Chevrolet will get help from Mickey Mouse and friends next month when the bowtie brand finally pulls the wraps off the all-new Bolt EUV, as well as the refreshed version of the Bolt EV.
Launched in 2016, the Bolt hatchback was parent General Motors’ first long-range all-electric model and has been expected to get a mid-cycle refresh. The Bolt EUV is a stretched version of the battery-electric vehicle, and marks the start of a broader roll-out of GM BEVs that will see 30 of them in global showrooms by mid-decade.
“As Chevrolet takes the next steps on its journey to a zero-emissions future, the brand is teaming up with Walt Disney World to reveal the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EUV and Bolt EV and show how magic can take place when the imagination is electrified. Join Chevrolet on Sunday, Feb. 14 to watch the journey unfold,” the automaker said in a statement.
Specific details on the two Chevy models have yet to be confirmed, but the Bolt EV is expected to get a more significant midcycle update than is the norm. That reflects improvements in battery drive systems and other technologies, as well as the increasing competition coming to the long-range electric vehicle market.
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, meanwhile, is an all-new model and, though it might initially be downplayed as just a slightly stretched version of the existing Bolt, it actually will have a number of standout features. For one thing, the EUV will be the first model outside the Cadillac family that will be equipped with the semi-autonomous Super Cruise technology that lets a motorist operate virtually hands-free on roughly 200,000 miles of limited-access roadways in the U.S. and Canada.
There’s been some debate over how much of a tear up Bolt’s drivetrain system will undergo, some observers suggesting the 2022 refresh will see the BEV switch from its original platform to the new Ultium drive technology that will underpin other GM battery cars and trucks now under development. It appears more likely, however, that both Bolt EV and EUV models will retain the same basic platform now in use, but with some modifications to improve drive dynamics and range.
The current Bolt model has gotten more range than when first release more than four years ago, at 259 miles per charge of its 66 kilowatt-hour battery. A teaser image from Chevy indicated the longer EUV will deliver at least 277 miles. The base Bolt EV could get another boost for 2022, however.
GM has said that, going forward, it believes that 300 miles is a base target for its all-electric models, with some pushing to 400 miles or more.
It has also said upcoming models will be able to deliver much better performance than prior-generation BEVs. The current Bolt EV pumps out 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque through a single electric motor driving the front axle. Future GM models, such as the upcoming GMC Hummer pickup, will offer as much as 1,000 hp and be offered in front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations.
Future models also will be able to squeeze as many as 200 kWh’s worth of batteries into their skateboard-style platforms. The new Ultium batteries the automaker is developing will be smaller, lighter – and less expensive. The near-term goal is to get down to about $100 per kWh, from about $150 when the Bolt originally debuted. Longer term, GM is targeting $70 a kilowatt hour.
The automaker had been planning to bring out “more than 20” BEVs by 2023 but, last autumn, CEO Mary Barra announced a major increase in the electric vehicle investment program and an increase to 30 all-electric models by 2025.
The Bolt EUV will measure about five to six inches longer than the current Bolt model. Both will roll down the same assembly line at the GM assembly plant in Orion Twp., Michigan. The facility is undergoing a $300 million update to handle both Bolt models and other BEVs to follow. GM is also converting an old plant on the Detroit border, recently renamed “Factory Zero,” to go all-electric. It will handle the Hummer and other larger BEVs.
Last weekend, meanwhile, GM confirmed it will convert an Ontario assembly plant to produce a new line of all-electric delivery trucks that will be sold through its new BrightDrop subsidiary.