Detroit Auto Show: GM Unveils Bolt Long-Range Electric Concept Car

Michael Walker

Priced at $30,000 with a range of 200 miles, the Bolt is seen as a direct competitor to Tesla's Model 3 sedan

General Motors CEO Mary Barra unveiled Chevrolet's Bolt electric concept car Monday morning at the North American International Auto Show at Detroit's Cobo Hall.

The Bolt, a hatchback that recalls the look of BMW's electric i3, is expected to arrive in 2017 priced at $30,000 and represents GM's commitment to mass-producing electric vehicles for a mainstream audience.

"This is no stripped-down science experiment," Barra said. "It's an all-electric vehicle for the real world, one that satisfies the needs not just of our customers in California, but in the 50 states and select markets around the world. For most people, this can be their everyday driver."

While sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles increased in 2014, they remain a niche market, hampered by limited range and long charging times.
 
Tesla Motors' Model S, Hollywood's default status car, has proven that a stylish electric car with long range — around 300 miles — can succeed even at a $79,000 entry price. The Model S was the best-selling electric car in the U.S. in December, according to one estimate. Tesla has logged 20,000 preorders — at $5,000 each — for its Model X electric crossover, due in 2016.
 
The Bolt is the first electric car from a U.S. auto manufacturer that will attempt to capture a mainstream audience. As part of the car's development, GM has said it studied Tesla's game plan.
 
Tesla is currently gearing up to build its own mainstream sedan, the Model 3, due in 2017. The company recently broke ground on a $5 billion gigafactory in Nevada to supply batteries for the car. 
 
The Bolt is seen as evidence that GM isn't willing to cede the mainstream market for electric cars to Tesla, which despite its success remains a niche automaker.

"This is truly an EV for everyone," Barra said. "The kind of innovation that will raise the bar for electric vehicles around the globe."

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