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Chevy confirms the $30K, 200 mile range Bolt EV has entered testing

There's a lot of anticipation around the little Chevrolet electric car that was unveiled earlier this year. In Detroit this week, we got important updates on its progress.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept in Detroit. Chevrolet

DETROIT -- Chevy turned some heads at the North American International Auto Show in January by unveiling the Bolt EV concept, a little electric hatchback with a promised 200 miles of all-electric range. Later, in Chicago, the company followed all that positive buzz by promising it would produce the thing. Now, as part of the company's "Powered by Innovation" program in Detroit, Chevy has indicated that the car is currently in testing.

Josh Tavel, the Bolt EV's chief engineer, said there are some 55 preproduction, camouflaged Bolts driving around right now, going through the sorts of testing preproduction cars receive -- tuning suspension and minimizing unwanted sounds, that sort of thing. The sound factor is doubly important in an EV, because without an internal combustion engine to generate white noise, the driver can hear everything else much more clearly.

Chevy is promising that the Bolt will offer a range of "over 200 miles," which would put it firmly in Tesla Model S territory in terms of flexibility. But, a price of "around" $30,000 US (after the $7,500 tax credit) makes it far, far more accessible. It will also support fast-DC charging, which in most cars will fill the batteries to 80 percent capacity in less than 30 minutes.

The final production Bolt EV is expected to be unveiled sometime next year, and hopefully will enter production not long after. When released, Chevy promises the Bolt will be available in all 50 of the United States, and in select markets internationally.