ORION TWP., MI – Yes, Virginia, there will be a Chevy Bolt for the holidays.

General Motors officials confirm the automaker’s hotly anticipated battery-electric vehicle with a perhaps revolutionary 238 miles (383 km) of range and $37,000 price tag will land under the rooftops of U.S. dealerships by the end of the year.

“Yes, we’re on target to do that,” says Yves Dontigny, production launch manager for the Bolt.

Exactly how many of the 5-passenger CUVs will be made available is unclear. It takes three days for the assembly plant's 1-shift crew to build a Bolt from start to finish. They’ve been building salable units for roughly five weeks. According to WardsAuto data, GM closed November with 138 units on Orion’s lot or in transit to the initial launch states of California and Oregon, where EV interest is highest and tailpipe-emissions regulations are the toughest.

“We’re still ramping up (Bolt) production,” Dontigny tells WardsAuto during a tour of the plant.

Bringing the Bolt to market in the timeframe GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra outlined at the Consumer Electronics Show in January would be a big win for the Detroit automaker by demonstrating its go-to-market mettle against startup rival Tesla, which has had difficulty meeting production targets.

Orion also builds the Chevy Sonic compact car, which has been a slow seller this year averaging about 4,400 sales per month as low fuel prices and the popularity of CUVs have dampened demand in the segment 11.4% through November. Production of the Buick Verano premium small car at Orion was suspended for good in October.

That means there is plenty of unused capacity in the 4.3 million sq.-ft. (213,676 sq.m) facility, a 45-minute drive from GM World Headquarters in Detroit. In 2008, when it built the Pontiac G6 and Chevy Malibu midsize sedans, the plant cranked out 250,425 units.

“There is capacity to tap,” Dontigny says, adding there is presently no plan to add a second shift. But if GM strikes gold with the Bolt, which is unlikely given demand levels for EVs generally, an additional crew could be put to work.

An advantage to the open floor space, which came in 2011 when GM consolidated multiple assembly lines into one, is parts kits from supplier are assembled on-site to give the automaker greater control over quality and reduce part costs.

The car’s program manager, Darin Geese, says the initial customers to receive a Bolt will be those that “raised their hands first,” and the Bolt will be made available to other U.S. markets after demand is satisfied in California and Oregon.

Dontigny, who started his GM manufacturing career near Montreal in 1990 and has been involved in five major program launches, says the greatest challenge to adding production of an EV to Orion was integrating its battery installation in to the assembly process.

At the same station where Orion employees insert the fuel tank into a Sonic using an ergonomic lift assist, an automated guided cart carrying a Bolt battery slides in behind the workers. The cart automatically lifts the battery to the underside of the car and employees fasten it with a torque wrench.

Dontigny also says much of the $160 million investment to build the EV at Orion went into body-shop tooling for the car. A tooling investment was made at the Pontiac Metal Center, too, a nearby facility that makes stampings for the Bolt.

GM took learnings from assembly of the Chevy Spark EV in Changwon, South Korea, and Chevy Volt plug-in at Detroit-Hamtramck and applied them to Orion for the Bolt.

“It’s very efficient,” Dontigny says of the strategy. “We leveraged all of our existing production processes.”

The facility’s 1,200 employees received an extra bit of training to build the Bolt, with a focus on handling high-voltage parts such as the car’s 60-kWh lithium-ion battery. But the battery itself has been designed for safe installation, as well.

“You could stick your fingers in the cable ports (without worry),” Dontigny says.