GM has previewed its vision of all-electric city driving for the next generation, unveiling the new Chevrolet Bolt in Detroit this week.
Designed in part by Holden’s Port Melbourne design studios (the eagle-eyed will spy the Melbourne skyline in the photos), the Bolt also joins yesterday’s Buick Avenir concept in the ‘Built in Australia’ box.
The Bolt’s debut builds on the 2012 unveiling of the Spark EV, an electric vehicle concept based on the hatch sold in Australia as the Barina Spark.
This new concept follows in the Volt’s footsteps by bringing its own unique design to the table, rather than borrowing the body of an existing GM model.
Its styling is the product of a collaborative effort between GM’s American, South Korean and Australian studios.
“The products revealed in Detroit clearly demonstrate our role within GM Design today and showcases the breadth of talent we have here in Australia, enabling us to work on different vehicles for different brands in different countries,” Holden design chief Richard Ferlazzo said.
Mr Ferlazzo added that, along with GM’s commitment to Holden’s design and development centre, the Bolt also represents a “significant commitment” to electrification.
Described by GM boss Mary Barra as a “game-changing electric vehicle”, the Bolt’s all-electric system promises a driving range greater than 321 kilometres between charges.
By comparison, BMW’s new i3, now available in Australia from $63,900, lists a driving range of around 160km in all-electric form. A petrol-assisted range-extender model boosts that to around 300 kilometres.
If it enters production, this new electric hatch would undoubtedly be a more accessible option than the i3 and even GM’s own first-generation Volt, with the Bolt “designed for affordability, not exclusivity”.
“Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers,” Ms Barra said.
Technical details are still to be revealed, although GM says the Bolt’s build - carried out here in Australia - includes an extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminium, magnesium, carbon-fibre and woven mesh.
Other features include selectable driving modes that adjust accelerator pedal mapping, suspension tune and ride height.
GM has yet to confirm a production future for the Bolt, but we could see this new EV appear in showrooms alongside the new Volt in the coming year.