Yesterday word came from up North that the 2017 Bolt EV production line at the Orion assembly plant in Michigan has officially started.
A rumor only at this point, the news was delivered by that medium of choice, Twitter, and the poster was the WaterlooRegionVoltec group of Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada.
It would make perfect sense that the plant is operating, as insider reports from months ago had also named October for production of retail vehicles, and, as you may have noticed, the month is nearing to a close.
As we reported in May, General Motors released a pdf stating clearly that October was the Bolt’s SORP (start of regular production) month as well, but then pulled the document and scrubbed away all evidence of what is a secret for some unknown reason.
An inquiry today to the Orion plant’s media rep was actually re-routed to a dedicated Chevrolet Bolt rep who requested all Bolt inquiries go to him, after which he did not answer the direct question of whether the startup had indeed begun or not at Orion.
“We remain on track to begin sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV later this year and can’t wait to get these vehicles in the hands of customers,” said the media rep.
While Chevrolet has teased some press releases on its media website, it has been rather mum on greater details filling in the blanks on the Bolt’s introduction this year.
For an automaker, there are usually a couple of reasons for this.
One might be to not give away secrets to competitors, but it would appear with a couple months to go, other automakers already know much or all of what they need to know, so no state secret there.
Another reason for an information vacuum might be to strategically tease out info, and milk the media, as Toyota did with launch of the 2016 Prius when it dribbled out tidbits, and each little revelation was a new story cycle.
In the Bolt’s case, Chevrolet has issued no press releases on fundamental things from which it could garner press value.
These include when Bolt dealer orders will be open, when dealer allocations are coming, what states are getting the Bolt first (though reps have vaguely suggested it will go to strongest markets, implicitly California ZEV states).
Also a mystery is today’s question – when the Orion plant will start rolling off retail units – and also pressing is when the rest of the country gets the Bolt.
We have reported a few of these as they’ve been verified by indirect sources. To date, Oregon and California are taking orders, dealers in other states may be taking pre-order deposits on a case by case basis, without actually being able to place orders.
The rumor mill is adapting to the information vacuum from the maker of the first EV sold for $37,495 before subsidy with 238-mile EPA-rated range.
To date, reader tips, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, dealer websites, and dealer representatives have provided info that Chevrolet corporate has not, but could have if it wanted to drum up maximum excitement for the Bolt.
If there are snags still being worked out behind the scenes, this also is not known. The carmaker has played a conservative strategy, unlike Tesla and its pending Model 3, and did not open pre-orders well in advance.
GM surely does not wish to be accused of over promising and under-delivering, and it has said all it has said.
As for the Bolt assembly line’s supposedly being up and running now, further notable is that California customers with confirmed orders have reported a Target Production Week (TPW) officially issued for the Bolt EV they have ordered.
We’ve heard of one as soon as Nov. 13, so if the Bolt assembly line is in fact not operating, it ought to be soon enough.
Hat tip to Brian Ro.