Monday, January 12, 2015

How can Chevrolet sell an electric car with a 200-mile range for less than the Volt?

The Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept has an ambiguous name to go along with an ambiguous production date. Many auto writers are reporting it will be available as a 2017 model with a 200-mile range, but haven't you seen many concepts that never lived up to the splash they made at the auto show? 


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

A bolt is a fastener.

Now, Chevrolet is calling an all-electric concept with a 200-mile range a Bolt, which rhymes with Volt, the plug-in hybrid with a limited EV range it has been selling since December 2010.

A new Volt is to be unveiled today at the auto show in Detroit.

The official press release calls the 4-door Bolt "a vision for an affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 mile of range starting around $30,000."

Chevrolet officials haven't explained how the Bolt can be sold in two years for thousands of dollars less than the current Volt, which has an MSRP of $34,345.

In what appears to be a shot at Tesla's Model S, a 4-door luxury hatchback that starts at $69,900, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said the Bolt EV is "designed for attainability, not exclusivity."

The Bolt concept reminds some viewers of the more expensive BMW i3, which is available both as an EV and as a plug-in hybrid.

The i3, in turn, seems to have several styling cues that recall the Honda Passport.


200-mile range?

If the 2017 Bolt does achieve a range of 200 miles or more, it would be the first production car to come near the 208-mile range of the base Tesla Model S 60.

Now, several EVs claim to have a range of about 85 miles, including the Nissan Leaf, Mercedes-Benz B-Class and BMW's i3.