In First 3 Months Of 2017, Chevrolet Bolt Sales Reached 2,735 In California

2 months ago by Mark Kane 66

U.S. Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales – April 2017

Plug-in electric car sales in California increased in the first quarter by 91% year-over-year to 13,804, good for a 2.7% market share out of a total of 506,745 cars and light trucks sold in Q1.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

A big part of that California growth is the new Chevrolet Bolt EV with 2,735 registrations; accounting for basically one out of every five new plug-ins moved in the state during the quarter.

With 3,092 Bolts EV sold over the first three months nationwide, California had a 88.5% share of the early roll-out numbers for the Chevy.

Total Bolt EV sales to date stand at 4,963 (579 in December and 4,384 over the first four months).

At the same time when plug-ins are growing fast, we should note that conventional hybrids are decreasing – down 9.2% to 22,328.

With the Tesla Model 3 arriving later this Summer, and new Nissan LEAF’s arrival in the Fall, the growth of electric car sales should only get stronger in California from here on out.

source: Los Angeles Times

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66 responses to "In First 3 Months Of 2017, Chevrolet Bolt Sales Reached 2,735 In California"

  1. Texas FFE says:

    I expected Colorado to be a big Bolt EV sales state this month but inventory is severely limited and the dealers in Colorado areprice gouging, charging more than MSRP. I’m disappointed in GM for not providing more Bolt EVs to Colorado and I’m disappointed in the Bolt EV dealerships in Colorado for taking advantage of the low inventory by price gouging. I know there are some states that claim to have an oversupply of Bolt EVs but deliveries to new states have slowed to a trickle.

    1. Assaf says:

      The Seattle dealership we visited last week did the same: a $3k “Northwest Market” markup.

      After almost verbally abusing the dealer kid who opened the car for us, he finally gave away that this markup is mostly for show.
      Right, but it gives you an idea whom you’re dealing with, and you prefer to go deal with someone else who actually wants to sell EVs.

      (same kid also replied to my statement that those Bolts don’t move as fast as was originally thought, by “we only have 5-6 of those, but 100 Silverados”. Wrong answer to someone who came in with a Leaf, dude)

      The real question is whether GM actually *wants* to sell the Bolt in good numbers, or – as Musk and a few commenters argue – it’s all a sophisticated compliance game. If the latter, then it’s an extremely expensive and losing one.

      1. Astros says:

        I saw that the Lee Johnson dealership over in Kirkland is listing Bolts online for 3-4K under MSRP. That’s enough of a discount to make me seriously consider getting one.

        1. Assaf says:

          Yeah, I’ve heard this is the leading pro-Bolt dealership around town.

          Sometimes it only takes one to start a trend.

          Sadly (nor not), we felt the Bolt’s trunk space is too small for us, plus we got a ridiculously good offer for a 2017 Leaf lease. I’m still crossing my fingers that nationwide Nissan doesn’t reject it, although judging by e.g., the Oklahoma deal published here, we’re probably fine.

      2. Asak says:

        Pricing the Bolt above MSRP is a big mistake. The car is too expensive as it is, even at MSRP. That is the biggest thing holding the car back. The battery is clearly expensive, meaning that even after all rebates the car ends up a bit on the high side.

        Normally the rebates put EVs cheaper than a comparable gas car, not so with the Bolt.

  2. Assaf says:

    Wow, if the CA and nationwide numbers are exact, and if GM kept its original schedule (my recollection is it was even a bit ahead of schedule), then…

    – 3 months of Oregon, plus
    – 2 months of MA/MD/VA (DC), plus
    – 1 month of NY/NJ

    All amounted to barely 350 Bolts moved, combined.

    And I clearly recall Bolts being already available in PA sometime in Q1, as well as some proactive WA dealers getting CA surplus shipped to them ahead of the April schedule.

    IOW, on a national level GM has once again sucked in the EV marketing game. Barring major surprise in May (in which New England and CO were added), this is still the case.

    1. georgeS says:

      Hi Assaf,

      I have to give GM engineering an A for their job on BoltEV. Unfortunately GM management decided to put that great power train in a small little car and Americans don’t like small cars especially bland small cars.

      Having said that I really did expect the BoltEV to sell better than it has so far and kudos to those that bought one and are drving electric which is what we need.

      I think part of the problem is the price. GM will offer some killer lease deals soon. That’s what it will take to sell this car.

      GM should have put this power train in a next size up car. The new Nissan Leaf fits that bill and with an LG battery and a liquid cooled battery (speculation) should be a good offering.

      No need to mention Model 3.

      1. Assaf says:

        +3. Fully agree with all.

        I strongly suspect ongoing marketing failure (or more precisely, product management and marketing failure), rather than ill-will.

      2. menorman says:

        Maybe we Californians are just that weird, but Bolt-like cars are not rare out here. Hatchbacks are all over the streets, but the problem with the Bolt that separates it from most others is that it MSRPs about $20k more (i.e. almost double) than many other similar ICE options. If Chevy were to drop the prices down to start below $30k instead of relying on the tax credit to get there, GM would sell a lot more of them (and also put immense pressure on Hyundai, VW, Nissan, and even Tesla). But until then, they can hide behind the “no demand” excuse.

        1. theflew says:

          You would easily pay more than $30K for a hatch with the Bolt’s performance.

          1. BenG says:

            A Ford Focus ST or a VW Golf GTE are comparable and have base retail price of about $25,000. Probably can get discounts below that, I bet.

    2. Lou says:

      No Bolts in PA that I am aware of. Remember, getting an EV in a northern climate(and one whose heating system is unfamiliar to most)is dicey in the winter. Once people have had a chance to establish the validity or not of the HVAC on the Bolt, we will have a better idea on how many might sell outside of the temperate climate states.

      1. Francis says:

        Lou, Have about 3000 miles on a Bolt EV in Central NJ and have regularly driven it and used it in Maine. The heating and cooling are not a problem.

        Here are some quick tests I have done to see what the heating/cooling energy usage is:

        Outside temperature 38F (Maine) with cabin temp at 72F — Seems to use 2kW, or would drain the 60kWH battery in 30 hours. I think the same would happen if I idled my gas car to keep the heat on.

        Driving in 30-40F weather — My average daily drive is about 40 miles. The most I can claim is it takes about an extra 45 minutes at night to charge the Bolt EV if I have run the heat and defogger during the day. Since I charge while I sleep, this is not a big concern.

        Some 90F days in NJ — Very similar consumption to 35F in Maine with some additional (1kWh?) battery conditioning energy use to cool the battery.

        The key is how easily a battery vehicle can charge up and ‘top-off’. You plug it in every night at home and ‘top-off’ between 50 and 240 miles of range depending on your charger. If I use 10-15 ‘miles’ by heating and cooling, it’s made up on the evening charge.

        And–you can remote start the heating and cooling while the Bolt is plugged in, no battery power needed! Try that without burning gas in an ICE vehicle…

  3. Bacardi says:

    “I’m surprised by this” said no one ever…

    1. ffbj says:

      Right. When they can hardly be found elsewhere, by design, it’s no surprise that almost 90% were sold in CA. Most of the rest will be sold in the other CARB states, just as they planned.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        This weekend I saw many many many GM commercials about the Cruze, an SUV and a bunch of trucks…….lol

        Nothing about the Bolt.

        1. DJ says:

          Odd, I saw a ton about the Bolt and Pacifica Hybrid actually.

          1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

            The Pacifica, I did see one about it, also heard quite a few of the Pacifica on the radio.

  4. Peter says:

    I would love to buy one of those Bolts. But no Bolts in Sweden yet.
    Norway have 4000 Bolts on back order and have only got 4 so far.
    So will have to wait until 2018.

    1. VS says:

      See finn.no Peter. Under Opel-Ampera. The site has four for sale.

    2. Seth says:

      According to the registration website they already registered 198 to date.

      http://www.itanywhere.no/Elbil-reg.php?car=Opel%20Ampera-e&mnd=%25&year=%25

  5. Perhaps the biggest recognition problem is that Bolt and Volt sound the same – GM really screwed up naming this one. What ever happened to focus groups?
    Public perception of the Volt is poor, with one of the worst resale values in the auto industry. Then comes the Bolt, neat to drive but uglier than hell to look at, with the confusing name.

    1. Assaf says:

      Hahahaha, “…one of the worst resale values…”

      Only if you conveniently neglect to deduct the $7.5k (minimum) that the original buyer received back from the Feds. If you do deduct it, as you should if you’ve got >=0.5 a brain, then resale value is decent.

      For example, our neighbor got a 2012 Volt a few months ago (when the 2017 was already out) for $12.5k.

    2. vdiv says:

      Give them some “credit” it wasn’t a screw-up, it was quite intentional, the question is why.

      The idiotic name and marketing aside the Bolt is really a great car, just like the Volt is. Their success or failure squarely lies in the hands of the parent.

    3. Scott Franco says:

      New ad campaign:

      “Its a Bolt, not a Volt, you Dolt”…

      1. vdiv says:

        You know GM has the trade name ION from the Saturn division, why didn’t they use that for example?

        Anyway, water under the bridge. People should just go and drive the car, it is great!

        1. Tom says:

          A better question would be why not just bring back the Saturn brand and sell it as a separate special brand like they briefly did with Saturn…until they screwed it up. Saturn Volt, Saturn Ion. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot better?

          1. vdiv says:

            Yes, yes it does. But if plugins are to go mainstream the should under the mainstream brand

    4. Ziv says:

      Steve, I was at a customer appreciation lunch that Chevy had for Volt owners and to which a bunch of press people/bloggers had been invited. It was a sadly hilarious mash up of guest asking each other “So now the Volt will have 200 miles of electric range?” and “The new Bolt is going to have a gasoline genset? I thought it was going to be a BEV!”

      I spent 10 minutes telling the women journalists at my table that they were mistakenly hearing Bolt when the presenters (Pam, Pablo and someone I can’t remember) were saying Volt and vice versa. It was a cluster****.

      We shared that feedback with both Pam and Pablo and they blandly ignored us, smiling at us like we were unruly children that just didn’t get it.

    5. menorman says:

      This problem doubles in Spanish because the Spanish language pronounces the letters “b” and “v” basically the same. How they could make such a critical error on a car that they plan to sell for CARB compliance is beyond me.

    6. Bacardi says:

      The worst part is, they tried focus groups…

      http://insideevs.com/chevrolet-bolt-to-retain-its-volt-like-name/

      “He said there are “synergies” between the sound-alike names, and the image association between Bolt and Volt “connotes good things.”

      Is their terrible logic…However, in the grand scheme of things it would have almost zero affect on sales, walk in wanting a Bolt and buy a Volt instead, no big deal…

  6. Bacardi says:

    Another question is these so called “imported from California” in which a non-rollout state dealership acquires a Bolt from a CA dealership…Do those count as the 88% of CA sales? I suppose it comes down to if the dealerships are purchasing them outright or doing a dealer swap…

    1. bro1999 says:

      I had to register my Bolt in CA….even though I live in MD.

      So my MD Bolt officially counted as a CA sale. I’m sure other people acquiring Bolts before they officially rolled out in their state had to do the same.

      1. Bacardi says:

        Thanks for sharing the registration details…Are out of state folks able to purchase from CA dealers without consequences?

        Another theory to high number of CA sales is that we’re simply offering deeper discounts than folks can get even from the rolled-out states…

  7. unlucky says:

    Very interesting how facile the commenter critics are. One moment it’s a complaint that Bolts aren’t selling and inventories are bloated. Now that Bolt accounts for 1 in 5 of all plug-ins sold in California the critics say that the problem is GM is hoarding them all in one place and selling them there.

    People really have a lot of ways to complain about sales of this car.

    California accounts for over half the EV sales in the country. Yes, GM is going to concentrate there.

    On another note, I see insideevs (or at least Mark) has decide the plural of Bolt EV is Bolts EV. I find that kind of amusing, if only because of Erlich’s joke of the sort on Silicon Valley this season. Let’s see if it sticks.

    1. Assaf says:

      We were ready to buy a Bolt.
      The Chevy dealer closest to us in Seattle, one of the top EV mecca cities, didn’t seem too interested in selling us one.

      When your new BEV is arguably by far the best value-for-money option out there, and yet after 4 full months on the market with endless awards and accolades, it’s only #5 in the YTD sales chart, barely edging out the much-ridiculed Granny Leaf –

      – then the numbers don’t lie and you *are* doing something wrong.

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        We’ve already seen this play out with the Volt. There are a lot of people who talk about wanting an affordable EV, and then when they are given one (a great one that wins lots of awards!), they complain that it doesn’t have all the features of the $90,000 EV.

        It’s going to be interesting to see how many of the 400k Model 3 reservations suddenly develop discriminating taste when it turns out that the Model 3 isn’t just a slightly-smaller Model S for half the price.

      2. Kdawg says:

        You let one sales guy at one dealership make your car purchasing decision for you?

          1. Mark Petty says:

            Don’t let the dealers “cold shoulder” deter you from buying a Bolt. They know that once you drive away in your new car they will probably never see you again because of the maintenance free nature of the Bolt. On I.C.E. cars they “know” you will be back for thousands in repairs and maintenance. They smile when you buy an I.C.E. car, they see $$$.

      3. unlucky says:

        You’re too lazy to drive to a dealer who actually wants to sell you the car and GM is doing something wrong?

        Or perhaps you could just contact them over the internet. Seems good enough for Tesla, you can’t use it with GM?

        A poster here mentions that a dealer in Kirkland (4 miles from Seattle) is selling them for $3K under MSRP but you can’t be bothered to go get one? Do you want the car or not?

        When your car accounts for half of all EV sales in California for the year so far then you’re doing something very right. It’s the biggest market for EVs and they took half of it in one fell swoop.

        1. Assaf says:

          Stupid name-calling aside, you Fail at…

          1. Geography: Kirkland is not “4 miles from Seattle” unless you want to swim those 4 miles. Also, come over here and see what traffic across the lake is like during business hours, before calling anyone “lazy”.
          2. Math: 1 out of 5 is not one-half 🙂

          We just went to *see* the Bolt up close. We were not planning to haggle over prices during that visit. We saw that physically it doesn’t fit our needs.

          But along the way I couldn’t help notice that dealer’s Bolt attitude, as exemplified by a. the markup, and b. the full-on apathetic dealer kid.

          I was ok with him not helicoptering over us, we know what EVs are and know what we’re looking for. But he was clearly not expressing much EV enthusiasm (as well as getting the QC-time numbers wrong. My wife asked him, he said 2.5-3 hours, and I didn’t care to correct him).

          While Johnson does seem to be Bolt-friendly, the dealer we visited (Bill Pierre) is not some chump-changer but one of the biggest dealer around here. So this indicates something.

          1. unlucky says:

            As for the geography, I used the distance across the bridge and then added a bit more Kirkland starts at Bellevue way NE on 520. Seattle runs all the way to the west end of 520 at Broodmoor Golf Club. That means the distance between the two is the length of the 520 bridge over Lake Washington plus a bit more through Bellvue. It’s 4 miles. By car. Maybe before you criticized my ability to measure distances you could have looked it up yourself.

            And on top of that. So what? What if it were 6 miles? 6 miles is too far? And traffic at rush hour? You could maybe go over when it’s not rush hour? Sheesh, you work really hard to try to indicate this is my fault but it’s really not. It’s not me who wasn’t willing to go a few miles to get a car.

            Math: 1 out of 5 refers to of all the plug-ins sold. It is 50% of all EVs (electric-only) vehicles sold. It is 20% of all the plug-ins sold (presumably that includes leases). Wow, look I can do math!

            Great. So you didn’t want the car. That’s fine, but it’s entirely different than what you made out the problem to be. You made it out as if the dealers don’t want to sell them. Turns out you weren’t interested in buying. If you were interested in buying, then you wouldn’t be complaining about 4 miles versus 5.

      4. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “then the numbers don’t lie and you *are* doing something wrong.”

        Maybe because too many stupid Ass EV supporters who claim that they want EVs but just lying thru their stupid ass because they only want NON-GM EVs.

        Truth hurt, but the fact is that there aren’t enough EV buyers out there, and even less EV buyers that are willing to buy a GM EV because their stupid mental block with the EV1 history.

        1. Spider-Dan says:

          I don’t think it’s even an issue of “mental blocks” against GM; it’s not like the Leaf and i3 are flying off the lots. GM has still outsold every other EV manufacturer in America.

          I think the issue is really that there are a lot of people who like the idea of owning an EV more than the reality of spending money to buy one. This includes the contingent of “BEV purists” who somehow don’t drive a BEV themselves.

    2. Assaf says:

      The 88.5% are not “CA/OR” but CA alone.

      Since OR had the Bolts almost from day one, none of its Bolt sales would be attributed to the 88.5%. They are part of the 11.5%.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        So, what is up with EV buyers in OR? They are all talks or they just don’t want EVs from GM due to their own stupid mental blocks?

    3. Bacardi says:

      CARB just reported its now 40% (story was on here) however it does include commercial EVs…Yet it probably doesn’t consider the Bolt so who knows what the actual number is, if the model 3 can push out 5 digit deliveries for 2017, they would all go to CA so perhaps it would be again 50%…

    4. Evan says:

      Don’t forget that GM invest in Lyft. So the missing point is that some of this sale is also Lyft leasing their vehicles to the Lyft drivers. Now the problem here in San Diego is that because of instant raise of new electric vehicles we have lack of infrastructure. In the central San Diego area there are only three fast charging stations. They are constantly busy because the charging of the Chevy Volt takes way longer than the models like BMW i3, Nisan Leaf or VW e-Golf. So Lyft drivers are constantly using them which create an issue with other drivers. If you get low with power and need to charge your vehicle you might need to wait for either one hours for fast charger or try to find slower charger. It will be interesting to see what will be situation in three months. I definitely will give up on my EV because of lack of infrastructure.

  8. bro1999 says:

    As Bolts just barely started trickling into dealerships outside of CA/OR by the end of March, the 88% CA figure should not be surprising at all.

    I bet 88+% of Bolts on dealer lots were probably in CA/OR alone.

    1. Assaf says:

      The 88.5% are not “CA/OR” but CA alone.

      Since OR had the Bolts almost from day one, none of its Bolt sales would be attributed to the 88.5%. They are part of the 11.5%.

      1. bro1999 says:

        Oh, I should add that even though I am an MD resident, I had to register my Bolt I purchased from a CA dealership in CA when I did my paperwork back in late December.

        So it would seem any people in non-rollout states that acquired a Bolt early counted as CA sales.

        1. unlucky says:

          It depends. You bought yours from a California dealer and shipped it out. There is another group of cars which are sold by being transferred from California dealers to dealers in other states and then sold there. The latter likely wouldn’t be counted as California sales.

          Probably neither group adds up compared to the in-state sales.

        2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

          Just curious, will you have to pay MD registration also? If so how much and how much did you pay for CA registration?

  9. Get Real says:

    I have a leased one in the garage, fantastic little car.

    It is however an expensive car as are almost EVs’ sticker prices up to this point.

    I have a good feeling that we are on the cusp of major changes in EVs produced and sold with the Model 3 and Leaf 2 coming out in the next few months.

    I think that large sales of these cars will put so much pressure on the other OEMs to make and sell compelling EVs at reasonable prices or start losing large market share.

    IMHO, these cars will also drive an accelerating awareness and positive perception amongst the buying public and that EVs will really turn the corner psychologically.

    I also predict that GM will magically drop the price on the Bolt by next year and in the US by at least $5,000 and start making DCFC standard so it will better compete with Model 3 and Leaf 2.

    In other words, the market for EVs will finally start working as they move into the mass adoption phase.

  10. Warren says:

    GM is certainly diabolical. They build a sensible, efficient car that is the rave of all the auto press, and offer it at below their cost, in the states where it is most likely to sell. Then they trick hapless consumers into buying SUVs instead. 🙂

    1. Assaf says:

      Well… they do.

      Their dealer system is more interested in selling SUVs and pickups than in pushing the Bolt, or even the Volt.

      Dealers’ job is to push cars, and GM has the biggest dealer network. The vast majority are *not* pushing the Bolt. End of story.

      1. Warren says:

        Everyone I know is on the internet 24-7. Most of these folks are Democrats who know climate change is real, and drive way more than I do. Most have more than one vehicle.
        Most own a hybrid. Only two drive an EV. The others tell me EVs are still too expensive, and too much hassle. I am afraid the EV tsunami, many here imagine, is simply not going to happen. I expect a painfully slow trickle of acceptance.

        1. Assaf says:

          Sigh. I hear you.

          The US is not a leader in EVs any more, and this time it’s mostly due to the customers.

          For example, the 107-mile Leaf is selling rather nicely in Europe and Japan, where car-buying is a more pragmatic and serious (in terms of relative cost) decision, than in the US where the majority are vanity purchases of some sort.

      2. Tom says:

        A dealer’s job is to sell what the parent company wants them to sell. There is a gigantic financial disincentive to sell more Bolts than meet CARB requirements. Whether they straight up are losing money without the CARB credits doesn’t matter. At a minimum they are making far less and the parent company makes tons of money per SUV. It’s ludicrous to think any responsible business would do otherwise. Almost certainly the dealer cut from an EV is far less than an SUV also because math.

        1. Assaf says:

          There’s also a gigantic incentive too…

          – make sure the billions invested in Bolt R&D don’t go down in flames
          – make sure GM is not once again caught flat-footed in the design of future-generation cars. Last time, only a decade ago, it almost killed them.

          Pretending that going back to the old big-guzzler business as usual is sane leadership, comes across as rather lazy IMHO.

      3. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “Dealers’ job is to push cars, and GM has the biggest dealer network. The vast majority are *not* pushing the Bolt. End of story.”

        Vast majority of them don’t even carry a Bolt or Volt.

        GM can’t force them to since it is dealer laws.

        At the end of the day, dealers push for what sells. That is Crossovers today.

        Two popular Crossover models today sell for more than the ENTIRE BEV market in the US.

        At the end of the day, it is lack of EV buyers.

        Nuff said!

        1. Spider-Dan says:

          That is really the bottom line.

          At this point, GM is really just developing its tech for when the public is more willing to buy EVs.

    2. Bacardi says:

      Only the weak…Show up to your local friendly Chevy dealer, ask to test drive a Bolt and if the salesman says “a Bolt? You look like a Vette guy”, that’s on the buyer if they end up buying a Vette…

      Why in the world would anyone would just show up with email a dealer first to agree to pricing is most likely going result in many wasted hours…

  11. Scott says:

    I new the Bolt was coming out but I wasn’t looking for it, or had any idea when it would be avaiable. I wanted the Leaf but the driving distance was a joke. The Volt was very attractive but it still ties you to the gas pump, great concept but just not the car which grabs my interest.

    I was just browsing a high horsepower Camaro, then I saw the Bolt in the showroom. Needless to say it no longer resides there. I purchased it at MSRP.

    Do I love the car. Yes, without a doubt. This is the future and GM has their hands in EVs big.

  12. M3 reserved -- Niro TBD says:

    SMH as the Bolt could really be great if GM didn’t try to take advantage of it so much — but then again, limited product, get the most out of it since limited competition

    M3 will solve that WHEN it goes into production. even then, with 400K in line, GM really doesn’t care unless another 200+ mile car appears to compete.

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