The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

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The Bolt is Back! (Well, it will be.)

By far one of the most popular cars in the Drive Green program, the Chevy Bolt not only boasts a good electric range (259 miles) but is currently one of the most affordable electric vehicles (EVs) on the market (starting at $26,500 before incentives). This year has seen a ton of changes for the Bolt: first, we heard that the Bolt would be discontinued, but now, GM has announced they’re bringing it back. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Bolt Discontinuation (Temporary) & Long Lead Times 

2023 chevy boltThe Bolt has been widely successful as it was one of the first all-electric vehicles with a range of over 250 miles and it has historically been more affordably priced than other battery-electric EVs. The prices of the Bolt even dropped by roughly $5,000 from model year 2022 to model year 2023. So when GM CEO Mary Barra announced the discontinuation of the Bolt back on April 25, 2023, it came as a real shock to Bolt enthusiasts. Especially since the Bolt sold 19,700 units in Q1 2023. This is more than double the previous Q1 records. 

When the news came of the discontinuation, folks rushed to order Bolts. But it wasn’t as easy as placing your order and waiting a short period of time for your brand-new Bolt. Anecdotally, Green Energy Consumers has worked with Bolt customers who have had wait times as long as 8 months. Customers faced months-long wait times in part due to a large order placed by Domino’s for 800 vehicles. GM started fulfilling this order in November 2022 and just finished on June 28, 2023, but then Domino’s decided to further bolster their electric fleet by 356 vehicles, bringing the grand total to 1,156 Bolts. This will once again slow down orders for customers looking for a singular Bolt.


2023 Bolt Orders Have an End Date 

The last order cycle of the 2023 Bolt and the Bolt EUV (the small SUV version of the Bolt) starts Thursday, August 17. Dealers will have a few weeks to submit their orders and production is scheduled to end sometime in December 2023. One big caution if you are in the market: not all orders will necessarily be filled. The Drive Green Team has spoken to a number of Chevy dealers who have explicitly told orders may not be filled due to the backlog of Bolt orders.   


The Return of the Bolt 

On July 25, GM’s CEO announced that a next-generation Bolt will be back but left out the when. While we don’t know when exactly the Bolt will be back, many speculate that the new version could be out in 2024 or 2025. Why the change of plan? To quote General Motors CEO Mary Barra, “[The Bolt] has been delivering record sales and some of the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry.” The Bolt boasts Chevy’s highest conquest rate with about 70% of Bolt buyers switching to GM from other automakers. Even with the battery recall on 2017-2022 model years, the Bolt remains a popular electric car and has loyal fans who want to buy out their leases, lease another Bolt, or even purchase a second Bolt. 

So, why the pause? Chevy is in the process of launching three new EVs this year – the Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Equinox EV. The production of these three vehicles is taking precedence over Bolt production and adding to Chevy’s electric car lineup.


Cool New Features 

In contrast to the 2023 Chevy Bolt, the Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Equinox EV are using GM’s new Ultium Platform. The Ultium Platform refers to GM’s suite of hardware and software being used on upcoming electric vehicles. Ultium batteries will use 70% less cobalt than battery cells in the Chevy Bolt. The reduction in cobalt, in part, leads to a 40% reduction in battery costs. Because of this, we expect the Bolt to return using the Ultium Platform and at a price under $30,000. 

The software portion of the new Ultium platform, “Ultifi," wirelessly monitors the health of individual battery cells. That means, if there’s a problem in the battery, GM will be able to isolate exactly which battery cells are causing the problem. Ultifi is GM’s main tool in combating the headache that is battery recalls 

Ultifi will also enable over-the-air upgrades that allow features to be introduced without waiting for the next model year. This is huge news! Tesla owners have been able to do this for years. This will make Chevy products even more competitive.  


And Even More Charging 

While we don’t know exactly when the Bolt will return, we do know that GM is one of the manufacturers that has partnered with Tesla to allow its customers to use its 12,000+ Super Charger Network. This is news to get excited about because the other main advantage of Tesla owners is their dedicated and extensive charging network. Starting in Spring 2024, all GM vehicles will have access to adapters and will be allowed to use Tesla Super Charging Stations. And in 2025, all GM vehicles will come with a Tesla a.k.a. North American Charging Standard (NACS) port installed allowing them to more seamlessly access the Tesla Super Charger Network. GM is also part of a joint venture with other manufacturers to build more charging across the country. 

All in all, the Bolt pause is not bad news. It will be frustrating for folks who want a Bolt in the near future, but extremely beneficial for those who can wait for the new and improved Bolt.