While Tesla works to officially begin mass producing the Model 3 sedan, General Motors has carefully developed an incredible system to assemble the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV. What’s the system? Really, nothing out of the ordinary.
WardsAuto detailed the manufacturing process, which could be the ace up GM’s sleeve. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is built on the exact same assembly line as the traditional Chevrolet Sonic, in both four- and five-door variants. Nowhere at the Orion assembly plant does the Bolt EV have to deviate course, save for a pitstop to fill the high-voltage power-electronics module with coolant.
At the first major stop, workers fasten either a fuel tank or battery pack with the same 1o fasteners. Either car is then on its way. Then, the cars’ drivelines are installed with the exact same 12 fasteners no matter if the all-electric Bolt EV or gasoline-powered Sonic rolls up to the station.
Since the process does not deviate in any major way, GM could conceivably triple Bolt EV output by just saying the word. Right now, the Orion assembly plant builds just over 100 Bolt EVs per day and about 100 Sonics. A small portion of Bolt EV production is alotted for the Opel Ampera-e as well, though the electric hasn’t rolled out in a large scale just yet.
GM could easily adjust the ratio of Bolt EVs to Sonic should the market call for it, it would do so without any additional investment, new tooling or another shift—everything is ready to go.