The new Chevrolet Bolt EV will deliver 383 km (238 miles) of battery range when it arrives in Canadian dealerships early 2017, and start at $42,795 before applicable rebates, the automaker said mid-September.

That range and that pricing – which comes to $31,434 after Ontario’s maximum green-car rebate is applied – proves Chevrolet is serious about taking the fight to its closest competitors, the Nissan Leaf and forthcoming Tesla Model 3.

Chevrolet promised to offer the most affordable electric vehicle capable of 320 kilometres of range, but Bolt EV chief engineer Josh Tavel has outdone himself, General Motors bragged in a press release, giving the Bolt 383 kilometers of range on a single charge, under ideal conditions.

“Our team took special pride in optimizing every aspect of this vehicle, especially its impressive range and ride dynamics,” said Tavel.

Chevrolet promises the Bolt will be “thrill-inducing,” alluding to its apparently sporty handling and typical-for-EVs torque-filled acceleration. Electric motors produce their full torque from zero rpm, thus providing brisk acceleration, particularly noticeable at low speeds and in stop-and-go traffic.

“The Bolt EV is a game-changer for the electric car segment,” said GM North America president Alan Batey.

“Chevrolet showed the world the production version Bolt EV earlier this year and in a few short months we’ve moved from that vision to a reality.”

The forthcoming Tesla Model 3, seen by many as one of the Bolt’s chief rivals has a targeted range of 346 km (215 miles), though the company hopes to exceed that number. (Tesla Motors has also not yet released a hard launch date for the 3, with deliveries expected to start 2017.)

The Nissan LEAF, another rival, currently manages a single-charge range of 172 km (106 miles).

The Bolt’s superior range may work to justify its slightly higher price point to some buyers. At $42,795 (before destination charges and applicable rebates), the Bolt may be more expensive than the Tesla, and well exceeds the base model price of the LEAF.

The rival Tesla Model 3 is expected to start near $37,500 US; the Nissan LEAF is less than $33,000 Canadian before rebates.

(GM Canada)