GM to Build, Test Self-Driving Bolt EVs in Michigan

December 16, 2016 at 12:25 AM

In January General Motors Co. will begin making autonomous versions of its just-introduced Chevrolet Bolt electric sedan at the company’s Orion Township plant north of Detroit. The facility also assembles conventional Bolts and a European variant, the Opel Ampera-e.

CEO Mary Barra, who announced the project, says GM aims to begin “immediately” to test the self-driving Bolts on public roads across metropolitan Detroit.

Such testing was made possible last week by a new Michigan law that encourages manufacturers to evaluate fully robotic vehicles—including those built without steering wheels or control pedals—on the street. The statute is the first in the U.S. to clear the way for carmakers to sell fully autonomous vehicles to the public.

GM is already testing autonomous-driving technologies in about 40 Bolts in San Francisco; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and within its Technical Center in Warren, Mich. It plans to significantly expand those fleets. GM says Michigan will become its primary test bed for self-driving systems under wintry conditions.