Chevy Bolt EV Prototype Electric Cars Now Testing In Public

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Portion of Chevrolet Bolt EV spy shot during testing, Autoblog, Jun 2015 [photographer Chris Doane]

Portion of Chevrolet Bolt EV spy shot during testing, Autoblog, Jun 2015 [photographer Chris Doane]

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When General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced the Chevrolet Bolt Concept, it changed everything in the world of electric cars.

She said it would have a battery range of 200 miles, cost $37,500 before incentives--putting it squarely into the mass market--and be sold in all 50 states.

Now spy shots have surfaced showing what appears to be a heavily camouflaged Chevy Bolt EV undergoing road testing.

DON'T MISS: Chevrolet Bolt Concept: 200-Mile, $37,500 Electric Car Concept (Live Video & Photos)

Taken by noted Detroit-area spy photographer Chris Doane, the Bolt spy shots on Autoblog show a small five-door hatchback with a descending body crease testing in public on an asphalt road.

Removing the body wrap of black swirl patterns on a white background, the car could easily be an adaptation of the bronze Bolt Concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Chevrolet Bolt EV concept, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Chevrolet Bolt EV concept, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

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Beyond the range and the price, we know relatively little about the specs of the production Bolt.

GM announced earlier this year that it is expected to start coming off the lines at the Lake Orion assembly plant before the end of next year.

That plant also builds the Chevrolet Sonic sucompact hatchback and sedan. Elements of the next-generation Sonic will be used for the Bolt EV as well.

ALSO SEE: GM Officially Confirms It Will Build Chevy Bolt Electric Car With 200-Mile Range (Feb 2015)

The Bolt EV will be one of at least three battery-electric vehicles expected to offer rated ranges of 120 to 200 miles for a price under $40,000.

Details of the next-generation Nissan Leaf are so far being kept under wraps.

But Nissan's previous product chief Andy Palmer told Green Car Reports that a range of battery packs would be offered--with the highest range being 120 to 150 miles.

Chevrolet Bolt EV concept, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Chevrolet Bolt EV concept, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

That discussion took place before the announcement of the Bolt, however.

Nissan may thus feel compelled to match the Bolt's range with its next Leaf, given the car's position as by far the best-selling battery-electric car in history. (Close to 200,000 have now been delivered.)

The third electric car will be the Tesla Model 3, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said will have a 200-mile range at a pre-incentive price of $35,000.

MORE: Why 'Bolt' Is A Really Terrible Name For Chevy's Electric Car

That car has been announced for production during 2017, but no prototypes have yet been seen--as is the case with the next Leaf--and Tesla's track record in meeting its first announced delivery dates is not particularly good.

With the Bolt under full development, GM is seemingly determined to establish itself as a major player not only in plug-in hybrids like the second-generation 2016 Volt, but also pure electric vehicles.

And that means the landscape for electric-car buyers promises to get very interesting within the next 24 months.

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