The end is nigh for the Chevy Bolt.
General Motors plans to end production of the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV at the end of 2023, GM CEO Mary Barra announced in an earnings call Tuesday. The company plans to use the capacity at its Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant to build electric trucks starting in 2024.
The end of production of the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV is a huge blow to affordable EV ownership. The Bolt is one of the cheapest EVs currently on the market, with a starting price of around $24,000. The price could be even lower when applying the $7,500 EV tax credit.
The Bolt was always at a disadvantage
But the Bolt EV and EUV were always at a disadvantage, built on GM’s older and soon-to-be-obsolete BEV2 platform. The automaker has since shifted to its Ultium battery architecture for its next-generation EVs, including the Cadillac Lyriq, Hummer EV, and GMC Sierra EV. For its part, Chevy is planning to launch a trio of Ultium-built EVs, including the Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Equinox EV.
“When the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched, it was a huge technical achievement and the first affordable EV, which set in motion GM’s all-electric future,” Cody Williams, senior manager, for communications at Chevy, said in a statement. “As the company continues to grow it’s EV portfolio with the Ultium platform, and as construction continues at the Orion Township, MI, assembly plant in preparation for battery electric truck production beginning in 2024, Chevrolet confirmed Bolt EV and EUV production will end late this year.”
First introduced in 2016, the Chevy Bolt was intended to be the automaker’s first stab at a mass-market purely battery-electric vehicle with 200-plus miles of range and an affordable price tag. The company released a refreshed model, as well as a slightly larger EUV version, in early 2021.
“When the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched, it was a huge technical achievement and the first affordable EV, which set in motion GM’s all-electric future”
But since the release of the Tesla Model 3 in 2018, Bolt sales have been less than impressive. The Bolt’s compact hatchback size is not what most American car buyers are looking for these days, instead preferring larger SUVs and trucks. And a recall of 2017–2019 model year Bolts related to a flawed battery that left the vehicle prone to fires didn’t help with sales either.
As the Bolt is phased out, the Chevy Equinox EV will assume the mantle of GM’s most affordable plug-in model. The automaker has said the midsize SUV will get up to 300 miles of range and will start at “around $30,000” when its released later this year.
GM has said it plans to spend $30 billion by 2025 on the creation of 30 new plug-in models in its bid to overtake Elon Musk’s company as the leading EV company in the world. Tesla still dominates the relatively small EV market in the US, with around 66 percent market share, while GM only has around 6 percent.