Chevy Bolt EV on its way to the masses – not the elite

Chevy Bolt (Mark Mastropietro) 4

True to its namesake, the Chevy Bolt EV seems to be moving through the pipeline at an impressive speed, at least by auto-industry standards. The company recently revealed that it has built 55 pre-production Bolts, which are handily delivering the desired 200 miles of range.

GM also announced that it will invest $245 million and add 300 new jobs at the Orion Assembly plant where the Bolt EV will be built – however, most of that pot of money is apparently for a mysterious new vehicle, which Motor Trend reports will be a fossil-powered Cadillac crossover that may share some elements of the Gamma platform with the Bolt.

A few months ago, GM announced $160 million of investment in the plant to tool up for the Bolt. Rumor has it that production will start next year, and that the new EV will go on sale in 2017.

But don’t plan on getting one if you’re a member of the elite. GM wants to make it clear that the Bolt is a car for the Average Joe and Jane. “Making technology attainable also extends to electric vehicles,” said CEO Mary Barra at the recent unveiling of the 2016 Cruze (via Green Car Reports). “To make the biggest impact, it takes an engineering organization with the scale and the expertise to build electric vehicles for everyone, not just the elite.”

Chevy Bolt (Mark Mastropietro)

Executive Chief Engineer for Electric Vehicles Pam Fletcher echoed that egalitarian sentiment, saying that GM will make “electric cars approachable to all, not just the elite,” and that the Bolt will be “available to the masses.” A 200-mile EV, she said, need not be “a $100,000 car.”

Some see veiled allusions to Tesla, that purveyor of vehicles to the wealthy one percent, in these speeches. In fact, Green Car Reports quoted an unnamed GM source as saying, “It’s Chevy vs. Tesla and it’s on!”

 

Source: GM, Green Car Reports, Motor Trend, SlashGear
Photos by Mark Mastropietro