The Chevrolet Bolt stands at the precipice of making commercially viable all-electric driving a reality for Canadians, and early signs indicate that interest across the country will far exceed initial availability of the car.
With a range of up to 383 kilometres and an MSRP of $42,795 – and provincial rebates of up to $14,000 in Ontario, $8,000 in Quebec and $5,000 in B.C. – the Bolt is being positioned by General Motors Canada as a car for urban dwellers.
Prospective buyers are expected to be heavy Internet and social media users who are influenced by technology trends, observations that tip an early cap to the company’s expected marketing approach.
Launch is slated for early 2017, which means dealers are now at the stage of signaling their desire and intent to add the Bolt to their inventory. This requires a commitment from each dealer to install a Level 3 charger on its premises, add new equipment to its service centre and invest in additional training for staff.
No one interviewed knew the cost of those investments, but the Rocky Mountain Institute in a breakdown of electric-charging-station costs pegged Level 3 chargers at between US $50,000 and $100,000 (about Cdn $66,000-$132,000) to buy and install, with annual operating costs estimated between US $1,000-$3,000 (about Cdn $1,300-$4,000).
Level 3 stations “allow much faster charging and many in the industry suspect they will eventually overtake Level 2 as the predominant method,” said the independent, non partisan nonprofit that promotes the efficient and restorative use of resources. “However, their current cost is an order of magnitude higher than a Level 2 charger, costing $50,000-$100,000 per station.”
Dealers interviewed seemed prepared to make those investments; not one expressed concern about the preparation costs and said either that the Bolt will do well enough in their market to make the costs of little concern, or that being ready for EVs was an inevitability and they might as well swallow the cost now whatever it might be. Smaller dealers not taking the Bolt were more concerned about disinterest in EVs in their local markets in general than about up-front costs.