GM confirms Chevy Bolt will die this year, making way for electric pickups
Expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed, a pessimist once said. And boy is that ever true about General Motors, a company cursed with the ability to build great products and then doom them with business decisions. The latest casualty? One of our favorite electric vehicles, the Chevrolet Bolt.
During an early morning earnings call to report GM's Q1 2023 results, CEO Mary Barra confirmed that production of both the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV (a stretched version) will cease later this year at its factory in Orion Township, Michigan.
The Bolt gets much less respect than it deserves. Tesla made a lot of noise about building an electric car for the masses in the mid-2010s, but it was GM that delivered. The Bolt made it to market before the Model 3, and other than some rather firm front seats, it was a very fine, if frill-free, EV.
It was a very fun-filled EV, too. With better tires, it would show a Golf GTI a clean pair of heels at an autocross, and I still think GM missed a trick by not creating a one-make support series for Formula E. Instead, that honor went to another early EV pioneer, the Jaguar I-Pace.
Now, the I-Pace will outlast the Bolt--words I never thought I'd see myself writing. That's despite the addition of an even more versatile Bolt, the Bolt EUV, which still managed to keep its starting price well under $30,000.
It hasn't all been smooth sailing for this commendable little electric car, though. A manufacturing defect with some battery cells resulted in a handful of car fires and a $1.8 billion recall that saw GM and LG replace the battery pack on every Bolt already in service.
Now, like its plug-in hybrid predecessor, the Chevrolet Volt, it will die because GM needs the Orion plant. The automaker sent over a list of reasons why its expansion of the Orion Assembly plant is good news. Its $4 billion investment will triple the workforce there, and doubling the plant's footprint and converting production over to Ultium-based electric trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado EV will help GM reach a production goal of 1 million EVs by 2025, it says.
GM says it expects it will build more than 70,000 Bolt EVs and EUVs this year before production ends for good. The death of the Bolt doesn't mean the death of affordable EVs at GM, however. Among the three EVs it will launch this year is the Equinox EV, which should also start at less than $30,000.