GM Document Says 2017 Chevy Bolt Production Starts In October

It appears the 2017 Chevy Bolt could be available to consumers within the last couple months of this year.

At least this is suggested by an early release of GM’s 2017 Fleet Guide which indicated “SORP Oct” (Start of Regular Production) at the Orion Assembly Plant. It is only “suggested” and not official because today GM pulled the document from its website, edited it to remove the production start date, and now it is no longer there.

A copy of the page below of the unaltered pdf however clearly shows GM’s disclosure that the 200-mile EV will be in regular production some time in October. This March the plant did a trial run to make sure all systems were a go, and by all indications they were.

Click to enlarge.  Page 138, 2017 GM Fleet Guide. The present document does not show the SORP date for Bolt.

Click to enlarge. Page 138 from original 2017 GM Fleet Guide before it was scrubbed of the Bolt start date. The present document does not show the SORP date for Bolt.

A query to Chevrolet about the edit to the schedule sheet returned only confirmation that the automaker has plans for the fourth quarter of this year.

“We’re excited to bring the Bolt EV, the world’s first affordable, long-range electric vehicle, to market,” said Fred Ligouri of Chevrolet communications. “Our plan remains to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2016. We look forward to providing our customers the highest quality and best-in-segment performing electric vehicle.”

And indeed it is a little early for the automaker that’s so far not taking orders on the vehicle whose development began a few years ago in response to Tesla’s anticipated mass-market EV. Readers may have heard there are orders for the Model 3 – around 400,000 or so.

The Bolt is estimated to be EPA certified for more than 200-miles range and to start at $37,500 before potential federal and state incentives. It’s also to have phenomenal efficiency but details on its EPA certification are to be announced closer to launch, said Ligouri

When will dealers begin taking orders?

“We’re leveraging the strength of our dealer network and the relationships they have cultivated with their local customer base to manage the anticipated high demand for Bolt EV,” said Ligouri.

Now you see it, now you don't. Bolt SORP is nowhere to be found on the current edition.

Click to enlarge. Now you see it, now you don’t. Bolt SORP is nowhere to be found on the current edition.

It’s believed the Bolt could go through a rollout launch prior to nationwide availability, with first deliveries in states meeting California Air Resources Board zero-emission rules, but this was only implied by Ligouri, not confirmed.

“While distribution plans are not yet finalized, we want to first satisfy demand in markets where EV acceptance is strongest,” Ligouri said.

All the way back in June 2015, Automotive News reported two industry analysts who track production but wishing to remain anonymous had pegged the start month as October 2016.

It was around that time that chief Bolt engineer Josh Tavel had said GM had “accelerated things.”

A fan who has also believed the rumors set an online clock counting down to Oct. 1 2016. A link is available to embed it, but we won’t do that as the GM document does not state what date in October the Bolt will be produced.

What’s more, with the evidence now removed, nothing is really set until GM officially says so.

Hat tip to Brian Ro.