What just happened? In a stunning u-turn, General Motors has reversed its decision to discontinue the Chevrolet Bolt EV and is instead planning to launch a new model of the popular vehicle in the future. The Bolt is a subcompact hatchback electric vehicle that was developed in partnership with South Korean conglomerate LG and is the most popular battery electric car in GM's portfolio.
In April 2023, GM CEO Mary Barra announced plans to discontinue the Bolt and Bolt EUV by the end of this year to make room for the company's next-generation electric vehicles. The current model has been plagued by a multitude of problems since its launch, including a massive recall of more than 68,000 units in late 2020 over battery fire concerns. In 2021, the company expanded the recall to include more vehicles after discovering that the problem was more widespread than it previously thought. The recall was initiated after several units of the Bolt with fully or partially changed batteries caught fire, injuring at least two people.
Notwithstanding the trials and tribulations with the first-gen model, the company has now seemingly made a U-turn within just three months of the earlier announcement. In its press release, GM did not offer a direct reason for its change of heart, but Barra pointed out that the current Bolt has been delivering "record sales and some of the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry."
Barra also confirmed that the new Bolt will use GM's Ultium technology that the company claims reduces battery costs by 40 percent compared to the batteries used in the current Bolt EV and EUV. In terms of when customers can expect the new model, Barra said that it will be introduced to the market on an "accelerated timeline," but did not offer any ETA.
Barra also did not discuss a possible price tag for the new Bolt, but the lower costs of the Ultium platform could help GM price the car attractively. With the current base model costing customers just around $27,000, its successor could also potentially have an MSRP below $30,000, helping cement the Bolt's stature as one of the most affordable EVs in the U.S. market.
Alongside the Chevy Bolt, GM has a number of other electric vehicles in its portfolio, but all of them are significantly more expensive. That includes the GMC Hummer EV, the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, and the Silverado Electric pick-up truck. In addition to the aforementioned vehicles, the company has also announced plans to launch an electric version of its popular Equinox SUV later this year, with prices expected to start at around $30,000.