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The Chevy Bolt, GM's popular electric vehicle, is on its way out

A Chevrolet Bolt EV is parked at a charging station at a dealer in Colma, Calif., on Tuesday.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
A Chevrolet Bolt EV is parked at a charging station at a dealer in Colma, Calif., on Tuesday.

Just like that, the Chevy Bolt is gone in a flash.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced in an earnings call Tuesday that the automotive giant would end production of its small, popular Chevrolet Bolt electric models at the end of the year.

Barra said it was in order to shift operations at its assembly plant in Orion Township, Mich., toward the production of two electric trucks: the GMC Sierra EV and the Chevy Silverado EV.

"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," Barra told investors.

Launched with the 2017 model year and billed by GM as America's most affordable EV, the Bolt became one of the most popular electric vehicles on the market.

But in recent years the model has been dogged by battery issues that could cause Bolts to catch fire, prompting two recalls by GM and warnings to drivers that they should park their vehicles outside after the battery is charged.

Though GM relies heavily on sales from gas- and diesel-powered trucks and SUVs, the company announced two years ago that it was setting a goal of producing only electric vehicles by the year 2035.

"When the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched, it was a huge technical achievement and the first affordable EV, which set in motion GM's all-electric future," GM spokesperson Cody Williams told NPR via email.

Now the company is shifting gears, turning some of those popular trucks into EVs and launching other electric models later this year, including the Chevy Blazer EV and the Chevy Equinox EV, Williams added.

When GM's Orion assembly plant reopens in 2024 and reaches full production capacity, Barra said in the call with investors, jobs will nearly triple there and the company will be able to build 600,000 electric trucks each year.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joe Hernandez
[Copyright 2024 NPR]