The popular and affordable Chevrolet Bolt will live to see another day, as General Motors CEO Mary Barra confirmed a next-generation version of the Bolt is in the works.
This is a major announcement for the company and for fans of affordable EVs. Barra said the upcoming Bolt EV will be based on GM's Ultium battery and drive technology and will continue to deliver what customers have come to expect from the nameplate: great affordability, range and technology.
"Our customers love today's Bolt. It has been delivering record sales and some of the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry," Barra said. "It's also an important source of conquest sales for the company and for Chevrolet. We will keep the momentum going by delivering a new Bolt…and we will execute it more quickly compared to an all-new program with significantly lower engineering expense and capital investment by updating the vehicle with Ultium and Ultifi technologies and by applying our 'winning with simplicity' discipline."
Adopting various Ultium and Ultifi technological advancements will help GM bring the popular model back "on an accelerated timeline." The automaker did not provide a launch timetable, but said timing and specific details about the next-gen Bolt will be announced at a later date.
General Motors did not say whether the future Bolt will offer two body styles as the current model does---hatchback (Bolt EV) and crossover (Bolt EUV). It did, however, release a teaser photo that shows a portion of the next-gen Bolt's tailgate featuring the new badge for the nameplate with stylized lettering, including a lightning bolt on the letter O.
The shape of the tail light can also be detected from the shape of the stamped panel, and it looks like the next Bolt will get lower-set horizontal lamps at the rear.
The forthcoming Bolt will join Chevrolet's growing lineup of all-electric vehicles, including three launching this year: Silverado EV, Blazer EV and Equinox EV.
The official confirmation regarding the next-generation Chevy Bolt came after Barra in June hinted at the return of the Bolt entry-level EV in the near future.
"But, you know, Bolt is something that has built up a lot of loyalty and equity," Barra said while speaking on NPR's Marketplace podcast. "So I can't say more because I don't discuss future product programs. But, you know, it was primarily a move from second generation to third generation. But that's [an] important vehicle in our portfolio."
GM's head honcho said the Ultium platform brings 40% lower battery costs compared to the second-generation battery used in the outgoing Bolt EV and EUV, which theoretically means the automaker could offer the next Bolt with a starting MSRP well below $30,000. The Bolt would therefore undercut the Equinox EV, expected to start around $30,000.