General Motors will scrap production of its top-selling electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt, bringing an end this year to one of the U.S. market’s most affordable EVs.
The company said it will instead focus on EVs with a newer type of battery, called Ultium, including the soon-to-be-launched electric Equinox and Blazer SUVs. The Michigan factory that manufactures the Bolt EV and the larger Bolt EUV is being retooled to produce electric trucks, the company said.
Analysts have long predicted that GM would stop producing the Bolt, which runs on an older type of battery. But the news will disappoint some EV drivers who have given the Bolt a devoted niche following since the car’s launch in 2016. Bolt EV and EUV were GM’s top-selling electric vehicles last year, helping the company sell more than 20,000 EVs in the United States in the most recent quarter.
“When the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched, it was a huge technical achievement and the first affordable EV, which set in motion GM’s all-electric future,” the company said in a statement.
With a starting price around $27,500, the Bolt EV is one of few electric options under $30,000 on the U.S. market. The vehicle’s reputation suffered a setback after roughly a dozen battery fires prompted a large recall in 2021. But price cuts last year helped juice demand again, as did a $7,500 federal tax credit for which the Bolt qualifies.
Bolt owners on a popular online forum, ChevyBolt.org, expressed disappointment with Tuesday’s news. Some said it was unwise of GM to ditch a brand that had developed a loyal following.
“A moniker like the Bolt is very difficult to just spawn at will,” one forum post
said. “People who are genuinely excited for the product are attaching brand loyalty to GM.”
Peter van der Pas of Vallejo, Calif., who bought his Bolt EV early this year, expressed concern about the lack of affordable, small EVs for sale in the United States.
“All EV manufacturers are abandoning the small hatchback market. I’m almost 70 years old, and I’ve been buying small hatchbacks practically all my driving life,” he said. “I really like that format because it’s very functional.”
it is investing $35 billion globally through 2025 in electric and autonomous vehicles, with the goal of selling only EVs by 2035. Much of that money is going into vehicle and battery factories in Michigan, Tennessee and Ohio.
On Tuesday, GM announced a fourth U.S. battery plant that it will build with partner Samsung, saying the two companies will spend $3 billion on the facility, which is to begin production in 2026. They did not disclose the plant’s location.
GM’s first battery plant, in Lordstown, Ohio, will reach full production capacity by the end of this year. Its second plant, in Tennessee, will start production by year-end. Construction is underway of a third plant, in Michigan, that will begin production next year.
Without the Bolt, most of GM’s other EVs will be large and pricier vehicles. That category includes the Silverado truck, the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer. The company also has pledged
to introduce an electric version of the more modestly sized Equinox SUV this fall, with prices starting around $30,000.
David Reichmuth, an engineer and clean-transportation analyst with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, said it will be important for GM to “bring lower-priced EVs like the Equinox to market at volumes similar to the Bolt so that car buyers have more access to affordable EVs.”
While the Bolt is GM’s top-selling EV at the moment, it trails far behind Tesla models in sales and has never really broken out of a niche market position, said Ambrose Conroy, an automotive expert at the consultancy Seraph.
GM’s priority is “larger, more profit-focused vehicles,” Conroy said. “GM has plenty of models where they can electrify and places where they can charge more money.”