General Motors Co. GM-N said on Tuesday it will end production of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle later this year as its shifts zero-emission production to trucks and SUVs built on a new battery platform.
“We have progressed so far that it’s now time to plan to end the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EU production, which will happen at the very end of the year,” GM chief executive officer Mary Barra told investors on Tuesday.
The largest U.S. automaker sold 38,120 Bolt EVs in 2022, up from 24,828 in 2011 – and 19,700 in the first three months of the year. The Bolt, GM’s first mass market EV, still accounts for more than 90 per cent of all U.S. GM EV sales.
The Bolt was preceded by the Chevrolet Volt – a plug-in hybrid that GM ended production in 2019. In the late 1990s, GM built and leased about 1,100 EV1 cars.
The Bolt, which starts at US$26,500 and qualifies for a US$7,500 federal tax credit, has been repeatedly touted by Biden administration as an example of an affordable EV.
David Zipper, a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School who writes about transportation policy on Twitter, criticized GM’s decision calling it “a step backward for road safety, emissions mitigation, and EV affordability. … Putting EVs out of reach for all but affluent Americans widens inequities & slows electrification.”
GM shares were down 4.2 per cent on Tuesday.
In January, 2022, GM said it would invest US$4-billion in its Orion Township Assembly plant that builds the Bolt to produce Chevrolet Silverado EV and electric GMC Sierra using its next-generation Ultium EV platform.
GM said its Detroit-Hamtramck and Orion plants will be able to build more than 600,000 electric trucks a year by late 2024.
Ms. Barra said when the Orion reopens in 2024 and reaches full production, employment will nearly triple.
GM expects to build 400,000 EVs in North America from 2022 through mid-2024 and increase capacity to one million units annually in North America in 2025.
Ms. Barra said Tuesday the automaker expects its battery plant in Warren, Ohio, to reach full capacity by year end.
In August, 2021, GM announced a US$2-billion recall campaign it expanded to cover all of the 140,000 Bolt vehicles it had produced over battery fire risks. The recall prompted GM to halt Bolt production and sales for more than six months.
GM battery partner LG Electronics Inc agreed to reimburse the automaker for US$1.9-billion in costs connected to the Bolt recall, the Korean company said in 2021.