Automobiles

Chevy to produce the $30,000 Tesla-fighting Bolt EV

Chevrolet's lower-cost, battery-powered electric car will definitely go into production, eventually giving EV fans a new choice.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept in Detroit
Chevrolet showed off its Bolt EV concept in Detroit. John F. Martin/Chevrolet

CHICAGO -- We still can't say we love the name, but we do love Chevrolet confirming that the Bolt will go into production sometime in the not-too-distant future.

This morning at the Chicago Auto Show, GM North America President Alan Batey confirmed that the Bolt will become a reality. The EV, which recently debuted in concept form at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, will cost "around $30,000" and offer 200 miles of range on a charge. (Update: Note that the price is after a federal $7,500 rebate, meaning the actual sticker price of the car is likely closer to $40,000.)

This stands poised to put it in direct competition with Tesla's upcoming Model 3, expected to offer a similar base price and range -- whenever it finally ships. Constant delays of Teslas's upcoming Model X SUV have pushed back development of the cheaper Tesla, meaning it likely won't hit roads until 2017 or so.

Chevrolet isn't saying when the Bolt will be available at dealers, but it's unlikely to arrive much earlier. Manufacturing will happen in Michigan at GM's Orion Assembly plant, a facility that appropriately happens to be partly powered by biogas and solar. Once production begins, Chevrolet says the car will be available in all 50 states.

The Bolt itself is a compact four-door hatchback that received almost universally positive reviews upon its debut last month. Of course, it's the cost and range that are the things really worth getting excited about, not to mention the fast DC charging, which can take the car up to 80 percent maximum range in under 30 minutes.

Again, no word on a specific price or production date, but we'll be following this one closely.