2017 Chevrolet Sonic EV: More Electric-Car Details Trickle Out

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV  -  First Drive, Portland, July 2013

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV - First Drive, Portland, July 2013

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A few more details on the upcoming 2017 Chevrolet Sonic EV electric car are starting to come into focus, including its production date and a second version to be sold in Europe.

Based on information from two separate sources in the auto industry, here's what we now know about Chevy's next all-electric car.

It will be an electric conversion of the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact, as previously reported in August.

2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS, Catskill Mountains, NY, July 2013

2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS, Catskill Mountains, NY, July 2013

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And it will replace the Chevrolet Spark EV compliance car, which first went on sale in June 2013.

DON'T MISS: GM's 200-Mile Electric Sonic EV For 2017: What We Know So Far: UPDATED (Aug 2014)

But contrary to earlier reports, it will actually be adapted from the next-generation Sonic, not the current model that was launched for the 2012 model year.

Detroit in Jan 2016

If we had to guess, we'd say the next-generation 2017 Sonic lineup--likely to include a five-door hatchback and four-door sedan--will be unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show held in January that year.

The new Sonic will be built on GM's next-generation "Gamma" platform, known as G2SC, at the assembly plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, 30 miles north of Detroit.

2015 Chevrolet Sonic

2015 Chevrolet Sonic

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That plant builds today's Sonic range, as well as the Buick Verano compact sedan. (In Mexico, the same car is sold under the global Chevrolet Aveo model name.)

The projected date for the start of gasoline Sonic production is during the fourth quarter of 2016, with the electric version following in the same period or the first quarter of 2017.

LG Chem cells

As for the electric Sonic, it will use lithium-ion cells provided by longtime GM battery supplier LG Chem, which now provides cells for the Chevy Volt range-extended electric car, its Cadillac ELR sibling, and the 2015 Chevy Spark EV.

ALSO SEE: Battery Maker LG Chem: Biggest Electric-Car Winner Of All?

Intriguingly, our sources say that the Orion plant will also produce a version of the electric Sonic that will be badged as the Opel Corsa EV.

That aligns neatly with a series of tweets by Karl-Thomas Neumann, president of GM Europe, in July confirming that the Opel Ampera version of the Volt would not be replaced when the first-generation Volt goes out of production early next year.

2014 Opel Astra OPC Extreme

2014 Opel Astra OPC Extreme

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Opel will "introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment," Neumann wrote in the last of his three tweets.

Now we may know what that car is, and where it will come from.

Key question: Is this the 200-mile car?

One additional intriguing factoid: Chevrolet has trademarked the model name Bolt.

MORE: Cadillac To Offer All-Electric Car As Well As Plug-In Hybrid, ELR Successor

(We hope Chevy does NOT use the Bolt name on a future vehicle; the letters "B" and "V" sound very similar when pronounced in the English language, and the potential for confusion is enormous.)

The big question remaining is whether the 2017 Chevy Sonic EV will be the 200-mile electric car referred to by several GM executives, or whether it will simply be a domestic compliance-car replacement for the Korean-built Chevy Spark EV.

2015 Chevrolet Sonic

2015 Chevrolet Sonic

Enlarge Photo

More information will surely trickle out in the 15 months between now and the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

[NOTE: Our sources in the auto industry asked, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous. We trust their veracity, and believe that they are accurately conveying what they know at the moment. Of course, things can change between now and launch.]

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