Tech Talk of the Day: Chevy Bolt

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WiredGENERAL MOTORS JUST BEAT Tesla Motors in the race to produce a truly affordable electric vehicle with triple-digit range.

Moments ago, GM CEO Mary Barra unveiled the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt at CES, providing the first look at what may be the most significant vehicle the automaker has built in decades. The little EV may look like just another five-door compact, but two figures make it an engineering masterstroke: 200 and 30,000.

That first number is its range: 200 miles on a fully charged battery. That’s a number exceeded only by Tesla, whose cheapest model starts north of $70,000. And that brings us to the second number. Chevy promises the Bolt will cost less than $30,000 after the $7,500 federal tax credit. Together, they make the Bolt the first EV that delivers excellent range at a great price. It is the electric car for the masses.

The Bolt, says Chevrolet chief Alan Batey, “is what we mean by leading, not following.”

What a time. For electric car enthusiasts like myself, 2016 will certainly be marked as the year EV cars move mainstream. The Consumer Electronic Show, or CES, was hosted this weekend in Las Vegas and was packed full of companies showing off the technology they have developed over the past year. All of the major companies were present (sans Apple) to show off a variety of different products. Without question, EV tended to dominate the show, with the new 2017 Chevy Bolt leading the way.

With Tesla set to announce their Model 3 electric vehicle for the masses this upcoming March, Chevy moved to undercut their sales with their own offering. For a measly $30,000 after tax credit (not the fuck you money you’ve been recently hearing more about), one can own an electric vehicle with nearly 200 miles or range. The blogging life doesn’t necessarily lend itself to putting miles on vehicles (or human bodies for that matter), but for the masses this seems like a great deal.

Without the dedicated Supercharger network that Tesla has created so far for its Model S vehicle, Chevy may have a tough time reaching all of its potential available market. Exploding Tesla batteries certainly don’t help. However, given its brand name, 17 cubic feet of available cargo space, and cheap price, I would expect the car to be a serious contender to the Tesla Model 3 in 2017.

-KJ

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