Chevrolet delivers its first Bolt EV in 2016, as promised

Your move, Elon. Whenever you're ready.

At the beginning of 2016, General Motors CEO Mary Barra promised that the Bolt EV would be in production this year. I've already seen Bolts roll off the line, but now, they're reaching customers starting today.

Chevrolet delivered its first three Bolt EVs to customers in the San Francisco Bay Area on December 13, fulfilling its promise to get its latest electric vehicle in customer hands before 2017.

We tested the Bolt EV's 238-mile EPA-estimated range and walked away impressed.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The first three customers are all electrification aficionados, and Chevrolet provided dossiers on each of them as part of the announcement: William Mattos is a retired police officer who already owned a Spark EV and a second-generation Volt. Bobby Edmonds is a software developer who is replacing his BMW i3 with a Bolt EV. Steve Henry is a real estate broker who's replacing a Prius. Chevrolet didn't say if each customer was receiving a base Bolt EV or the higher-end Premier trim.

While these three Bolt EVs are now in customer hands, it will take time for a nationwide rollout. Right now, Bolt EVs are limited to the California and Oregon markets, with a market expansion set for the first half of 2017. It will be available across the country at certified dealerships in the middle of 2017. It's Chevrolet's first 50-state EV, as their Spark EV was only on sale in limited markets.

This means Chevrolet is well ahead of Tesla and its forthcoming Model 3. Right now, the Model 3 is slated to enter production in late 2017, with deliveries taking place shortly thereafter. These cars will be the first of a slew of 200-plus-mile EVs that are geared toward affordability. Including the $7,500 federal tax incentive, the Bolt EV costs just $29,995. The Model 3 is expected to start at a similar price.

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