GM Head of Consumer Affairs James Bell: Chevy Bolt In Showrooms In 2016 – Video (Update: Or Not)


New 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

The new 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

In the 75-second video above, Head of Consumer Affairs at General Motors, James Bell, discusses electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt & the upcoming, now-confirmed-for-production Chevrolet Bolt.

In discussing the *Bolt, James Bell definitively states that it will be in showrooms in 2016!  This likely means sometime in late 2016 as a Model year 2017 offering and we doubt it will be available nationwide initially, though General Motors CEO Mary Barra has stated it will eventually rollout nationwide.  Price?  “About $30,000,” according to Bell.

*Yes, that’s Bolt with a B.  There’s no way General Motors will stick with this confusing name.

Update:  We have been in contact with GM about the Bolt and this interview, and despite Mr. Bell’s fairly clear statement on the matter, the company says they have no official position on the Bolt’s production status and that the GM Head of Consumer Affairs was just at the end of a long day.

The video, unfortunately is incorrect. James made a simple mistake after a long day of interviews. Chevrolet has not yet announced production of the Bolt EV – and while we’ve been impressed by the volume of positive feedback we’ve received since announcing the concept – we do not have any production announcements to make at this time.

So…confused yet?

In regards to the Volt, Bell basically says it was thoroughly reworked in an effort to address some problems.

Owners typically love their plug-ins. The  Volt is no exception.  But even with vehicles as exceptional as the Volt, there will always be a few quibbles.  However, it appears as that GM took care of most of those quibbles with the redesigned/refined 2016 Volt.

Searching for more info/details on the refined 2016 Volt? Click here

Interested in the upcoming Bolt? Click here

Would you consider purchasing the new Chevrolet Volt or the Chevrolet Bolt.  If so, why?  If not, then why not?

Chevrolet Volt EV Concept.

Chevrolet Volt EV Concept.

Categories: General


Leave a Reply

108 Comments on "GM Head of Consumer Affairs James Bell: Chevy Bolt In Showrooms In 2016 – Video (Update: Or Not)"

newest oldest most voted

He sure made it sound like production was a sure thing, and he said it would be in showrooms next year. I hope so!

I hope not. Quality always suffers when you rush something to market. Then again, this is GM we’re talking about…

They’ve been working on this for years and have previous EV experience. No rushing here.

+1. It is not like GM is new at this. The Volt has been out there for 4 years now, the Spark EV has been out there, the ELR . . . they can do this.

And the EV-1 that they killed

And their other vehicles that killed people from faulty engineering…

That contradicts the notion that you need to spend years to get good quality.
You either have quality, or you don’t. Working on something for years doesn’t do much either way. A last minute tweak can introduce new issues not seen during years of testing.

Are we talking about Toyota now? If you’re talking about GM, I find your leaps laughable. So because people were hanging anvils from their keychains, on cars that still use keys, you think GM is incapable of bringing an EV to production, even though they already have 2 plug-in EREVs out, and 81 mile BEV out? That’s some horrible reasoning.

GM could do a rebuild/redesign update of the EV1, and put it at an Auto Show, as a teaser – like this Bolt, and see what the response they get with that! With Today’s Batteries, they should be able to knock of 200+ miles range in that – since they got up to 120 – 140 miles with the NiMH Pack in the Gen II model of the EV1!

Not everyone likes 4-door vehicles, and having an EV1(2017) would give them back some street cred, and even if it was limited to a few thousand units, but sold country wide (& in Canada) – they could grab some good headlines, and show they appreciated the buyers of their past Electric Cars coming back and buying the the Volt, & Bolt, and they wanted to do something Special for them!

i, for one, do not want to see a resurrection of the EV1.

I would love to see that. The EV1 was designed to carry 600kg lead-acid batteries. With LiIon this would bring us to a Tesla-like 80ish kwh battery. With the better aero-design, we could see 500+ miles of range with that.

Hell, McD and Coke brought back their classic products, why not GM 😉

How is this relevant? You might as well say “Obama!”

They could start testing the chassis, structure, etc now. It’ll only have a 100 mile battery or 200 m prototype.

In showrooms … is often where halo vehicles are displayed.

The more interesting story, is where/when the Bolt will be sold and it what volumes. Hopefully the number of states and volumes are much higher than GM/Chevy’s first two BEVs, te EV1 and Spark EV. Neither of which has yet to be sell in more than 3 states, or at over 1,500 vehicles per year. Perhaps the Bolt, like the Olympic runner, will start strong out f the gate and speed down the track of EV sales charts.

He also 5 passenger. The concept car was a 4 passenger

Quote unquote, “You’ll have it available in showrooms for about $30,000 next year (2016)”

Not much to misunderstand about that quote. Makes me think it will launch as a MY 2017 vehicle, as opposed to being launched in 2017 as a MY 2018.

$30,000 (after tax incentives). He should have said that unless GM is pulling a fast one on everybody.

That assertion that they were going to sell the Bolt for $30,000 with no asterisk or qualification kind of irritated me. Tesla did it too, and it irritated me then as well.

Depends on what “available in the showrooms” really means.

Just to look at?


That’s what they were leaking before NAIAS. Nissan and Tesla had better hope that’s not true.

That’s a hell of a discussion with oneself, 75 seconds and all. He doesn’t look convinced, should try the sales pitch harder. :p

In showrooms next year.. Wow.. That is sooner than I expected. Then again, by saying “next year” could be interpreted as any time in 2016. So December of 2016 is almost 2 years from now. Still, that means the car must be closer to production ready than a standard concept car.

I wonder if it will be a compliance car, or sold nationwide? I also wonder what happens to the Spark EV?

Mary Barra, the CEO, said nationwide.

that doesn’t mean that the Bolt (or whatever it is eventually called) will be sold nationwide on the first day of sales.

I won’t consider either until they offer AWD, hopefully in a CUV version.


Not really Cheryl, although its true automakers steal interior ideas from each other all the time. A 37 mile range can’t compared with the supposed 200 mile range of the BOLT.

A closer comparison would be what China is doing, which is probably worrying GM alot more in its either current or soon-to-be largest market, rather than Italian designs or anything Tesla is doing.

I’m with you Bill; the real news is 200 mile range; will be interesting to see the specs on their Bolt battery pack, i.e., chemistry, cell density, etc.

I do. Very similar form factor. But I also see bits from other automakers in the “Bolt” prototype. Nothing new, designers pull inspiration from all over. Even Tesla does this.

Wow, I was about to call BS on you, but holy crap you are 100% right. There is no way a GM designer did NOT see this pininfarina and plagiarize design concepts. Wow, nice call.

It is also like the Think OX.

Seen a couple ThinkCity’s, but never an OX in the wild. Too bad, it’s a better looking and more practical EV.

Was it ever manufactured? I don’t believe it ever made it to production.

I have seen a Th!nk City driving around in the streets of Portland, Oregon a couple of times.

I have had my 2011 Volt for about 4 years. I love my Volt, but my family has out grown the Volt. My next purchase will be a plug-in 6+ seater (I have 3 children with 1 on the way).

I’ve been saying for YEARS! that a manufacturer needs to make a hybrid MINIVAN! I’ve been saying it so long in fact, that plug-ins have come along and revised my statement. Now I’m begging from the rooftops, PLEASE make a plug in minivan with about 40 miles of range and about 30 mpg after range is exhausted. You’ll sell them to soccer moms, you’ll sell them to taxi companies, you’ll sell them to churches, schools, retirement homes, shuttle companies, airports, and anyone else that has DOWNSIZED, to a car, or switched to a more winter capable vehicle that gets same fuel economy and about same room!! If minivans got 30mpg, SUV sales would plummet to about half!!!
Or just make a gall dam Plug-in 4×4 SUV with 20 miles and 25mpg!!

I should revise that statement.. doesn’t have to be 4×4.. can be part time AWD.. and maybe should come standard as FWD.. with 25mpg.. and 22mpg with AWD!
Also, I think a 30mpg rating is only possible if you can make a 1.8l 4cylinder work with a mid-size SUV/VAN.

Keep your eye on Chrysler. They keep teasing us with the idea of PHEV Town & Country mini van.

Time will tell….

That would be such a winner!

It would be on my short list. We can prevent so much more carbon pollution with PHEV vans.

Agreed; I’ve been saying for years a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid (most people would consider this adequately sized for their growing families) already has 2 electric motors in it.

Can’t some ‘tuner’ shoehorn in a 6600 watt charger, and 48kwh of batteries, and basically make what Via just discontinued?

I suppose its asking too much for Cadillac to do that. Their big accomplishment this year seems to have been taking the wreath off the shield logo, or else that 600hp car they’re really proud of. I have no interest in either, but I’d love to see a plug-in hybrid caddy escalade. Why not? They are 90% there with the hybrid.

Sounds like GM is ahead of the game. Great news for consumers.

If GM wishes to knock down Tesla in the affordable 200 mile-EV market, GM also needs to coordinate with VW and BMW to accelerate development of a national CCS FCDC network.

Or set up their own gigafactory to provide sufficient battery capacity for a “nationwide” rollout…

Till then, I remain unconvinced much is going to happen with the CrossVolt any time soon…

You don’t think there will be a Chevy Bolt (or whatever they call it) for ~$37,500 MSRP in the year 2016?

No. Not in significant numbers. And even then, highly doubtful by 2016.

Wait, it’s either “yes” or “no”.

They will end up purchasing batteries from Panasonic/Tesla.

The Holland, MI LG plant has the ability to tool up to support “200,000” EVs a year. That was in 2012, I don’t know what size pack an EV would be expected to have based on that number. Or how increased energy density offsets higher expectations for EV capacity changes that number. I’m guessing though, that they should be good to support at least 100,000 Bolts a year from that plant.

200,000 EVs, namely Volts at the time with a 16kwh battery… so roughly 50,000x 60kwh batteries… not enough

I don’t know about knocking down Tesla’s door – I expect Tesla’s Gigafactory to beat GM/LG Chem significantly on battery pack price (around $100/kWh more expensive), and I expect the Tesla model to be more upscale and bigger than the Bolt.

I’m not entirely convinced that the “gigafactory” will reduce costs that much. If you think about any manufacturing that is being scaled up, there is a diminishing return for each time you double the scale. Because ultimately you cannot produce something for less than the costs of the materials needed to make it. I’m not convinced Tesla will be able to produce batteries significantly cheaper than LG Chem.

And I’m not convinced the Model 3 will be more upscale on the interior. Look at the Model S. It’s pretty bland other than a big touchscreen that doesn’t integrate well into the design. The software is nice, but that’s about it. I like the looks G2 Volt a million times better. I hope it has updated graphics on the displays with pinch/zoom/swipe like a smartphone, but no word on that yet.

One of the things I *love* about the Bolt is the clean “Scandinavian” design of the interior. No unneeded gewgaws. Serene. Zen. Like the Model S.

I hope you don’t fall in love w/it too much, because it’s a concept car. I’m thinking the entire interior will be completely redone by production.

haha, I guess I’ll have to wait for the Model 3. Go Tesla!

I’ll be shopping around 2018. The more choices the better. I hope the Model 3 exists at that time, and I don’t have to go onto a 3 year waiting list.

Then it will suck. It will add delays to production and remove a significant aspect of the prototype’s desirable design.

What you find cheap/boring, I interpret as clean and modern.

Most concepts have unrealistic, non-practical, interiors. And the crazier the concept, the crazier the interiors. This is nothing new. For you to get upset about the Bolt’s interior being brought up to today’s standards with much more content, doesn’t make sense.

I proffer it will be similar interior to the Buick Encore. In a word: fantastic.

I hope neither holds a dominating advantage. LG Chem has too much market share, for it to be at all healthy for Tesla if they wipe them out of the $30k space. If Tesla had all the marbles ($100/kwh advantage), than effectively the opposite would happen, and major OEM hopes would sideline themselves, and let more year(s) of “who’s heard of Tesla” go by. I want competition.

A Bolt delivery, in 2016, is already a couple years ahead of Model E, and that is not competition. Bolt could grab the “non-trip” EV space, leaving Tesla the cheap “nation-wide” economy EV space. That’s what is rapidly evolving, regardless of battery advantage. The chargers.

I don’t think that $100/kWh lead will hold up over the long term. I expect the gap to narrow to $50 or less by 2025 as others catch up to Tesla.

I just hope the final design is a bit better. I don’t hate it as is . . . but it is kinda meh.

Get rid of the fake grille. It is an electric car, damn it. And, more importantly, get rid of the fake shifter that just wastes valuable space in the car.

These vestigial parts really annoy me.

The only part that bothered me, when I saw it in person, was the rear window. It was like a big goofy fish bowl. I’d prefer something more stylish.

i would be very surprised if they went with a such a curved rear window in a production vehicle. for one thing, a piece or flatter glass would be less expensive, which is probably the way that they would go in production because i don’t see any benefit in the curved glass other than for visual appeal (although it apparently didn’t appeal to you).

I’m betting the rear hatch will be refined (and made more production friendly and cheaper), the glass roof will be gone, and the interior will be similar to contemporary Chevy cars in 2017.

I’ll definitely be looking at it when it comes out.

Not so fast discounting the glass roof. This item is more than just a pretty design. The glass roof is functional. Electric cars consume a lot of energy to heat the cabin in the winter. On a cold but sunny day, the glass roof can help to heat the cabin of the car using sunlight. A shade could be used in the summertime to keep the cabin from getting too hot. On sunny winter days, we frequently move our cars out of the garage, and park in the sun to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the car.

I liked the curved corners on the rear window– it makes it much more European looking and prevents the overall design from becoming just a giant box on wheels.

Why do you want to take all the cool stuff out of this vehicle???

Would you consider purchasing the new Chevrolet Volt or the Chevrolet Bolt. If so, why? If not, then why not?

Hell no (Volt), and yes (Bolt).

My lease is up on the Leaf in july 2016. If they have a bolt I can lease, then I will take one.

I’ll probably see if I can get an answer besides “what?” from the GM dealer about getting on an availability list. I’m not holding my breath. The last conversation I had with a GM dealer here was:

“we have shiny trucks… you want a shiny truck, don’t cha?”

I’d rather have the Volt. Not only is it a better looking car (I like sports cars, or at least sports-sedans) but 50 miles of range is enough to handle 98% of my driving. Unfortunately, 200 miles is NOT enough to handle 100% of my driving, at least not with the current state of public charging infrastructure in Texas for the foreseeable future. So, I’d rather have the PHEV that can handle all of my driving.

you wouldn’t want to buy the Bolt as your only car. i live in a colder climate, so when i see a manufacturer that boasts of 200 miles of EV range, i cut the figure in half to better ensure that i account for year round range possibilities. but as a second car the Bolt would probably work out fine in almost all local use cases.

Completely agree with David… The Volt provides electric benefits and works without compromises for just about any North American driver (for this size vehicle).

A BEV, even one with 200 miles, still has compromises that means it appeals more to first adopters than the masses at this time. Eventually this will change, but for now that is the way it is.

BTW, acknowledgement and thanks are due to all the first adopters who will keep the BEV market going in the meantime.

Tesla is a technology incubator, and BEV technology is a testing platform to refine EV technology. i think that as companies get serious about EV technology, they will introduce PHEV for general automotive use. my intuition is that FCEV will play a role in the future that is somewhat equivalent to the role of diesel today: i see practical use of FCEV in trucking and public transportation. in long haul trucking, time is money, so you don’t want the downtime required to recharge a battery, especially since you are limited in the number of hours that you can operate a truck in a given day.

Both cars are great but I want to go pure electric, so the Bolt for me. I like the look of the Volt more though.

The Volt is a no-brainer. Just not many compromises. The Bolt is cute, 200 miles seems easy to live with, and not having an engine seems like a good deal. The price is also right. However, having had a BEV, it’s always a bit of a pain to worry about having enough range — you just always have to be considering it. Plus with the Volt you don’t use enough gas worth worrying about. So it’s not a big deal.

There will also be some performance and size differences as well, both of which for me favor the Volt. So all things considered Yes on the Volt and a Maybe on the Bolt. Would buy the Volt but the Bolt would have to be a lease.

The lease on my Nissan Leaf will be up in September of this year. There were several times I almost got stuck out there with the Nissan Leaf. Knock on wood, I was always able to make it to a Charging station. My transportation needs are too unpredictable for an all electric vehicle. Even one with a 200 mile all electric range (like the Bolt) is not enough for me. The Volt gets my vote. I am glad we have a choice.

Sounds exciting.
Funny how he is talking with three gas guzzlers : Camaro Pick up truck and Buick in the background?

the Chevrolet looks like a Corvette to me; the Buick looks like the new Cascada. in any event, i suspect GM sells a lot more pickups than they do EVs…gotta pay those bills!

I will definitely buy a Bolt. Will be my first GM purchase in 35 years, and first ever new GM auto purchase. Go GM!

I knew it was too good to be true. If they brought the Bolt to showrooms in 2016, they would beat Tesla and Nissan to the punch. I would be surprised of Nissan didn’t beat GM to market, at least by a few months if not a full model year. Tesla will bring the Model III when they can, but their history is riddled with delays. I suspect they too will beat GM though.

Haters gonna hate.

Are you serious? Now you are accusing me of hate because I believe that Tesla/Nissan will beat GM to market?


People don’t know what hate is anymore. They throw the word at anyone who disagrees with them.

Hate would be me wanting GM to suffer a miserable death. On the contrary, I desperately want them to bring the Bolt to all 50 states. I also want them to get behind their new Volt and SELL the thing. Advertise. Give dealers incentives to sell.

Players gonna play

Haha, my comment was mostly aimed at the instant conclusion that this gentlemen’s statement was too good to be true, and following that, that Tesla will beat GM with release of the Model 3.

… all from GM stating that, despite this guy’s statement, they don’t have production plans to announce “at this time”

My comment was hardly an “instant conclusion” to the guy’s statement. I was responding to the fact that the title of this article was changed to include “(Update: Or Not)”. I was initially excited. Then that.

As for the Tesla comment, well we’ll see who beats whom. GM easily can if they are motivated. Tesla is very motivated but is having growing pains (e.g. keeping up with promised schedules). The part I stand by the firmest is that I expect Nissan to have an update before either Tesla or GM. I will be surprised if they don’t, since they seem to have the best combination of motivation and means.

I thought this was unambiguous. They’re going to be available next year. This is their moon shoot EV, won’t be much of one if it never hits production.

The impression I got from talking with the GM folks at NAIAS was that if it does come to market we’d be looking at sometime in 2017 as a 2018 model.

i think that people are making too big of a deal out of what was said in that video. it sounds like a pretty safe bet that GM is planning a roll out for the Bolt; but that should have been obvious with the GM CEO prominently introduced the car at the detroit auto show; you typically don’t want the CEO to be associated with a project only to later say: “just kidding, LOL…”.

the specific timing is less important; there is a lot going on with EV technology that could require modifications in the EV product plan, so nobody can give you a reliable firm date for when the Bolt will be introduced.

Any decision on whether I would buy a Bolt would depend upon where Tesla is with their Model III by the time the Bolt actually showed up in showrooms.

On that point, it seems pretty clear, although unspoken, that the Bolt will only show up for sale in the same time frame as the Model 3.

Tesla has focused the spotlight on a $35k 200 mile BEV product segment, and GM is making sure they also have one to throw in the ring when the time comes.

It’s a clear indication the world’s largest car maker takes Tesla seriously, which is something we should all celebrate.

I am from Missouri. Not really but hopefully you get the reference. Knocking the door down, with what a single vehicle?
I hope they can backup what they say, but that remains to be seen, so show me.

Seemed very rehearsed so I’m not entirely buying the “end of a long day” story. He obviously got his information from somewhere.

I’m guessing the goal is for 2016, but the date may slip to 2017 and it’s better to under promise than to over promise. May also be some competitive reasons for keeping the date later.

We’ll know soon enough. If production is set for 2016 then the test cars should be on the roads starting this summer.

Tesla needs to show their Model III concept car pronto. Even an official teaser car rendering would do.

The sense I get, is Model III is in a bit of a design flux at the moment. So don’t expect design teasers until at least Model X is in high volume production. Probably not this year… Maybe 2016.

Elon said 2015 would be the year for concentration on the Model S. 2016 focus would shift to the Model 3. Nothing is designed at this point.

The Bolt will, at best, use CCS for DC Fast Charging, which makes it a car for Adventures for very long trips, due to the lack of a cohesive CCS roll-out plan by any, including the new BMW/VW CCS Team with what – just 100 units?

Also – not clear mention of what rate AC Charging will be! 3.3 kW like the Smart ED, or iMiEV or Basic LEAF? 3.6 kW like the new Volt? 6.6 kW like the upscale LEAF’s and the Focus EV, or 7.2 kW like the BMW i3? Or – will they go all the way to 10 kW – like the RAV4 EV or Basic Tesla?

If CCS Proponents want this to be ‘The Standard’ they need to take this bull by the horns, and make it available in bigger numbers, as has been done in Europe! No North American, easy to find or see, CCS Map Site, and at least CHAdeMO – has a website for their standard, that show the numbers of units by Country/Area; Tesla has their Supercharger page showing where sites are, plan to be, and by when – Something no other major player seems to get the value of!

not without a nationwide fast charging network… Chevy’s only chance here is to pay Tesla $2000 per car to use the Supercharger network (the same price Tesla drivers pay)… the national CCS and Chademo networks are nowhere close

My guess is they really want to surprise everybody with the official announcement and finalized version reveal, and having this guy spout off the cuff like that pretty much ruined their surprise. Notice they didn’t say they weren’t sure about making it, just that they haven’t made an official announcement. My guess is this is for real but he just said more than he was authorized to.

I believe the part about him being at the end of a long day….which is why he let skip slip the part about the Bolt (or whatever) being released in 2016. GM’s statement doesn’t deny that the Bolt is being released next year, only that no official production plans yet.

Any car manufacturer can make an electric car that can go 200 miles. The issue is can GM make an electric car that can go 200 miles with the performance, looks, features, and safety at a price point that people will pay for and GM still makes a profit, without government assistance? Please don’t lay an egg like the ELR.

i think the better question is: can *any* manufacturer make *any* car that meets the requirements that you have articulated? one thing that i have noticed is the tendency among some to set unrealistic expectations when it comes to EVs: “i want great performance, great looks, all the latest technology and i want it for less than $25,000”.

Wow….I just wanted to add that people are really passionate about this thread! Look at the number of comments!!

Tesla will be late to the party (probably 2019), but they will have the charging infrastructure. GM will not.

So, perhaps 2019 – 2021 range when it gets sold outside the compliance car states, maybe….

I’ll be more likely to get a Tesla Model 3 in Alabama before I can see a Bolt, but who knows. Time will tell.

I am surprised people dislike the “Bolt” name so much. I think it’s fine. One syllable, and it’s a word that implies fast acceleration. I think it’ll grow on us.

I agree. It’s easy to say, just like ‘LEAF’ is. Simple and unpretentious.

As long as the car is as impressive as it appears to be, the name will work fine.

Good point about many of the unanswered questions regarding charging speed as well as the lack of a CCS map. I wonder if this was actually an intentional leak, to keep interest in the car high but also allow GM plausible deniability in case it takes longer to bring the Bolt to market? Also, I can see them bringing it to showrooms, as a display car but not yet ready for sale. On another note, if GM really can bring a 200 mile compact BEV to market by 2017, why not a larger Range Extended vehicle, such as Impala, Suburban, etc? 50-75 miles in a REV would have the potential of making EV driving comfortable for people all the while allowing the flexibility to go longer distances a la Chevy Volt. Although I would definitely be interested in a 200 mile BEV such as the Bolt, I am really enjoying the interior of my Volt.(4 seats works for me, given our family size now). I don’t want to go back to the IMiEV size. Yes, I realize that the Bolt is bigger than the MiEV, but it looks a bit small. Maybe that’s just me seeing it from afar and… Read more »

I asked a question to Pam Fletcher during the next gen Volt panel held in DC last Thursday about GM’s plans on a Voltec CUV/SUV. Obviously, she couldn’t answer my question, but the way she delivered her response, it gave me the impression there is something in the works at GM.

Still no confirmation on 200 miles of EPA or NEDC range from GM? Nissan seems to think that the ~160 mile range Leaf 2 will beat the Bolt’s range, so they think the 200 mile claim is NEDC range or steady 38 mph. The current Nissan Leaf gets 124 miles at a steady 38 mph.

It’s difficult to discuss charging when we don’t know the actual range, battery capacity and battery charge C-rate. If the battery is 40 kWh with 135 miles of EPA range, it can’t make the jumps between Tesla Superchargers. It will also unlikely be able to charge at 100 kW effectively (that’s over 2C).