American automaker General Motors has won the sprint with Tesla in the competition to roll out the latest version of an electric vehicle to the general public.
GM announced Tuesday it delivered its first group of Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars to three customers in Fremont, California – the same city where Elon Musk’s rival automaker, Tesla Motors, is scheduled to mass produce its Model 3 competing vehicle in July. Tesla’s production plan requires a complete overhaul of its Fremont assembly plant – the same factory that was once operated by GM.
OK Energy Today reported on November 8 that GM’s EV hatchback model was already staged for production on an assembly line near Detroit, Michigan.
The Bolt EV can travel more than 200 miles on battery power and has an estimated cost below $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. 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.
The Bolt will be available on the West Coast before the end of 2016. A wider marketing expansion will occur in 2017 when the vehicle will be available throughout the United States.
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.
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. Nissan, Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW have indicated they are developing electric vehicles with a 200 mile driving range.