GM has started production of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle on an assembly line in Orion Township, Michigan as it plans to start rolling out the vehicle by the end of 2016.
The car will cost around $37,495 before a Federal tax credit of $7,500 and is set to be initially released in California and Oregon before being released to the rest of the US by next year.
With a range 383 km (238 miles as estimated by the EPA), “GM, set out to make the range about equal to a half-tank of fuel in a gas-powered car. With a half-tank of gas, most people don’t worry that they have to refuel for a while and are comfortable driving,” says Darin Gesse, the Bolt’s product manager.
The late-2016 release of the Bolt means that it has beaten Tesla to the punch when it comes to producing a long-range and affordable electric car. Tesla’s offering is set to start production by mid-2017 and has a planned release date of mid 2018 or later. It has roughly the same range as the Bolt with a 346 km (215 mile) range per charge.
It’s not only GM and Tesla that are releasing electric vehicles. Manufacturers like Maserati have expressed their plans of releasing an electric car by 2019 while Volkswagen plans on having electric vehicles in their line-up by 2020. Their plans could still change, but it does show the willingness of automotive companies to invest in a future with electric cars; something both GM and Tesla have paired-up with action.
While the Bolt itself might not make America shift from gasoline to electric vehicles overnight, Darin Gesse is confident, “It becomes just a mainstream vehicle choice.” Having more exposure to the general public might be one of the ways for us to transition to a zero emission future.