General Motors Co. said its coming Chevrolet Bolt electric car will travel 238 miles on a single charge, giving GM a key marketing claim over Tesla Motors Inc. as the nation’s largest auto maker prepares to begin deliveries of the first long-range, affordable electric vehicle this year.
The range advantage could be an important selling point for GM as it seeks an early mover advantage for the Bolt, which GM insiders for years have referred to as their Tesla fighter. GM is looking to reassert itself as an industry leader in electric cars following Tesla’s surging popularity in recent years.
After years of competing against luxury rivals by selling high-price EVs, Tesla’s strategy is converging with GM and other volume producers as it takes aim at the mass market with its Model 3. Tesla’s larger Model S sedan has long topped 200 miles, although that car is priced two to four times higher than the Model 3 and Bolt, depending on the model. A new Model S version with a bigger, 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack is estimated to travel 315 miles on a single charge.
Chevy’s 2017 Bolt EV is expected to be the industry’s first mainstream, long-range electric car when it arrives in showrooms late this year. GM hasn’t announced the sticker price but has said it would go for around $30,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has pegged a $35,000 starting price for the Model 3 before any tax incentives, implying that it could be priced just below the Bolt.
So far, the Bolt hasn’t been able to generate the level of buzz around the Model 3, which garnered a crush of media coverage when Mr. Musk unveiled it earlier this year. Around 400,000 people put down $1,000 deposits each to preorder the car.
GM North America President Alan Batey in a statement called the 238-mile range “a game changer for the electric car segment” and confirmed the car would arrive at dealerships “later this year.” – WSJ