General Motors CEO Mary Barra hinted at the return of the entry-level Chevrolet Bolt EV in the near future, which would be priced below the upcoming Equinox EV crossover.
While speaking on NPR’s Marketplace podcast, GM’s head honcho said that she’s been driving a Bolt EUV for several months and that she "absolutely loves" it, but it’s a second-generation EV, which means higher production costs than the third-gen Ultium platform, which brings a 40 percent reduction in battery costs.
As a result, the current Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will be retired by the end of the year, even though it still offers great value for money almost seven years after going into production in 2016, with a starting price of $26,500 (excluding destination charge).
Barra: So I’ve been driving a Bolt EUV for several months before that. Absolutely love it.
Ryssdal (host): So why are you stopping making it?
Barra: Because it’s our second-generation technology. The difference between our second generation and third generation, which is Ultium, is a 40% reduction in battery costs. And we’re leveraging the names of our vehicles that are well understood and known in industry.
People, you know, who drive an Equinox today will understand what an Equinox EV, what that delivers to them. But, you know, Bolt is something that has built up a lot of loyalty and equity.
So I can’t say more because I don’t discuss future product programs. But, you know, it was primarily a move from second generation to third generation. But that’s [an] important vehicle in our portfolio.
Ryssdal: Nudge nudge, wink wink, I guess.
When the all-new, Ultium-based Chevy Equinox EV was announced early last year, some pundits argued that it will replace the Bolt when it comes to market in Fall 2023 with an estimated MSRP of around $30,000, but now it seems this won’t be the case, with a potential return of the Bolt EV as an even more affordable battery-electric vehicle.
Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Review
Considering GM has 40 percent lower battery costs with the Ultium platform compared to the second-generation battery that underpins the current Bolt EV, a starting price of around $25,000 for a latest-gen compact EV wouldn’t be impossible if you ask us. And that’s without any tax credit or incentive.
The soon-to-be-retired Chevy Bolt EV has an EPA-estimated range of 259 miles, while the slightly larger Bolt EUV can drive for up to 247 miles on a single charge, according to the EPA. The two compact cars are also the least costly EVs to own over five years, according to Kelley Blue Book, so not a bad deal at all.
It’s worth noting that the Bolt’s journey hasn’t always been a smooth ride, as General Motors halted production of both vehicles in August 2021 due to a massive battery recall that affected about 142,000 units. Production resumed in April 2022.
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