ORION TOWNSHIP -- General Motors is ramping up production of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars at a factory north of Detroit and is on track to start delivering vehicles as promised by the end of the year, company officials said on Friday.
Barring a last-minute stumble, GM will be first to offer an electric car with more than 200 miles of driving range at a starting price of less than $40,000 before tax credits. Silicon Valley electric car maker Tesla has said its entry in this new market segment, the Model 3, will launch next year.
The Bolt and the Model 3 represent contrasting strategies to push EVs into the mainstream of the U.S. auto market.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company will overhaul its Fremont, Calif., factory to build as many as 500,000 Model 3 sedans and related models a year. Tesla's Model 3 design prototypes show a car aimed at German luxury sedans such as the Audi A3 or A4. Musk has said nearly 400,000 people have put down deposits on the Model 3.
GM, however, is taking a more cautious approach. The $37,495 Bolt, with a 238-mile range, is a compact, utilitarian hatchback with design features such as a thin front seat to increase rear-seat legroom, aimed at making the car attractive to drivers for ride-hailing services.
GM's Maven car-sharing operation will receive Bolts to offer drivers who want to work for GM's ride-hailing partner, Lyft. Company officials will not say how many customers have tried to order Bolts from dealers.