Update: a GM representative contacted to us to clarify that Lyft will actually get the vehicle later this year and not at the launch of the Express Drive program like the press release seen below led us to believe.
GM has long stated that it plans to start deliveries of the Chevy Bolt EV by the end of 2016. It was since revealed in March that the all-electric vehicle entered pre-production on the Orion Assembly line. We later learned that GM is planning for the start of regular volume production of the 2017 Bolt in October 2016.
Now it looks like the vehicle will be on the road sooner than anticipated and not necessarily in the hands of customers, but through GM’s partnership with Lyft, a popular ride-sharing company.
GM announced today that it is expanding its Express Drive program to supply Lyft drivers with short-term vehicle access and it will include the Bolt EV in the list of vehicle available as soon as this summer. The company writes in a press release:
“Launching in San Francisco in the summer of 2016 and in Los Angeles by the fall, Express Drive’s California members will have access to vehicles from the largest electric vehicle fleet in ridesharing, including the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV and the extended-range electric 2016 Chevrolet Volt. Express Drive will also launch operations in Denver by the fall of 2016. In San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver combined, over 130,000 people who applied to become Lyft drivers but didn’t have qualifying cars will now have the opportunity to drive on the platform.”
Earlier this year, GM invested $500 million in Lyft and the two companies have since been working together on several projects, including a pilot project for ride-sharing with self-driving cars powered by another recent GM investment, Cruise Automation, which has been testing its autonomous driving system on the Bolt EV.
GM President Dan Ammann commented on bringing the Bolt to Lyft drivers:
“We are very pleased with the success of Express Drive and how quickly the team implemented the program since our alliance was announced earlier this year. The Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volt are a perfect fit for ridesharing offering very low operating costs and a wide range of connectivity features for both drivers and passengers.”
The Bolt EV will start at $37,500 before incentives and it will be able to achieve a range greater than 200 miles on a single charge with GM’s new LG Chem 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).
You can watch our test drive of the pre-production model here: Chevy Bolt test drive: Speedy, 200+ miles of range, and lots of goodies for $30,000