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Take that, Tesla! Chevrolet’s 200-mile Bolt EV to start production in 2016

The Chevrolet Bolt electric-car concept that debuted last month at the Detroit Auto Show may go into production sooner than expected.

At the time Chevy, Chevy was quick to point out pricing and that the Bolt could be sold in all 50 states, but didn’t confirm an actual production version.

That would seem to indicate that the Bolt was still a few years away, but now a report from Automotive News (subscription required) claims it will start production next year, ahead of a 2017 launch date.

Unnamed suppliers said the Bolt will be built at a General Motors plant in Orion Township Michigan, near Detroit, along with an Opel-badged sibling. The plant currently builds the Chevy Sonic and Buick Verano.

That makes sense, as the Bolt is expected to use the updated Gamma small-car platform that will underpin the next Sonic.

Chevy is aiming for a 200-mile range and a pricetag of around $30,000, albeit after the $7,500 Federal tax credit for electric cars is applied.

Those figures appear to put the Bolt in competition with the upcoming Tesla Model 3, which also claims a 200-mile range and $30,000-ish price.

The company is reportedly expecting sales of 25,000 to 30,000 units per year, meaning it will sell in pretty high volume for an electric car. Chevy’s own Volt managed less than 19,000 sales in 2014.

For production, the Bolt concept’s styling and interior layout will probably get toned down a bit. It could also get a different name, since “Bolt” has already attracted significant criticism.

GM will not confirm or deny the report, but we’ll be on the lookout for any updates.

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