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The Chevy Bolt May Be Back for a Third Generation

The current Bolt is dying, but GM's CEO is hinting heavily at a third generation.
Chevrolet

General Motors is killing the current Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV, despite the cars being some of the best inexpensive electric vehicles on the market. The automaker will soon have the Equinox EV, a $30,000 small SUV, to replace it but many are already lamenting the loss of GMs first and cheapest electric vehicle. They may be upset over nothing, though.

In a recent interview with NPR, the Detroit automaker’s CEO, Mary Barry, hinted strongly that the car will return for a third generation. She insisted that the Bolt was only canceled because of its old battery technology and that because the car’s name has so much equity, a return is certainly possible.

In response to why the car was ending production, Barra was clear. “It’s our second-generation technology,” she told NPR. “And the difference between our second generation and third generation, which is Ultium, is a 40% reduction in battery cost.” Barra then continued to tiptoe around discussing a third-generation car. “Bolt is something that has built up a lot of loyalty and equity,” she said, quickly clarifying that she “can’t say more because I don’t discuss future product programs.” That’s a pretty big hint.

Chevrolet

The Bolt is far and away GM’s most popular EV, but that doesn’t mean it’s profitable. Even the vehicles underpinned by automaker’s third-generation Ultium architecture aren’t expected to make any money until mid-decade, and that’s with the aforementioned 40% battery cost advantage. It also must be said that the Bolt suffered from a complete battery pack recall, which meant thousands of cars had to get theirs replaced at a huge cost. Much of this was paid for by Panasonic which made the car’s battery cells, but it was a PR nightmare for GM nonetheless.

The Bolt also isn’t just outdated from a cost perspective. Its old battery technology means it can only charge at a rate of 50 kilowatts, while the latest EVs can charge up to 350 kW. We recently learned that GM will likewise be moving away from the CCS charging port equipped on the Bolt in favor of Tesla’s NACS connector, which paints a clear picture that the aging EV has to go.

If slow charging doesn’t bother you, though, the Bolt twins are still being built and they qualify for full EV tax credits. They are some of the cheapest EVs out there, and with around 250 miles of range, definitely not the least capable.

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