General Motors' decision to cancel the Chevrolet Bolt had to have been one of the more perplexing moves from an automaker that has struggled across the board to deliver any electric vehicles in volume. Sure, the Bolt's hardware was outdated it's believed GM never made them profitably, but the Bolt's massive sales success this year alone made its execution hard to justify. That's probably why the General walked this decision back so quickly, announcing a new, still-affordable Bolt soon after

Now we know that the next Bolt might be built in Fairfax, Kansas, and not Michigan's Orion Assembly where it's currently made. That's what Reuters inferred after digging through the United Auto Workers' tentative agreement with GM, which was posted on the UAW's website over the weekend as the auto industry strikes draw to a close.  

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A summary document for GM's hourly workers includes some details on investments the union secured during negotiations, including $391 million for a "future electric vehicle" at Fairfax Assembly in Kansas. That plant currently makes the Cadillac XT4 and Chevrolet Malibu (yes, GM still makes the Malibu.) And while the UAW document doesn't say which EV could be built there, sources who spoke to Reuters said it could be the next Bolt.

"GM is considering whether to build a lower-cost version of the Bolt electric utility vehicle at the Fairfax plant in 2025 and the premium EVs for Cadillac and Chevy — including a pure electric performance model with the Corvette name — in Lansing beginning in 2027, according to sources familiar with the automaker’s thinking, who asked not to be identified," the story says. 

All of that is notable for several reasons. For one, until this announcement, the future of the Fairfax Assembly plant – which employs more than 2,000 people – was said to be unclear, especially with the Malibu not exactly printing money these days. And during the worst of the pandemic-related chip shortage, it was idled more than just about any other plant in America. Now, that plant and its workers have a shot at building the next Bolt, which could be a popular, volume-selling EV if GM can pull it off.

Second, this is yet another mention of a long-rumored all-electric Corvette, even if it's just one car or several cars that carry the Corvette branding. And that "pure electric performance model" would be the first "Corvette" to be built in a plant other than the iconic Bowling Green, Kentucky factory since the early 1980s. Meanwhile, GM has not officially confirmed where it plans to make any of these vehicles. 

Of course, as that Reuters story notes, plant investments guaranteed by UAW contracts are one thing. But concrete plans on what to build there can shift. Recently, GM has struggled to mass-produce its new Ultium EVs, leading the automaker to scale back its electric plans and investments. Investors seem doubtful about EVs after a few rough quarters, although that may have more to do with GM's ability to make them rather than electric cars as a concept. 

Regardless, this development could be seen as yet another win for the UAW – not to mention the incentives for U.S. EV production made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act. In addition to securing an electric future for at least one troubled plant, the UAW also managed to get the Ultium battery plant workers covered under the union agreement too. Whether or not the electric future would be driven by union labor was a key question amid the historic UAW strikes; more and more, that matter seems to be settled.

Now it's up to GM to actually make these EVs and get them onto dealer lots in volume. 

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