Best Value EV to Return: the Chevy Bolt
Since its introduction in 2017, the Chevrolet Bolt has been one of our favorite electric cars. It packs a surprising amount of space onto a small footprint and has excellent range and refinement for its very reasonable starting price. In fact, the current Bolt is one of the cheapest electric cars you can buy, with a starting MSRP price of well under $30,000 before government incentives. Its attractive price and its excellent package have made it one of the top selling EVs in the U.S., so when earlier this year, GM announced that the Bolt would cease production, we wondered about the future of the affordable EV.
Fortunately for all of us, Chevy has plans to bring back the Bolt, and bring it back soon. During the General Motors quarterly earnings call in July, GM chair and CEO Mary Barra announced that a next-generation Bolt is on the way, and that it will continue to deliver everything we loved about the original Bolt: impressive range, good tech, and exceptional affordability.
Chevrolet Bolt: Estimated Range
The Bolt is a car that really rewrote the rule book for EVs. While it has a compact exterior, unlike other small EVs, it wasn’t hampered by a short range that limited it to cities. In fact, with an estimated 259-mile range according to the EPA, it’s one of the longer-range EVs available on the market – and it offers that range at a truly affordable price. Sales of the Bolt EV and the slightly larger Bolt EUV through the first half of 2023 have been Chevy’s strongest to date. Plus, 70 percent of buyers who are trading in a vehicle for Bolt are trading in a non-GM product, meaning it has attracted new buyers to the Chevy brand.
“Our customers love today’s Bolt. It has been delivering record sales and some of the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry,” said Barra. “It’s also an important source of conquest sales for the company and for Chevrolet. We will keep the momentum going by delivering a new Bolt…and we will execute it more quickly.”
Using GM Ultium Technology
Barra said the new Bolt will be built from the Ultium technology that GM has deployed on its latest, higher-priced EVs like the Cadillac Lyriq, Chevy Blazer EV, and Chevy Silverado EV. The company’s Ultium technology includes U.S.-made batteries with the ability to charge at high speeds, vehicle platforms designed for maximum efficiency, and excellent packaging. Using Ultium tech will help General Motors bring the new Bolt back onto the market much faster than developing a new vehicle from scratch.
While timing and specific details of the new Bolt have yet to be announced, expect it to share some styling cues and tech with Chevrolet’s growing lineup of EVs, which includes a new Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Equinox EV. You may still be able to purchase a 2023 Bolt from a local dealer, as well. Apparently the final order cycle for the current Bolt ends on August 17, and with production ending in November.
Hopefully, the new Bolt will continue in the tradition of the current Bolt in being one of the best-value electric cars. We expect the new model to be a little pricier than the current model, which has a starting MSRP of $26,595. It will likely continue to be made in the U.S. – the current model is made in Orion Township, Michigan – which should make it eligible for federal and regional incentives for qualified buyers.