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GM has already confirmed that the Chevy Bolt EV will start production in 2016, but now we have some clues (mostly through social media) that give us an indication of when the Bolt may go on-sale, by December 2017. Both come from company insiders: one from an executive, the other from factory workers.

The first clue is up for interpretation, but it comes from General Motors North America CEO Mark Reuss and therefore carries some weight.

Chelsea Sexton, an EV advocate, wrote on Facebook:

"19 years ago today... Fingers crossed that on December5, 2016, we'll be celebrating the first Chevy Bolt deliveries, right Mark? :)"



As you can see, Mark Reuss replies asking, "Have you been naughty or nice?" That seems to imply that the Chevy Bolt could come out by next Christmas. That would allow it to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the V1, GM's very first electric vehicle that met an unfortunate end -- not only was it killed (discontinued), it was also recalled and destroyed. It could be an occasion to recognize and pair with the delivery on the Chevy Bolt.

Our second clue also comes from Facebook, this time from factory workers. Now that makes these comments a bit harder to take as whole truth, but let's assume they are indeed correct.





People who apparently work at the Chevy Volt factory wrote, "Programming robots for the Chevy Bolt today!", and "We already have all our robots programmed for the closures... Full production is a little ways off."

This would fit quite well with GM's plans to begin production of the Bolt in 2016.

So it appears that GM's fast-tracked production schedule for the Bolt is actually moving pretty fast. With preparations for production starting, and musings from top executives about big announcements for December next year, a date that matches up with the 20th anniversary of the EV1, the Chevy Bolt seems to be on its way to being in your driveway by next Christmas.
 

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Awesome, great news. Can't wait to hear about when tech's go in for training on the Bolt, which should be within a few months of us getting them, that's when things will really pick up momentum.
 

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A GM executive can explain the time schedule for any production vehicle, as many of the first Chevy Volt and Corvette owners have investigated this before seeing and ordering their vehicles unseen. My understanding is that the manufacturing itself have three phases:

1. Trial assembly (done at a special engineering facility): The external supplier parts are united for the first time on a manual assembly line, with engineers and plant specialists taking pictures and writing assembly instructions for the robots and worker procedures. These few assembled vehicles are kept internally, pass many internal test procedures (sort of an "Alpha test"), and some may go through initial crash tests and finally destroyed. I believe that the surviving vehicles will be disassembled by service personnel in training, and the parts return to inventory.

2. Pre-production assenbly (done at the Orion plant): The robots are programmed for the first real assembly (I bet this is being done now), the timing of assembly is refined and documented, and the worker assembly is tried out with training beginning with chosen (experienced) assembly workers who will provide feedback on the timing, tools and neeeded steps. A sample of production vehicle are assembled completely. These pre-production vehicles are also used internally, but some do leave for OEM or external testing, marketing and sales training (ads and sales materials), and even more crash testing (the "Beta tests") for "Emergency and First Responder" training and documentation (I saw one document for the Chevy Volt and one for the Chevy Spark EV online). Some will be eventually sold elsewhere but will not qualify for warranty servicing or recognized as a true production vehicle. They may not even have a valid VIN.

3. Full production startup (the real deal): The very first Bolt EV will either go to the GM museum or to a charity action for bids. These charity bid prices go up to several times the retail prices, but most end at collector's private museum. The first ten or more production vehicles will be offered for special persons involved with the vehicle's development or to celebrities who want one, such as Chelsea Sexton. Those first ten will get the best resale values in the future. And many here believe that GM will follow the same practice done for the two Volt generations and the Spark EV: send the first lots to the CARB states, especially in California.

I may eventually see one by 2017 when I visit my realives in Florida.
 

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Pre-production assembly seems to already be underway if this is true.

People who apparently work at the Chevy Volt factory wrote, "Programming robots for the Chevy Bolt today!", and "We already have all our robots programmed for the closures... Full production is a little ways off."
 
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