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GM Announced Chevrolet Bolt Is Not Dead, Ultium Version Is Coming

GM earlier this year announced that the Chevy Bolt would be discontinued by the end of this year, with the Chevrolet Equinox EV taking its place as the most affordable EV in GM's lineup. In the meantime, CEO Mary Barra changed her mind and announced that the Bolt would have a successor built with Ultium tech.
Chevy Bolt will return as an Ultium-based EV 17 photos
Photo: Chevrolet
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Once a pariah of the EV world because of its exploding batteries, the Chevrolet Bolt became an unlikely best-seller after production resumed last year. Successive price cuts made it the most affordable electric car on the market, which explains why it was so successful. Still, despite this surprising late-found success, the Chevrolet Bolt cannot escape its fate. It uses ancient technology, which has higher production costs. Besides that, GM has already made other plans with its production plant in Lake Orion.

That's why nobody was surprised when GM announced that the Bolt would be killed toward the end of 2023. GM intends to retool the Orion Assembly plant to build electric trucks based on the Ultium platform, and the Bolt would only stand in the way. While the Bolt had to go, the moment couldn't be worse for GM. Its Ultium-based EVs are produced in very limited numbers that don't even count as series production. Meanwhile, Chevy Bolt sold more than 33,000 units through the first half of 2023, making it one of the most successful electric vehicles in the US.

The success made Mary Barra reconsider the decision to discontinue the Bolt. In an NPR Marketplace podcast last month, GM CEO hinted that the Bolt could return as an Ultium-based EV without offering more details. The Ultium platform would allow GM to cut production costs by 40% compared to the current Bolt, Barra revealed. One month later, the Bolt revival is official, as Barra announced during the second quarter earnings call.

GM CEO reminded everyone that customers love the electric minivan/crossover and that the decision to build a revamped Bolt would allow GM to keep the momentum. It would not be a completely new model, as Barra said it would be cheaper compared to an all-new program, with "significantly lower engineering expense and capital investment." Basically, the new Bolt will be an update of the current model with Ultium battery and motor tech and Ultify software platform.

GM did not offer details about timing, production site, or technical information about the new Bolt. Still, it should keep its affordable price, especially as it will be positioned under the Equinox EV. With Ultium tech, GM should offer faster DC charging speeds than the current 50 kW, this being the most important complaint from those purchasing the veteran EV. The Ultify software platform should also bring new features into the cockpit. However, it's unlikely GM will turn Bolt into a software-defined vehicle.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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