February 5, 2015 / 10:04 PM / in 3 years

Exclusive: GM will build Chevy Bolt in Michigan in late 2016 - sources

The Chevrolet Bolt EV electric concept car is unveiled during the first press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 12, 2015.Rebecca Cook

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) plans to begin building the Chevrolet Bolt, its all-new $30,000 electric car, in October 2016 at an underused small-car plant north of Detroit, two supplier sources said.

Despite the heavy hype surrounding the car's unveiling last month at the Detroit auto show, the sources said, GM's production target for the Bolt is relatively modest, at about 25,000-30,000 cars a year.

Last year, GM sold 18,800 Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric cars. The Volt, priced from around $35,000, uses a small gasoline engine to increase range.

The Bolt is expected to go on sale in early 2017 and will have a range between charges of more than 200 miles.

The Bolt will compete with a similar car, the Model 3, planned by Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) in calendar 2017, as well as the Nissan Leaf, which sold just over 30,000 last year.

The Bolt and a companion model for GM's Opel subsidiary in Europe will be assembled at GM's plant in Orion Township, the sources said. The factory now makes the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano and has been operating at well below capacity as small-car sales have suffered from falling gasoline prices.

The Bolt is being developed on GM's Gamma global small-car platform, according to the sources. The same basic set of components will provide the base for the next-generation Sonic, also due in late 2016, they said.

A GM spokesman declined to comment.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit, editing by G Crosse and David Gregorio

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