It's all about long range + low priceI haven't written about this in a little while, so before getting to the Chevy Bolt, let's take a step back and look at the big picture: No doubt about it, the greenest ways to get around are clearly to walk, bike, or take transit. That's not about to change, and it's always our #1 recommendation before anything else. But if you have to drive - let's not forget that 50% of people live outside of urban areas, and that many places considered "urban" are still extremely hostile to any way to get around other than cars (especially badly designed suburbs). So that means that for the foreseeable future, cars will be a big part of many people's lives, and for them electric cars are clearly a big improvement, and unlike traditional cars, they'll keep getting greener over time as the power grid is cleaned up (Though you're more badass than that, right? You don't have to wait for the power grid to improve, you can sign up for 'green power' from your utility or put solar panels on your roof).
The real goal for EVs is thus to keep the positives from cars, like increased mobility for people who would otherwise not have much, the ability to work, see friends and family, etc, and lose the negatives, like the dependency on fossil fuels, the air pollution and global warming.
The current crop of modern electric cars either fall into the "relatively expensive but with long driving range" or into "relatively inexpensive, especially if you take into account lower fuel and maintenance costs, but shorter driving range" categories. In short, it's the Model S vs. LEAF conundrum.
But everyone in the industry is working hard to make the two categories converge into "long range + low price", which would be the ticket to EVs exploding in popularity and really start to replace traditional gasoline cars.
TreeHugger readers might be a frugal bunch on average, abhorring waste in all its forms, but the average selling price for a vehicle is over $30k, so that an important target for EVs with enough range to aim for to truly squash any range anxiety (real or imagined).
That's why the Chevy Bolt is important: It's one of the first electric cars from that generation to be announced (along with the Tesla Model 3), and if GM does a good job with the production model, it could be part of the next big milestone for EVs.
GM has announced that the production version of the Bolt (which probably won't look exactly like the concept version pictured above) will begin production in October 2016 in a factory north of Detroit. GM's production target for the Bolt is relatively modest, at about 25,000-30,000 cars a year, but if it's a success that could increase fast. The Bolt is expected to go on sale in early 2017 for about $30,000 after incentives, and will have a range between charges of "more than 200 miles."