After announcing a reversal of its cancellation this summer and letting some additional details out in October, General Motors has finally confirmed that the next-generation Chevrolet Bolt EV will debut in 2025.
GM CEO Mary Barra made this announcement yesterday at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, where she also spoke to the current Bolt's avid fanbase and strong sales despite its advancing age. "That's been something that has been really great this year, and that informed the decision that we'll have that back again in '25," Barra said, according to Automotive News. She did not provide any additional details about the future EV, though.
This tracks with a Reuters report from last month based on the automaker's tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers union. A document from those negotiations indicated the UAW had secured a $391 million investment for a "future electric vehicle" at Fairfax Assembly in Kansas, which currently makes the Cadillac XT4 and Chevrolet Malibu. Sources told Reuters that the future EV that will be made in Kansas from 2025 is the next Chevy Bolt.
Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV: Review
The launch timeline is also consistent with Mary Barra's remarks on GM's third-quarter earnings call in October. She said that giving the future Bolt a lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery pack, and the fact it won't be a clean-sheet redesign, will contribute to "getting to market at least two years faster." LFP batteries are cheaper to build than their cobalt- and nickel-based variants, so while they store less energy, they are seen as a key technology for wider EV adoption; Tesla, Ford and other automakers are investing heavily into such batteries.
As a reminder, Barra said in October that the next-gen Chevy Bolt will leverage "the best attributes of today's Bolt EUV, as well as Ultium, our latest software, and NACS." This will also make the future Bolt GM's first deployment of LFP technology in the Ultium platform in North America. In doing so, GM will be saving "billions in capital and engineering expense, delivering a significantly cost-improved battery pack using purchased LFP cells." In addition, shifting to LFP will allow GM to have a "substantially lower" unit cost, Barra said.
While GM's CEO did not provide range or price estimates for the LFP battery-powered Bolt, she said the vehicle "will deliver an even better driving, charging, and ownership experience with a vehicle we know customers love."
GM has had an incredibly rocky path for its EV strategy this year. It has announced delays for several EV models—including the Chevrolet Equinox EV, Chevrolet Silverado EV RST, and GMC Sierra EV—as well as slower EV production and EV product spending cuts on its Q3 2023 earnings call.
The company also abandoned a goal to build 400,000 electric vehicles from 2022 through mid-2024, although it reiterated its target to get to 1 million EVs of production by the end of 2025.
Last week, Barra admitted that GM has not executed well on its Ultium-based EV strategy this year as a manufacturing constraint has hampered battery module assembly, leading to a delayed start of electric pickup truck production at the Orion plant and the idling of the CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, until spring 2024.
Relaunching the Bolt may go a long way to fixing some of those problems. First launched in late 2016 and followed by the larger EUV variant in 2022, the Bolt has been a consistently popular seller in the U.S. despite not having the same fast-charging speeds as more modern EVs. But scores of buyers have been attracted to its low price tag, great range and compact utility. With any lucky, GM can pull a repeat with the next Bolt.