the Bolt even got the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune to interview me). Quickly after testing the waters, GM has just announced that it is serious about producing the Bolt, and today put out a press release stating that the long-range, affordable electric car will be built at the Orion Assembly facility in Michigan.
“Chevrolet this morning confirmed production of its next-generation pure electric vehicle, based on the Bolt EV concept. It will be built at General Motors’ Orion Assembly facility near Detroit,” the press release stated.
This announcement comes as a lead-in to the Chicago Auto Show. More importantly, I think it shows that GM wasn’t making a very premature announcement based on a hope of where battery technology would be in 2016. Not through production of a Gigafactory, of course, but GM has some way lined up to obtain low-cost, high-energy-density batteries that can provide the Bolt (a 100% electric car) with over 200 miles of range… while staying under $40,000. Whether Tesla-only fanatics or GM haters admit it, that is big news.
The other thing that this shows is that the response to the Bolt concept satisfied, or even surprised, GM.
“The message from consumers about the Bolt EV concept was clear and unequivocal: Build it,” said GM North America President Alan Batey. “We are moving quickly because of its potential to completely shake up the status quo for electric vehicles.”
Kudos to GM. Tesla is working on the Model 3 (which is expected to have similar specs and a similar price), while Nissan and Volkswagen are reportedly on the verge of announcing affordable, long-range electric cars. The race is on, and GM is not only in it, but may well be leading.
If any of these vehicles is first to market by a decent period of time, there’s a huge storehouse of demand waiting to snatch the vehicle up. Perhaps more importantly, the entries in this first wave of very long-range, affordable electric cars are going to identify their parent companies as technological market leaders, which could go a long way as the electric vehicle market blows up (look at what the Prius did for Toyota).
In the announcement that came out today, GM reiterated numbers it put out in January, while also emphasizing that the Bolt is a car it intends to sell all across the United States, in every state.
Leveraging the industry-leading battery technology found in the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, the Bolt EV concept was developed as a game-changing, long-range pure electric for all 50 states, designed to offer more than a GM-estimated 200 miles of range at a target price of around $30,000….
GM’s Orion Assembly, home of the Chevrolet Sonic sub-compact and Buick Verano luxury compact, and Pontiac Metal Center facilities are receiving a $200-million investment to support production of the next-generation electric vehicle. Orion will receive $160 million for tooling and equipment, and Pontiac will receive $40 million for new dies.
Again, kudos to GM, and I can’t wait to see the Chevy Bolt hit the market!
All images by GM (CC 3.0 License)