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General Motors CEO Announces Plans to Expand Chevrolet Bolt EV Production

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Self-driving Chevy Bolts have begun testing on public roadways in Michigan

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra shows off an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV 
Photo: © General Motors

Drivers are hungry for more Chevrolet Bolt EVs, and General Motors is planning to ramp up production to satisfy the market’s appetite.

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra made the announcement Wednesday during her speech at the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston.

Barra said increased Bolt production at the Detroit-area Orion Assembly plant would start later this year. Chevrolet sold more than 23,000 Bolts in 2017, and so far, this year’s sales are outpacing last year’s.

Barra said a “zero emissions world” is the ultimate goal behind GM’s push for electric vehicles. The company plans to introduce at least 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023.

“We’re moving fast,” she said. “Last year in the U.S., our own groundbreaking Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, and Cadillac CT6 Plug-In accounted for nearly a quarter of industry EV and plug-in sales.”

Barra also pointed to sales growth around the world for electric vehicles, along with a dramatic increase in mileage. “By December 2017, drivers of five electrified vehicles, including the Bolt EV, racked up more than 2.6 billion EV miles,” she pointed out.

In response to strong global demand for the Bolt EV, GM will be increasing production of the vehicle later this year
Photo: © General Motors

Barra said that even as GM is boosting EV development and production, it is also committed to improving fuel efficiency for non-electric vehicles. Even though the government may soon be reviewing its fuel economy requirements for automakers, Barra said, “our commitment to an all-electric, zero-emissions future is unwavering.”

Barra said part of that zero-emissions future involves more robust tax credits for electric vehicles.

“In the U.S., the current federal tax credit helps make electric vehicles more desirable and affordable, and we appreciate that it was retained in the tax reform law,” said Barra. “However, we feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefit going forward.”

Barra also encouraged efforts to make American infrastructure friendlier toward electric vehicles.

“We believe the energy industry and other stakeholders must partner with us on a robust charging infrastructure that drives consumers’ confidence that they can drive their EVs anywhere at any time,” Barra said. “In the U.S., electric vehicles from all manufacturers have access to about 17,000 charging stations, but additional stations will be needed as more consumers discover the benefits of EVs.”