Bolts 238-mile claimed range is a big step up from the Nissan Leafs c.125

Bolt's 238-mile claimed range is a big step up from the Nissan Leaf's c.125

Chevrolet has announced the upcoming 2017 Bolt EV, on sale later this year, will have an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles, well up on rivals such as the Nissan Leaf which are now good for about 125 miles.

The Bolt will be sold here in Europe as the Opel Ampera-e and, though not yet confirmed, probably also as a Vauxhall for the UK. The 238-mile range would be 380km this side of the Atlantic.

"Chevrolet showed the world the production version Bolt EV earlier this year and in a few short months we've moved from that vision to a reality," said GM North America president Alan Batey. "The Bolt EV is a game changer for the electric car segment."

The expected US retail price is "below $37,500" before a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 which depends on buyer circumstances.

"While range is important, we knew Bolt EV owners would want more — more space and more power — and the [EV] delivers," said chief engineer Josh Tavel. "Our team took special pride in optimising every aspect of this vehicle, especially its impressive range and ride dynamics."

Sales start in late 2016 and Chevrolet's US electrification will range from pure electric Bolt EV through range extender Volt to the Malibu hybrid.

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader, said: "The range of the new all-electric Chevy Bolt is very good and the sort of number that will help begin to make electric vehicles more mainstream. Even with gas prices down near US$2.20 a gallon, the long-term trend will be towards electric vehicles in the US. It is inevitable as emission standards are tightened. Today's announcement shows that GM has been doing its electric vehicle homework and is capable of delivering performance that is usually associated only with a certain automaker from Silicon Valley."

Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said: "There's no denying Tesla's influence on the automotive industry, and the arrival of the Chevrolet Bolt is probably Tesla's most impactful result yet. GM would have developed an EV to help it meet CAFE standards but Tesla proved there's a real world market for an EV with real world mileage. Except Chevrolet went one better than Tesla, offering its real world EV with real world pricing, making it the first viable, mainstream EV in the automobile's 130-year history.

"And with Chevrolet's full network of dealer sales and service centres, the Bolt won't just offer Tesla-like range at one quarter the price but offer it without compromise in the post-purchase experience. GM's EV1 was the first electric vehicle in modern history and, like all modern EVs, it had too many limitations to serve today's car buyers. Chevrolet's Bolt will finally break the EV-compromise trend, giving the world its first no-excuses, battery-powered vehicle."

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