$30,000 & 200-Mile Electric Chevy Bolt Concept Set To Debut In Detroit

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

That’s the word on the street, at least. According to the Wall Street Journal (you know, the best source in the world for breaking electric vehicle news /s), General Motors (GM) will be bringing a CUV concept to the Detroit Auto Show next week to supplement Chevy Volt 2.0. However, if it is really an all-electric CUV with (theoretical) 200 miles of range and a (planned) price tag of $30,000, then the Volt is the sidekick.

The name of this Tesla Model 3 competitor? The previously trademarked Chevy Bolt.


According to the leaked info, the Bolt will hit the market in 2017 and be sold in all 50 states. In case you don’t follow this industry super closely, I’ll inform you that the Tesla Model 3 is also supposed to be released in 2017 (if all goes according to plan with the Gigafactory… and everything else), and the price is supposed to be ~$35,000 (that is, ~half the price of the Tesla Model S). Granted, Tesla’s Model 3 is expected to have a bit more attractive performance stats… and the Tesla badge. Still, this is getting exciting.

While Nissan and Volkswagen have both made bold statements about long-range, affordable electric cars (see Nissan’s here and Volkswagen’s here), this is the first I’ve heard of a major manufacturer announcing a specific concept vehicle that can — in some ways, at least — compete with the Model 3 concept. (Also note that GM has been talking about such a car for years, so this is no sudden and rash move or claim.)

And let’s not forget that GM, by many standards, knocked the ball out of the park with the Chevy Volt, its “moon shot.” Given the technology available at the time, GM created one of the most attractive electrified vehicles on the road. Its owners and lessees have been immensely happy with the Volt. Prior to the Model S coming onto the scene and dominating Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys, the Chevy Volt was #1 for two years in a row.

We’ll be sure to get you some actual pictures of the Chevy Bolt concept as soon as we can. Chris and Tina will be on the ground in Detroit starting Sunday.

Of course if this news is all for real, then it will probably hasten similar efforts, and maybe announcements, from other EV frontrunners and manufacturers that we can’t quite call frontrunners but at least seem interested in offering decent electric vehicles for decent prices. Grouping them all together, this would include: Nissan, BMW, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, and Ford.

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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69 thoughts on “$30,000 & 200-Mile Electric Chevy Bolt Concept Set To Debut In Detroit

  • Bring it on! Would make 2017 a very big year for EVs.

  • So the real news is that the “Volt 2.0” that GM will sell this year has a 65 mile all electric range. Apparently to be confirmed on Monday. That nugget was hidden in the Detroit auto news. I am surprised that the buzz is not bigger. Perhaps its all nonsense. But if not it is a game changer.

    • Hmm, did *not* see that. That would also be great if true. Wow.

      • Would that not mean that the five cycle range of the Volt would be the same as the leaf, or the Smart Electric?

      • Yes, Zachary, please check it out. We’d all like to know if it is true. You can already see how many hold outs would throw in the towel and go electric if it turns out the case. It is, after al, only a 15 mile range increase. That could be done through efficiency and power density without many costly changes.
        It is about a 33% increase in electric range.

        • Correction….a 25 mile increase in range not 15. Early morning, sorry! Nice mistake though.

    • Hmm . . . I doubt a 65 mile electric range. I hope to be proven wrong.

  • Chevy makes 200 mile EV? Queue up everyone else to do the same thing. It begins…

    • Chevy is doing this because Tesla lead the way.

      • No, GM is clearly in the lead. I know it hurts.

        • GM is doing great on electrified vehicles. My point though is that the threat of the Model 3 is forcing GM to build this. GM would rather keep building gas cars because they are more profitable. But CAFE requirements and threats from Tesla, Nissan, BMW, VW, and others are forcing GM to build this. Competition is a great thing.

          • I know articles like these frame it to catch the reader’s attention. But both cars appeal to different
            customers. Just like mini-vans and trucks are sold
            to different customers.

            “GM first announced in the summer of
            07 that they had chosen two supplier teams to compete against one another to build the Chevy Volt’s battery packs. From an initial field of 27 applicants, LG Chem and Compact Power Inc were one team and A123 Systems/Continental were the other.”


            They have been working on long range EV for some time.

            Its research and development arm, called LG Chem Power, is based in nearby Troy, Michigan.[15] LG Chem Power and LG Chem Michigan were originally one company called Compact http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Chem

      • Is it Tesla? Or is it Nissan, Kia, and BMW? Tesla is still the new kid on the block, and GM really doesn’t directly compete with ANY of their products. Not a single Model S buyer has ever said ‘Ya, it was either this or that Buick’…

        But Nissan and Kia both compete with GM in the subcompact market space, and both have announced short term plans to develop a long range EV. The Volt was a great idea, based on an assumption: That batteries are expensive. That was totally true during the development and initial production of the Volt. And then something happened that shocked the automotive world: Batteries got downright CHEAP. I expect the Chevy Bolt to be a Volt drivetrain minus the range extender. It’s a solid drivetrain. It’s reliable. It’s got arguable the best battery management system in the market, and turning it into a BEV will make it a very competitive car that will leave Nissan, Kia, and others needing to respond to stay relevant. Hence: Queue the revolution.

  • what is most important is the manufacturing chaine.
    Tesla will produce EV on clean energy. Giga factory energy supply with Wind and Solar Power.
    the Chevy EVs must be counted for production chain renewable production as Tesla sets up a gigafactory with clean energy and has a clean production chain.
    EV produced by coal and charged with coal makes no sence.

    • Do you have any numbers for the ratio between carbon emissions in the manufacturing of an ev car, and in its lifetime use? A car is a much bigger object than a solar panel, so the former are quite significant. But surely the latter are much larger. In which case the key datum is the mean carbon intensity of the electricity consumed, which is dropping slowly but steadily.

    • It makes a lot of “sence”. Get more info, Willy.

    • Maybe eventually. But I doubt they install that much green energy. They certainly have NOT been installing much solar PV at the various SuperCharger sites. But that is fine, it is better for them to spend their money on more chargers and more cars.

      • It probably makes more sense to build large solar farms in very sunny places rather than put a few panels over chargers.

  • I hope all these rumors are true. I’m Getting pumped about this ev revolution really heating up. I got a gas guzzler that I plan to put out to pasture in 2017, and I am stoked about all the affordable ev options that will be available at that time. If the volt 2.0 really does get 65 pure electric miles, I may pull the trigger sooner than that. Reckon I can do 97 percent of my driving in ev mode at that range.

    • It’s been said that perfect is the enemy of the good. You would be able do 97% of your miles at 65 pure EV miles. There are many people in your shoes, yet they are not willing to try it at 85-90% of EV miles? 97% or nothing!

    • Do it. I will never own another car without a plug. I have a big solar PV system and haven’t paid for gasoline OR electricity for more than a year now. Feels good, man.

      • “haven’t paid for gasoline OR electricity for more than a year”

        Make a YouTube video. Your story needs to be heard especially in the U.S. Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and the other wingnuts will have to do some fierce backpedaling.

        • The wingnuts play to whatever tune big money tells them to. They’ll never backpedal unless the money changes its mind, and that won’t happen till fossil dies and renewables generate the big money.

          But it still helps to make videos that can change the minds of people who aren’t high in Fox-land and WSJ-world.

  • Base price? $30,000, actual price ???
    Or, a nicely optioned $30,000?

    I could stretch to a nicely optioned $30,000, but it would be harder otherwise.

    • It would be $30K base price. And I doubt they hit that . . . $35K to $39K is more likely, IMHO. But it would still be worth it. Driving on electricity is dirt cheap and feels good.

      • Chevy hit their $40k base price for the Volt. I expect them to hit $30k for their base price for the Bolt. Or CrossBolt. Or whatever.

  • If Tesla uses 85kwh to move the Model S 270+ miles this means that it (The Model S) uses about 62kwh to go 200 miles. For the Bolt I will assume that it needs half that amount of that energy. So this is 31kwh. We all know that if the price of the kwh is $100 it is going to be no contest between the electric car and the ICE. So even at $100 per kwh that is more than $30k. And remember that $100 is at cell level not pack level. So this is an irrefutable proof that GM is not telling the truth.

    • 31 * $100 = $3,100.

      Caffeine time.

      • Something stronger maybe: “the price of the kwh is $100”.

        • GM is lying because the Wall Street Journal prints a rumor? Rupert Murdoch’s influence is much greater than previously suspected.

    • Assuming the Bolt will be twice as energy efficient as a Tesla S is a big leap. Assuming the Bolt sits at least four people and does highway speeds it may be 20% more efficient. If I wasn’t so sluggish I’d compare the kilometers per kilowatt-hour of the Nissan Leaf and Tesla S for you.

      • Around 350 Wh per mile in a Model S. About 250 Wh/mile in the Leaf. Stop-start hurts the S (up to 500 Wh/mile versus 400 for the Leaf).

        • What is Stop-start?

          • “City” driving. Lots of starts and stops compared to highway driving.

            Tesla’s weight hurts it in start/stop driving. Mass. That physics stuff.

            0.25 kWh/mile vs. 0.35 kWh/mile? I can’t get all worked up about that. It’s a comparison between a much larger EV with a much longer range and a “commuter” EV.

            At $0.12/kWh the cost difference per mile is 1.2 cents per mile. That’s not a big price to pay a luxury car.

            $156 per year for a 13,000 mile driver.

          • True, and my mental image of a comparison is E class, S class, 5 series, 7 series, A6, A8, Aston Martin, Maserati…Leaf, not so much.

          • Ohhh!

            I think the phantom losses hurt it as much as anything else, unless most are not taking advantage of the higher regen setting and one pedal driving. You know, driving it like a regular car. Not a convincing case for hyper-miling when you can make your passengers squeal with joy at every stoplight.

    • New technology, lets hope Tesla can keep up!

      • Tesla is building a battery factory. GM is not, GM is buying their technology.

        • Tesla creates for itself tremendous risk by building the Gigafactory (GF). It could be a grand slam, but if another battery technology (such as solid state) has a major breakthrough and they are still in the Li-Ion mode, they could either fall behind quickly or worse, suffer a huge loss for having to gear up a 2nd time for different technology.

          GM is letting its vendors take all of the risk. If their primary vendor falls behind technologically, all they need to do is change vendors. The car mfrs. all use a multiple-vendor strategy anyway in case they need to dump one for any reason (QC for instance), they they can change vendors without missing a beat.

          With this said, Elon is very good at gambling big and winning. Tesla negotiated with NV Governor Sandoval to have a new road built (http://www.rgj.com/story/money/business/2014/09/07/tesla-envisioning-impacts-life-nevada/15233391/). My point regarding the roads is that the GF risk has of course been looked at very thoroughly by Tesla to mitigate risk. So, while Tesla is taking risk by building the GF, the upside is very high, and it’s a well calculated risk.

    • “irrefutable proof”? Really?
      OK, let’s look at this from a different angle.
      Nissan’s Leaf MSRP is $29,010. Range 100 miles (Nissan), or 73 miles (EPA).
      If you cut the cost and weight of the batteries by half and use twice as many, then you have MSRP still $29,010. Range 200 miles (Nissan), or 146 miles (EPA).
      Cost of a replacement Leaf battery is $5,500. $1,000 more would buy 100 *(1,000/5,500) = 18% more range.
      New MSRP would be $30,010. Range 236 miles (Nissan), or 169 miles (EPA).
      Pretty close to 200 miles $30,000 seems reasonable if you ask me.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but don’t claim it as proof when it’s not. Nor are my calculations proof, just conjecture.
      We’ll see what happens when the fat lady sings.

    • Why would the Bolt use half? That is ridiculous. If it is smaller, light, and aerodynamic perhaps 45 or 50KWH will do it. And I suspect batteries may barely be under $200/KWH. So around $10K may be required for the battery. But there are cars out there in the $14K region so $14K + $10K is $24K. They might be able to do it.

      • Because the Model S is a freakin tank. It’s absolutely gigantic, and it comes with giant tires.

        Instead of comparing it to the Model S, compare it to the VOlt. Right now 10 kWh takes the colt 40 miles-ish, right?

        So, without any efficiency increases anywhere, 50 kWh would take it 200 miles. Bhoom. Done.

  • What is the current production level by GM of a $ 30.000.00 model, ICE?
    Because that would be their target market.

  • Don’t forget Kia/Hyundai, who after all have the longest range, biggest battery affordable EV on the market. Besides large jumps in 3 years, I’m all for marginal competitive capacity increases piecemeal every year, too.

    • What??? Which one? Name it with stats.

      • Soul EV?

    • Not true. The Tesla designed B class electric with the range option will do 101 miles.

    • The KIA Soul EV is OK. But it is just another econobox with a slightly bigger battery than the Leaf. What we need are aerodynamic cars made with lightweight materials with big batteries. The KIA Soul is a rolling brick.

      • And yet it goes further than a Leaf, which is all that matters to consumers. It’s not like energy efficiency makes a difference in an EV anymore. Oh noes, it goes to cost me $0.90 to get to work instead of $0.78… Consumers only care about range, and performance, and starting price. If you can deliver on those key metrics, it doesn’t matter if you had to stuff 1400 lbs of batteries in the car to do it. See; Model S.

  • That snow ball rolling down the mountain is getting bigger and bigger, soon it´ll be classified an avalanche.

    • Exactly! The Saudis are shaking like a leaf. They have let oil prices go into a free fall to try and derail the revolution, but the free ride on us about to come to a real screechy halt.

      • Not so sure that the Saudi’s are worried about this as just dealing with the realities. There’s no sense sitting on their oil supplies when no one will want them in 20-30 years. So they maintain high production and even with the lower prices still make a nice profit (some estimates have their production costs as low as 18$/bbl) and use that money to get themselves converted to renewable energy.
        With a strong renewable build out (which they have started) they can still be an energy provider to other countries, just in the form of electricity instead of oil. And if this hurts Russia and Iran at the same time, because they can’t make the same profits per barrel, it is just another plus to them.
        It is a changing world and I think that the Saudi’s recognize this. Sitting on their oil now will just mean reduced profits later because higher prices will be cut into by carbon taxes.

        • Venezuelan President Maduro was in Saudi Arabia today. He and Iran’s government are apparently trying to get oil production limited in order to bring prices back up.

          • Maybe they will have better fortune at convincing the Saudi’s than OPEC did this past fall. Not sure as some locals (to that area) have said that the Saudi’s are trying to push Iran into getting better control over the Islamic State mess before cooperating on anything else. And yes I know that it is just as much the fault of funds provided from Saudi citizens, but I think that the state is regretting not keeping a tighter control over that.
            There is no guarantee on how any of this is going to turn out, just my guess on information compiled from a variety of different sources.

  • What amazes me, is that usually, when someone asks about my Volt, is that they are 100% in the dark about what they could have.
    I paid less than 24k for my 2015 Volt, after the $7500 tax credit.
    For about $1.65 in electricity, i get 50-52 miles before I have to stoop all the way down to 35 mpg on gas. No brainer.
    GM needs a beefed up ad campaign. I think even the government should participate in education about EVs and PHEVs.
    The sooner we get off the Oil Tit, the better.
    Besides that, if the new Volt advertises 65 miles on electric, it will probably mean 80 in reality. My 2015 is advertised to get 38 but gets 50-52 miles on electric, if you take advantage of the regen braking by just driving with an eye ahead so you don’t use the real brake.

    • The EPA tests don’t assume you will be a good driver. But yes you can get higher (or lower) that the published amount.

    • “GM needs a beefed up ad campaign.” Really? No way!

    • Yeah, people don’t know that miraculous technology is now available. I self-installed a 6KW solar PV system and bought an EV. I have not paid for electricity OR gasoline for more than a year. So many conservatives refuse to believe that what I do today is even possible. And I did this all on a shoestring budget . . . about the same cost of an average new car. (I bought a discontinued EV at a great bargain, got an EV fed tax-credit, got a state incentive, self-installed the PV system, and got a fed PV tax-credit.) EVs are still kinda expensive. But if you can self-install PV . . . PV is DIRT CHEAP.

      • Fantastic. Consider making some YouTube videos and teaching others to do what you did. Installation costs add a lot to the price of solar in the U.S. compared to Europe.

    • “My 2015 is advertised to get 38 but gets 50-52 miles on electric”

      People who own the Leaf say the opposite. They get much less than the advertised range. Anyone know why?

    • TFillman you must live in Texas or Florida
      2013 Volt here, I can squeak out 45-50 in summer, but only 20-25 in winter. Sometimes under 2 miles per Kwhr . Summer I cruise around at 4.5-5.0 Kwhr
      Of course I am in Maine where we have had -20 F no windchill inflation.

  • There’s a Bolt and a Volt? Who names these things? Same idiot who came up with the No Va??

    • The names seem fine. Simple common words associated with electricity. OK, there will be some confusion between the Volt and Bolt but people will figure it out.

  • I’m quite skeptical on that $30K price. The price target of the Volt was also $30K but it came in at $39K. But I am VERY excited about this vehicle.

  • At present, EVs are like leaving the house with two gallons in the tank. Everyone talks about how EVs should sell well, but have no plans to buy one. Walk the talk.

  • This is fantastic news. I wonder when automakers are going to realize that SUVs are perfect EV chassis….

    • Imminently!

  • The new Volt looks… truly awesome. Love the direction they took it. It’s gorgeous.

    But that Bolt!? WHAT?! Great looking vehicle. It’ll be a great competitor.

    But it’s not actually a Model 3 competitor. It’s not a sedan, and it’s not really a sporty look. It’s a medium sized cross-over. The model 3 has always been intended to be a BMW 3 series competitor, with good handling and sportiness a factor. I think this is a car that a Chevy dealership could actually sell to a soccer mom, and say, it’ll take your kids to school, it’s super safe it’s probably offered in AWD, and you can load your Christmas presents in it to take home from Grandmas house. Very different markets. I expect them both to sell like hotcakes.

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