General Motors is ending the run of its affordable EV to focus on electric truck production beginning next year.
The story wasn’t supposed to end this way.
General Motors (GM) – Get Free Report had high hopes for the Chevy Bolt, the automaker’s first fully electric vehicle to be built and sold on a large scale.
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“A new era in affordable, all-electric vehicles is here and the Chevy Bolt EV electric car is leading the charge,” the Chevrolet website proclaims.
Drivers were encouraged to “get behind the wheel and discover the power of all-electric.”
But it turns out that the Bolt will not be leading the charge after all, and will instead be heading off to vehicular Valhalla.
Cody Williams, senior manager, for communications at Chevy, said in a statement, that “when the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched, it was a huge technical achievement and the first affordable EV, which set in motion GM’s all-electric future.”
“As the company continues to grow it’s EV portfolio with the Ultium platform, and as construction continues at the Orion Township, MI, assembly plant in preparation for battery electric truck production beginning in 2024, Chevrolet confirmed Bolt EV and EUV production will end late this year.”
When GM’s Orion assembly plant reopens in 2024 and reaches full production capacity, jobs will nearly triple there and the company will be able to build 600,000 electric trucks each year, CEO Mary Barra said, according to a transcript of the April 25 earnings call.
Bulking Up Electric Trucks
“We’ll need this capacity because our trucks more than measure up to our customers’ expectation, and we’ll demonstrate that work and EV range are not mutually exclusive terms for Chevrolet and GMC trucks,” she said. “So stay tuned.”
Barra said GM delivered more than 20,000 EVs in the U.S. in the quarter, on the strength of record Bolt EV and EUV sales and rising Cadillac Lyriq deliveries.
GM is looking to phase out all gasoline and diesel vehicles from its lineup by 2035.
“Do you remember Insider’s article back from 2017 with this headline: ‘We just drove the all-electric Chevy Bolt — and Tesla is officially in trouble,’” a tweet from Best in Tesla read. “Well, GM is to end production of the Chevy Bolt later this year. So another Tesla killer getting killed.”
“Sorry little Bolt, you have been weighed, measured and found wanting. R.I.P.,” the tweet said.
The Bolt is the least expensive electric vehicle sold in America and is one of a handful of EVs that still qualifies for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit after new, more stringent rules went into effect on April 18.
The car’s impending demise did not still well with several people on social media.
“This is sooooooo frustrating.” 408Nate tweeted, along with an image of Chevy Bolt tombstone. “Really wanted my next car to be 1) made in America and 2) not an SUV and 3) under $30k.”
“GM is killing off the Chevy Bolt and retooling its factory to produce electric trucks,” David Zipper tweeted. “In one fell swoop, a step backward for road safety, emissions mitigation, and EV affordability.”
“So we’re canceling the only real affordable EV on the market, huh?” E.W. Niedermeyer tweeted. “And we’re retooling the line for electric trucks, huh? Great, fantastic, then let’s just dispense with the idea that EVs are more than just a posturing trend for the wealthy.”
Released in 2017, the Bolt was the U.S. second best-selling plug-in car for that year after the much more expensive Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report Model S.
The Bolt was named the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the 2017 North American Car of the Year, an Automobile magazine 2017 All Star, and was listed in Time magazine’s Best 25 Inventions of 2016.
The Bolt was preceded by the Chevrolet Volt — a plug-in hybrid that GM ended production in 2019.
But the Bolt also had some serious problems. The vehicle was recalled several times due to concerns over the battery pack spontaneously catching fire.
In August 2021, GM issued a statement advising owners to park in open areas, at least 50 feet away from other vehicles, due to the possibility of the battery pack catching fire.
Last year, GM launched an ad campaign in an effort to win back motorists.
The Bolt was also the first vehicle to be underpinned by the BEV2 platform, which designed specifically for small electric vehicles.
GM has shifted to its Ultium battery architecture for its next-generation EVs that is being used in such vehicles as the GMC Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyric.
The Bolt is going out on something of a high note, however.
The automaker said it would raise Bolt production for global markets to more than 70,000 in 2023 from about 44,000 vehicles this year. Bolt sales in 2021 hit a record annual high of 24,828 vehicles.
“That’s too bad,” Jay Sit tweeted. “It’s a great EV for the price.”
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