Two things make the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV a potentially game-changing electric car: a base price of under $40,000, and a range of at least 200 miles. That combination should make the Bolt EV affordable enough and practical enough for a wide swath of buyers.
General Motors confirmed a $37,500 base price when it unveiled the production-spec Bolt EV at CES earlier this year, and now we know GM will deliver on the other half of its promise, too. The carmaker claims the Bolt EV will achieve not 200 miles, but 238 miles of range.That officially makes the Bolt EV the first mainstream electric car with a range over the magic double century.
Short ranges and long charging times have always plagued electric cars. Many consumers fear getting stuck with no charge, a phenomenon known as “range anxiety.” The Tesla Model S and Model X currently offers more than 200 miles of range, but their high prices keep them out of the reach of most buyers. Most other electric cars currently available can only muster around 100 miles of range.
Read more: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV first impressions
But the Bolt EV is price-competitive with the average internal-combustion car. While it officially starts at $37,500, Chevy expects most buyers to take advantage of the $7,500 Federal tax credit for electric cars, effectively dropping the price to an even $30,000. Unlike Chevy’s last all-electric car, the Spark EV, the Bolt EV will also be available in all 50 states.
Chevy claims the first Bolt EVs will be delivered before the end of the year. The car entered pilot production at GM’s Warren Assembly plant in Michigan in March, shortly after its CES unveiling, and just over a year after the original Bolt EV concept was unveiled at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The unusually short development period was made possible by a partnership with LG Chem, which designed most of the Bolt EV’s powertrain and other electrical components.
The Bolt EV will go on sale well before the Tesla Model 3, which will offer a 215-mile range at a base price of $35,000 (not including the Federal tax credit). Tesla doesn’t plan to start production until the end of 2017, giving the Bolt EV about a year as the only mainstream 200-mile electric car on the market. Tesla has also missed every one of its own targets for vehicle launches, so the Model 3 could be pushed back even further.