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GM shows off electric Bolt concept car, a shot at Tesla’s Model 3

General Motors introduced a 200-mile range, $30,000, all-electric concept car called “the Bolt” at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday. Having sold its extended range electric Volt since 2010, GM’s new concept car is a clear competitor to Tesla’s long standing plan to launch a lower cost, mainstream electric car, now called the Model 3, down the road.

While the Bolt is a concept car, it’s a preview to a production car that is supposed to launch in 2017, potentially as a 2018 model. While the Volt has been one of the best-selling electric cars out there, its sales numbers for 2014 were slower than in previous years, and this year GM sold 18,805 Volts (down from 23,094 in 2013).

The electric Bolt concept car from GM.
The electric Bolt concept car from GM.

The lower Volt sales last year were partly due to everyone waiting for GM’s 2016 Volt, which also launched at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday. The 2016 Volt has a 50-mile battery range before it kicks into gas mode (vs. 38 miles for the previous Volt), and in extended range mode gets gas mileage of 41 miles per gallon, which is higher than than the current car’s 37 mpg gas mileage. It goes on sale in the second half of 2015.

GM has had some fits and starts getting this Bolt concept car together. The company previously was working with startup Envia Systems on a 200-mile range battery, but that deal collapsed after the technology didn’t end up working as promised. Quartz reports that LG Chem will supply the 200-mile battery for the Bolt, and the Korean giant is also supplying the battery for the Volt.

GM's 2016 Chevy Volt
GM’s 2016 Chevy Volt

Green Car Reports took this shaky video of the Bolt and Volt launches:

Tesla is showing off its dual-motor, all-wheel drive, souped up P85D model at the Detroit Auto Show this week, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to speak on Tuesday afternoon at the event, potentially about how the auto industry isn’t yet taking electrification seriously enough. Tesla’s Musk and Tesla Chief Designer Franz Von Holzhausen have said that the Model 3 won’t look like a traditional car.

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