Gm Opts To Produce A 200-mile Chevy Bolt EV

November 7
6:00 AM 2016

General Motors has promised that the Chevrolet Bolt, its affordable, long-range electric car, would deliver at least 200 miles on a charge and cost no more than $30,000 after the requisite federal tax credit.

It can go more than 200 miles on battery power and it costs less than the average new vehicle in the U.S. But in an era of $2 per gallon gasoline, the Chevrolet Bolt probably won't do a whole lot to shift America from gasoline to electricity.

The cars, starting at $37,495 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, will go on sale in California and Oregon before the end of the year, and will spread to the rest of the country next year. The average sales price of a new vehicle in the U.S. is about $34,000, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Analysts say the Bolt's 238-mile range on a single charge, plus a net price of around $30,000, should make it an attractive alternative to cars with internal-combustion engines. While they expect the Bolt to incrementally add to the number of electric cars now on the road, they don't expect a seismic shift to electricity yet.

The car is remarkably spacious. The wheels are at the corners and the drivetrain is down low, maximizing space. Clever engineering created room in unexpected places. The front seats, for example, are half as thick as conventional seats, improving rear passenger space without sacrificing comfort. "You're sitting on springs, instead of a pillow," Tavel says. The car is so roomy that Tavel lobbied the marketing department to use Usain Bolt-who stands 6 feet, 5 inches tall-in advertisements, but apparently Olympic legends are expensive pitchmen.

Brinley says there will be small growth as more companies such as Tesla Motors roll out affordable electric vehicles with range over 200 miles.

Last year about 100,000 EVs were sold in the U.S., and IHS predicts 300,000 annual sales by 2020 and 400,000 by 2025.Still, Chevrolet believes the Bolt is a game-changer. "It becomes just a mainstream vehicle choice," said Darin Gesse, the Bolt's product manager.

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