2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
As part of a sweeping update on General Motors' electric-car plans, CEO Mary Barra announced the company will expand production and sales of the Chevy Bolt EV.
At the same time, GM is expanding battery production for the Bolt EV from South Korea to a new factory in Michigan.
In a blog post on LinkedIn on Wednesday, Barra laid out the company's progress on its promise to transform itself into an electric carmaker.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV may be more popular with buyers than GM expected. Supplies are concentrated in California, and the car is in short supply in other parts of the U.S. Until recently, Canadians had to wait a year to buy a Bolt EV.
The company announced last spring that it will expand production of the car by 20 percent. Expanding battery production near the Bolt's final assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan is a significant step in that effort.
At the same time, GM's vice president of global electric vehicle programs, Pam Fletcher, announced that the company will expand Bolt EV sales overseas. Speaking at Citi's Global Technology Conference in New York, Fletcher didn't reveal which new countries the Bolt EV will roll into, but said to expect such an announcement "in the not-so-distant future," according to Automotive News (subscription required.)
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
GM currently sells the Bolt EV in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. GM seems no longer to count sales of the Bolt's twin, the Opel/Vauxhaul Ampera-E, since it sold its European divisions to the French PSA group last year.
In addition to expanding battery production at a new factory in Hazel Park, Michigan, owned by battery supplier LG, Barra announced a $28 million expansion of the battery lab at its Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, that will bring all the company's battery testing under one roof.
Barra also laid out plans to develop an "ultra-fast" charging system for future electric cars.
"Creating a world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion won’t happen overnight, of course. But our journey to this future is underway," Barra said.