GM Greenlights Affordable Electric Chevy Bolt Production

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Just a few days ago, we took note of a rumor that GM will build its new affordable EV, the Bolt, at the company’s home base in Michigan. Yesterday, the company made it official. The new Bolt will go rolling off the line at GM’s Orion Assembly in Orion Township. The facility will get a $200 million makeover to produce the all-electric Bolt, which boasts an enviable 200+ mile range at an anticipated price of about $30,000.

Looks like that rumor sure had some stuffing behind it. There’s been a big buzz about the Bolt concept ever since GM unveiled it at the Detroit Auto Show last month, partly because its relatively low cost and long range put it in competition with Tesla’s plans for an affordable EV, and could be a big breakthrough for the industry.

We also heard a rumor that Apple may be duking it out with Tesla for EV market share, but before we get too distracted, let’s take a look at GM’s official Bolt announcement.

GM Bolt long range affordable EV

An Affordable EV To “Completely Shake Up The Status Quo”

Here’s the money quote from GM North America President Alan Batey, referring the Bolt concept:

The message from consumers about the Bolt EV concept was clear and unequivocal: Build it. We are moving quickly because of its potential to completely shake up the status quo for electric vehicles.

Speaking of shaking up the status quo, the Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder seems to have completely blown off his party’s distaste for electric vehicles.

Governor Snyder’s contribution to the GM press release was an unapologetic, extended cheer for the Bolt.

Let’s also note that Snyder signed a transportation package last month, which included a measure taxing compressed natural gas and other alternative fuels. A surcharge on EVs was in the works, but it appears that item did not make it into the final package.

Snyder did take some flack last year for signing a law that strengthened a ban on direct sales by auto manufacturers, thereby preventing Tesla from exercising its business model in the state. Our sister site, though, noted that the Governor used the occasion to pitch for a “discussion” about Michigan’s direct sales law.

An Affordable EV Made With Solar Energy & Landfill Gas

The use of the Orion plant add an extra green sizzle to the Bolt’s EV sparkle. Orion Assembly runs on fumes from two nearby landfills (landfill gas, to be more precise), and it also hosts a solar array owned by DTE Energy.

The landfill gas is used for heat in a new “eco-paint” process that eschews the conventional primer oven. According to GM, the new process uses half the energy of the old one.

Other items of interest at Orion Assembly include a lighting upgrade that includes real-time energy tracking to boost efficiency.

What About The Volt?

No, GM is not ditching the Volt gas/electric hybrid vehicle. Along with the Bolt concept, GM unveiled the new Volt at the Detroit Auto Show:

new Volt  EV photo by Tina Casey

Snazzy, right? We’ve been gushing about the Volt since GM first launched it in 2010. The car is designed to banish any range issues a person might have by switching seamlessly to gasoline if the battery runs down.

We’re thinking that even though the Bolt’s 200-mile range could shave off some Volt customers, for the foreseeable future, there will still be demand for an affordable plug-in electric hybrid that offers the performance of all-electric drive with the familiar safety cushion of gasoline.

For that matter, the last time we checked into Edmunds true cost-of-ownership calculator, the Volt was stacking up quite nicely against other hybrids.

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Related: GM: We Will Seriously, Definitely Produce The Chevy Bolt

Photo Credit: Chevy Bolt (top) and Chevy Volt (bottom) at Detroit Auto Show, both by Tina Casey.

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

Tina Casey has 3146 posts and counting. See all posts by Tina Casey

90 thoughts on “GM Greenlights Affordable Electric Chevy Bolt Production

  • only full electric car must considered electric car.
    gas infrastructure must halt.
    and construction certificat must include production energy from renewables.
    Tesla leads the way with Gigafactory,
    with Solar and Wind energy to produce their products.

    • The transition must be honored. A Volt that runs 85% on EV and 15% on gas is FAR superior to a gasmobile and provides immeasurable value to consumers who need the range that it offers over pure EVs. I recommended one to a friend who currently commutes ~65 miles each way to work, 5 days/week. He’s retiring shortly and looking forward to not having to use gas anymore as he’ll be doing the majority of his driving in town. Marion similarly enjoys the flexibility of the volt.

      In the world of future EVs, I see battery swap stations playing a key role here…where folks will have ~100 mi range for daily driving…and have the option to trade up to a larger pack (200mi) for longer drives. This is yet another stop gap…as battery tech and charging tech drive fast charge times down, reducing value added from this type of station. Lots of neat transitional markets being created as we make this historical leap into EVs…

      • Swap stations are infrastructure heavy and the mechanics are kinda a pain in the ass. I think tesla can do it right but I dont think it’s going to be the future.. Sulfur-lithium batteries will come to maket in a decade and negate the need for swapping..

        • A decade is too far out to lock in on a single battery technology at this point imho but I agree with the general statement that battery tech is going to evolve very quickly #supercapacitorsftw 😀

      • Run it on biofuel and it’s all renewable.

        • I respectfully disagree and want to say that what we really need is sustainable renewables. Not only does the power source need to be renewable (which could include biomass – burning organic matter, biofuels – which may generate more emissions than current fossil fuels, etc)…but it needs to be sustainable. This is a key distinction as burning any type of fuel that continues to produce emissions is a huge watch out…as we need to urgently combat climate change and GHGs. This, to me, is why solar + EVs are such a huge win. There are higher emissions generated when producing batteries, but you make up for it over the life of the vehicle.

          There are no perfect solutions – only ones that are less bad. “Do no unnecessary harm”
          “The more you know, the less you need”

    • My primary disappointment with GM is that it still appears to be too conservative regarding EV production and marketing. They still approach this area as if it is a niche, rather than a segment with very large growth potential.

      • GM is well aware of the potential.

        • I’m curious what facts your statement is based on…or at least what leads you to think that?

        • Let’s think about it this way…

          IF GM were primarily focused on strategic deployment of EVs, then would its CEO be telling customers not to purchase EVs? I find it sad, but it appears these deployments are more intended to sandbag serious EV manufacturers so that GM can extend the lifetime of its non-innovative gas guzzlers. If this assessment is a bit too cynical, it does appear, at the very least, that GM is a house divided — with the ICE side still maintaining dominance.

  • “The car is designed to banish any
    range issues a person might have by switching seamlessly to gasoline if
    the battery runs down.”

    That statement is laughable; with a 38 mile battery range, it should read: “The car is designed to banish any range issues a person might have by switching seamlessly to gasoline ONCE the battery runs down.”

    • It is designed to get most people through their daily commute without the use of gasoline.

      • Correct. Several years back GM and Toyota combined for a study of US driver habits. They found that 85% of US drivers infrequently drive more than 40 miles in a day.

        And from another study –

        Of the 748,918 recorded single-trip journeys recorded by the DoT 2009 National Household Travel Survey –

        95 percent were under 30 miles.

        98 percent were under 50 miles in length.

        1 percent of were over 70 miles.

        The average single-trip distance was 5.95 miles.

        While rural respondents naturally traveled further on average than their urban counterparts, 95 percent of all rural-based trips were still under 50 miles.

        Of the 106,681 survey participants who drove to work every day in a car –

        95 percent of them traveled less than 40 miles to work, with the average commute distance being 13.6 miles.

        93 percent of them drove less than 100 miles.

        The average daily drive total for urban-based cars was just 36.5 miles, while rural-based cars drove an average of 48.6 miles.

        • Hi Bob,

          >70 miles may be 1% of trips, but what fraction of total miles? If I drive one 400-mile trip in a year, that may be 0.5% of my trips, but 3-10% of my miles — and energy consumption.

          • I’m not sure why the percentage of total driving is important.

            I would think the number of days per year one is inconvenienced by having to stop for recharging would be the issue. In your case you’d spend perhaps an extra 20-30 minutes per year charging on your long trip but avoid 10-12 hours a year filling an ICEV or FCEV.

            There’s so much money saved by driving on electricity. I would think that very few people drive > 200 miles per day often enough to keep EVs from being very attractive.

          • Percentage of days or trips is the right metric for convenience.

            Percentage of miles is the right metric for impact: lowered emissions, fossil fuel use, and under normal gasoline prices (or when you can charge really cheap e.g. day-ahead time-of-day pricing), energy cost.

          • “Percentage of miles is the right metric for impact: lowered emissions, fossil fuel use”


            But I think the issue is “acceptability”. How many lengthened trips (and how much lengthened) is likely to play a factor in the decision switch to an EV.

            Someone who makes a single long trip a year (two ~500 mile drive days) a year is going to tolerate adding a half hour to those days sooner than someone who makes long drives frequently.

            (Although money saved may wipe out some/all of that problem.)

        • That study does not address the bi-modal habits of most drivers. They commute short distances to their places of work, and they do longer trips on their day off.

          The survey was not designed to capture this, and in fact almost all the people that I know fall into this category. They want complete freedom to go anywhere without having to rent an ICE car every weekend simply because it would be out of the range of the pure EV. Some monthly or vacation trips are even longer, and there is always that huge advantage of using your own car on such infrequent trips, and you can always go further when you are in an exploring mode.

          For bi-modal uses of short and long trips, the concept of the Volt is perfect. And am so glad, the price has come done and the range even longer.

          Oftentimes people adjust to the limitations of their car after the fact, as in the case of Leaf drivers, and it is a factor that was not considered in the studies of Nissan Leaf.

          • you know how many people can say “…in fact almost all the people I know” can say that and you’d be talking about entirely different groups of people? I have an EV. Its all I need all year except for last Christmas I rented a car to drive to Phoenix for three days for $111 dollars. I consider myself the “norm”. My EV is charged for free every night from my panel’s and battery banks which also run 60% of my home. Ten days a month my excess is sold back to our utility company here in southern Cal. Most of my components have been around for years except for the car. A particular political party I won’t mention here has blocked your knowledge(everyone’s been kept ignorant) of such things because of the money dumped into their “pacs”. Sounds like the people “you know” have no problem paying for the convenience of having the freedom to “go anywhere they want on the weekend” with gas so they can take “monthly”, mileage doesn’t matter trips. That’s NOT the norm. The new EV’s get over 200 miles per charge…where are they going on the weekends???? Sorry, all the people you know are not the norm. Sounds like they can well afford their travel 400 miles every weekend life style.

          • oh, you must have been hanging out with the most boring people. We work hard in the Valley and we play hard in the mountains. We go to concerts, we go to remote places to camp and fish. And we love our Volt that fits perfectly for our needs. We love to explore during the weekends, we love to go further beyond. Not even the Tesla will be able to fit our exciting lifestyles. We would be leasing Volt Gen 2 when or Gen 1 lease expires, and will be buying to purchase another Gen 2 Volt. When the Bolt comes out, we will buy it and get rid of the leased Gen 2 Volt, so that we will have a Bolt and Gen 2 Volt. We are still hoping for price of EREV pick up to come down. And our Volt is powered mostly by solar, biogas, or gasifier electricity.

          • How much would it cost to drive those miles in a rental car and drive the rest with an EV? The average cost of ownership of a Leaf is greater than 5K less over 5 years. Thats a lot of rental miles.
            Many people own vehicles they don’t need, drive SUVs, minivans, etc. without passengers.
            Its not for cost. Its not even for convenience. Its choice. Its a luxury. And its money not well spent. Its just habits.
            Silicon Valley also has a younger generation which does not own a car.

          • Simple, a LEAF or similar vehicle cannot be a family’s only car in most instances. Most households have 2 cars anyway, so don’t trade them both in when you get an EV. Keep an old gasser around for the long trips on the weekend. Workplace charging makes it too easy to get to work and take care of errands afterwards for almost everybody.

            With the Bolt and other 200-mile range EVs, a greater pool of people can use it as a primary vehicle and it requires less compromises or adjustments from its owners. At $30k, it’s about the same price as a new LEAF, so Nissan had better release some info on the LEAF 2.0 that will be able to compete with the Bolt. Otherwise, their investment in EVs will be at risk of being wasted.

          • Even with the Bolt, you will be forced to buy an ICE if you don’t have one. Ultimately, we will have a Bolt in addition to Gen 2 Volt, all powered by renewables from the farm. We are still waiting for an EREV pickup’s price to come down, or sold by other companies at a lower price. Right now only Bob Lutz is selling the EREV pick up trucks for about $79K each.

          • Forced to buy an ICE?!? You still don’t get it. Your lifestyle is not the average, the market is not going to follow your personal needs. There are charging stations available, and more being built everyday, where you can charge up on the occasional long trip.
            Next time you go on an adventure be sure to look around at the wilderness around you and take note of how many other people are out there. Look around in the city and compare. You are not the center of the universe, the EV market will continue on without you.

          • I’m not saying the Leaf will meet the needs of most drivers.

            Things change when 200 mile range EVs come to market.

    • My wife’s commute to work is 12 miles. I work from home. Most people work in town. Do your research before making laughable comments… Now if you were talking about the Plug In Prius’ EV range (not to mention, it’s lack of freeway capable EV driving), I would be right with you…

    • The Volt is supposed to have a fifty mile range.

      • Yeah, the new model will have a 50 mile battery range, but the old one only has a 38 mile battery range while the Tesla model S has a 265 mile battery range. Forget GM, get a Tesla!

        • Slight adjustment – the Volt has a 380 mile range…but if you’re offering to pay the extra $30k, I’ll hop in a tesla tomorrow 😀

  • According to my sources, the Bolt was designed in Australia.

    • I had not heard that the Bolt was designed in Australia.
      I am not saying that is untrue, just that I had not heard anything about that.
      Both GM and Ford are fairly much on the nose here at the moment as they have both announced they will quit local vehicle production in the near future (which will have some very serious affects on unemployment in the southern states both directly and indirectly). If Tesla wanted to set up a factory here they would have their choice of recently vacated factories to choose from (I can’t see them doing that though since Asia and everywhere else is a longish boat ride away).

      • It’s not that far from China to Australia. I’d guess modest shipping costs are likely to kill car manufacturing in Australia.

        • Dandenong Victoria Australia to Beijing China is 9,140km (5,710 miles).

          • Is that where GM built the Holden? A shout out to Mad Max, which has nothing to do with this thread.

          • Indeed it is.
            The GM brand is mostly unknown here while Holden (fully owned by GM) is thought of as an Australian company even though GM have owned it for 83 years now. While most people (I guess) are well aware it is an American owned company somehow it’s not thought of in that way (maybe because of the advertising that always promotes it as a true blue Australian e.g. the jingle “football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars” that used to annoy me in 1970s tv commercials. At least they used to build some of the cars here but that will soon stop.

          • Oh, my, god. That’s where “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” came from. It was a commercial jingle here in the US during the 1980s. Now I can’t get it out of my head. Thanks.

            In defense of meat pies. I love them. Pies and Australian beer (VB) helped me understand Aussie Rules Football. I went to a bunch of games at the cricket grounds in Melbourne – a long time ago. One had to have a couple beers and a tummy full of whatever it was in those “meat” pies to figure out the total craziness of the sport.

    • Kia was designed in California but made in Korea. But in the case of multinational global companies like GM, who cares if the car was designed in Pluto to be used by earthlings?

    • My theory from a variety of sources of the sudden arrival of the Bolt:
      The previous Australian government gave development funds to Holden (GM Australia) to develop a hybrid/electric car.
      The drive train / batteries derive from GM’s partnership with BYD China.
      The interior/exterior design was conceived by Holden design studio in Melbourne.

      • I believe GM is sourcing batteries from LG Chem.

        I don’t know if GM can actually market the Bolt in any meaningful numbers before LG Chem completes its new large battery factory.

        GM may beat Tesla to market, but not by much if both are held up by battery supply. If they do, good for them. Nothing like a bit of competition to drive things faster.

  • To be honest, a tax on EVs will come…has to come, but not yet. It makes no sense to incentize them on one hand and add surcharges on the other. We have not crossed the critical tipping point…though these two cars are sure putting us on a path for that 🙂

    I wonder why GM doesnt setup a “reserve your bolt” site to lock in buyers and take advantage of the buzz generated by the detroit showing. If I were them, I would get on that now and make that a focus for the company. OMG, I’m getting excited just thinking about it. I had pegged Nissan as the one who would get there first but seeing GM making good on their promise at Detroit riding on the shoulders of the Volt…yeah baby, let’s do this!

    Finally, I still can’t wait for them to announce a pure EV version of the Volt. Surely it can’t be too different from the Bolt…take out the gas generator, add more batteries…bam! 😀 😀

    • What do you see in the Volt that you don’t see in the Bolt? I thought the Volt had a seating problem.

      Are you just talking body-look?

      • Yeah, mostly aesthetics. It also has an established cool brand identity with its own following which would be good to build on (akin to the Prius brand before it failed to make the leap to EVs).

      • I don’t know why they need the Bolt to look ugly. But fortunately it is not as fugly as the Nissan Leaf, it is just as ugly as the BMW i3, which is eyesight tolerable for me.

    • Just curious – why do you want a pure EV version of the Volt?

      • Mostly to leverage the established brand identity… And the cool looks. To be honest, the Bolt name arms like a spoof of the volt which doesn’t make any sense to me.

        • Looks.

          Did GM go with a flat battery pack like Tesla’s? If so it would seen they could fasten a variety of body styles to the electric base.

          • I have not seen any design details on the Bolt yet. Fast charging is another item I’m extremely interested in – especially what it means in terms of time, rates, charging standards etc.

          • No they didn’t. A advertisement I saw on YouTube for the Bolt showed a sectional battery similar to the Volt. And the reviewer that saw the car at the show commented that though it is a five seater an adult would have problems using the middle back seat.

    • @ Kyle
      Sorry to say GM lacks a track record at making EVs; The Volt is at best a half measure. The Bolt is just a concept so don’t get too excited yet. Go with Tesla Model S if you can afford it, if not Wait for the Model 3,

      • Everyone lacks a track record of making EVs – some are just doing better at bringing them to market. Tesla has a few years but look back at the EV1 and EV2…that was GM buddy. What’s crazy about that is that the drivers of them LOVED ’em. LOVED them to the point where they fought to keep them, to buy them…but to no avail (yes, reference the movie “who killed the electric car” here). GM is huge…so a commitment to build a 200mi EV has a lot more weight to it than smaller companies.

        That’s not to say that GM is more committed to EVs than Tesla because Tesla is all in on EVs in just about every way (the one hold out is their proprietary charging stations, but I digress).

  • Everyone missed or dismissed the conversion of the conservative Rep. Gov. to an EV supporter. That is bigger to me than the Bolt. In Michigan you support whatever GM and Ford do, or you kiss your political career goodbye. I have no idea if he’ll run for president, but even if he doesn’t, politicians courting Michigan’s electoral votes have to pay homage to GM’s building an EV and PHEV plant.

    Getting the GOP behind EVs will seal the deal.

    • Gov Snyder is in the unique position that his state makes a lot more cars than it pumps in oil. As soon as EVs start taking a bite out of petroleum sales, expect the Koch et al. to start gutting the growth of EVs just like they’re trying to do with distributed solar. Or look what they did to wind power in Wisconsin for another example.

      • I don’t think Snyder’s in a particularly unique position. Ohio, Indiana and a number of other states in the mid-West and South also make many more cars than pump oil. A lot of ordinary red-white-and-blue Americans are sick of propping up petro-states and sending their sons to die in foreign deserts for people who despise them, regardless of GHG or Climate Change. The more plants in the heartland making EVs and PHEVs the more workers and local Chambers of Commerce will expect pols to support those cars. Those are big swing states.

        Koch & al have already spent a prodigious sum trying to roll back green laws with mostly failures – their successes stand out as exceptions, not the rule.

        • Oh, yeah! This is so true.

          “A lot of ordinary red-white-and-blue Americans are sick of propping up petro-states and sending their sons to die in foreign deserts for people who despise them, regardless of GHG or Climate Change. “

          War-weariness will make a lot of people happy to buy electric cars as soon as the price comes down enough. I want an electric car with a bumper sticker that says “Non-electric cars fund terrorists.”

          • Brilliant bumper sticker!

          • Thank you, sir. It’s nice to be appreciated. Feel free to use it if your circumstances ever permit.

  • That $30K price is pure BS, much as is lying Tesla Motors prices – they include a $7500 Federal tax subsidy that likely will be gone by the time this car goes to market. There is also the fact that tax cheating EV drivers are paying NO road taxes in most locales. The gas powered Elio will reduce more than twice the emissions
    of the Bolt and 4 1/2 times that of the Tesla Model S. On a per dollar subsidy spent basis, the Elio will reduce 43 times the emissions of Model S and over 25 times that of the Chevy Bolt. Only the greenwashing websites like this one are pushing these
    phony “clean machines.” Clean machines, my ass. Wise up, gullible readers.
    There are no fools (and liars) like green fools (and liars).

    • Read the site commenting rule.

  • I think the Model E and bolt are going to target the rich kid demo..So more contempory design to up the coolness and not your parents kinda car pitch. The well to do parents are the real customers,so look for safety to be stressed.. Tesla will win because of the driver assist, superior software/electronics and the incredible safety their floor battery platform gives their vehicles..30-50 grand is simple to much for the practical minded new car buyer..

    • They are really targeting two different kinds of customers.
      The looks like a fun mini/small car. It’s not a hot hatch.
      We don’t know what Model 3 looks like or is.
      The BMW 3 series is small sport car. (blank + blank = ??)

    • The price of $30K is lower than the average price of a median car of the US, which is about $32K. Rich kids not!

      Tesla Model III is still VAPORWARE while the Bolt is going to bolt out into the streets.

      • Now now Ms Meads watch the all caps shouting or Bob is going to have to give you a rap on the knuckles. 🙂
        On the vapourware aspect, we kind of came to a compromise the other day in a different discussion that it doesn’t apply until an announced product is still not being made many years after its announced production date. That does not apply to the Tesla Model3, in fact the needed battery factory to produce this car is ahead of its construction schedule right now.
        Now I know that Tesla has had some delays with their products, but seeing as they are still a brand new company compared to the other manufacturers, and the quality of product that has ended up coming after those delays it would seem to be understandable and worthwhile.
        GM on the other hand was making 150 mile range EV’s back in the mid 1990’s. To just now announce the coming availability of a 200 mile range vehicle you could quite easily call the Bolt the “vapourware”. But I am not going to do that, it is just great that several manufacturers are finally going to be selling vehicles that are going to make it possible for my kids to still be breathing while these vehicles are running.
        So in wrapping up I think it might be possible to find a few others that agree with me that your Tesla hating is getting to be quite a bore.

        • We known about the rumor GM 200 range EV for a few years now. They have been working on more than one.
          Years ago, Bob Lutz said they where testing a long range vehicle on a test track.
          The Bolt is a working car. Does it have the LG Chem battery pack at range and price point? I don’t know.

          Tesla Model III at this point in time is a theory.
          Tesla could buy batteries from Korean too.
          If fact there is a rumor of Samsung SDI supplying 40%.

          • Well by that sort of reasoning we have been hearing about the rumor long range affordable EV from Tesla for five or six years. Come on now it is brought up every year at the stockholders meetings as part of the established corporate goals/policies..
            Will it be on time in ’17 to beat the Bolt to production I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter, at least Tesla has gotten the other manufacturers to do what they have been capable of for many years, and there will be a variety of long range EV’s..
            If Tesla and GM were to come out with EV’s that were exactly equal in features, size and price at the same time, or even having to wait longer for Tesla they would still be my first choice.
            Over the past 45 years I have had nine different cars and trucks from GM/Chevy, in fact I am still using two of them. Every single one has needed to have the ignition replaced before a hundred thousand miles, fortunately when they went bad they didn’t cause my death as has happened to hundreds of others, just a hassle and expense that GM refused to acknowledge until a couple of years ago.
            GM and the other manufacturers have put millions (billions?) of dollars into concept cars every year for the tax write off that 99% of the time don’t come to market. I am happy to hear that this isn’t going to be the case with the Bolt. Tesla conversely prefers to wait until they have their vehicles finished to their standards before revealing and put that extra money into quality control and customer satisfaction.
            Call me a fanboy if you wish but for these reasons I prefer to believe that Tesla will come out with a long range affordable EV, and when it comes time to buy one get it from them.

          • With 86 million new ICE being sold every year, I think there plenty of room for a few million EV.
            Unless I win the lotto, I could never afford a Model S.
            “Call me a fanboy if you wish” that fine, thanks for clarifying that. I feel like I can have a conversation with you.

            The Bolt and Model 3 are for different customers with different taste.We only have Model S as a reference, the smaller brother Model 3 could be a small sport car.

            “Small cars = small profit.” GM has experience in mass produce lower cost cars. Will GM break even on the Bolt with the limited numbers produced? Lets hope so.

            There are other EV coming out with higher range.
            The Leaf 2016 is expected to 160 mile range.
            LG Chem supplies batteries to GM for the Volt and Bolt.
            LG Chem will supply batteries to VW and Audi.
            We will have wait for official announcements.

            And there is Ford, we know they have invested in super-fast charging. Ford has invested in Solid State batteries. Are they planning a EV truck? There is profit in trucks.
            I would think Tesla would build an EV truck.

            The good news is that there are more choices for consumers

          • “The good news is that there are more choices for consumers”
            That is definitely the important point, and something that I tried to point out the other day under the Porche article, and I am glad to see that we can at least agree on that.
            It is also equally important that these alternatives are made in large enough quantities that they are available in all of the market segments. The new Kia Soul EV, with a bit more space and range than a Leaf, while technically on sale in New York state, is already said to have a six month wait list. Let’s hope that GM makes a little harder effort with the Bolt, so that everyone that wants one can get one. The three Chevy dealers within 75 miles of myself here in the Southeast US can order and deliver a Volt within sixty days after deposit, but none are kept on the lots. The closest dealership (about 25 miles away) brags about how the owners wife drives one, but over the past two years has been unable to coordinate a time when I could see it to see if there is leg room enough for me, even though she works there two days a week.
            Saying that you could call me a Tesla fanboy “If you wish” was kind of more directed towards the comments of Ms Meads. Because actually all of my statements and comments on Tesla come from either the stockholders meetings, the biannual conference calls, or verifiable media pieces. With Tesla being a publicly traded company for several years this information is easily accessible to anyone that should try. So to say that the information about the Model3 is only a rumor that comes from a tweet by Musk is just wrong. People may not care to hear about information that comes from verifiable sources, but that doesn’t make it any less true and logical.
            As for Tesla making a truck, that is something that I wish for myself too, and even though Musk has said that it is possible in the future, it is still probably quite a ways off. The companies that make money off from trucks are all well established names, and while Toyota has done okay on small trucks here in the US, they still have problems selling in the full size market. There was a piece on Teslamondo in the past week or two that did a good job delving into this.
            Finally as to what the Model3 is going to be from what the company and Musk have said it is just going to end up being an affordable every man’s car in its first iteration. So a mid sized or slightly smaller sedan or coupe, though there has been some recent talk about a more different look with a version 2. I seriously doubt that it will be a sports car because they are already talking about a redo of the Roadster (in addition to the modifications to the first one) and this would make the costs more than what is aimed for with the Model3.
            So let’s hope that all of the manufacturer’s continue to see Tesla as a challenge and try to make more and better EV’s above the compliance vehicles done so far (though some have begun this). And please don’t just take my words for what Tesla is doing and planning but read through the notes from the shareholders meetings and the verbatim conference call printouts. It is important to go to these original sources because while parts are available through the media they do end up with a twist at times.

          • That is good news about the Kia Soul EV. I didn’t know that. A truck would nice. I don’t need any fancy door handles or ipad. Ford F150 are price between 32,000 – 59,000 and F-350 at 71,000.

            The Model 3 is stated goal of the company.
            With a back order, I would think they would be focus on production. Secondly, news sales on Europe and China.
            Once they are comfortable sales of Model X and Giga factory is closer to being completed, then I could see working on Model 3. I think Tesla Fans expecting a smaller version of Model S for $35,000 before incentives.

        • Nice spin, but the fact is that the M3 is totally vaporware. Not a single rendering, let alone prototype has ever been shown. People assume it’s going to be a 3-series fighter with looks and performance to match, all for $35K before any tax credit, but that completely remains to be confirmed. I hope it turns out to be real, and in that case I will line up, but the Bolt is real and will likely be available for purchase in less that 2 years. Assuming GM delivers, they need to be praised. Tesla can always come up with an even better car later, but GM can claim they were the first to produce an affordable long-range BEV.

          • So exactly what difference does showing a prototype mean? The design is not fixed, it could change completely. And we have absolutely no idea what technology they had inside their Bolt prototype while showing it to the public. So there is really nothing to trust than GMs word. And we have that same word from Tesla.
            Just because Tesla is not showing a prototype doesn’t mean it’s less likely to happen.

          • First, let me say that I am very happy to see GM moving forward with a mid-priced 20 mile range EV.

            That said, I think far too much is being made of the Bolt prototype and the lack of a Tesla 3 prototype. Let’s look at the Volt prototype and the Volt –

            They’ve both got four wheels and a windshield….

          • Exactly my point. Thank you.

          • Bob, the Bolt is much more than that. We have general specs, price point, and tentative production start date, for an arguably attractive package. If anything, GM seems pretty confident on their capacity to deliver. They could be 2 years ahead of Tesla in the affordable EV market, and that’s a lifetime. BTW, I am not trying to diss Tesla. What they are doing is amazing enough as it is, but the fanboyism is a bit tiresome, especially when it tries to elevate Tesla by pooh-poohing efforts by others (which, incidentally, you don’t do).

          • All I’m saying, trying to say, is that information this far out from release isn’t very reliable. GM talked about the Volt, showed us a prototype ahead of time but delivered something different.

            Here’s what I think is happening. Neither GM nor Tesla can produce a product in volume until batteries are available in high volumes.

            Both are going to design and tweak for another year or more, right down to the last minute when it’s time to tool. The companies themselves don’t yet know what the cars will look like and what the spec details will be.

            Car companies produce prototypes so that they can test as they work on designs. They want to see how suspensions work and what the airflow is in the wind tunnel.

            I think GM wanted to create a little interest in their brand, polished up one of their test vehicles, and put it in the show. That got people talking about GM. Cheap advertising.

            Something that Elon seems to have mastered.

            Let the Bolt buzz die down and watch for Elon to tweak the news. Peek at the X? Release the 400 mile Roadster battery? Announce the first Super Duper Supercharger?

          • Perhaps, but the current Volt in its present form was already known by Sept of 2008, 2 years before its eventual production release (I don’t know that links send comments to moderation, but google “GM to show Chevrolet Volt at Sept. 16 centenary celebration”). If (big if) GM is serious about releasing the Bolt as a 2017 model, they probably won’t change it much from that prototype.

          • June 26, 2009

            This shiny little black car is the first real Chevy Volt—the first of many hand-built but bona-fide production-intent prototypes that will roll out of GM’s pre-production workshop in the coming weeks. This car is the next big step in the production process after the testing of the Volt “mules”—test cars with a Chevy Cruze body and a Volt powertrain.


            GM wasn’t done building prototypes in 2008.

          • Right. So by Sept 2008 the Volt’s current form was known, and by June 2009, they had rolling hand-built prototypes (no longer conceptual). And by the fall of 2010, they were on sale. To me, applying a similar timeline suggests the Bolt (which per my understanding is a functioning prototype) could very well be on sale by the end of next year. And if that is the case, most likely a lot of the features are baked in, including the general look. One could also compare the Bolt to the i3, which changed little between prototype and production versions.

          • They probably won’t go much more powerful than the Supercharger for charging cars. Elon is a physicist so he will have already concluded the optimal charge voltage for long term success before he authorised rolling out the network. Too much voltage at one time will put incredible strain on the local resources/infrastructure.

            The super chargers don’t need to get more powerful to allow them to see massive gains in the charging process. More likely they will make the batteries more effective at charging faster and reduce charge times significantly (or increase the amount of distance that can be travelled for the same charge period). These improvements will see a significant decrease in the price of batteries as they will decrease the amount of raw materials require to get the same results (also one of Elons stated targets). It is inevitable that they will roll these improvements out sooner rather that later because they can’t keep building huge mega factories all over the place costing several billion dollars each if they want to lock in short term profits.

            Massive gains are being made not only with exotic materials but also in understanding the dendritic structure at the nano scale and ways to improve the internal layout of the battery materials so that they minimise dendritic growth and maximise the charge potential/speed. A few teams already publicly claim to have figured out the optimal internal layout at the nanoscale via simulation/modelling so it’s only a matter of time before these bright sparks understand the construction method too.

            It’s also possible that the details and construction process are already well understood but highly classified for weapons/military purposes. If they are willing to release that information to the public domain then my money is on the Chinese being first to market (ie LG Chem) as they are certainly the most advanced when it comes to mobile energy weapons. Russia being not far behind too. In addition several Israeli teams/copanies claim to have made significant advances for mobile battery charging with existing Li-Ion so maybe some of that knowledge will be MnA’d too.

            IMO. the issue of low cost batteries comes down to a race between Chinese/Korean and Japanese/American physicists and their military/govt desire/willingness to release tax payer funded classified research into the public domain.

          • Yeah, the Volt concept car (I’m guessing that one in the above photo was from 2007 or so) really didn’t look like anything that would be going into production. That crazy chopped top, in particular, looked like a complete non-starter.

            The Bolt concept, on the other hand, has a “realistic” look to it . . . proportioned like just about any normal looking hatchback you’d see driving around on any given day, save for the lack of a grill (which they pulled off very nicely.) The one thing they’ll probably drop is the glass roof and they’ll almost certainly make the interior a bit more pedestrian.

            And, yes, all the “Bolt vs. Model 3” histrionics here and elsewhere is starting to get a little old. Give credit where credit is due, folks. Chevy wouldn’t be making a ~$30K/200 mile EV if Tesla hadn’t defined that as a benchmark several years ago. But Chevy has met the challenge and advanced a really fine looking car ahead of Tesla. A month ago, who knew that would have been the case? Later this summer, when Tesla is ready to take the wraps off the Model 3, I’m sure it will be a winner as well. Nissan has been pretty quiet lately, but I’m sure they’re not resting on their impressive laurels either. Everyone is a winner if we’ve got some real choices as consumers for EVs at this price point and range potential. If it was only one manufacturer heading in this direction, I’d be worried. Not so now.

        • The FACT is that Tesla Model III is still an idea that was tweeted as a theory, and you can’t argue with fact. Not even a single drawing, and what you have is only a tweet from Elon Musk. Mwa ha ha ha ha!

          Come one Tesla Fan Boy, show us a rendering of the theory and we will appreciate it.

          The Bolt will come out before the gigafactory spits out any usable EV batteries.

          • Knock it off, Marion.

          • The Model 3 is not a theory. Elon has said for years (probably dozens of times) that this car is going to happen. The fact that you don’t have any information about the current development progress means shit.

            After all we can only be sure when the Bolt and Model 3 go into production. Before that anything could happen.

  • Way to Go GM! Looking forward to a test drive.
    Good article Tina, thanks.

  • The Volt is not stacking up compared to the Leaf. It’s more expensive and sells less well. The Bolt, with longer range, will Compete with the Volt.

    It’s quite disingenuous how politicians change their tunes with money waved under their noses. Michigan has been one of the most EV hostile states. EV incentives? Only personal property tax exemption. A failed attempt to add a surcharge doesn’t sound promising, either.

    • The Volt stacks up very nicely against the LEAF. In fact, I believe a typical Volt accumulates more electric miles than a LEAF, even though the AER is about half, and that is because with no range concern, people are not reluctant to exhaust the battery. Price-wise, they are comparable (though a decontented LEAF version is somewhat cheaper). The LEAF is roomier, but the Volt is quicker and more fun to drive. The Volt is not range limited at all. Both are great cars.

      • The stack up comment was sales volume. The Volt sales are currently lower.
        As far as price, the 2015 Volt MSRP is 35K.
        The 2015 Leaf MSRP 29K

        Both are dropping, but there appears to be a steady differential.

        The other comments are vis a vis the impact of a Chevy Bolt on Volt sales.
        IMO, the Bolt competes with the Volt. The Volt sales may still continue to increase. But as EV range increases while cost drops, the Volts days are numbered. Eventually, there is no market for a PHEV when range issues and cost go away. That happens in the next 5 years, IMO. And Chevy is signing up for it.

        So right now, the Volt makes sense for some, and it is a good transition alternative for those that want a single vehicle for long distance and short distance driving.

        Its good to have that alternative, so that a larger part of transportation can benefit from lower emissions right now instead of waiting for longer range EVs.

  • Thank you as always for a lively discussion. Let’s keep sight of the bottom line: the price of gasoline is falling through the floor and yet there is still enough momentum in the EV market for US manufacturers to commit to 21st century personal mobility.

    • As for me, price of electricity nor gasoline doesn’t matter at all. My Volt is powered mostly for free by solar and agricultural wastes.

    • The price of gasoline is being artificially manipulated by certain powerful producers. Even then the price has already started rising and is now back up to $60/barrel for Brent Crude because several US companies have shut off production which has restrained supply.

      Energy positive oil has long been used up so every day means we use more fuel to get the fuel than the energy we get from the fuel once we get it. The downward spiral is exponential. People like Elon Musk have done the math and are now racing the clock to provide a viable alternative to try to stop a nuclear war over the remaining reserves.

      The Germans and Chinese are also well aware of the problem so they are doing a lot to move things forward too. Unfortunately more progress is not being made faster but you have to be careful when you are fighting against the FF industry. Those guys have absolutely no restrictions. Even President Xi and Chancellor Merkel are at potential risk of “neutralisation”. In that regard Elon Musk is a very brave and selfless person putting himself on the line right in the middle of the lions den. I hope he has several clones hiding away in undisclosed locations and backs up his mind on a daily basis.

      • You think Big Oil would assassinate Musk? I hope you’re wrong.

      • That’s pretty extreme. Makes zero sense to hit a political leader or Musk. The EV cat is out of the bag and it’s only a matter of time before oil use starts to lose market to electricity. There’s no individual that is critical to the transition.

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