General Motors, the largest US automaker and the third-biggest in the world has confirmed the earlier reports that its upcoming compact electric car would be produced in a factory near Detroit, with an investment of $200 million dedicated to the project.
Alan Batey, GM’s North American president, announced the decision in a speech during the Chicago auto show, adding that although the concept of the model revealed last month during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit was named Bolt, the production version that goes on sale might use a different nameplate. The Chevrolet Bolt concept shown in January at the Detroit motor show has been designed to travel around 200 miles on a full charge, with a target price of around $30,000 after tax breaks in the US market. GM’s announcement also confirms a report that arose in the media that the production version would be built at the currently under-utilized Orion assembly plant in Michigan. “The vehicles are so different that when you get a customer into a Chevy showroom they’re not going to be confused about which product they’re looking at,” commented Batey on the name change, which could occur as potential customers expressed confusion with the rather similar Volt model, a Chevrolet plug-in hybrid.
Currently, the only electric car on the US market that can travel 200 miles or more is the luxurious Tesla Model S, a battery-electric sedan that has a starting price of $71,070 before tax credits for electric vehicles (EVs). While the Bolt has not been designed to compete with that, when it arrives on the market sometimes in 2017 it could face another Tesla car, the similarly affordable Model 3 sedan.