The automaker told investors during a conference call following its first-quarter earnings report Tuesday that the Chevy Bolt will end production at the end of the year in order to shift operations at its assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan to support the manufacturing of the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra electric trucks.
"We have progressed so far that it's now time to plan to end the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV production," said CEO Mary Barra on the earnings call. "We'll need this capacity because our trucks more than measure up to our customers' expectations, and we'll demonstrate that work and EV range are not mutually exclusive terms for Chevrolet and GMC trucks."
GM called the Chevrolet Bolt "America's most affordable EV," with the car being the best-selling EV in the U.S. that wasn't a Tesla
So why is the automaker calling it quits?
While GM did not give a reason for discontinuing the model, the Chevrolet Bolt has had a history of battery issues that have prompted two recells, with GM going as far as warning drivers to park their vehicles outside if the battery is fully charged. The company now looks to upgrade its battery to its new Ultium platform, with the Chevrolet Equinox EV expected to take Bolt's place as GM's affordable EV.
GM also sees opportunities in the production of larger, more expensive EVs like the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra that are easier to market as competitors create similar models that appeal to consumer demand. The company has pledged to create only EVs by the year 2035, and this shift is still in-line with that goal.
Barra told investors that once GM's Orion plant reopens in 2024 and reaches full production capacity, it will be able to build 600,000 electric trucks each year and offer triple the jobs currently held at the facility.
"As the company continues to grow its EV portfolio with the Ultium [battery] platform...Chevrolet will launch several new EVs later this year based on the Ultium platform in key segments, including the Silverado EV, Blazer EV and Equinox EV," a company spokesperson said in a statement to Mashable.
"The Bolt EV passes the baton to the new Ultium-EV technology of General Motors. The all-new 2024 Equinox EV competes in the largest and one of the industry's most competitive segments. Based on current competitive offerings, it is expected to be one of the most affordable EVs in its class," the spokesperson added.