The electric car feels like a promise that’s never quite been fulfilled. They were all the rage a few years ago, but seem to have quietly stepped into the role of sitting on lots ever since. But in truth, they’re inching ever closer to popular acceptance … especially with the latest news that the next electric concept from GM, the Chevrolet Bolt, will be sold on lots and made by American hands.
Bolt From The Blue
The Chevrolet Bolt got a lot of attention when it first debuted, as it was built to solve two problems many people had with electric vehicles; they had limited range, just one hundred miles on a given charge, and as a result of that limit, required constant, and slow, recharging.
The range issue is perhaps a bit overstated; in truth, a car with a range of one hundred miles is often more than enough for most people to get the errands done and to get to work. Still, it meant that if you drove further than a hundred miles in a day, you had to plan ahead … or hope there was an outlet handy.
The Bolt solves this with a fast-charge design that lets its batteries fill to 80% in less than 45 minutes, and a battery that doubles the effective range to 200 miles. But overall, it’s still a concept. Or, rather, was.
GM has confirmed that they’ll be building the Bolt in a Michigan factory and that we’ll be seeing it on Chevy lots in 2017. It’s not clear whether the Bolt will be keeping features such as an all-glass roof or the constant stream of information to a companion app for your smartphone. What has been made clear is that it will be available in all 50 states, although the states requiring electric vehicles to be available will likely see more cars on the lot than those that don’t. That’s attention-getting for more reasons than you might at first think; it not only marks a next-generation electric car being built in America, it’s actually the third model of electric car Chevy is putting out for sale to the general public, after the Spark and the Volt. It’s not clear whether the Spark or the Volt might be retired.
That said, there is one issue that still needs to be addressed; even GM admits that the Bolt will need substantial tax rebates in order to be cost effective, and its current sticker price, after those rebates, is $30,000. While that’s a bit below the overall average for a new car, it prices the Volt well above many gas-powered cars, and thus out of the range of a number of people, even after you factor in gas prices and the attendant savings.
That said, that GM is not only building this concept for the market but continuing to commit to electric vehicles speaks volumes. It’s been an open question as to whether electric vehicles would see widespread acceptance in the US, and if a major manufacturer is not only building them, but adding more models, it hints that Americans are slowly embracing the electric car.