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Chevrolet to boost Bolt EV production by 20% to meet demand

The Bolt EV has proven more popular than expected in North America and South Korea.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is built in Lake Orion, Michigan.

General Motors will increase production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car by 20 percent in response to higher-than-expected demand from customers. Buoyed by healthy sales in the US, Canada and South Korea, GM said that global Bolt EV sales in the first half of 2018 are up 40 percent year-over-year.

Chevrolet builds the Bolt EV at its Lake Orion plant in Michigan, but says that sales have "outstripped production." GM CEO Mary Barra hinted at the potential production ramp-up in a speech in March, when she told attendees at a conference in Houston that, "Because of increasing global demand for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, we are announcing today that we will increase Bolt EV production later this year."

Within the US, the Bolt EV racked up 7,858 sales from January through the end of June (GM now only reports sales results quarterly) -- a 3.5-percent gain versus the first half of 2017. The Bolt's closest direct rival is the Nissan Leaf. Over the same period, Nissan reported selling 6,659 Leaf electrics here.

"The extra production coming on line should be enough to help us keep growing global Bolt EV sales, rebuild our US dealer inventory and bring us another step closer to our vision of a world with zero emissions," Kurt McNeil, GM's US vice president of sales operations, said in a statement.

In addition to selling and leasing directly to consumers, the Chevy Bolt EV is also being used as the basis of self-driving car prototypes from Cruise Automation. GM acquired Cruise Automation in 2016.