So, here’s a crazy thing: this time last year, no one even knew that GM was working on an affordable, high-range electric car.

In automotive terms, going from concept to production to test drives in 12 months’ time is an exceptionally tight schedule. There are regulatory hurdles and crash testing. There’s the fact that engineering a good, roadworthy vehicle is fundamentally difficult and expensive. In reality, of course, development on the Bolt started long before the introduction of the concept car at NAIAS in Detroit last year, and it shows. I think this car might be ready for the real world.

But let’s back up for a second and talk numbers. GM isn’t going into any new details here, but the Bolt is expected to deliver “200-plus” mile range for a net price of around $30,000 after tax breaks. (That can be misleading if your income is too low to take advantage of the full tax credit, but the car will be well under $40,000 regardless.) The company tells me that 0-60 time will fall under 7 seconds, which should match or best vehicles of similar size and shape like Ford’s C-Max.

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