What Would a Tesla Model 3 Vs. Chevrolet Bolt Showdown Look Like?

Jan 18, 2015 02:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

The Chevrolet Bolt plug-in concept proudly unveiled by General Motors at the Detroit auto show could be a game-changer--but will it pose a threat to Tesla's upcoming Model 3?

The most-discussed debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show is slated for a 2017 market launch and a starting price around $30,000. Its affordability combined with an impressive 200-mile battery range before needing to recharge could finally make electric vehicles accessible to the average consumer.

"The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity," GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. "Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers."

Exclusivity has definitely boosted the Tesla brand, but that could change when the Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker launches the Model 3, which CEO Elon Musk has said will cost around $35,000 before tax incentives. The Model 3 will be about 20 percent smaller than the Model S and is tentatively expected in 2017, which would put it opposite Chevy's Bolt.

Once current state and federal tax incentives are factored in, the Model 3's price drops to $27,500, according to Jalopnik.

Despite numerous delays with Tesla's second vehicle, the Model X, Musk seems confident about the Model 3, saying it will be "unlike anything on the road."

Here's what we know so far about each upcoming EV:

Chevrolet Bolt

Battery Range: The Bolt concept can go 200 miles before needing to be recharged.

Launch: 2017

Price: around $30,000

Appeal: Unlike that upstart Tesla, GM has been around for a long time and is itching to prove itself again after its 2009 bankruptcy and record recalls last year. As an established automaker, GM is more likely to roll out the Chevy Bolt in the given timeline; Tesla is a one-model carmaker already becoming a bit notorious for delaying new rides.

Tesla Model 3

Battery Range: Tesla's Model S gets between 265 and 300 miles of battery range, but the Model 3 will likely feature gains thanks to a smaller build and streamlined features.

Launch: 2017

Price: $35,000 before incentives, possibly as low as $27,500

Appeal: It's Tesla. The hottest name in the auto world could finally be attainable for less than half of the $70,000 it takes to score a Model S. If Musk can follow through, the Model 3 will be offering innovation, style and a superior battery range for as little as $27,500.

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