General Motors is reshaping its manufacturing presence in Michigan to prepare for a full-scale EV effort, said sources familiar with the matter.
The automaker’s plant in Orion Township, on the west side of Lake Michigan, which built its pioneering Bolt EV, will not build the new version, dubbed Bolt EV2, which is expected to go on sale in the next year or two.
The Michigan plant is already on back order for the current Bolt, produced in Spring Hill, Tenn., though buyers have the option of buying a new model with a range of hundreds of miles, instead of a more compact one.
“GM does not plan to make the Bolt EV2 in Michigan,” said Rob Peterson, a spokesman for the automaker. “Bolt EV2 is a new vehicle coming to market to give customers more choice. The vehicle is currently in production and will go on sale in the early 2020s.”
Mr. Peterson added that Tesla customers who want to buy a Bolt EV2-related “extras” and also the larger lithium-ion battery packs that go in it, would need to visit their nearest service center. “It’s our priority to meet or exceed customers’ expectations when it comes to maintenance and service,” he said.
General Motors has been slowly rolling out EV features, and announced last month that it would introduce more self-driving cars, too. It also had started sending customers some test data from the Bolt, which can be used in comparison with other EVs.
But the creation of a brand new electric vehicle in a stable of inexpensive-to-make internal combustion models is a long-term plan. “They’re not going to be an overnight success,” said Mike Gebhardt, the chief executive of the automotive seat maker Adient, which provides seats for several brands, including GM.
GM has signaled it wants to be in the business of selling EVs and other types of EVs. But like Tesla, it is facing constraints on its plant capacity. It is delaying its initial production run for the electric Chevy Bolt to prepare for electric “long-range” offerings.
Instead of building the current Bolt, GM has started making a second version. Eventually, it hopes to have an extensive offering of EVs.
Another EV, the Chevrolet Spark EV, which is also manufactured in Spring Hill, and which costs half the price of the Bolt, will come on the market in 2020.