General Motors (NYSE:GM) is serious about electric vehicles. This started to become evident in 2010, with the launch of its Chevy Volt. But the company's more recent announcement of an all-electric vehicle with meaningful range, the Chevy Bolt, solidified the company's ambition to take the segment seriously. Not only promising to meet or exceed the important 200-mile mark of driving range that electric-car maker Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has proven makes fully electric cars compelling, the Bolt also promised to achieve something Tesla hasn't yet: a much more affordable price tag. It positioned the company to compete with Tesla in the EV segment and increase the distance between itself and slower-moving peers.
Now, an update from Chevrolet on the official range of the Bolt reveals one more reason to believe the automaker won't be resting on its laurels as electric vehicles go mainstream: The Bolt offers 238 miles of range, or 19% more than the minimum range the company had promised.
Set for deliveries to begin before the end of the year, here's the latest on General Motors' fully electric vehicle.
The Bolt is almost here
"With the vehicle's EPA-estimated range of 238 miles, owners can expect to go beyond their average daily driving needs -- with plenty of range to spare," General Motors said in a press release on Tuesday.
With average daily driving in the U.S. below 50 miles, according to most studies, the Bolt's 238 miles of range is enough to eliminate most owners' range anxiety, or the fear of running out of charge. Combined with daily charging at home, Bolt drivers will likely rarely have to give much thought to charging while out and about.
"Bolt EV buyers won't be able to find a better value for an all-electric, thrill-inducing ride with an expected MSRP below $37,500," Chevrolet said. This couldn't be more true, since the only electric-vehicle with similar range that will be available for purchase by the end of this year is Tesla's Model S, which starts at $66,000. Of course, the Model S is a much larger car with more cargo space and faster acceleration, but the Bolt beats the Model S by a significant margin when it comes to price.
The Bolt "will start to become available at Chevrolet dealerships later this year," confirmed GM's North America President Alan Batey in the press release. This is in line with the company's promised timeline since it announced the production of the Bolt earlier this year.
An important achievement
The Bolt's impressive range of 238 miles is an important achievement. With Tesla's $35,000 all-electric Model 3 sporting better styling and acceleration, 238 miles gives the Bolt a selling point compared to the minimum of 215 miles Tesla has promised for Model 3.
Before Chevrolet unveiled the official EPA-rated range of its 60 kilowatt-hour battery powered Chevy Bolt, it was clear the vehicle would at least match Model 3's promised minimum range. After all, Tesla's entry-level 60 kWh battery Model S, which is a much larger vehicle than the Bolt, can drive 210 miles with a single-motor configuration, and 218 miles with a dual-motor configuration. But it was difficult to estimate just how far beyond 215 miles of range the Bolt would be rated for, particularly because the Bolt's lead designer, Stuart Norris, has admitted the vehicle's aerodynamics are a "disaster," according to Automotive News.
While GM's start with electric vehicles may be immaterial to the company's results today, or even in the near future, investors should still take note. The company's ability to rapidly introduce a compelling all-electric vehicle -- and beat even Tesla to market with an affordable option while it's at it -- is a testament to management's ability to evolve, innovate, and more importantly, execute.