GM Isn't Sold on 'Bolt' as a Name for Affordable EV

Feb 19, 2015 03:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

The Chevrolet Volt and the Chevrolet Bolt are two quite different models, but the similarity in their names has some people doing a double take.

General Motors plans to have a production version of its Chevy Bolt concept available in about two years, but the name isn't set in stone, an executive said in a recent interview.

"Some people think it's confusing," Alan Batey, president of GM North America, told the Detroit Free Press when asked about the Bolt's moniker. "People are having some fun with it. It is generating awareness, which is good. It's so conversational."

GM may change up the name before a production version hits the market.

"We're still in the decision phase," Batey told the Free Press at the Chicago Auto Show last week. "It could go either way. We have a little bit more time."

The Bolt--that's with a "B"--will be a crucial model both for GM and the auto industry as a whole if the automaker manages to make good on its promise for a 200-mile battery range that costs around $30,000.

The only electric vehicle with that kind of range is Tesla's Model S, which starts at about $70,000. Automakers hope that affordable cars with comfortable battery ranges will make electric vehicles mainstream; consumers currently tend to shy away from hybrids and EVs since they run out of juice too quickly.

The California-based automaker is planning on its own affordable EV, the Tesla Model 3 also slated for 2017.

When it introduces the Bolt vehicle, GM will have an advantage as a more established automaker, Batey said.

"Unlike Tesla, we can spread the cost over a whole lineup," he told the Free Press.

GM will assemble its new electric model at an assembly plant near Detroit and will reportedly invest some $200 million into the production Bolt.

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