Chevrolet Bolt EV ConceptEnlarge Photo
North American buyers are eagerly anticipating the debut late next year of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, a 200-mile subcompact electric car promised to sell for $37,500 before incentives.
That same car will also likely be sold in Europe, under GM's German Opel nameplate--effectively replacing the Opel Ampera, a Chevy Volt-in-drag.
But customers in the U.K. seem to be out of luck: GM says it will not build right-hand-drive versions of the Bolt EV.
DON'T MISS: Opel Ampera (Euro Chevy Volt) Axed Over Slow Sales (Jul 2014)
"GM sources" cited by the British magazine Autocar "confirmed" at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show that the Bolt EV will not be made in RHD form, and hence will not be sold in the U.K.
Green Car Reports reached out to GM for confirmation. "The Bolt EV will be a global vehicle," replied Michelle Malcho, of Chevrolet Communications.
"We have not disclosed which markets and therefore the configurations available at this time."
This has rankled some British electric-car advocates, especially in light of a remark tweeted by GM president Dan Ammann from the same event.
As advocate Chelsea Sexton points out in a blog post, GM’s Dan Ammann Gets Itchy Twitter Fingers Over EVs, one of Ammann's tweets called the Bolt EV an electric car "for everyone."
Presumably that contrasts the small hatchback with the high-dollar Porsche Mission E and Audi e-Tron Quattro concepts that got a great deal of attention at the show.
Sexton goes on to suggest that GM might be better served by a little less feistiness and a bit more embracing look at the car market as a whole.
"But the particular streak of arrogance revealed by such remarks against other companies making plug-in cars aimed at their own markets," Sexton suggests, "is not only a dicey strategy, but tone-deaf."
She notes that GM itself is about to sell the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid (in China, at least, although no word yet on whether it'll be available in North America).
2016 Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt EV at Drive Electric Week event, Los Angeles [photo: Zan Scott]
2016 Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt EV at Drive Electric Week event, Los Angeles [photo: Zan Scott]Enlarge Photo
And, she notes, expanding the electric-car universe requires each company to add electric offerings for its own customers.
Porsche makes very expensive, very high-performance sporty cars; Chevrolet doesn't. You would hardly expect either to invade the other's turf.
Meanwhile, it would appear that "for everyone" would more properly be edited to read, "for everyone in left-hand-drive countries."
Smart ED (electric drive) on the road in the U.K.Enlarge Photo
If true, we sympathize with our U.K. readers and colleagues.
The Bolt EV has the potential--if executed and marketed well--to be a game-changer for electric cars, the first in a new generation of affordable longer-range plug-in cars.
Seems a shame if the U.K., where electric-car registrations are finally ticking upwards, misses out.
So, Ammann, tell us again about "everyone"?