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Right a wrong: GM could release the Bolt on the 20th anniversary of the first EV1 deliveries

1997-EV1-front-three-quarterThis weekend was the 19th anniversary of the first deliveries of GM’s all-electric EV1. With GM planning to release the Chevy Bolt in “late-2016”, it would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the EV1 launch. Although it’s doubtful the company will try to associate both releases considering GM is trying distance the Bolt from the image of a compliance car, it is nonetheless an interesting coincidence.  The EV1 was the archetype of a compliance car. GM introduced the vehicle after the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a mandate requiring the production and sale of zero-emission vehicles and as soon as a lobbying effort managed to relax CARB’s mandate, the company recalled all EV1’s, which were under lease agreements, and crushed them.

The EV1 saga was immortalized in the documentary Who killed the electric car? featuring Chelsea Sexton, who first brought up the timing of the release of the EV1 coinciding with the possible launch of the Bolt:

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Although optimistic, a release by the end of 2016 is not impossible considering the pace of GM’s Bolt program. The company first unveiled the concept at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2015, and now they are scheduled for the official unveiling of the production version in January 2016 at CES.

GM committed to the availability of the Bolt in 50 states at launch. Shad Balch, Manager of New Product and Public Policy Communications at GM, told Autoblog:

“We’ve also committed that it’s going to be a 50-state vehicle at launch. That’s to show our commitment to the technology. Our hope is that it becomes a high-volume-selling car, and that it’s not just for the coasts, it’s not just for a certain income level, but it is a long-range EV that anybody can get themselves into.”

If it turns out to be true, it would definitely erase any suspicion of the Bolt being a compliance car. LG and GM recently announced the expansion of their partnership in order to produce the all-electric vehicle, but the companies didn’t update the planned production output of 25,000 to 35,000 units since the beginning of the year. If the company delivers on the promised range of 200 miles and starting price of $37,500, the car could prove to be quite popular. It will be interesting to see if it will be easily available outside of CARB states and if they will ramp up production to make sure it is available.

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