Last month GM showed off an electric concept car called the Bolt, which was widely seen as a competitive shot at Tesla’s planned lower cost Model 3 car. Now on Thursday, ahead of the Chicago Auto Show, GM announced that the Bolt, indeed, will go into production.
[company]GM[/company] says the car will be built at the company’s Orion Assembly facility near Detroit, and GM will spend an initial $200 million to get the car into production, including $160 million for tooling and equipment, and $40 million for new dies.
GM says the Bolt will “leverage” the battery tech used in the Volt, but if the range is supposed to be 200 miles on all-electric then the Bolt will have to use more advanced battery technology than the Volt. Quartz reported previously that LG Chem will supply the 200-mile battery for the Bolt.
GM has long had the idea to build this lower cost, longer range electric car, and the company has been shooting for a launch in 2017, potentially as a 2018 model. But the release on Thursday didn’t detail any type of timeline for the production Bolt.
While GM’s Volt has been one of the best-selling electric cars out there, its sales numbers for 2014 were slower than in previous years, and in 2014 GM sold 18,805 Volts (down from 23,094 in 2013). 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 last month. The 2016 Volt has a 50-mile battery range before it kicks into gas mode.
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.