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GM Boosting Bolt EV Production as Demand Surges

CEO Barra asking Congress to expand electric-car tax credits.

by on Mar.08, 2018

There's significant room to expand Chevy Bolt EV production at GM's Orion Assembly Plant.

General Motors plans to expand production of its first long-range battery-car, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, CEO Mary Barra said during an energy conference in Houston.

The Bolt has experienced stronger than expected demand in recent months, some analysts suggesting that is the result of the slow ramp-up of production for Tesla’s own mainstream EV, the Model 3.

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Demand has also been buoyed by $7,500 federal tax credits that bring the base price of the Bolt down below $30,000. But under the current rules, GM is expected to soon see the credits phase out, something that could cut into demand, leading Barra to say that, “We feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefits going forward.”

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First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Getting charged up over battery power.

by on Dec.12, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt can manage 238 miles from its 60 kWh battery pack, says the EPA.

It’s no surprise that the first generation of battery-electric vehicles barely registered on the U.S. sales charts. They were small, costly and, with the exception of a few luxury-priced Teslas, not very much fun to drive. Add limited range and only the most green-minded buyers were willing to plug in.

But the equation is about to change and, if a handful of new models deliver what they’re promising, we could begin to see electric propulsion move into the mainstream. First out of the box is the new Chevrolet Bolt EV. With a range of 238 miles and a price tag dipping below $30,000 – once you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit – there’s a lot to like about the Chevy hatchback.

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We’ve now had three stints behind the wheel of the Bolt EV, including our first drive of a pre-production prototype last January. While it may not have the cache of the Tesla Model 3 – which won’t make it to market until the second half of 2017 at the earliest – the new Chevy battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, really delivers on all its promises. It’s surprisingly quick, roomy and able to deliver nearly as much range as comparably sized gas vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Sonic.

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Getting it Right: Inside the Chevy Bolt EV Plant

by on Dec.09, 2016

A new Chevrolet Bolt rolls down the assembly line at GM's Orion Township Assembly Plant.

With the plant running at only about a third of its capacity, General Motors has dimmed the lights at much of its Orion Township Assembly Plant, save for one final station near the end of the production line. There, in a booth lit as brightly as a mid-summer’s day, a couple of hourly workers are carefully inspecting a Chevrolet Bolt hatchback.

They’re determined to make sure all the sheet metal and chrome fit together as planned, and that there are no nicks or scratches to the paint. GM can’t afford any mistakes. The Chevy Bolt EV could prove to be one of the most important products the Detroit-based automaker has launched in decades.

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The first long-range, affordably priced battery-electric vehicle isn’t likely to generate six-figure sales. Nonetheless, it will not only demonstrate whether there’s a mainstream market for EVs but also show whether GM can appeal to the sort of buyers who have largely flocked to either imports or new start-ups like Tesla.

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