Rob Stumpf

As cheap Chinese EVs are closing in, American automakers are feeling pressure to compete in one of the industry’s most important upcoming segments: affordable electric cars. OEMs are quickly figuring out that to stay competitive in the growing EV space, they have to start building more affordable vehicles—not just high-margin luxury SUVs and pickups. GM realized this, too, and now it’s going back to the basics by readying the revival of the Chevrolet Bolt.  Get Fully Charged The Chevy Bolt’s Legacy When GM killed off the Chevy Bolt, it made a lot of people uneasy. The automaker discontinued it at a time where EVs were just becoming popular, and even GM was working to build own its own footing as a leader in the space. But knowing what we know now, Ultium was soon to be an evolution in the brand’s identity, and the legacy underpinnings of the Bolt didn’t align with what GM was building. Now, the Bolt is coming back, and it’s positioning GM to be a leader in the affordable EV space. GM received a lot of criticism when it killed the Chevy Bolt. The uber-affordable EV was a massive hit for those who wanted a no-frills EV in the era of Tesla, with incentives bringing it down to as low as $8,000 in California. But with GM’s Ultium on the horizon, all good things must come to an end. As for the Bolt, that meant stopping sales while GM prepared the next-gen iteration of the hit BEV. In an interview with Automotive News, GM’s North American chief, Marissa West, became the Bolt’s latest hype-person, cheering on the upcoming product by stressing GM’s push for it to be America’s affordable EV. “We’re excited to bring the product back better than ever, underpinned by the Ultium technology, really presenting to the customer a great value solution,” said West. “It will have great styling, it’ll have great range, really good charging time. It’ll come at a point when affordability is important and also the infrastructure continues to build out.” We’ve known that the next-gen Chevy Bolt has been on its way for a while. It’s also public that the Bolt will have an LFP battery pack and an NACS charging port to take advantage of Tesla’s Supercharger network. GM says to expect the new Bolt next year. We’re really excited to get the Bolt with the Ultium architecture underpinnings to have the most affordable vehicle on the market by 2025. Like all automakers, GM needs a hit in the electric car segment. This is especially important as China is currently knocking on the auto industry’s door and consumers are hyper-aware of the cheap EVs that exist overseas. Maybe this isn’t the only reason EV sales have cooled in recent months, but it certainly hasn’t helped. Most battery-powered offerings in the States today aren’t exactly cheap. Many automakers (including GM) purposefully chose to focus on high-margin platforms like luxury marques and pickups before catering to the average consumer seeking an affordable a-to-b commuter. But there was a method to GM’s madness. GM knew the adoption rate for BEVs would be better in the luxury segment than just selling to consumers who just wanted cheap cars. It’s the same way that Tesla approached the problem in 2006 when CEO Elon Musk published the first “Master Plan.” This enabled GM to recoup some of its Ultium-related costs by ushering out high-dollar EVs while scaling out production—and that’s the whole secret to making cheap cars. West explains to Automotive News: The luxury market is following a steeper trajectory for EV adoption, and that’s great for not only our Lyriq, but also many of the Cadillac products. But certainly, this is a scale business, and the value of the Ultium architecture really comes with the flexibility that it affords, the commonality that it affords. With the scale, it gives us the opportunity to present really affordable electric vehicles to our customers as well, and the Equinox is very critical to that. We’re really excited to get the Bolt with the Ultium architecture underpinnings to have the most affordable vehicle on the market by 2025. Interestingly, GM says that the new Bolt will be “the most affordable vehicle on the market,” which is huge is true. Currently, that badge goes to the Nissan Leaf at $28,040 before destination costs. However, the Leaf will be discontinued sometime this year to make room for the new model, which means that the next step-up is the 2025 Mini Cooper Electric which starts at $30,900. The discontinued Bolt EUV had a starting MSRP of $27,800, which seems difficult to beat. But given GM’s claims, and that the Equinox EV’s homerun price is $34,995, it seems plausible that GM could price the Bolt under $30,000—though that’s purely speculative. Get the best news, reviews, columns, and more delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up For more information, read our