While Tesla’s Model 3 has generated a lot of pre-order hype, the Chevrolet Bolt will be the first “affordable” long-range EV to market and will be Built by Michigan. Beginning production at Michigan’s Orion Assembly Plant by the end of this year, the Bolt will be built alongside its European twin, the Opel Ampera-e. Expect to see them on the road in the coming months.
The Bolt’s range has now been EPA certified at 238 miles per charge, but some automotive journalists have already gotten over 240 miles during test runs according to Green Car Reports. Starting at manufacturers price of $37,500, the Bolt’s actual cost drops to $30,000 after federal tax credits, putting it on par with the average new car price in America.
So who gets the first Bolts? It’s looking like drivers for the ridesharing service Lyft will be the first to drive Chevy’s newest EV. GM has also hinted that the first Bolts may go to California, which isn’t surprising given its nation-leading demand for EV’s, but nonetheless disappointing for loyal MI customers.
Meanwhile, for those Model 3 pre-order holders, that car won’t go into production until next summer, so anyone holding out for Tesla’s version of an affordable EV is going to have to wait.
Other automakers may join the fun soon as well. At the Paris auto show earlier this month, a number of overseas competitors announced intentions to put up a fight with GM and Tesla for the affordable, long range market. Expect new entries from VW, Nissan, and others in this segment over the next few years.
In other news, last month’s Drive Electric Week saw electric car shows across the country with opportunities to ride in, learn about, and even drive an EV. The Michigan Electric Auto Association organized a great event here in Ann Arbor that featured everything from electric bikes, to the Tesla Model X with its gull-wing rear doors, to a Chevy Volt that hid a remote-control electric lawn mower in the trunk. These ride n’ drive educational events continue to be one of the best ways to expose the general public to the benefits of driving electric.
It should be an interesting year!