Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales Up, Chevrolet Volt Sales Flat For May 2017

5 months ago by Jay Cole 85

GM CEO Mary Barra’s Chevrolet Bolt EV arrived in the US Northeast In May

May was a “put up or shut up” type of month for GM in regards to the Chevrolet Bolt EV.  And things turned out decently in the end.

More than 5,000 copies of the Bolt EV are now in stock in 14 US states (InsideEVs/George B)

After stating that the lower than expected Bolt EV sales in the first quarter of the year was due to “limited availability”, Bolt EV inventory surged in mid-April.

Entering May with close to 4,000 cars in the stock, and exiting north of 5k, the Bolt EV expanded its roll-out into even more states.

Last month, the 238 mile EV arrived in Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Colorado; and thus moved inventory even higher, ending May with north of 5,000 EVs in stock (almost as high as the Chevrolet Volt – despite still being a regional offering).

The result?   Sales did indeed improve!

A total of 1,566 Bolt EVs were sold in May, 21% more than the 1,292 copies sold last month.  For the year 5,950 Bolts have been moved.

Of the 1,566 Bolt EVs moved, GM said 1,438 were to retail customers and 128 to fleet/commercial.

And as people tend to like to compare results to other competition, the Bolt EV slightly bested the Nissan LEAF in May (1,392) and now holds a  slight~200 unit lead for 2017.  However, the Toyota Prius Prime, despite still struggling to keep 4 digits worth of inventory in stock, sold 1,902 units in May, and leads the Bolt EV year-to-date by more than 2,000 units (8,073 total sold).

Hey, look at me! I’m still GM’s most popular plug-in vehicle you know!

As for its stablemate, Chevrolet Volt, the 53 mile extended range offering continues to sell in fairly strong and consistent volumes, selling 1,817 cars in May, off 4% from 2016 when 1,901 were sold.

For the year 9,187 Volts have moved off dealer lots, a strong number that is 17% more than 2016’s result of 7,871.

During last month we also learned that the 2018 model year Volt was not to be a ‘range  bump’ year for the car, which has previously seen the Volt’s battery capacity has slightly increased 3 times (up from 16 kWh to 16.5 kWh in 2013, 17.1 kWh in 2015, and 18.4 kWh in 2016)

Overall the car will remain mostly unchanged next year (MY 2018 details).   But if the color “Green Mist Metallic” sounds exciting to you…well then, you are in luck as it arrives in September.

Heading into June, the Chevy Bolt EV trek to becoming a nationwide offering (by September) takes a pause, with states such as Florida and Arizona (IL, PA too) perhaps getting a handful of copies before month’s end.

The All-New Cadillac CT6 PHV Has Arrived In The US In Very Limited Numbers

Also of note, the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid (details) had its first full month on the US market (at least technically…there was not a heck of a lot of inventory to be found), selling 16 copies.

As for the older/discontinued models, May 2017 was the first month that no sales were noted for either the Cadillac ELR (discontinued in February 2016) or Spark EV (discontinued in August 2016).

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85 responses to "Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales Up, Chevrolet Volt Sales Flat For May 2017"

  1. bro1999 says:

    That’s about what I expected for Bolt sales, based off last month’s results. Slowly and steadily increasing each month.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Yeah, agreed. To me, the mass market crowd (as opposed to early adopters) are waiting for the typical Chevrolet discounts off MSRP before they take the plunge.

      Although, with a car that no longer needs oil changes, the cheap price of electricity vs. gas, and the long distance range this EV offers, many people could justify MSRP without fretting too much about it.

      1. bro1999 says:

        The more important number to focus on is overall GM plug-in sales. Increased 45% year over year, from 2340 May 2016 to around 3,400 this May.

        1. Kdawg says:

          By my count, GM has sold ~140,000 plugins in the US. So that leaves 60,000 before the tax credit phase-out starts. At about 3400/month in sales, that will take about 18 months, or end of November 2018.

          1. john1701a says:

            3400/month combined sales with the $7,500 subsidy is not a good sign.

            1. bro1999 says:

              Beats Toyota and just about all other manufacturers.

            2. Asak says:

              The thing about the subsidy is it really just cancel out the higher cost of an EV. It’s not really an actual discount compared to a gas car. Basically the $7500 Federal and $2500 CA state rebate just gets the Bolt down to being slightly overpriced instead of obscenely so. A gas version of the Bolt would not be going for $27500 or even $25000, probably closer to $20,000 in my opinion. So, hopefully as battery costs come down that will replace the rebate.

              Another thing is the cost of insurance on EVs is currently very inflated since it’s based on MSRP even though no one pays that.

        1. Ray says:

          I am in Toronto Canada, and have been waiting for my order since end of January, contacted GM Canada yesterday, still no build date yet 🙁

          1. Brave Lil Toaster says:

            Really? I live in Vancouver, and I see Bolts on the road all the time.

            But hey, I don’t work at GM or anything, so I can’t say why that is.

      2. Bacardi says:

        Very few actually understand the difference between discount vs factory GM incentives…Was reported right here there many dealers are advertising $3K off (dealership level)…So the discounts are already plentiful…

        The irony is, we should be hoping for lower sales in the hopes that GM will increase the MY18 content…That would be better overall for the Bolt than to offer a 20% off MSRP deal like they did last month for the Malibu…

        1. Nix says:

          “Very few actually understand the difference between discount vs factory GM incentives”

          To make it even worse, there are a bunch of different ways that factories can roll out factory incentives.

          Everybody is familiar with the “Consumer Cash Back” type of offers. Where GM has a national or regional offer that they publish as being available to all customers.

          But on top of that, the factory can offer “Dealer Cash”. That is a bonus paid back to the dealership that they don’t advertise. This can either be a fixed dollar amount per car, or a bonus based upon meeting a certain sales target for the number of units sold in a month.

          Given the fact that so many California Chevy dealerships are all offering right around $3K discounts, I would not be surprised if GM was offering “dealer cash” of $3K on each Bolt sold in CA.

          1. unlucky says:

            I don’t expect GM is offering dealer cash on the Bolt EV in California. Not yet at least. Usually GM would offer some marketing money first. And since we are just now finally started to see some TV ads for the Bolt EV I think that hasn’t been going on for long. So I think the “cash on the hood” isn’t in play just yet.

        2. unlucky says:

          Yeah, but the companies try to hide it anyway. Nissan is fronting that money that “utilities” are paying toward Leaf purchases. Like the Oklahoma deal. But Nissan wants to hide that it is a factory incentive.

          It might be pointless to try to distinguish one from the other when companies can basically make one look like the other.

  2. Bacardi says:

    Maybe we’ll see more bolt incentives for June…

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      I think we will definitely start to see more within the next two months as dealers prepare for 2018 models.

      1. BenG says:

        Yep, and come fall the incentives should really sky-rocket as GM and the dealers try to clear out inventory of 2017s.

        Someone in another thread suggested that $10k off retail will be obtainable come November, and I won’t be surprised if we see that, given how fast inventory has been climbing recently despite widespread $3-4k discounts.

    2. Nix says:

      No current published offers for the Bolt EV for June:

      http://www.chevrolet.com/current-deals?evar25=GM_COM_CURR_OFF

      Last year, June was “Truck Month” where they were pushing trucks and SUV’s. Traditionally the next sales event would be 4th of July. Then sometime in August is when they traditionally start the end of model year blowouts.

  3. jim stack says:

    While the Bolt tries to gain the Tesla model 3 has over 500K back orders and starts delivery in July 2017. Having Nationwide Super Charging on every major road is just as valuable as the vehicle.

    1. bro1999 says:

      6 posts before the TSLA trolls show up. Spreading FUD as usual. *rolleyes*

      Please show me the official Tesla statement that states they have 500k Model 3 DEPOSITS (not orders, since no one can order one currently). I won’t hold my breath.

      1. georgeS says:

        “6 posts before the TSLA trolls show up. Spreading FUD as usual. *rolleyes* ”

        I didn’t say anything:)

    2. FISHEV says:

      Not sure why Tesla fans are so defensive. Bolts a great EV. Got great reviews as a great car, not just a great EV from Motor Trend 2017 Car of the Year to WIRED.

      Tesla is a luxury brand, the Bolt’s a CHEVY for working people. People putting down deposit on Model 3 want a downsized luxury EV probably $50K to $55K with AWD when that’s available in 2018. Like getting low end Lexus vs. high end Toyota. Bolts FWD and hatchback and greater range give it an advantage over the base RWD, trunk, 215 mile range Model 3.

      1. BenG says:

        The base Model 3 will have more than 215 mile range. I’m guessing substantially more … just enough to beat the Bolt, IMO, with 240 miles combined EPA range from the 60 kwh base battery pack.

      2. unlucky says:

        The Model 3 isn’t a luxury car though. If people are expecting a luxury car for that price Tesla is going to have a backlash on their hands. They seem to already have been trying to defuse this situation with their messaging about how the Model 3 isn’t as high-spec as the Model S.

        1. BenG says:

          I think people rightfully expect the Model 3 to be a low-end sport-luxury car, like the BMW 3 series that it is targeting.

          1. unlucky says:

            They’ll be disappointed then. Well, unless they somehow convince themselves that that stripped-down car is a luxury car or sport-luxury car.

            1. BenG says:

              We’ll see.

              Tesla competes well with German sport-luxury offerings with the Model S and X. They are specifically targeting the BMW 3 series with the Model 3.

              I think you are the one who is going to be disappointed in your expectations. The Model 3, like Model S, will fall short of its German competition in some areas, like the interior luxury aspects, but the Model 3 will beat the competition in other areas, like acceleration, automation, and the luxury of full electric power with no stinking gasoline engine, so that the Model 3 will compete very well in the market-place whether or not you approve of their approach or don’t think they deserve the term sport-luxury.

              1. unlucky says:

                Yes, you said they are targeting the BMW 3. And as I said, if people think the Model 3 is going to be like the Model 3 they are going to be disappointed.

                With that interior it’s not anything-luxury. If people wanted a sporty car with a crummy interior they’d be loading up on i3s. They aren’t. And the i3 has a lot better interior than the Model 3.

                If people buy that thing and convince themselves they have a luxury car then it’s “Emperor’s New Clothes” time.

                1. Nick says:

                  That’s crazy. The i3 and Model 3 are so different interior wise as to be incomparable.

    3. Nix says:

      The current Tesla charging advantage may not last that long. Networks of new chargers capable of 300+ kW charging have been announced for both the North American and EU markets.

      The Bolt itself it capable of 80 kW charging, once chargers become widely available. Tesla’s start charging at 120 kW, but quickly drop to charging at slower rates.

      We don’t know how long the Bolt will continue to charge at 80 kW before dropping off. But it is possible that if the Bolt stays at 80 kW until somewhere around 70% charged, that it will charge in around the same time as a Tesla 60 or 70/75.

      If anybody with a Bolt has found an 80 kW charger in the US, please charge from 5%-80% and post the charging rate at 10%, 20%, etc. That will be very interesting to see.

      1. georgeS says:

        “If anybody with a Bolt has found an 80 kW charger in the US, please charge from 5%-80% and post the charging rate at 10%, 20%, etc. That will be very interesting to see.”

        -Nix

        Hey Nix. Not sure if you saw this article:

        from article:

        “When pressed during an interview earlier this year the Bolt’s Product Manager at Chevrolet, Darin Gesse, stated the car would support a peak current of “about 150A” and a peak charging power of “a little over 50 kW”. Those statements closely match the results found in the new report.”

        http://www.hybridcars.com/chevy-bolt-ev-can-charge-at-55-kw/

        Check it out.

        1. BenG says:

          That is very disappointing. I’d thought that the Bolt would support 80 kw charging since the owners manual mentioned that figure.

          Lame.

          1. bro1999 says:

            *at least 55 kW. Test was done at 40% SOC. Could be more at a lower SOC

            1. bro1999 says:

              As in max amps are higher at lower SOC

            2. georgeS says:

              “Could be more at a lower SOC”

              -bro

              Agreed Bro. However GM’s statemnt seem to indicate otherwise:

              “Gesse, stated the car would support a peak current of “about 150A” and a peak charging power of “a little over 50 kW”

              You have a Bolt. Why don’t you get us the data.

          2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            You’re not the only person who didn’t read carefully. Some other people got overexcited and wrote that it confirmed 80kW charging.

            They never specific a charging rate for the Bolt. They only specific an 80kW+ charger. But the charger power is rated by max voltage x max current, and the actual charging voltage depends on the battery pack voltage.

            Bolt’s pack maxes out at 350V.
            So if 80kW+ is referring to 500V x 160A+ that’s max Bolt charging of 52.5kW.
            If 80kW+ is referring to 400V x 200A+ that’s max Bolt charging of 70kW.

            So far it’s looking a lot like it’ll charge up to 160A, with a maximum rate of 52.5kW.

          3. Raymond Ramirez says:

            Is it lame because it isn’t 80 kW? Or is it lame because there are no other BEV that can charge that amount for less than the Chevy Bolt EV price?

            1. MTN Ranger says:

              The Hyundai Ioniq EV and Kia Soul EV charge faster than the Bolt EV.

              1. unlucky says:

                They charge faster for a very short time. Due to the smaller battery they will fall down to slower charge rates than the Bolt quickly.

                There’s just really no way realistically to come out ahead on the IONIQ. I did the math before, you’d have to drive 400 miles between slow (overnight) charges to where you might start to get ahead. How often do you do that?

                Would I like to have both a higher density pack and 100kW charging? Heck yes. But since I have to choose it’s an easy choice to make to take the Bolt compromise instead of the IONIQ one.

            2. BenG says:

              It’s lame because charging is significantly slower charge at 55 kw than at 80 kw, and they mentioned the 80 kw figure in the owners manual, though not explicitly saying it could charge at that rate.

              55 kw will be okay, but 80 kw would have enabled some pretty quick recharging between 120 mile hops on the highway.

        2. unlucky says:

          That’s a new graph from that group I think? But it’s still not indicative of the capabilities of the Bolt. I’ve charged at 125A to over 60% SOC.

          I do accept the theory that GM only said 80kW in order to try to get people onto chargers that have higher current instead of some of the ones that have higher voltage capability instead. The statement after all doesn’t actually say that the car is capable of 80kW charging.

          It’s unfortunate, because my experiences show that 200A charging would make it possible to do just about any trip I would ever take with no more than a single 30 minute charging stop. With only 125A or 150A (and the charge curve I experienced) some of them will require 45 minutes or so.

      2. Ziv says:

        I think I read that the Bolt starts to taper at 53% (dropping about 20-25%) and then again at 68% (where it drops another 20%).
        And I found the article and quote it below.

        “According to the new study as well as anecdotal reports from Bolt owners, the car’s charging current can begin higher but abruptly tapers down to near 100 amps when the battery charge reaches about 53 percent full, drops again to around 60 amps at near 68 percent full, and again to near 40 amps at around 85 percent full.”

        http://www.hybridcars.com/chevy-bolt-ev-can-charge-at-55-kw/

        1. unlucky says:

          The “near 60 amps” was 62 on the chargers I’ve used (where they even read it out) and the drop to 62 was a little later than indicated there. The 40 amps seems quite accurate, as well as the 100A. The rest of the break points seem a little low in my experience. Maybe my pack is just warmer when I’m charging?

      3. JLo says:

        Nix: “Tesla’s start charging at 120 kW, but quickly drop to charging at slower rates.”

        One thing I found *after* buying my Model S is that those with the 85kWh battery and larger start at 120kW. My 75D starts out between 90-99kW max. Only with the larger batteries is there enough parallel cells for the faster rate.

        Since the Model 3 will come with 60 or 75kWh batteries, it might be similarly limited in it’s max SuperCharging rate to around 90kW.

        1. BenG says:

          On the other hand, since the Model 3 is an all-new design, they probably could engineer it to take 120 kw if they wanted to … though they may have decided it’s not worth the expense to upgrade everything enough to charge that fast without excess wear on the battery.

          1. Terawatt says:

            We will have to wait and see. But usually, AFAIU, there’s a trade-off to be made in the choice of chemistry – higher energy density tends to go hand in hand with lower power density, for Li-ion chemistries. Consider Li-FePO4, lithium cobalt oxide and NMC. The latter is clearly the best for EVs, but it’s the least power dense.

            I’ll be surprised if the Model 3 can match the charging rate of the S.

          2. unlucky says:

            Physically smaller packs usually charge slower, not faster. And since this will be a higher-density pack I think we can expect it will go no faster than the older packs. And if it’s really a 55kW base pack (my guess) we can expect it to be even slower again.

    4. Raymond Ramirez says:

      Those are NOT “back orders’, just reservations, giving a $500 million no-interest loan to Tesla Motors.

  4. WadeTyhon says:

    Good news! Volt sales still haven’t been hurt by the Bolt EV launch just like I thought.

    “Heading into June, the Chevy Bolt EV trek to becoming a nationwide offering (by September) takes a pause, with states such as Florida and Arizona (IL, PA too) perhaps getting a handful of copies before month’s end.”

    Possibly at major Texas dealers also. 🙂

    My build date is next week. The dealer says there is a small chance I will have my Bolt by the end of June – if not, then the first week of July.

    1. Ericonline says:

      Good news for Texas. It seems they brought back the credit.

      http://fuelfix.com/blog/2017/05/31/texas-will-offer-rebates-for-electric-cars/

      Pretty sure it still won’t apply to Tesla (Not an in-state purchase). This will help Bolt vs Model 3 in the state.

      1. WadeTyhon says:

        That is fantastic that they finally reinstated the tax credit! I knew several legislators were fighting for it over the past few months but I had not heard yet that they were successful.

        It’s a rare thing to hear good news out of our state government so I will happily take it. 😀

        1. David Lane says:

          Yay Texas!!

      2. bro1999 says:

        MD also passed an EV tax credit bill. Tesla’s need not apply though. 😉

        1. Nick says:

          That’s lame. I wonder why they excluded the best EV?

  5. ffbj says:

    That’s good. Get more out there so people will see them.

  6. EFG2 says:

    I have test driven the Bolt twice, it’s not a bad car. I previously leased a Smart ED.

    Problem is the price is just way too high for what you get. Yep, if owning an electric car is part of who you are and it is a part time hobby, being overly positive is part of your confirmation bias. On economics however, the car is still priced 5K too high to make it work over a 10 year period. The ICE equivalents are just so much more price competitive.

    I think everyone should take a breath and realize large percentage increases in sales month over month, during a rollout period, don’t actually mean a whole lot. And 5k cars sold is not exactly burning down the doors. The country sells approx. 16 million cars a year. 20K Bolts isn’t even a blip.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      You are right, that on an absolute scale, the BOLT EV in that sense may not amount to much – only being slightly more than 0.1 % of US sales, being too small for some families, and being overpriced compared to a compact ICE CUV.

      The lack of ammenities may also be a deal-killer for some people, what with its Chevy Biscayne-esque bare-bones interior.

      Now me, the best feature is the 230-300 mile (highway-city) range of the car. I previously speant $120,000 (including sales taxes and delivery) for a stripped roadster to get a decent ranged BEV. This car goes considerably further as the ’60 kwh’ battery could easily have been rated ’65 kwh’. Seeing as you can get way over 59 kwh usable out of it, and it takes 67.77 kwh to recharge during moderate weather at a trickle rate (1/10 C) – no one would be the wiser. For mainly this reason as far as I am concerned the car is a STEAL.

      I was so excited to buy this car early (I was the first sale in Western NY, and the only sale in February 2017), that I missed the new NY State $2000 rebate, and also most of the discounting now commonplace by the dealerships themselves.

      But you have to start somewhere, and GM has an adequate offering of EV’s compared to other companies currently. Even Tesla does not make a ‘full range’ product line as of yet. Most people cannot afford/do not want to spend the amount required to get an “S” or an “X”, OR, they’re not the kind of vehicle they are interested in, in the first place. Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and others are selling ‘something’, but again, no one seems to be doing more for lowered-cost EV’s or PHEV’s to satisfy more families’ needs/wants, than GM.

      That said, the PHEV CT6 remains a real joke. It is way too complicated for what you get, apparently the actual sales price (as opposed to the heavily discounted ELR) is way too expensive, and the car is needlessly complex and inefficient. Also, the nearest Caddy dealer to me in the states is 380 miles away. That’s a joke since the Tesla service center NOW is only 220 miles away.

      The ELR I have (even a stripped 2014 model) still turns heads, and is much greater range than the CT6 claims. Only an EV hater like DeNyschen (head of Cadillac) would prematurely kill it.

      1. BenG says:

        Damn shame they killed the ELR. It had just gotten interesting with the performance boost and price drop.

        They should have kept it, and also offered a slightly stretched 4-door version.

    2. Dave86 says:

      I also believe that the Bolt is over priced for what you get. I once posted (and was ‘flamed’ by others) the Bolt is a $20K to $25K car with no incentives.

      To help with the price being so high, GM should have given the Bolt better styling and badged the car a Buick.

      1. Terawatt says:

        What ICE in your opinion offers the performance and practicality of the Bolt at the same total cost (purchasing price plus running costs)?

        1. Asak says:

          Honestly, almost any ICE stacks up well against the Bolt. You have to drive a lot if miles per year to come out ahead with the Bolt. It really is too expensive. I really wanted to get a Bolt but ended up with an e-Golf due to the price.

      2. Asak says:

        Buick is too stodgy for an EV like the Bolt. There’s nothing wrong with the Bolt’s styling, the price is just too high. But decreases in battery costs should take care of that.

  7. TwoVolts says:

    I’m seeing Bolts at several dealerships in Michigan – even though the rollout here is supposed to be in September.

  8. Huhu says:

    Yes Bolt is much better than ICE cars in its price range. However, I still maintain it cannot successfully compete against Tesla model 3, which will almost certainly have much better performance, technology and styling with a Tesla logo, plus supercharging ability.

    1. Raymond Ramirez says:

      The Bolt EV is successfully “competing” because there are no Model 3 for sale. Competition exists when both are on equal status, but in this case the Chevy Bolt EV is winning by itself with no competition.

  9. Texas FFE says:

    If GM had sent more than a handful of Bolt EVs to Colorado I think the sales numbers would have been much higher in May. With 9 Bolt EVs coming out of the production line every hour that comes out to 1,584 Bolt EVs built in May. With inventory not changing much in May it does not appear that GM has increased production much since production began last December.

    1. Malevolence says:

      Fortunately the Colorado state legislature failed to repeal the EV tax credit last week, so you can still get $12.5k ($5k state plus $7.5k federal) off through 2018 (and theoretically through 2020 if it’s not repealed in future years). I guess that takes the pressure off GM to get them delivered to the state, but also might mean fewer sales toward the end of the year as there’s not as much urgency to buy before the tax credit ends. I know of at least two driving around here with temp tags, so they’ve officially arrived, if only in small numbers.

      For Colorado, $25k after tax credits for a stripped model and $30k for a fully loaded one seems like the right price, if you have the tax liability. $30 and $35k, respectively, in states without such a credit is harder to swallow.

      And that non-refundable $5k discount in Colorado is a big if, since you need to earn about $120k as an individual or $130k for a couple if you take the standard exemptions; then add another $8k for each child deduction – that means leaves leasing for most since a lot of families of four don’t earn $145k+/yr. Without that extra $5k, the Bolt just seems to slip way too much into the price range of nicer cars. I really think GM needs to drop the MSRP price if dealers are discounting them anyway, since that is what a lot of people are looking at, regardless of if that is what they actually pay.

      1. Malevolence says:

        Correction: The $5k Colorado tax credit is only through the end of 2019. Cars bought in 2020 are only eligible for $4k and cars bought in 2021 are eligible for $2.5k and the credit is eliminated on January 1, 2022. Based on this year’s legislation, I’d be surprised to see it survive all the way to 2022, but without further legislation, that’s the plan.

  10. Adam H says:

    Regarding dealer stock and inventory: I read a comment yesterday from a person who had personally called a number of dealers about their ‘stock’ of the 5,000 listed onlinr – and the vehicle was not actually at the delearship.

    Anecdotal evidence te be sure, but worse a better look.

    1. Nix says:

      This is definitely true. Even many of the ads themselves said “in transit” when I looked last week.

      1. Adam H says:

        Apologies for the misspellings and autocorrect.

        I wonder how many are actually in stock?

  11. Someone out there says:

    What the hell is GM doing? There are 5000 Bolt EV’s in the dealer lots but GM only manages to sell 1500 of them. At the same time there are 2000 people in Canada and 4000 people in Norway that want to buy the car but can’t! Is everyone at GM drunk or something?

    1. theflew says:

      Most are in transit – not sitting on lots. Call an east coast dealer and see how many Bolts they have sitting on the lot.

    2. Terawatt says:

      They are reusing a page of the playbook we’ve seen multiple times before. Cue GM explaining to the regulators that nobody wants to buy electric cars, they want gas-guzzling SUVs, and therefore emissions shouldn’t be regulated.

      But the thing is it won’t work. Pretty soon GM will sit on data showing that not only does the Bolt give Chevrolet customers it could only dream of before (highly educated, young, already or soon to be high earners), but they will be by far the most satisfied of their customers. Sales will keep climbing, and while the numbers are small the percentages are high, pointing to great potential.

      Then, if the Model 3 launch goes well, pressure to do more will build internally and among the shareholders…

      It’s annoying how slowly it’s sinking in at GM. I actually believed them back in January 2016 when they said it wouldn’t be production limited. I thought they tried to undermine the Model 3. Now it seems they knew they couldn’t, and choose not to try to avoid the embarrassment. Clearly they just want to improve their readiness for a market where EVs matter, while doing nothing to make that happen any sooner than necessary.

      But in the greater scheme of things this makes little difference. The market is moving towards electric drive, and the fundamentals pretty much guarantee that this will accelerate in the years ahead. I’m not so sure autonomy will come as fast and have as much immediate impact as many seem to expect (most people will still drive their own car in 2025, I bet), but to the extent that it does, this will shift the advantage decisively to EVs (because the more a car is used, the less the purchase price matters versus running costs).

      1. Someone out there says:

        I don’t buy the conspiracy theory. It’s way too late for something like that. GM is not the only player out there, they can hardly claim that no one wants electric cars when Tesla has this massive support (preorders and whatnot). That would just make GM look stupid and they are not that stupid.

  12. wavelet says:

    IME even ~1600 Bolts sold in May is a big disappointment. There was a seeming consensus (admittedly, _not_ based on anything GM itself said) on EV sites and here as well, that GM was expecting/hoping to sell 30K units in 2017 in the US. As the first mid-priced decent-range EV, and from a large manufacturer to boot (not to mention the Volt’s good rep), that looked to be a reasonable goal.
    With 3400 Bolts/month on average in the remaining 7 months of the year to reach 30K.
    Even to reach 20K, they’d have to sell >2000 per month…
    Both seem unlikely right now.

    1. BenG says:

      IMO, greater than 2,000/month Bolts sold the rest of the year will be no problem, though I agree that the 3400/month might be a stretch.

      Here we are in May selling 1,566 while the car isn’t even available in half the country and word is only just getting around that discounts are widely available.

      As inventory is still climbing despite $3-4k discounts being available, we can expect further discounting to move metal. Combine higher discounts, especially on 2017s later in the year when the 2018s are already on the lot, with the year end rush to lock in the federal tax credit, and I think we’ll see very substantial sales increases later this year.

      1. Adam H says:

        This. Thoughtful analysis.

        We’d all like to see more sales, but they are ramping slowly and building inventory and availability. Wouldn’t want to make a mistake on one of their most complicated and most hyped products ever. Also it’s the first affordable long range BEV from any manufacturer. There is a lot riding on this rollout…

  13. Lou Grinzo says:

    We won’t really have a good handle on steady state/”normal” Bolt sales until it’s available in all states AND there’s enough at dealers that people can buy one without a wait or having to settle for one in a color they hate or in the wrong trim level.

    But overall, I’m pleased with the sales of the Bolt, given the meager availability and the complete lack of ad support.

    The EV Singularity is still the Tesla 3 roll out. If Elon and his elves can manage that without undue supply or quality issues, then, as Doc told Marty in a movie we’ve all seen, “when this baby hits 88 MPH you’re gonna see some serious s***.”

  14. Terawatt says:

    Doesn’t GM respond to any questions from the press? Doesn’t anyone ask why so many people in so many countries who are waiting for their have to keep waiting, when inventory is climbing? Why didn’t GM modify the rollout plan when it’s so clear that there’s plenty of demand outside the US?

    I still think the Bolt can do well, including in the US. It’s a good car and it will give Chevrolet new customers and happy customers. I expect it to increase sales not only during the rollout, but after it’s gone nationwide as well, despite the considerably increased competition it will face. But I just can’t see any reason for GM not selling the car where the demand is, other than they don’t really want to sell more than a few.

    It’s consistent with their continued anti-EV lobbying at least. In fact, the only sense I can make of their behaviour is if they want to learn about EVs by making and selling a few, but no more than to be better prepared when they eventually become commercially important. That’s their right of course, but I wish someone at least put a little pressure on them to explain why South Korea, Canada, the EU, and Norway are all screaming for the car but not getting it in the numbers they would like, concurrently with GM making more than they sell in their home market.

    1. unlucky says:

      Why does anything think it’s strange that inventory is climbing. It’s available at more dealerships about every week. Dealers can’t sell what they don’t have.

      Yes, inventory is going to climb. The idea that it’s littering lots is just crazy though. Look at that video with the guy shopping at Quirk a couple days ago. A search right shows 123 vehicles at Quirk. But the salesman says they generally have only 3-4 at a time and sell most before they come in.

      It’s a long pipeline. It takes a month to get cars to dealers after they are built. And dealers list the cars on their sites that whole time they are in transit.

      There are Bolts in inventory in the US but there’s no indication they are just being stacked up like cordwood. They’re not really making more than they can sell.

      1. Someone out there says:

        Are they shipping them with horse and buggy? Why does it take them several months to ship a hunk of metal across a couple of states? Other goods only take a couple of days to ship whether they go by truck or train.

        1. unlucky says:

          They are shipping them by train. I didn’t say several months. I said a month. And a month is normal for shipping big stuff by train.

          There’s a reason UPS doesn’t ship stuff by train.

        2. ziv says:

          Cars get the VIN when they come out of the paint process and that is when the cars are assigned to their dealers. Imt takes a couple days to get to Quality Control, where the car sits for a couple days to a week waiting for the QC team to check it for fit, finish and flaws. Then it goes to shipping where it queues for loading onto the train or the truck.
          From paint to dealer lot takes around 3-4 weeks, though I have seen it take longer, back when I was really following Volt production.

  15. brendan says:

    bring the Bolt to Australia GM/Holden!!

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