Earlier this year, Chevrolet announced it was discontinuing its first mass-market battery-electric vehicle, the Bolt. Technically in its second generation, the Bolt is far and away the best-selling EV in General Motors' lineup. Now, however, the automaker has announced the Bolt will return for a third iteration, and fast.
There's no timeline for the introduction of the new car, but it claims it's happening as quickly as the automaker can manage. The current car will still be discontinued at the end of the year, but the new Bolt will utilize much of what it currently has to offer, opting for an updated drivetrain instead of an all-new model.
In a press release, the automaker said it will "execute [the new Bolt] more quickly compared to an all-new program with significantly lower engineering expense and capital investment by updating the vehicle with Ultium and Ultifi technologies." That likely translates into a new drive unit, battery pack, and power electronics.
As a result, the new Bolt could have greater range than the existing car, however, the biggest difference will be charging speed. The current Bolt is only capable of charging at an antiquated 50kW, which is slow compared to most other modern EVs. The updated Bolt will charge at least twice as fast, probably closer to 150kW, and could have a NACS charging connector as well. That means it might be Tesla Superhcarger-ready right out of the box.
Along with this updated charging speed, it's very likely the car will have at least one new drive unit as well, with all-wheel-drive a possibility. GM makes a slew of modular electric drive units that could fit the bill. Exactly how much re-engineering of the car will take place is still unclear, though. Adding all of this new tech is not as simple as bolting it in, and items like a new battery enclosure may be necessary.
Responding to an inquiry from The Drive concerning the justification for bringing the car back, a spokesperson for the automaker stated that the vehicle was returning because
"We always knew customers loved the Bolt nameplate, as evidenced by this year’s record sales and its high loyalty rates. We also see Bolt bring in new customers to the brand, more than other nameplates at GM," a GM spokesperson told The Drive regarding the nameplate's sudden return.
Due to the accelerated timeline, it's possible that the car's interior and exterior design will remain largely unchanged, maybe just slightly refreshed. The current Bolt and Bolt EUV already offer a slew of modern equipment, including heated/cooled seats, a rear-view camera mirror, and GM's hands-free driving technology, Super Cruise. With all of this going for it, it's plausible that few changes will be made to the car before it's reintroduced. That being said, the fact that the current car is still ending production as previously stated could mean a new look and a new interior.
As soon as we know more, you'll be the first to know.
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