Just one year after General Motors unveiled its 200-mile range Chevrolet Bolt EV concept, the automaker aims to show the 2017 production version at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The CES starts January 6, 2016, and this word was delivered at the LA Auto Show yesterday by GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss, according to The Verge.
Initially GM was coy, saying this was just a concept, but that was never the plan for this car to be a mere design exercise.
The hatchback was within a month revealed to be slated for production, and in June GM divulged 1,000 engineers and 55 test mules are fast-tracking it, and sure enough, the 2017 Bolt will be seen at CES.
Commentators have drawn comparisons to the Tesla Model 3, itself supposed to be shown for the first time in March 2016 if things go to CEO Elon Musk’s tweeted plans.
That comparison may be a stretch however, as Tesla’s Model 3 is said to be gunning for the likes of BMW 3-Series and mid-level Audis. It may start at similar mid-30s prices but optional AWD and higher power may be introduced to position it quite differently.
GM has not indicated the Bolt will be more than an FWD sensible EV with over double the range of the 2015 Nissan Leaf – which itself is being increased in top trims for 2016 from 84 to 107 miles range. The Bolt may be less sleek than what Tesla rolls out, and more an alternative to the Leaf.
On that subject also, Nissan is planning a 200-plus-mile next-generation Leaf too, which may not be here until 2018, if reports are correct.
Nissan has been bullish from the start, has pushed the EV agenda with the highest global sales of any carmaker. But while its Leaf has set the bar, it’s being nursed from 2011 to at least 2017 if not 2018 – longer than Chevrolet kept its first-gen Volt.
Nissan says it has a 250-mile battery practically ready to go, but has not announced more than the 2016 stop-gap measure of a 30-kwh upgrade to the 2016 Leaf. This is priced from $35,050, in the ballpark of what the Bolt will be, and will constitute the gen-one Leaf’s second refresh following a 2013 update.
But Nissan will get there eventually. The common denominator for all the next-gen EVs from Chevrolet, Tesla and Nissan is they’re to be priced from the middle 30s give or take, offer 200-mile range, be subsidy eligible, and Chevrolet will be first.
In 2013 former GM CEO Dan Akerson actually tipped his hand that the automaker was indeed responding to Tesla and would build its own 200-mile EV in response to Tesla’s planned “Model E” – since renamed Model 3.
General Motors has learned lessons from the Chevy Volt’s engineering, as well as the limited-market Spark EV, along with numerous other R&D exercises, and the Bolt is poised to raise the bar substantially.
In October GM said it’s due to go into production some time later in 2016 but many specific details as of yet are still outstanding. Chevrolet has told us it aims for a true 200-mile EPA rating. Word has it this may be improved upon, but time will tell.
Selling price is targeted to come in at a net sub-$30,000 after $7,500 federal tax credit. In states like California and elsewhere that have state subsidies, the Bolt may be priced in line with a Toyota Prius after all incentives are accounted for.
We’ll report more when we learn more.