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GM to update Bolt’s “200 miles range” now that Tesla Model 3 has 215 miles

bolt model 3

During a media briefing at GM’s Alternative Energy Center this week, GM’s General Director of Electrification, Tim Grewe, said that Bolt prototypes have pushed past the 200 miles range that they were previously advertising. Coincidentally (or likely not), the news come just a week after Tesla unveiled its Model 3 and said that it is expected to have an EPA-rated range of 215 miles on a single charge.

Prior to its unveiling last week, Tesla was referring to the Model 3’s range as having a “minimum of 200 miles” on single charge, but at the event, CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla was expecting the vehicle to achieve 215 miles based on an EPA cycle.

That’s for the base version starting at $35,000, as we revealed in our exclusive report on the higher-end version, the bigger battery pack should enable around 300 miles of range.

While industry analysts argue that the Model 3 and the Bolt will compete in the same market based on both vehicles having similar range and pricing (Bolt starts at $37,500 and Model 3 at $35,000), there’s a case to be made about the vehicles being in different luxury segments. It’s something I argued in my piece The Chevy Bolt is not a “Tesla killer”:

“GM is making a $37,500 car that would sell for $20,000 if it wasn’t electric, while Tesla is making a $35,000 car that would sell for $35,000 if it wasn’t electric.”

I wrote this opinion piece 9 months ago, before having seen the Model 3 or the production version of the Chevy Bolt, but I think it has never been more true now:

Unlike Tesla, GM already confirmed the details of the Bolt’s battery pack. It will have a capacity of 60 kWh with 288 lithium-ion cells in three groups of 96-cell and it weights a total of 960 lbs (435 kg).

Now it is more a question of confirming the estimated range based on an EPA cycle, like the Model 3’s 215 miles, but GM is not expected to announce it until closer to production later this year.

Until then, “more than 200 miles” will have to do.

Following the storm of reservations Tesla received for the Model 3, GM was asked to disclose customer interest during the media briefing, but the company refused to do so citing that they are not taking deposits or reservations for the Bolt.

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  1. Nick - 7 years ago

    Poor GM haha I’m sure GM executives are thrilled their bolt looks like a granny car next to the 3

  2. GM deserves all the bad publicity it is getting. What a pathetic company.

  3. BEP - 7 years ago

    In my opinion, the Bolt’s design is too cluttered: too many different shapes and materials. Still, it they do everything right it could be a really interesting car.

    • amp - 7 years ago

      I agree, but it’s not just the Bolt. It is most vehicles I see on the road every day, even premium/luxury models, although one could say they look ‘well cluttered’ or at least not so haphazardly cluttered as cheaper cars. After seeing the 3 pretty much anything else looks old fashioned to me now, like a collection of clearly discrete pieces. I used to think the S lacked ‘a little’ tasteful bling (in and out) vs. a Benz but since the 3 I am now seeing this the other way around. A bit like after driving an S, ICE just feels wrong, it’s like HD compared to VHS.

  4. SAM SAM - 7 years ago

    I ordered Model 3 because I don’t have to worry about charging on the road.

  5. darthbelichick07 - 7 years ago

    Every EV to date has been a tall, boxy hatchback. GM builds a tall, boxy hatchback.

    On the bright side, GM has a 1-2 year sales advantage, and the same time frame to morph the Bolt into something a little more sexy and competitive. Or perhaps deliver a different car. We should have a lottery to guess how many they’ll sell in 2017. I believe they’re building 30,000.

  6. OK, let’s not beat around the bush, whoever are comparing Bolts to Model 3 is blind or just a straight hater. I rather smell my own farts in a Prius.

  7. - (@outforbeer) - 7 years ago

    GM bolt look expensive when compared to tesla model 3. GM bolt look more like a $20k car

  8. raffi14 - 7 years ago

    GM can’t compete with all their legacy costs, franchised dealer overhead, and the UAW. It’s unfortunate, but that company needed to die to make room for something new.

  9. gamegenie - 7 years ago

    GM problem with the Chevy Volt, Bolt, etc is they are copying too much of Toyota and their ugly styling, and not using their tried and tested Chevrolet style.

    There’s no reason why the Chevy Volt and now Bolt look freakishly hideous other than they were clearly trying to make a clone of the Toyota Prius.

    Toyota has been dancing with the ugly streak of its cars for a good 5 years now, longer if just count the Prius.

    GM owned freaking Saturn. These dodo brains could have took the fanfare surrounding the successful Tesla Model S and designed this new Bolt EV with the design inspired by it’s Saturn EV1 legacy. Nope!

    • Kyle - 7 years ago

      Model 3 looks okay if you ask me its not the best looking car in the history of cars I don’t know why everyone is freaking out about how good it looks

  10. David - 7 years ago

    Thank you for finally writing a sensible article about this. It’s tiring to hear all the press about how they are competitive. You would never say that about two ice engined cars just because they had similar fuel economy. I’m on my second Volt and my wife had a model S, and the Bolt and the Model 3 have absolutely nothing in common besides batteries. Reserved mine at 7:31 pm pacific time.

  11. WalksOnDirt - 7 years ago

    Nothing has changed. GM has always said the Bolt would have more than 200 miles range. I don’t know why they are pushing this claim again, but I even more don’t know why it’s being reported.

  12. Zyzzyx - 7 years ago

    Bolt – basic but functional hatchback with easy access for passengers and cargo, for some of us we want a car that works well. TM3 – better looking car to show off to the world that you have money, not as useful for cargo, and the rear passengers might have headroom (glass roof), but have fun getting in those small doors to a low seat.

  13. jednoucelovy - 7 years ago

    So the Bolt will go 215 miles and then become a dead brick, while the Model 3 will stop for 30 minutes at an ubiquitous Supercharger and then keep on going. When’s the last time you saw a non-Supercharger 135 kW charging station anywhere?

  14. Holger - 7 years ago

    Stop bashing the Bolt as it is a fine designed car – just the price point is wrong… sell it for $27.5k before incentives and it will fit well in the BEV landscape.

    Oops – but then it competes with $20k ICE cars… exactly that is the hurdle GM & Co still have to overcome.

  15. Jens - 7 years ago

    I don’t think the Bolt is ugly. It’s not sporty. It’s not shiny. But it’s a decent car for it’s purpose. But it won’t sell. I’m looking from a german perspective, where we are biased towards smaller vehicles, cars are expensive, loans an leases are too, and EV incentives are null. It might be different in the US, but —
    Who with an average income would even consider buying a second car for 30k or even 40k Euros? And without access to a reliable fast charging network, that’s all the Bolt can ever be. You can run errands, even in a rural area. But you will want to have the other car for the longer family trips. I don’t mind a 30 minute break at a supercharger after 2.5 or 3 hours of driving. But I surely wouldn’t search for a public charger, which is probably broken and for which I don’t have the right access card membership, to wait two hours for the car to recharge.
    For what the Bolt is good for, we speak of a typical price range of about 10-15k Euros on an ICE car in Germany. The Bolt will cost almost three times as much.

    The Model 3 on the other hand, can be a first car. It can even be an only car. Albeit not for a family, because of the trunk. What a pity. I will have to wait for at least an other five years, till a reasonable EV comes around for me.

    • rennieallen - 7 years ago

      The average family in the US has 2 cars.

      • Jens - 7 years ago

        Yes, in Germany too. But no average income german family would spend 40k on a second car for local commute only. And the Bolt can bot be the family car for longer Trips, die to the missing charging network.

  16. Peter Thorsen - 7 years ago

    Let’s not forget that Tesla can’t possibly build all the electric cars that are necessary for a green turaround so I think it’s great that the other manufacturers also move in that direction, for whatever reasons. And lots of people will probably be very happy with a taller and perhaps more practical car and it is still one less ICE on the street.

  17. Jens - 7 years ago

    Yes, Peter, you are right. Elon Musk never claimed, to do it alone. He always invited others to compete. And though the Model 3 looks better, I’d actually prefer the Bolt for now.
    But what no traditional car manufacturer seems to acknowledge is, that charging infrastructure is even more paramount than costs. It would be no problem at all for them to team up, perhaps with some gas station networks, an build a standardized, fast charging network almost over night. Or to collaborate with Tesla on the Superchargers. BUT THEY REFUSE TO DO IT. They won’t acknowledge, it is their problem. For the time being, it isn’t. “You want to go far? – look, we have a bunch of ICE cars right here. They’re cheeper to. (And we can make more money on spare parts in a few years…)”

  18. James Rowland - 7 years ago

    GM was already on my “Do not buy” list for their shenanigans trying to outlaw Tesla’s direct sales model. Good to see that it won’t matter now Tesla have completely clowned GM with the Model 3.

    You’d have to be insane to consider buying the Bolt at the same price as the 3.

  19. Jens - 7 years ago

    I’m Not buying either of those, though I would have reseved a Tesla, if my wife hadn’t vetoed it :/ – because of the supercharging.

    But a car for me is only 10% fun and 90% utility. If range and charging options were the Same, I would definitively go for the slightly smaller, slightly slower hatchback or Station waggon.

  20. Pat McSwain - 7 years ago

    Assuming 60kWh, and assuming the same buffer as the Volt, the Bolt will have 55.6 kWh usable. Ignoring a more efficient motor and controller, it should hit at least 4 miles per kWh in the city like the Volt will, and at a similar weight, the Bolt will probably range >222 miles urban EPA. Freeway is unknown. It depends a lot on total aero drag, and efficiency levels. It is possible it will match or best the Volt on the freeway, which will be >211 miles EPA highway.

    However… If the non hybrid powertrain picks up 5% gains, you will see a 230 mile combined, unless GM boost the specs from 60 kWh or drops some of the 4.4 kWh buffer.

  21. rennieallen - 7 years ago

    By the time the model 3 ships the Bolt will be second model year of the generation and will have consumer reports one year reliability analysis. The production line will be optimized, and they’ll be able to drop the price (and still make money). I predict that 6 months prior to the model 3 shipping, they’ll offer ridiculous good rebates. Sure there are the die hard Tesla sheep, but most folks just care about value and will buy the Bolt… *unless* the model 3 has fully autonomous operation.

    • Jens - 7 years ago

      Again, I wouldn’t buy the Bolt (or it’s European version Opel Ampera-E) even for 20k Euros or Dollars, if there is no reliable fast charging network I can use. I don’t know about the US, but I don’t see it coming in Germany any time soon.

      • BEP - 7 years ago

        Do you know this website? It’s quite interesting:

      • Jens - 7 years ago

        Yes, I know these charger maps. 3 problems with current situation:
        – I Need charging for Long distance travel – means accessible from the Autobahn, bot somewhere inside cities.
        – simple standard for paying, don’t want to check if I have the right access cards
        – charging Speed. how many of these can charge my hypothetical Ampera-E to 80% in 20 Minutes?

      • James - 7 years ago

        Tesla is open to other manufacturers using their supercharger network, I can’t see why GM would not want to take up Tesla’s offer and address a major stumbling block for potential Bolt buyers….

    • Frodo - 7 years ago

      “most folks just care about value and will buy the Bolt”. People looking for value will be looking at the 16 – 20K ICE cars. They wont be looking at cars in this price range. If they are shelling out 35K for a car (ANY type of car), they will most certainly also be looking at aesthetics. The Bolt will absolutely lose in that area.

  22. Peter904 - 7 years ago

    Mr. Lambert. I agree with you about the Bolt vs. Model 3 not competing with one another. Sure there may be a little of that – base model to base model, but the Model 3 is target at the 3 Series BMW and Audi A4. The majority of Tesla Model 3s will be equipped with a higher level of options and higher MSRP than the Bolt and be similarly priced to BMW and Audi. Where GM, BMW, and Audi will have a huge advantage is their ability to subvent their lease rates to make the Tesla seem “too expensive to lease!”

    Regarding the styling of the Bolt and Model, different schools, different tastes. You are going to buy the one that best meets your needs, budget, and inspires you. I want both cars to succeed – I am a ZEV supporter and I can’t thank CARB enough for their leadership/dictatorship. Someone had to.

    P.S. I particularly liked your line – ““GM is making a $37,500 car that would sell for $20,000 if it wasn’t electric, while Tesla is making a $35,000 car that would sell for $35,000 if it wasn’t electric.”

  23. Norman Hirsch - 7 years ago

    where is big mouth Lutz?

  24. Breezy - 7 years ago

    This “news” is actually months old. GM’s been saying that the Bolt exceeds 200 miles since June 2015, So, nope, not updated because of the Model 3.

  25. Christof Demont-Heinrich - 7 years ago

    After the Tesla “allure”, the second biggest reason GM isn’t attracting a lot of customers for the Bolt (at least not yet), can be stated in three words: No. Long-Distance SuperCharger Network. C’mon GM (and Nissan), get with the program and recognize what Elon LONG ago recognized: If you extend EVs into mid-to-long-distance cars via a fast charging network, the people will come. Yes. They. Will.

    And if you do not help create such a network?

    The People Will NOT come.


  26. Kyle - 7 years ago

    Why is everyone making fun of the Bolt you have to give GM at least some credit for at least trying to make an EV to compete with the Model 3 so far no other company has announced a car to compete with the Model 3. Another thing why doesn’t the Bolt have self driving capabilities oh I don’t know its only coming out a year before the Model 3. So give it a chance before you reject it

    • rennieallen - 7 years ago

      The Bolt doesn’t compete with the Model 3. In order for the Model 3 to compete with the Bolt, the model 3 would have to exist. The Bolt stands alone as the only affordable 200 mile EV available this year. It will always hold the title of being the first.

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