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GM Unveils The Chevy Bolt At The NAIAS

GM has unveiled the Chevrolet Bolt electric car at the NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show). This hatchback is a potential game changer due to an unusual combination of qualities — a price tag in the $30,000 USD range (after rebates), and a range of 200 miles (without the use of a combustion engine). All the other electric vehicles in the $30,000 price range cannot travel more than 100 miles per charge.

The Chevy Bolt EV.
The Chevy Bolt EV. Image obtained with thanks from Chris DeMorro/Gas 2.

What caused this dramatic improvement? An ingenious, efficient body design? Or an improved propulsion system? It could be all of the above, and that is most likely the case. However, improved battery technology alone can have a tremendous impact on electric vehicle range, and it is battery technology especially that has held back the electric vehicle industry for many years.

Will The Chevy Bolt Sell?

It probably will. According to Kelly Blue Book, the average light vehicle purchase in the U.S. was $32,500 USD (September 2014). If GM is able to provide the Chevy Bolt at this price, it will be truly groundbreaking, as affordable long-range electric cars are non-existent.

The average American drives less than 30 miles per day, the British drive an average of 7 miles daily, and in general: People don’t drive more than 100 miles per day. This means they are adequately covered by the 4-door Bolt (and most other EVs in its price range as well). The Chevy Volt is in the same price range and can drive 35 miles per charge, but it still has a major convenience benefit — It can be quickly refuelled with gasoline. I would drive a Volt for a few years and then consider a Chevy Bolt in 2018.

From the LA Times website:

‘A 200-mile EV range at about $30,000 in a crossover body shape is a killer combination’, said John Krafcik, president of auto shopping company TrueCar Inc. and former chief executive of Hyundai Motor America. ‘You are looking at annual sales of 100,000 vehicles.’

Source: LA Times.

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