There seems to never be a lack of EV news with General Motors these days. During the company’s recent earnings call CEO Mary Barra let some additional EV news slip. This piece of news is amplifying rumors the Chevrolet Bolt EV is nearing its death.
During a lengthy opening statement Barra discussed how the company is working on an EV SUV to slot under the upcoming 2024 Equinox EV. “The efficiencies created by the Ultium platform are a key reason why we will be able to deliver truly affordable EVs like the Equinox. Affordable EVs are part of the market that start-ups aren’t targeting, but they are key to driving mass adoption of EVs, which is a national and a global priority. That’s why we plan to follow the Equinox with an even more affordable EV,” Barra stated.
While unsurprising given the automaker’s vast EV plans, but this is the first public mention of a less expensive EV. While the current Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV start right around $30,000, these two models are based on an older GM architecture and do not leverage GM’s newer Ultium batteries. For this reason it has always been assumed the Bolt’s lifespan would be limited given GM wants to add economic scale to its Ultium components as quickly as possible.
So, will this new EV wear the Bolt name? We feel that’s unlikely at this point. The Bolt name has been tarnished by battery fires and recalls to the point it seems unlikely GM will continue to leverage it. Instead, this sub-Equinox crossover will likely replace the Bolt, Trax and Trailblazer and bum a name from the two latter ICE models.
Rumors of the Bolt’s pending death began last week when GM confirmed it will retool its Lake Orion assembly plant in Michigan to produce the Chevrolet Silverado EV. Lake Orion currently builds the Bolt EV and EUV. While the correlation makes sense, the surprise behind it does not. The Bolt is now on a bespoke architecture and battery, it has never made sense for GM to keep it long-term.
As for the timing of this new EV, well it is anyone’s guess. Given the Equinox EV isn’t launching until 2024, it’s a safe bet this one will be a 2025 launch at the earliest.