| DETROIT, Sept 20
DETROIT, Sept 20 General Motors Co on
Tuesday announced its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle will cost
under $30,000 after tax breaks, a price that makes it
significantly cheaper than the average new U.S. vehicle and sets
up a test of whether the technology can go mainstream in the
The least expensive Bolt will start at $37,495 before a
$7,500 federal tax credit, meaning it would sell for $29,995, GM
said. The average U.S. price of a new car was $34,143 in August,
according to Kelley Blue Book.
The Bolt will have a driving range of 238 miles on a full
charge, substantially more than any currently available electric
vehicle at a similar price.
However, analysts familiar with GM's plans say the Bolt will
initially be a low-volume niche model with production of fewer
than 30,000 cars per year. Fully electric cars currently account
for less than 1 percent of U.S. car and light truck sales.
GM executives had signaled the Bolt's price would be close
to $37,500, but with the price now set, GM will accelerate
efforts to steal thunder from rival Tesla Motors Inc,
which has promised to deliver its new Model 3 next July with 215
miles of driving range on a full charge at a price of $35,000.
Steve Majoros, Chevrolet manager for car and crossover
marketing, would not say in an interview Monday what GM's
production volumes will be or how many orders the automaker has
for the Bolt. He said interest in the vehicle is strong,
including from corporate and government fleets. GM also plans to
deliver Bolts to its ride-services partner Lyft.
GM has begun promoting the Bolt, launching a website that
allows potential buyers to calculate how many miles they drive a
day and what they could save by switching to an electric car.
The brand has gotten a boost from positive early reviews of the
vehicle, and an endorsement from Apple Inc co-founder
Steve Wozniak, who told his Facebook followers he planned to buy
Tesla has said it received more than 370,000 reservations
for the Model 3 since unveiling it March 31. The
Silicon Valley automaker led by Elon Musk has said it needs to
raise capital to fund production of the Model 3.
GM has begun test production of Bolts
at a factory near Detroit.
(Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)