CHICAGO (WWJ) – General Motors confirmed Thursday that it will put the Chevrolet Bolt electric concept car into production, and the vehicle will be built at the Orion plant in Oakland County.

The Bolt concept — with a 200 mile range, and a $30,000 price tag with government credits — created a stir when introduced at the North American International Auto Show

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“We pulled the cover of the Bolt EV last month,” said GM North America Vice President Alan Batey, after making the production announcement at the Chicago Auto Show.  “Reaction, as you might expect, has been fantastic.  Let’s go as fast as we possibly can.  Let’s be first.”

Batey wouldn’t give a timetable for Bolt production.  But, analysts have said it will likely start production in 2016.

To prepare for production, General Motors will invest $160 million for new tooling at the Orion plant, and another $40 million to upgrade the Pontiac Metal Center.

“We’re proud that Chevrolet has decided to produce the Bolt EV here in Michigan at the Orion Assembly facility,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “Michigan unquestionably remains the global automotive leader. Chevrolet is tapping a skilled workforce that includes some of the most talented and hard-working people in the world for this cutting-edge vehicle. Chevrolet is an important part of our state’s automotive history, and Michigan-made products like the Bolt EV point to a bright future as well.”

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The Chevrolet Bolt will likely reach the market around the same time Tesla releases its long-awaited mass market electric vehicle, also expected to have a price tag in the $30,000 range.

“The Bolt is promising in that it has a 200-mile range and will come at a more normal price but it will still struggle in this era of low gas prices as all EVs are currently doing,” said analyst Michelle Krebs.

GM’s Alan Batey, however, doesn’t feel low gas prices will impact the launch of the Bolt.  He says people purchase electric vehicles because they want the latest technology.

“What this vehicle does at $30,000, and with a 200 mile range, it provides the customer something they just can’t get today.  It’s a real game changer.  That’s why we’re going to move so fast to bring this to market.”

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