Chevrolet Electric Car Bolt

Chevrolet Electric Car:

Chevrolet unveiled its all-electric car concept, called the Bolt EV, at the North American International Auto Show.

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt

This car will go on sale in 2017, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Bolt EV will reportedly achieve “over 200 miles on a charge”, according to Electrek’s Seth Weintraub. But the biggestselling point is that this car will cost just $30,000, which would make it the most accessible electric vehicle on the road, at least price-wise.

“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra said in a press release. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”

GM may have learned that lesson from the first Volt, one of the industry’s first serious efforts at a battery-powered car. Chevrolet had hoped the original Volt would break through as a mainstream vehicle.

Some of the Comments we gathered:
So true. I have a clean burning VW Golf diesel that gets 45 mpg – purchased in ’03. Virtually maintenance free. Why oh why do I need this? When they make an electric vehicle that sells for 25K yes I’ll consider, but it has to make the trip from LA to SFO – nonstop. So yes… 400 miles…

The result, however, was a pricey and compromised car, said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. The original Volt started at $41,000 for a base model, before incentives of up to $7,500 from the federal government and $2,500 from California.

“It was a really expensive vehicle that didn’t feel expensive,” he said. “Inside, it was basically a Chevy Cruze. And in the end, even the efficiency wasn’t all that great.”

The original Volt, introduced in 2010, could travel 35 miles on battery power. But after the battery ran out, it achieved only 37 mpg operating as a hybrid. The current Toyota Prius, by comparison, achieves 51 mpg in city driving and offers more comfort and refinement at a substantially lower starting price.

“The Volt is not a very efficient electric car — other battery electrics introduced since then have more range — and not a very efficient gas car,” Fisher said. “So you wind up without the advantage of either one.”

Another big drawback: The Volt offered only four seats due to space issues in the back seat created by the large battery.

GM initially targeted 40,000 Volt sales annually, but purchases topped out at about 23,000 in 2012 and 2013 — and only after GM dangled heavy discounts and special lease deals. Sales fell to about 19,000 Volts in 2014 as consumers anticipated a new model.

The Volt succeeded by other measures, however. It has run a neck-and-neck race with the Nissan Leaf for the title of bestselling plug-in car. More important, it has created a loyal group of Volt owners eager to see the company’s next-generation electric models.

In designing the 2016 Volt, Chevrolet systematically addressed consumer complaints about the original, said Andrew Farah, the lead engineer on both projects.

Volt owners’ biggest priority, he said, was a longer electric-only driving range, followed by better mileage, which he said will increase to 41 mpg. The electric-only range increases to 50 miles.

Chevrolet did not release pricing on the new Volt, but it isn’t likely to increase much, if at all, from the current model, which starts at about $34,000 before incentives. Farah said his team focused on giving customers a better car for the money.

“The improvement in range is significant, and miles per gallon is significant, but what really matters is how it feels driving down the road,” he said. “That’s where you hook people.”

The debuts of the Bolt and redesigned Volt affirm the automaker’s long-term commitment to electric powerplants, Reuss said, even in an era of plunging gas prices.

“There are a lot of people who don’t make snap decisions based on the current price of gas,” Reuss said. “These are people who care about what they are doing to help the environment for the next generation.”

The unveilings also raise hopes for the wider adoption of electric vehicles, and may bring GM the kind of success Toyota has enjoyed with its gas-electric hybrid Prius, which at times has been the bestselling vehicle in California.

“The Bolt could give GM a viable Prius-fighter,” Brauer said, “bestowing the automaker with the same level of green affinity Toyota has enjoyed for the past decade.”