Lyft drivers to get bulk of early 2017 Chevy Bolt EV electric cars? Updated report


2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Enlarge Photo

The 200-mile 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car is expected to start production before the end of the year.

General Motors has said that it will not take pre-orders for the car, which has drawn comparisons to the Tesla Model 3 that has racked up around 400,000 reservations.

Could that be because the initial batch of Bolt EVs will not go to regular customers?

DON'T MISS: 2017 Chevy Bolt EV pre-production cars now being built (video)

GM is giving Lyft drivers first dibs on the Bolt EV, according to a Fortune magazine report.

UPDATE: Reader G. Michael Murphy indicated in a comment on this article, below, that an unnamed internal source "high in the Bolt EV management" told him that Fortune had drawn an unwarranted connection between the Bolt EV launch and GM cars being offered to Lyft drivers.

In response to his comment, Green Car Reports reached out to GM's communications group to ask about the issue.

Fred Ligouri of GM Communications did not answer our direct question about Bolt EV distribution to Lyft drivers.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Enlarge Photo

"The Bolt EV is a game-changing electric vehicle," he responded in a bland, general statement.

"It will be the first long-range, affordable electric vehicle available to buyers and we cannot wait to offer it at Chevrolet dealerships later this year. We’re also excited by the opportunity for a large number of rideshare participants to experience the Chevrolet Bolt EV when it becomes available in the California Express Drive fleet."

Pressed further, Ligouri said Chevrolet had "no specifics to share at this time regarding our distribution plans for the 2017 Bolt EV."

Our own source with knowledge of matters internal to GM, who would not go on the record, confirmed that Lyft would receive the majority of Bolt EV deliveries for the first several months of production.

Deployment of the Bolt EV in ride sharing would deepen the existing partnership between GM and Lyft.

GM announced a $500 million investment in the ride-sharing company last year, and the two companies have begun a handful of joint initiatives since then.

General Motors' Dan Ammann (center) with Lyft's John Zimmer (right) and Logan Green (left)

General Motors' Dan Ammann (center) with Lyft's John Zimmer (right) and Logan Green (left)

Enlarge Photo

The Bolt EV would likely be part of an expansion of the Express Drive program, which launched in Chicago in March.

The program facilitates short-term rentals of Chevy Equinox crossovers to Lyft drivers.

It began with 125 cars, but has since grown to include more than 200 cars operating in Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

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Express Drive will expand further to encompass the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets this fall, according to Fortune.

Only California drivers will reportedly get the Bolt EV, and they'll have access to the Chevrolet Volt as well, the magazine said.

Express Drive opens Lyft up to drivers who may not have cars of their own, and is already proving popular.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Enlarge Photo

About 30 percent of new Chicago Lyft drivers have requested one of the Chevy Equinox crossovers, and Boston's slots were filled in less than four days, according to GM.

Rates vary by city, but during the Chicago launch drivers paid $99 per week and 20 cents per mile if they completed 40 trips or less per week.

The per-mile charge decreased once drivers surpassed 40 trips, and those with 65 or more trips in one week had the rental fee waived.

MORE: Chevy Bolt EV electric car to be GM-Lyft self-driving car testbed

The next stage of the GM-Lyft partnership may very well involve autonomous cars.

GM announced earlier this year that it would supply self-driving cars for an on-demand, Lyft-operated ride-sharing service.

The carmaker's recent purchase of Cruise Automation was a step toward acquiring the technology necessary for such a service.

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