Can GM make electric cars the right way?

Chevy Bolt EV

Electric car fortunes have had their ups and downs; especially following the collapse of the Better Place electric car network that left hundreds of EV car purchasers with the possibility of being stranded without power over in ISrael. Although some electric car models like Nissan’s Leaf and Tesla sport EVs have made modest inroads, over all, electric cars have yet to capture a sizable share of the world car market.

America’s largest car maker,General Motors, introduced its Chevrolet Volt plug in hybrid model in 2010. GM now hopes to change the way people think about driving electric cars when it markets its new Bolt all electric car sometime in 2017.

In contrast to GM’s Chevy Volt, which has a hybrid engine (both an electric and gasoline engine) the Bolt is a total electric car that will have a driving range of “roughly” 200 miles (322 km). Resembling Chevy’s gasoline driven Sonic hatchback model in appearance and size, the 5 seater Bolt will cost around $30,000. This is after a $7,500 US government tax credit incentive to American EV car purchasers is applied. This will make it more affordable than other similar sized electric models.

A Bolt prototype model made a recent appearance at the popular Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. There, the Bolt appeared to be a better value than other featured EV cars, including Tesla’s new Model 3 and BMW’s i3. Without the government offered tax credit, the Bolt will cost around $38,000; still lower in price than other comparable models. GM does have a lower priced EV car on the market, the smaller Chevy Spark EV car that’s only available in two US states: California and Oregon.

Whether GM’s new EV models reach markets in the Middle East is still anybody’s guess. Israel’s EV car experience, where aging Better Place marketed Renault Fluence EVs are still seen on the roads, has shown that electric cars are not yet being accepted by the general public. The lower price of oil, makes gasoline and diesel cars more desirable, is also a factor, despite warnings by environmentalists linking fossil fuels to climate change and global warming.

For all EV models, including the new Chevy Bolt, the main issue will still be what fuels the power plants that supply electricity for electric cars.

Perhaps solar and other alternative energy’s time has come after all.

Read more on electric cars:

“Driverless” Tesla electric will test run on Israel’s Better Place grid
Happy 2013! A good year for electric cars
Middle East will remain “Leaf” – less as Nissan puts electric car efforts elsewhere

Photo of Chevrolet Bolt EV Car – autoblog/GM :

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