Earlier this week, three California buyers took delivery of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, marking the model's first retail sales.
On Tuesday of this week, GM's Bowtie division delivered the first three Bolt EVs to customers. It was an event that marked the beginning of the brand's second effort at marketing an electric vehicle, following the demise of a previous effort in the Golden State.
For those who have forgotten, back in 1996 it was General Motors that marketed the first mass-produced electric vehicle, the EV1. Available in select markets in California, Arizona and Georgia, the EV1 could only be leased and was not available for purchase. Despite positive reviews from lessees, GM ended up discontinuing the program in 2002 and repossessing the vehicles at lease end (even though many owners wanted to buy them at lease end). All but a handful were sent to the crusher.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
But that was then and this is now. What a difference 15 years makes.
"All of the hard work that the Chevrolet team have put into designing, engineering and building the Bolt EV brings us to this truly satisfying moment of making the first deliveries to customers on-time, as planned," said Alan Batey, president of GM North America and Global Chevrolet brand chief. "Chevrolet is proud to offer a vehicle like the Bolt EV, with ground-breaking technology wrapped in a modern design that is also fun-to-drive at an affordable price."
As you might expect, the first three retail 2017 Bolt EV customers fall into the category of "early adopters" – that is, car buyers interested in cutting-edge technology and unafraid of taking a chance on a vehicle many consumers still consider out of the mainstream.
Here, courtesy of GM, is a rundown of all three buyers:
• "William 'Bill' Mattos, a retired law enforcement officer from Fremont, California, whose new Bolt EV becomes his third Chevrolet electric, after previously owning a Spark EV and second-generation Volt."
• "Bobby Edmonds, a software developer with a family of four from Castro Valley, California, who replaces a BMW i3 with the Bolt EV."
• "Steve Henry, a commercial real estate broker with a family of five from Portola Valley, California, whose new Bolt EV replaces a Toyota Prius."
Here's what Bobby Edmonds had to say about his new car: "The range and technology attracted me to the Bolt EV. It's also a great-looking, roomy vehicle and I love the fact it's from an American brand. I look forward to the longer drives I can make compared to the i3 that I owned."
Take that, BMW!
2017 Bolt EV prices and availability
According to GM, "Bolt EVs are currently in transit to California and Oregon markets and are arriving this month. A national rollout begins in 2017, and a number of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia will see first deliveries this winter. Bolt EVs will arrive to more dealerships in additional major metro markets throughout the first half of 2017. The Bolt EV will be available at Bolt EV-certified dealerships across the United States in mid-2017."
2017 Bolt pricing is as follows:
Bolt LT: $37,495
LT Comfort and Convenience Package: $555
(auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, heated driver and front passenger seats, leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel)
LT Driver Confidence Package: $495
(rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, side blind zone alert with lane change alert)
Bolt Premier: $41,780
Premier Infotainment Package: $485
(wireless device charging, dual rear USB ports, Bose 7-speaker sound system with subwoofer)
Premier Driver Confidence Package II: $495
(IntelliBeam headlamps, forward collision alert, low speed forward automatic braking, following distance indicator, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and front pedestrian braking)
For both trim levels:
DC Fast Charging Capability: $750
Premium exterior colors: $395
For buyers who qualify for the maximum federal tax credit of $7,500, this puts the net price of a base LT at $29,995, plus taxes and fees.