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GM opens next electric chapter with new pair of Michigan-made Bolts

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — General Motors Co. wants to sell 1 million electric vehicles by 2025, but to get there its leaders say it will have to ease two top concerns of drivers: EV cost and battery range anxiety. 

The automaker embraced those worries with the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and its larger sibling the 2022 Bolt EUV, unveiled Sunday in partnership with Disney. Both will be cheaper than the current Bolt model — the Bolt EV by $5,000 and the EUV by $3,000 — and GM said it will cover the cost for eligible purchasers to install home charging stations.

Both Bolts are a part of GM's 30 vehicles by 2025 pledge. The automaker pushed its electric vehicle strategy even further earlier this year, saying it would drop gas and diesel engines from its light-duty lineup by 2035.

“We want to put everyone in an EV and the new Bolt EUV and redesigned Bolt EV are crucial to doing so,” said GM President Mark Reuss said in a statement. “Together, they enable mainstream customers to be part of our vison of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

The Bolt EV was updated with a new, more upright front fascia and new front and rear lighting signatures — including the signature high-eye daytime running lights in front.

The battery technology on the 2022 Bolt EV will deliver an estimated 259 miles on a charge and the Bolt EUV's range totals 250 miles. The 2021 Bolt EV gets an estimated 259 miles on a charge. 

To ease consumer anxiety about battery charging, Chevrolet said it will cover the standard installation of Level 2 charging for eligible customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV. Chevy and Qmerit are partnering to give customers access to faster charging at home.

A Dual Level Charge Cord comes standard with Bolt EUV and is available for Bolt EV. For maximum Level 2 charging speed, both vehicles are capable of 11 kW Level 2 charging, but separate charging equipment is required.

"We feel very good about our product portfolio," said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet marketing. "Obviously, EV adoption is going to be largely a function of availability, right products, right segments ...  affordability, charging" — factors GM believes will take EV sales from their current 1.8% to 15% and higher. 

"Certainly ICE vehicles will be around for a long time but the EV movement is real," Majaros added. "We see it, the industry sees it, and we can't be prouder of what General Motors has done with the commitments that we have made across the board, whether it's product portfolio, manufacturing, charging infrastructure."

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, considered a part of the small SUV segment, is about 6 inches longer than its peer the Bolt EV.

The Bolts, to be built in Lake Orion and available this summer, are not powered by GM's new Ultium battery technology. GM says the system is unique because its large-format pouch style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack, allowing designers to optimize battery storage and layout for each vehicle's design.

The Ultium battery energy has range options from 50-200 kWh, which GM estimates will provide a range of up to 400 miles or more on a full charge. The first GM product powered by Ultium will be the $112,595 GMC Hummer EV, coming out later this year. The Cadillac Lyriq and Celestiq electric vehicles will also be powered by Ultium. 

Chevrolet has announced four EVs that will use GM’s Ultium battery system, including a pickup and compact crossover. The brand has not yet disclosed any other product details or timing of their arrival. 

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV is priced starting at $33,995. It will be available this summer.

Since its launch in 2017, GM has sold more than 100,000 Bolt EVs globally. The Bolt is currently the automaker's only EV, and GM recently had to recall 68,667 of them manufactured between 2017-2019 while it works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pinpoint what caused multiple battery fires. The model year 2020 Bolts and beyond have a different battery chemistry than those included in the recall. 

"That different chemistry is what allowed us to increase our range from 238 to 259. And it's that chemistry in that battery that continues on to these vehicles," said Jesse Ortega, executive chief engineer for the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV.

The new Bolt EV comes with a more upright front fascia and new front and rear lighting signatures. The Bolt EUV has a sculpted grille and signature lighting, including standard LED headlamps.

Both Bolts have new instrument panels, vehicle controls and seats, with a 10.2-inch-diagonal touchscreens. The Bolt EUV, considered a part of the small SUV segment, is about 6 inches longer than its sibling, the Bolt EV. The EUV will be the first Chevy-branded vehicle to have Super Cruise, GM's autonomous vehicle technology that debuted first on Cadillac, GM's luxury brand. 

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is priced starting at $31,995, $5,000 less than the current model. It will be available in summer 2021.

The 2022 Bolt EUV is priced starting at $33,995 and the Bolt EV is priced at $31,995, which still may not be economical for some. The belief is that as more EVs come online and the technology advances, prices will lower. 

"We we feel very strongly about the glide path that we're on for cost per kilowatt hour," Majaros said, adding that "mass EV adoption is going hinge on a number of items —cost being one but again also configuration, charging."

A special, limited-production Launch Edition of the Bolt EUV is also available with Super Cruise, a sunroof, unique wheels, special badging and an illuminated charge port for $43,495.

The 2022 Bolt EUV and Bolt EV were introduced through a special, 90-second commercial titled “Magic is Electric,” which was made in collaboration with Walt Disney World Resort. It can be viewed at www.chevy.com/EV.

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @bykaleahall