GM Will Discontinue the Chevy Bolt, Its Best-Selling EV, To Concentrate on Ultium Models

GM to end Chevy Bolt production 6 photos
Photo: GM | Edited
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Despite all the drama caused by the 2021 battery-fire recall, the Chevrolet Bolt is GM's best-selling electric vehicle by far. This doesn't matter much since GM CEO Mary Barra announced that the veteran EV would end its career later this year to make way for Ultium-based Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV.
Once touted as a Tesla killer, the Chevrolet Bolt had a fiery career, literally. After several battery fires caused by faulty Li-Ion cells, GM had to stop production and recall all the units produced. With Ultium-based EVs already announced, many (myself included) thought Chevy Bolt's career was over. To anyone's surprise, GM brought the Bolt back from the dead on April 4, 2022, even as GM announced plans to overhaul the Orion plant.

Despite this late-found success, the Chevrolet Bolt's days are numbered. CEO Mary Barra announced that GM would discontinue the veteran EV at the end of this year. The Orion Township plant where it is built will enter a massive $4 billion overhaul phase to start producing Ultium-based Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra EVs in 2024. This marks the end of an era for GM, as the Bolt EVs accounted for most of GM's EV production in the first quarter.

Based on an older EV technology, the Chevrolet Bolt EV and its bigger brother Bolt EUV have grown long in the tooth. Price cuts in 2022 have made it the cheapest EV in the US, and with the start of the IRA program, it became even more affordable in 2023. Including destination tax, you can buy the Bolt EV for $27,495 and get the full IRA tax credit, rounding the deal to less than $20,000. It can't do more than 50-kW DC fast charging, but it has a decent 259-mile (420-km) range and can be an excellent choice for a teenager or as a second car in the family.

Buoyed by price cuts and incentives, the Chevrolet Bolt became GM's best-selling EV and is projected to sell 70,000 units in 2023. Although the Bolt was supposed to be replaced long ago, the timing of Barra's announcement is certainly interesting. The small EV enjoyed record production and sales in the past quarters, which GM has dreamed of since its launch in 2016. The Bolt was ahead of its times, launching before the US market was warming up to the EV idea. The battery fires nearly sealed its fate, and Bolt's career only started to take off when GM was ready to move on with its EV program.

The Ultium platform that underpins GM's newest crop of electric vehicles uses a different battery technology and design. However, Ultium production has moved very slowly, with less than 1,000 units in Q1 2023. Mary Barra is confident that things will accelerate in the second half of the year, with up to 150,000 EVs planned for 2023. Since the Bolt duo will make up less than half of that, we might finally see the Ultium production ramping up or GM falling short of its objectives.
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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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