General Motors is about to beat Tesla at its own game

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As great of a car as the Tesla Model S is, its price puts it out of reach for most consumers, and the more affordable Model 3 won’t be released until later this year, which means the average consumer has to settle for something less if they want to get their hands on an electric vehicle. At least, that’s how things used to be, but General Motors proved at CES last week that Tesla isn’t the only company that can develop a truly enticing electric vehicle. On Wednesday, the company unveiled the new Chevy Bolt, which will be the first electric vehicle with a 200-mile range and a sub-$30,000 price tag to hit the market, something that’s essential to the growth of the electric vehicle market. 

After revealing the production car last week at CES and offering first drives, GM is directing our attention to the internals of the all-electric Chevy Bolt here at NAIAS. The most important stat is 60 kWh, the capacity of the battery pack that runs beneath the Bolt’s floor from front footwell to rear seat — that matches the capacity of the Tesla Model S’s (now-discontinued) smallest battery, but for a much lower starting price of around $30,000 after tax rebates. Unfortunately, Chevy still hasn’t disclosed exactly how much range the Bolt’s 60 kWh battery will offer, we just know that it’ll be at least 200 miles. You’ll get 50 miles of range in “under two hours” with a standard 240-volt charger (or a full charge overnight). Connected to a DC Fast Charger, you can put 90 miles into the tank in half an hour. That’s not Supercharger fast, but it’s not bad. That battery system is hooked up to a 200-horsepower motor with 266 lb-ft of torque that promises a 0-60 mph run of “less than seven seconds,” though Chevy isn’t being any more precise than that yet — even though we know that it’ll do 0-30 in 2.9 seconds. Neither of those numbers can compete with the Tesla, but that isn’t the point; it’s clearly not meant to be a high-end car. We called the Bolt “almost aggressively normal” in our CES Best of Show roundup, and those numbers hit that note perfectly. Both the motor and battery are manufactured in South Korea, products of GM’s huge tie-up with LG for the Bolt’s development.

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