GM starts production of its new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Article by Christian A., on November 10, 2016

The release of the Bolt EV signals Chevrolet's big step in making electric vehicles more appealing to the masses. Two factors that make it possible for the Bolt to achieve this is the range of 383 kilometers (238 miles) on a full charge and the fact that it comes at a reasonable price.

Starting with the issue of price, the Bolt will be the first in the new line of electric vehicles to enter the market at a rather affordable rate. While there are indeed a number of less expensive selections, most of them have a problem with regards to range. The Nissan Lead for example has difficulty reaching 160 kilometers (100 miles). The Bolt though boasts of a range that is two times longer. Although the initial price before government incentives is at $37,495, taking into account the tax rebates could likely lower the amount to $29,995.

Chevrolet is said to offer a Premier trim which adds in the mirror a display for the rear camera, a camera system that allows for rotation of 360 degrees, and the leather seats. There is however no word as to the price of this trim. Being the first model in a segment that is just starting to grow, the Bolt has the benefit of being the first mover. While the Tesla Model 3 is expected to be an electric car that is affordable with a starting price estimated at $35,000, official market launch is still a year away. In terms of range, the Tesla Model 3 is estimated to go 346 kilometers (215 miles), still lower than what the Bolt has to offer.

What makes it possible for the Bolt to offer all these is that General Motors made sure not to put everything in one place. Since it is possible that there would be some changes in terms of demand, GM utilized a scalable assembly line so that it can better react to such changes.

As such, the Bolt will come out on the same production line that made the Sonic sedan and hatchback, which is the Orion Assembly Plant. Should there be a need to increase the production, GM said it can simply reallocate the manufacturing ratio. In report by Automotive News, the Chevrolet Bolt is composed of between 20% and 25% of the mix under a single shift of workers. It appears that GM is implementing the lessons it learned with the Cadillac ELR as the brand does not want a repeat of the situation where there was a problem due to less demand for electric vehicles.

This is seen as a smart move considering that Nissan is already working on the second generation of the Leaf. Reports say that this is expected to have a battery capable of 60 kWh with a possible range of 400 kilometers (249 miles). There is still no word on the possible release date though some are claiming the new Leaf may make its official debut sometime in 2017 so that sales could begin by 2018.

Automotive News revealed that assembly of the Bolt has already started at the Michigan facility and it is more than likely that the brand will meet its objective of starting deliveries to authorized dealers before 2016 ends.

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