Chevrolet Bolt is back, or will be soon
General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced during an investor call last April that the Chevrolet Bolt EV and its slightly larger model, the EUV, were winding down production, which would end after the 2023 model year.
Tuesday, during a quarterly earnings call, Barra announced that the Bolt would be back after all, an all-new model built on the Ultium electric platform instead of the slightly dated, LG-based model it is now.
Barra said details would be forthcoming, but it seems highly unlikely the new Bolt will be ready by the 2024 model year. After all, Chevrolet has to find a new plant to make it: The Orion, Michigan, factory where the current Bolt is built is converting, via a $4B overhaul, to electric Chevrolet Silverado trucks.
Chevrolet has no real, low-priced EV in line to replace the Bolt, but the company expects some buyers might be enticed by the new Equinox EV which goes on sale soon, although it will be more expensive than the Bolt, the cheapest of which starts at $27,495 (shipping included).
“Our customers love today’s Bolt. It has been delivering record sales and some of the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry,” said Barra. “It’s also an important source of conquest sales for the company and for Chevrolet.”
The Bolt went on sale in 2017 and the EUV in 2021, but early in its introduction it was slowed by multiple major recalls for a fire risk. Once that problem was fixed, sales have been reasonably strong, though hardly stellar, aided by a couple of substantial price cuts.
The current Bolt EV starts at $27,495, and the EUV starts at $28,795 including freight. The EV has a listed range of 259 miles, the EUV 247 miles.
Sales of Bolt EV and Bolt EUV through the first half of 2023 have been the strongest to date, Chevrolet says. Eighty percent of Bolt owners are staying loyal to Chevy and nearly 70 percent of buyers who are trading in a vehicle for Bolt are trading in a non-GM product.
“We will keep the momentum going by delivering a new Bolt,” Barra said, “and we will execute it more quickly compared to an all-new program with significantly lower engineering expense and capital investment by updating the vehicle with Ultium and Ultifi technologies and by applying our ‘winning with simplicity’ discipline.”