Chevy Bolt enters preproduction, guns to beat Tesla Model 3 to market

Chevrolet's hotly anticipated 2017 Bolt has entered preproduction. The 200-mile electric car is expected to beat Tesla's Model 3 to market.

Chevrolet
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Chevy's first pre-production Bolt makes its way down the line.

Chevrolet

General Motors' first pure-electric production car in 17 years, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, is drawing close. The five-seat hatchback has commenced preproduction at GM's Orion Township plant in suburban Detroit, and it's poised for late 2016 deliveries.

This progress suggests the hotly anticipated Bolt will indeed beat Tesla's Model 3 to market, at least in volume. The latter model from the enigmatic Silicon Valley automaker will be revealed on March 31, and is expected to be the Bolt's chief rival.

Performance specifications for the electric Bowtie remain scarce, but GM has reconfirmed that the car will carry a 200-plus mile range as well as a $37,500 base price (which drops to $30,000 once the federal government's $7,500 tax credit is figured into the equation).

The preproduction process is the point at which automakers build very small volumes of vehicles, generally using production tooling, in order to assess assembly procedures and ensure quality. It's the step before full-scale assembly of salable units begins.

The last time GM offered a pure electric model, its groundbreaking EV1 was leased in small volumes, with availability eventually expiring in 1999. This time, through, The General is expecting its new battery-powered car to be a lot more popular.

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