GM confirms compact electric car to be made at Michigan plant

Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:57pm EST
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By Rick Popely

CHICAGO (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) said Thursday it will build a compact electric car at an assembly plant near Detroit, where it will invest $200 million for the project.

Alan Batey, GM's North American president, said in a speech at the Chicago auto show that for now the compact is called the Bolt, but that name may change before it goes on sale.

The Chevrolet Bolt was shown as a concept vehicle at the Detroit auto show last month. It is designed to have a range of 200 miles, and will cost about $30,000 after tax breaks in the U.S. market.

GM's announcement confirms a report last week by Reuters that the Bolt would be produced at the under-used Orion assembly plant in Michigan.

Batey said that some potential customers have been confused with the Bolt name that is similar to the Volt, a Chevrolet plug-in hybrid.

“It could go either way," Batey said of the possible name change. "The vehicles are so different that when you get a customer into a Chevy showroom they’re not going to be confused about which product they’re looking at."

The only electric car currently available with a 200-mile range is the Tesla Model S, which starts at $71,070 before tax credits for electric vehicles (EVs).

With a target price near $30,000, the Bolt would compete with electric cars such as the Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote) Leaf, which has a range of less than 100 miles, and the similarly priced Tesla Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) Model 3, planned to debut in 2017.   Continued...

General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Alan Batey, President of GM North America, pose next to the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric concept car after it was unveiled during the first press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 12, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook