American automaker General Motors is jumping back into the electric vehicle market with its current production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV on an assembly line near Detroit, Michigan. The hatchback automobile can travel more than 200 miles on battery power, according to a report by PennEnergy.
With an estimated cost of $37,495 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, the Bolt costs less than the $34,000 average Kelley Blue Book sales price of a new vehicle in the U.S.
The car will be sold on the West Coast before the end of the year, with rollout expected across the rest of the country in 2017.
GM outplayed Tesla with its foray into the market with a long-range affordable electric car. Tesla plans to start delivering its 200-mile, $35,000 (before tax credits) Model 3 in the second half of next year, according to the PennEnergy report. Tesla has received 373,000 deposits as of May.
Test drive results concluded the Bolt EV accelerates from zero to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds with tight handling, producing a smooth and quiet ride.
Despite low prices at the gasoline pumps, analysts believe sales of the Bolt EV should rise steadily rather than suddenly.
GM indicated that there’s been strong interest at dealerships although the automaker has not yet announced when the first electric Bolt will be available for sale. Unlike Tesla, advance reservations were not utilized for the vehicle.
GM appears to have a big advantage over Tesla on servicing its electric vehicles. While not all of the automaker’s 3,000 nationwide dealers will be certified to sell and service the Bolt, service centers should be sufficient since GM currently has nearly 2,000 dealers that service the plug-in Volt model. Tesla doesn’t have service centers in every state.
GM’s first electric vehicle was introduced in 1973 as the experimental Urban Electric Car. At the 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show, the automaker unveiled an electric concept car – the GM Impact. As the California Air Resources Board pushed for a move to zero-emissions vehicles, GM created the EV1 for public use before the industry pulled the plug on electric vehicles.
Last year, nearly 100,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. Analysts predict 300,000 annual sales of electric vehicles by 2020 and 400,000 by 2025.