Heralded by the requisite sound and fury, the Chevrolet Bolt EV concept burst onto the stage at the Detroit auto show. The much-anticipated Bolt can truly be said to represent a new generation of EVs – according to GM, it has attained the figures that the EV media seems to regard as a pair of Holy Grails: a range of 200 miles and a price tag of around $37,500 (before government incentives).
“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”
Few technical details have been offered, and much will probably change by the time the new EV hits the market – hopefully that will include the name, which has been the subject of some ridicule among the congnoscenti. Ordinary civilians already have enough trouble understanding the difference between an EV and a hybrid – we really don’t need two “berry” different plug-in models with nearly identical names.
We do know that the Bolt is a purpose-built EV that uses a range of cutting-edge technologies to maximize range, including lightweight materials such as aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and woven mesh; aerodynamic features such as vented rear fenders; and LED headlamp and taillamp elements.
GM predicts that the Bolt EV Connect app will allow a smartphone to serve as the key fob; allow ride-sharing management, including reservations, vehicle location and payment processing; and – coolest of all – allow automatic park-and-retrieval technology, enabling the driver to exit the vehicle and have the Bolt park itself.
GM has not formally announced any production plans, but unnamed insiders cited by the Wall Street Journal and Detroit News say that the company plans to bring the new EV to market in 2017, with an eye to offering Tesla’s Model 3 some competition.