(NEW YORK) — Chevrolet is saying bye-bye to the Bolt.
The Chevy Bolt hatchback, as well as its crossover Bolt EUV sibling, will cease production this year, General Motors has confirmed to ABC News.
The Bolt starts at just under $27,000 before federal and state electric vehicle incentives, making it the cheapest way to get into a new EV in the United States.
In a statement, a Chevy spokesperson called the Bolt a “huge technical achievement,” but went on to say that “as construction continues at the Orion Township, Mich., assembly plant in preparation for battery electric truck production beginning in 2024, Chevrolet confirmed Bolt EV and EUV production will end late this year.”
“When the Bolt goes out of production, the American market will have lost its last affordable EV,” said Ed Niedermeyer, an auto industry analyst. The next cheapest electric car on sale is the Nissan Leaf S, which has an EPA-estimated range of 149 miles on a charge. That’s more than 100 miles short of the Bolt’s 259-mile range.
Chad Kirchner, editor-in-chief of EV Pulse, said GM’s decision to ax the Bolt shouldn’t come as a shock.
“It’s not surprising at all,” he said.
In 2021, the Bolt was the subject of multiple recalls over its battery, made by LG Chem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rare manufacturing defects made during the production of those batteries “may pose a risk of fire when charged to full, or very close to full, capacity.” GM issued a statement at the time advising Bolt owners to park their cars outside, and at least 50 feet from other vehicles. The company said at the time it would replace the battery modules. NHTSA says about half of the affected cars have had that replacement done.
The Bolt was also developed before GM rolled out its “Ultium” platform – an electric vehicle architecture that underpins everything from GMC’s Hummer EV pickup truck to a midsize Cadillac SUV called the Lyriq.
The Bolt was launched for the 2017 model year. While it wasn’t GM’s first electric effort, it was the company’s first EV sold in all 50 states. And it sold well – the Bolt was the best selling non-Tesla EV in the last two quarters of 2022.
The company says more affordable Ultium-based Chevy EVs are going to launch soon, including an electric Equinox SUV that’s expected to start around $30,000. Even still, Niedermeyer says price remains a hurdle for wide-scale EV adoption.
“Weak profits in EVs and a lack of regulatory support for lower price points will continue to place the emphasis on expensive premium EVs,” said Niedermeyer. “Only by emphasizing that EVs are best suited to the weekday driving that starts and ends at home, and by aligning incentives for cars and chargers with the opportunity that use case presents, will truly affordable EVs become a widespread phenomenon.”
In the meantime, Kirchner said until the Equinox goes on sale, GM could be leaving market share on the table in the growing EV market.
“I think they’re leaving a fairly big hole in the affordability segment,” he said, adding, “I think that EVs are being priced out of a certain customer’s price range, and that is the customer that could benefit the most from an EV.”
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