As has been unofficially reported until now, this week General Motors confirmed it will begin production of the 200-plus-mile range Chevy Bolt next year.
The occasion for the disclosure was a presentation by Executive Vice President and President, North America Alan Batey speaking to analysts at GM’s annual Global Business Conference in Michigan.
The Bolt is expected to be priced in the upper 30s, and net at around $30,000 after federal subsidy. It is being seen as a general response to Tesla which aims to reveal a similarly priced and range Model 3 next spring. How similar the two cars will be beyond range and price remains to be seen, but this is a key common denominator.
Batey however did not confirm what month the Bolt will begin production, or its model year. Aforementioned prior unofficial reports have said it would be a 2017 model, and that appears reasonable. Michigan analyst Alan Baum has projected production for fall 2016, though again, GM is not saying yet.
The revelation was thus not a normal general public announcement, but came in the course of General Motors saying how far it is in its advanced-technological pursuits.
Bolt production for 2016 was confirmed today again by Chevrolet media representative Michelle Malcho.
Along with the disclosure by Batey, a pdf provided says GM will be paying $145 per kilowatt-hour for li-ion cells entering 2016, and by the end of 2021, and a forward looking statement says $100 per kwh.
Chevrolet says it’s aggressively pushing the Bolt into production-ready status. It has said it has 55 mules, and 1,000 engineers at work on the EV.
The pdf is further good news, because it shows 2016 costs for LG Chem cells are quite competitive with price ranges reported for Tesla, which itself is seen as ahead on the EV curve. GM is making it cost effective using LG Chem cells and this supplier is accessible to the entire industry.
Tesla has said a goal of its Gigafactory is to also hit that $100 price point as soon as 2020 to enable it to transform itself from a relative boutique maker to mass production enterprise. It has said the Gigafactory was needed in part to achieve economies of scale, but GM’s disclosure indicates the industry will be in step anyway.
Such costs are a positive portent for electric cars as batteries have been a hurdle. Just a few years ago they were believed triple the cost, in the $400-500 range for a Chevy Volt, for example, though this was also not from an official GM public statement.
Now that the cat is out of the bag however, EV fans can only hope GM will now say more, such as a more-certain date for Bolt, more specifications, whether the range could be significantly more than 200, and so forth.