General Motors believes the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV offers a good balance between cost and range compared to other electric vehicles and hopes its position in the marketplace will attract more buyers to the vehicle.
Speaking to Automotive News, Bolt EV marketing manager Mike Hayes said the updated version of the vehicle, introduced for the 2020 model year, has “cracked the code” for EVs, falling in the middle of the marketplace with regard to cost.
“(Before) you basically had two ends of the spectrum,” he told AN. “You were either long range and expensive or you were low range and affordable. It was kind of this bimodal scenario where you had this big ocean out there of long range and affordable. Nobody had been able to touch that space.”
With a larger 66-kWh battery pack (versus 60 kWh before), the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV has an additional 21 miles of driving range compared to the 2017-2019 model year version for a total of 259 miles. This puts it ahead of the Nissan Leaf Plus, which has 226 miles of range. Prices for the 2020 Bolt start at $37,495, destination and freight charges included, while the Nissan is about the same at $37,445. The Hyundai Kona Electric is also a rival, which has 258 miles of range and starts at $38,045.
In addition to improved range for 2020, GM hopes its dealers can also help it move more examples of its only battery-electric vehicle. According to AN, only 1,300 of its 3,000 U.S. dealers are certified to sell the Bolt—which requires employees undergo training with curriculum specific to selling EVs and install at least one DC charging station. The automaker also encourages its dealers to install additional chargers to help promote EV usage, believing that sales are hinged on such commitments from its storefronts.
“That’s critical for us because that means the dealer is invested and dedicated to this product,” Hayes told the publication.
Some dealers may be apprehensive to make the initial investment required to train employees and install charging stations at this time, when electric vehicles are still considered to be in their infancy and demand is limited. Additionally, with the federal EV incentive on the Bolt EV having lowered from $3,750 to just $1,875 as of October 1st, there may be concern that demand will drop off.
Bolt sales were strong in the first three quarters of 2019, though, with Chevy selling 13,111 examples of the battery-electric hatch—up 11 percent year-over-year.
Dealers will soon have a more up-to-date Chevrolet EV to sell buyers as well, with the Bolt EUV expected to debut in 2020 and go on sale for the 2021 model year. The Bolt EUV should offer increased range and performance over the Bolt EV and consumers will likely prefer its crossover body style to the hatchback shape of the Bolt EV.
Source: Automotive News