10/20/2015 15:28 EDT | Updated 10/20/2016 01:12 EDT

General Motors execs say Chevrolet Bolt electric car's range could surpass 200 miles

WARREN, Mich. — General Motors' entry into the long-range electric vehicle market should be able to go more than 200 miles on a single charge, company officials said Tuesday.

The company also plans to market the Chevrolet Bolt, a small hatchback car due out late next year, as a crossover SUV as it tries to take advantage of the global thirst for SUVs.

The comments were made at an event at GM's technical centre north of Detroit announcing joint development efforts with LG Electronics of Korea to design the Bolt's electric motor, heating and air conditioning system, infotainment screen and other components. LG Chem already has worked with GM on the battery design.

GM's 200-mile range estimate for the Bolt is a bit conservative, product development chief Mark Reuss told reporters, without giving a number.

GM unveiled the Bolt early this year as it tries to compete with Tesla Motors and other automakers that are working on long-range electrics. Many industry watchers see the 200-mile range as making battery-powered cars more appealing to the masses.

Reuss said the partnership with LG Chem and LG electronics enabled GM to overcome range, price and utility limitations that have hampered mainstream electric car sales in the past. The Bolt will cost under $30,000 including a $7,500 federal electric car tax credit. At that price, the car would be in the range of Tesla's planned Model III, which also would go about 200 miles per charge. The car is due out in 2017.

Currently Tesla's Model S sedan can go up to 270 miles per charge, but it starts at more than $70,000.

Pam Fletcher, GM's executive chief engineer for electric vehicles, said the company will try to get the Bolt classified as an SUV because it has the "spaciousness and utility" of a larger vehicle.

The Associated Press