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Chevy Bolt Poised to Be First Long-Range EV on the Market

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A camouflaged Chevy Bolt EV undergoes testing at GM's proving grounds in Milford, Michigan

A camouflaged Chevy Bolt EV undergoes testing at GM’s proving grounds in Milford, Michigan

In its bid to become the first mainstream brand to put a long-range electric vehicle on the market, General Motors has fast-tracked the development of the upcoming Chevy Bolt EV. (The automaker would also probably like to beat a certain non-mainstream brand that has its own plans of introducing an affordable, long-range EV, too).

Though they stopped short of setting a production date, GM engineers recently said that they have pulled ahead of their timetable for Bolt production, which is anticipated to go on sale sometime in 2017. If things are going as swimmingly as GM claims, though, the car could arrive even earlier than that.

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept

The 2015 Chevy Bolt EV Concept

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According to Automotive News, two unnamed industry analysts who track production plans had estimated that the Bolt will begin production at the Orion Assembly facility outside of Detroit in October of 2016. Now that GM has moved up its timeline, production might be beginning even earlier next year.

Bolt chief engineer Josh Travel told reporters that General Motors “accelerated things,” and confirmed that the automaker is currently testing more than 50 hand-build prototypes. Insiders are thinking that means that the Bolt is leading the pack, with the upcoming Tesla Model 3 EV and longer-range Nissan LEAF struggling to keep up.

“GM wants to stake a claim to this market,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.

The Chevy Bolt EV is supposed to manage about 200 miles on a single charge, and cost about $30,000 after tax breaks.

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