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Chevy Bolt EV rivals Tesla with 200-mile range for just $30K (+video)

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(Read caption) The Chevrolet Bolt EV electric concept vehicle is unveiled during the Detroit Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Detroit.

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Hot on the heels of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt unveiled this morning at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show comes a new concept that signals the bowtie brand’s new pure electric strategy. It’s called the Bolt EV, and it’s a preview of a new battery-powered electric car due from General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] in the next couple of years.

On initial glance the Bolt EV appears similar to BMW’s i3 electric car, albeit without the BMW’s unusual dipped window line and blue accent trim. However, what will potentially set apart the Bolt from anything on the market—except perhaps the Model 3 from Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA]—is its driving range and price.

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GM’s CEO Mary Barra has confirmed that the production Bolt EV will have a range of more than 200 miles on a single charge and a starting price of around $30,000, though she didn’t mention if the latter is with or without incentives.

“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” Barra said at today's unveiling. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”

No technical details were revealed but it looks like the Bolt EV will feature a flat-battery pack stored below the cabin. Such a design would allow the flat, flow-through floor featured in the concept.  It adds to the overall roominess of the cabin which has been designed to seat four adults comfortably. The main interface is a 10-inch touchscreen located in the center of the dash.

The driver is able to select operating modes designed around preferred driving styles such as daily commuting and spirited weekend cruising. The modes adjust accelerator pedal mapping, vehicle ride height and suspension tuning. The Bolt EV is also designed to support DC fast charging.

Although the Bolt EV concept on display this week in Detroit features some premium materials such as magnesium and even some carbon fiber in its construction, we expect the production model to miss out on these. More details on the Bolt EV should be released in the near future.

For more from the Detroit Auto Showhead to our dedicated hub.