GM Lifts Bolt Death Decree

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  • Popular Bolt EV won’t be discontinued
  • Revamp will bring new batteries
  • No word on timing or pricing
Chevrolet Bolt
Chevrolet won’t kill the Bolt after all. The popular small EV will remain a critical part of General Motors electric vehicle strategy/GM Photo

Just three months after announcing the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric hatchback and its Bolt EUV electric crossover version would be discomtimued by the end of 2023, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has said the Bolt will be revamped and will continue to be part of GM’s electric lineup.

The discontinuation had prompted an outcry from Bolt fans and EV boosters alarmed at the prospect of losing one of the few affordable and practical electric vehicles in the market.

Barra didn’t say when the new Chevrolet Bolt would debut or whether there would be a gap between the end of current Bolt production and the start of the revised model but did say development would be faster than if it were a brand new design.

New Bolts will be built using GM’s EV-specific Ultium batteries rather than the LG Chem-provided cells that were at the root of a battery safety recall affecting more than 140,000 Bolts from the 2017 through 2021 model years. The recall resulted in a production halt that lasted into 2022.

In addition to using GM’s scalable, modular Ultium battery system, which could give it more range, the new Bolt will use GM’s “Ultifi” electrical architecture that could result in quicker DC fast-charge times and will provide for over-the-air software update capability.

Barra stopped short of saying whether the revamped Bolt also would be moved to GM’s skateboard-like Ultium platform or whether GM plans to fit the Ultium batteries into the existing platform.

In her brief statement, Barra said GM would be “delivering a new Bolt,” but then said that development would be quicker than if it were for “an all-new” program and that there would be cost savings by “updating the vehicle with Ultium and Ultifi technologies.”

Moving it onto the full Ultium platform – the basis for all other GM’s EVs, present and future – might demand an expensive redesign that GM doesn’t want to invest in.

The Chevrolet Bolt has been a popular, affordable small EV with decent power and range and despite the massive battery fire risk recall has been setting sales records recently. In the second quarter of 2023 , Chevrolet sold 13,959 Bolts, accounting for almost 90% of GM’s total EV sales for the period. The sales spurt has been helped by steep price cuts instituted last year as GM resumed Bolt production after a recall hiatus and before the EV’s tax credit status eligibility was restored.

Because it is built in the U.S. and uses properly sourced battery materials, the Bolt is one of the few EVs on sale in the U.S. that is eligible – under tough new rules that took effect this year – for the full $7,50 federal clean vehicle tax credit. Pricing starts at $27,495 for the Bold EV hatchback and $28,795 for the Bolt EUV crossover. The tax credit lowers the actual cost of the hatch to just under $20,000 and the crossover to just over $21,000. Various state and local incentives can lower the real ownership cost even more.

The Bolt EV’s EPA-rated at up to 259 miles of range per charge, the EUV at up to 247 miles. Revamped models with the new GM Ultium batteries likely will offer increased range.