American number one car manufacturer General Motors has announced plans to stop production of the Chevrolet Bolt electric model at the end of this year, CEO Mary Barra told investors. So far, the Chevy Bolt EV and its larger offshoot Bolt EUV accounted for most of the company’s EV sales.
Initially, the Bolt had been intended to compete with the Tesla Model 3, with similar prices and decent ranges. However, the recall in 2021 probably helped cement the decision. The Bolt suffered a major setback then, as GM recalled all of the Bolts ever produced due to a supplier-related battery issue that caused several fires. Korean battery supplier LG is ready to pay a big indemnity to GM over the case.
70 000 to go
GM will not drop the electric car immediately and still plans to produce over 70 000 Bolt models this year. For 2024, there are plans to sell over 400 000 EVs in North America, but that will be other, more recent, or completely new EV models.
Last year, GM still made plans to expand Bolt production due to high demand for the car, despite the battery debacle the year before. However, the vehicle is quickly becoming dated, and General Motors plans to launch its next upcoming electric vehicles faster than previously announced. The battery cells in the Bolt are an older design and chemistry than the automaker’s newer electric vehicles.
CEO Mary Barra explained that when the factory in Orion, Michigan, which currently produces the Bolts, reopens and reaches full production, employment will nearly triple, and the company will have the capacity to build 600 000 EVs annually, mostly pickup trucks alike the electric Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
“When the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched, it was a huge technical achievement and the first affordable EV, which set in motion GM’s all-electric future,” Chevy spokesperson Cody Williams explained. “Chevrolet will launch several new EVs in key segments later this year based on the Ultium platform, including the Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Equinox EV.”
With a starting price under $30 000, the Bolt remains General Motors’ most affordable electric vehicle. However, this niche is planned to be taken over by the Equinox EV, expected to have a similar starting price when it arrives this fall.
GM expects to launch its upcoming EVs far faster than it has its high-end Hummer models and Cadillac Lyriq, which have been rolling out at a snail’s pace compared with its traditional vehicles. The company has set a target to reach a production capacity of 1 million EVs annually in the US as well as in China as it attempts to catch up to industry leader Tesla.
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