US car giant General Motors (GM) will delay a refresh of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt until 2021, citing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, but says that the planned new electric Bolt “EUV” model still remains on track.
In a note written by Megan Soule, a spokesperson for GM to fellow EV site Electrek, the car maker confirmed that the 2021 Bolt was being put on hold and would instead emerge as a 2022 model next year.
“As a result of the current business situation, we have decided to launch the refreshed Bolt EV in 2021 as a 2022 model and the Bolt EUV remains on schedule,” wrote Soule to Electrek.
A shutdown of operations to help stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic has affected numerous car makers, and GM’s original plan to shutdown for a week has now been extended.
“Previously, we announced the suspension of regular plant operations across North America through March 30. We have recently expanded that suspension and will continue to evaluate our operating plan going forward. When we can safely resume production, we will,” Soule was quoted by Electrek.
The Bolt, first introduced by GM in 2016, saw its heyday in the US 2017 when it was the second-most popular electric car in the US after the Model S selling 23,297 units according to GM Authority.
Although also somewhat popular in Canada and Mexico where it sells around 3,000-4,000 apiece each year, sales have dipped in the US likely due to the introduction of the Tesla Model 3.
The refresh, which is expected to include a sportier look, comfier seats and redesigned front fascia and rear lights will attempt to regain attention on the increasingly competitive electric car market. Its driving range of 259 miles (EPA – 416km) is expected to remain the same, using the same 66kWh battery as the 2020 model.
But first, the new Bolt EUV will get a look in. Unveiled at the US car giant’s “EV Day” in early March as part of what it calls an “ambitious” plan, the EUV will still be launched in in mid-2021.
Although a larger crossover style vehicle, it will use the same 66kWh battery as the Bolt EV, which pundits suggest will equate to a 245 mile (394km) driving range under the US-based EPA rating.
Disappointingly, it will not come in AWD, although a longer wheelbase than the Bolt EV will afford more room and cargo space inside.
It will have a faster AC max charge rate than the EV also, jumping from 7.2kW to 11kW. Most notably, it will come with GM’s “Supercruise” level 2 sutonomous technology, the first such for a GM outside of the Cadillac brand.
Don’t expect either vehicle to be seen in massive numbers, however. As we reported last Friday, production plans seen by Reuters show that GM and Ford’s planned electric car numbers combined for 2026 only come to 320,000 compared with 5 million SUVs and utility trucks (known as utes in Australia and pickups in the US).
For Australians, neither the Bolt EV nor the Bolt EUV are currently on the horizon either, with GM announcing in February that it would cut sub-brand Holden from the local market. There is no official as yet on whether GM-branded vehicles will be sold here instead.
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Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.