GM Korea is having a banner year with the new Chevrolet Bolt, even though it is less than two weeks before its official unveiling March 30 at the Seoul auto show.
The automaker began taking preorders March 17 for the all-electric Bolt. In less than two hours the entire first shipment of 400 vehicles imported from the U.S. was sold out. Before the end of the day more than 2,000 orders had been placed.
A drawing will be held at an unspecified date to fairly allocate the available supply of Bolts in Korea, a spokesman tells WardsAuto. A certain number of Bolts also will be set aside for car-sharing services so they are available for short-term rentals.
The Bolt will highlight GM Korea’s offerings at the auto show, where it takes its first bow as a pure EV that is available for sale to consumers.
Following last week’s 2-hour sellout, a team of EV enthusiasts drove a Bolt from southern Seoul to Busan, then transferred by ferry to Jeju Island 60 miles (97 km) offshore, and finally drove across the island to the southern port of Seogwipo.
The team traveled 293 miles (470 km) on a single charge, exceeding the official government rating of 237 miles (383 km). The Bolt had enough battery charge left to travel an additional 1.2 miles (3 km).
The Seoul auto show is a rightful place for GM Korea to brag about the Bolt. It is an imported vehicle but was designed and developed at the automaker’s main production and engineering complex in Bupyeong in cooperation with battery-pack maker LG.
Stuart Norris, GM Korea’s design director, will be at the Chevrolet stand to discuss the design challenges posed by the Bolt, designated by GM Korea as a compact CUV EV.
Norris is widely acclaimed as the Bolt’s designer, although he defers and attributes that achievement to the entire design team at Bupyeong.
GM Korea designers progressively handled simultaneous design of the vehicle’s exterior and interior, with neither advancing before the other.
Norris says attaining a low drag coefficient of just 0.32 is one of the rewards of the exterior design, while developing a “C-Class interior on a B-class body” was the most challenging assignment. The Bolt has just under 100 cu.-ft. (2,830 L) of passenger compartment volume and 17 cu.-ft. (480 L) of cargo volume.
The body shape and weight distribution features resulting from battery placement give the Bolt a fuel-economy-equivalent rating of 118 mpg (2.0 L/100 km) that likely will generate much buyer interest in Korea.
Government national, regional and local EV pricing subsidies drop the Bolt’s base price from 48.8 million won ($43,800) to less than 22 million won ($20,000), depending on where the vehicle is purchased.