Chevrolet Bolt – BMW i3 Killer? Tesla Fighter? LEAF Slayer? How ‘Bout Game Changer


General Motors CEO Mary Barra (left) and North America President Alan Batey with the Chevrolet Bolt

General Motors CEO Mary Barra (left) and North America President Alan Batey with the Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt

With the Chevrolet Bolt now confirmed for production, headlines like these are popping up everywhere:

Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept Takes on Tesla and Nissan LEAF

Chevrolet Bolt – A BMW i3 Competitor?

Chevy To Produce $30,000 Tesla-Fighting Bolt EV

You get the idea, right?

Basically, the headlines put the Bolt in competition with the BMW i3, Tesla Model 3, next-generation Nissan LEAF and so on.

But which electric cars will the Bolt actually compete against?  The simple answer is…none.

If General Motors can stick to its claimed figures for the Bolt, it will be in a league of its own.  Those claimed figures are:

  • Offer more than a GM-estimated 200 miles of range
  • Target price of around $30,000 (after $7,500 federal tax credit)
Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt

Nissan LEAF

We suspect that the Chevrolet Bolt will go on sale in the U.S. in October 2016.  Meanwhile, Nissan is unofficially targeting a Q1 2017 launch for its next-generation LEAF.  We predict that the Bolt’s expected price of $37,500 (before federal tax credit) could be undercut by as much as $7,500 by the next-gen LEAF, which we assume will have a range of 170 – 200 miles.

But the next-gen LEAF will be later to market, meaning that the Bolt will gobble up all sorts of sales before the LEAF arrives.  That’s fine, as the cheaper LEAF will still sell in volumes higher than the Bolt.  These 2 vehicles won’t directly compete due to a substantial price advantage for the LEAF.  Those willing to pay more for the Bolt will likely get more range and stronger all-around performance.  Those seeking to save cash will go for the LEAF.  These two vehicles will compliment each other. Got the cash?  Maybe spring for the Bolt.  Cash-strapped? Can’t go wrong with the LEAF.

BMW i3

At $5,000 to $10,000 more than the Bolt and with only 81 miles of range, the i3 is in no way a competitive vehicle to the Bolt.  Even if the i3 gets a light refresh prior to the launch of the Bolt, it won’t get a range increase that takes it anywhere near 200 miles.  We do expect to see the i3 get updated slightly soon, perhaps for Model Year 2017, but any range increase will only be slight.

Tesla Model 3

Does it exist?  We don’t know.  Elon Musk and Tesla says it does, or will…or something along those lines.

What we do know is that it won’t arrive on the market until late 2017 (or perhaps much later if Tesla’s past track record is any indication of what to expect moving forward).  Our guess is that the Model 3 will go on sale in 2018, with full production ramp up occurring in 2019 or 2020.  Range will certainly be in the 200-mile or more category.  Performance will easily outgun the Bolt, LEAF, i3, etc.  But pricing will be the issue.  A Model 3 with doors will likely be priced $10,000-plus more than the Bolt, making it a non-competitor.


If Chevrolet holds tight on its October 2016 timeline for start of production of the Chevrolet Bolt, it will be in a segment of 1 with no competition.  Question is, will Chevrolet produce enough to satisfy what will surely be a huge level of demand.  Currently, General Motors is putting annual production at 20,000 to 30,000 units after ramp up.  Honestly, we all know that won’t be nearly enough to meet demand.  Time to find out if we can start forming a line now.

Categories: BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla

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124 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt – BMW i3 Killer? Tesla Fighter? LEAF Slayer? How ‘Bout Game Changer"

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EV enthusiasts will love the Bolt, the rest will not. How big is the market for small minivan-looking cars made by GM?

My wife loves the Bolt, and swore she would never drive another mini-van……..

At least 30,000 a year. You could say the same for the Leaf and it sold 30,000 last year.

The Leaf sold over 60,000 worldwide last year.

I’m pretty sure the Bolt won’t sell that many annually, because GM has a strong disincentive to sell any EVs which would cut into their own market for gas guzzlers.

Even if GM wanted to, it doesn’t look like there will be sufficient additional li-ion battery supplies to make that many nominally 200 mile EVs.

Tesla remains the only manufacturer that’s “putting its money where its mouth is” in greatly increasing the available kWh supply of EV batteries, at least over the next two years. Even the three biggest battery makers together are only investing a relatively small fraction of the $5 billion Tesla is investing in the Gigafactory.

“GM has a strong disincentive to sell any EVs which would cut into their own market for gas guzzlers.”

One pundit says the American car manufacturers want EVs to fail for that reason and because their dealers make most of their money repairing ICE vehicles (of course the EV teams want them to succeed). That’s why they make no effort to advertise them or the available incentives. Nonetheless, for political reasons, they have to make an effort (and just in case they succeed, they don’t want to be left behind). Consumers could make EVs successful anyway, and, fortunately, Tesla and foreign manufacturers are leading the way.

I think the idea that manufacturers are worried about EVs hurting ICE sales is silly. So long as they don’t lose the sale to another manufacturer, it’s all good and serves their interests. As for dealers not making as much of of maintenance, that really isn’t the manufacturers’ concern.

What are sales if the Honda Fit, pretty good.

A minivan that only hold 4 people? The market is tiny.

The Bolt production vehicle will seat 5 it’s been officially repeated many times now.

You may want to look up a car category known as “mini-MPV”. More thasn 800,000 were sold in Europe last year (including a couple of BEV models).


GM sold over 240,000 Chevy Equinox’s last year. I think there is a good sized market for this vehicle.

I would have to believe the Bolt will not look much like the prototype. Too weird looking for mass appeal….

Buuut.. I’d still rather have an i3 Rex over a Bolt. The 80-ish miles is more than enough for my daily use and on those 2 or 3 times per year I need to go further than that I can use the Rex. And once we start talking about a long trip, no amount of EV range is going to beat a Rex in versatility and convenience.

Now as for the BEV version of the i3, I can see where the Bolt would be the better choice. But I’d never buy the BEV i3 anyway, I’d only get the Rex.

Maybe the European i3 version, the US limp mode won’t cut it. What you describe can only be done reliably by a Volt EREV.

But the most significant point is how well GM has covered their bases. Both Volt and Bolt are leading entries in their respective segments, at least for the moment.


“Both Volt and Bolt are leading entries in their respective segments, at least for the moment.”

Wait a second…Bolt is NOT even on sale yet, right? All GM has shown is a concept. How can it lead…today? And do you have a crystal ball on what the EV market is like in 2017? Mind you, GM did cancel other Volt’s alternative in the past, despite showing very well finished prototype.

And I really hate it when many GM Volt’s fan here, as well as InsideEVs editors/contributors, said, “Volt’s sales still #1” (most likely not the case by now). Human really have a short memory. Back in March 2011, there was a huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan, destroying many seaports (and vehicles at those seaports, quite a few LEAFs there too), power grid, factories, etc. In essence, there were about 6+ months of time when LEAF production/export was significantly constrained – the same period of time when EVs enthusiasts were buying, buying, buying. If it’s not because of the natural disaster, LEAFs cumulative sales would have been even higher than the current number!

I think we know enough so far, including capital spending, to say the Bolt is fully committed for production. No one else has made that kind of commitment for an affordable 200 mile BEV….so far.

As for the Leaf, it’s a great car and has a solid place in history. It also is a leader in the 80 mile category. But that category may fade away in the face of 200 mile BEVs, which is why there will likely be a 200 mile Leaf at some point. I look forward to that…..when the production commitment is made.

Try to be more positive! It’s a good time for EVs in general.

Nissan might not have publicly committed yet, but you’d have to be crazy to think that the next generation LEAF isn’t going to be competitive with the Bolt.

$38k car is not exactly affordable…

It is when you look at the TCO. Or, get a used one coming off lease. Or lease first, then buy, allowing you to lease/purchase over 7 years.

Sounds like you should just get a Next Gen Volt.


IMHO, i3 is Fugly.

Fugly and Efficient.
Two of these and a Solar home = $$$ savings.

Electric cars are not supposed to compete with other electric cars, but they are supposed to compete against ICE cars.

Of course traditional car manufacturers are trying to introduce electric cars into new demand category where families would buy electric cars as their second car for urban commuting. For example, BMW i3 sales do not cannibalize significantly BMW 3-series sales, because i3 was introduced into different market niche than where traditional BMW markets are.

Certainly Chevy Bolt aims to same markets as BMW i3. That market niche has the lowest threat to cannibalize GM’s ICE car sales and simultaneusly it is milking the maximum out of government incentives.

I disagree with the article
people WILL cross shop all if these vehicles because of the paucity of options in the EV world

I personally seriously considered the i3, Tesla, Volt, and Outlander PHEV as well as Leaf. I’ll end up with a Volt.

Next gen I’ll consider the offerings of all of these firms again.

The Bolt is doing what Tesla is great at. Upping the EV game

Unless gas prices stay cratered and CARB is repealed we’ll see each OEM up their game. They have to. My guess is that we’ll see I3 changes due to this. It’ll also put heat in Tesla.

2017 and 2018 are shaping up to be a great year for EVs

JRMW said:

“I disagree with the article[;] people WILL cross shop all if these vehicles because of the paucity of options in the EV world[.]”

Sure, some sales of any given EV model will be lost to other EV models. But with total plug-in EV sales being only about 1% of all car sales, most “lost” sales will be from gas guzzlers.

That’s why it’s a lot more important for EVs to be competitive with gas guzzlers than to be competitive with other EVs.

“A Model 3 with doors will likely be priced $10,000-plus more than the Bolt, making it non-competitor.”

I think the Model 3 will most likely be later than 2017 or more expensive than the $35k target. But both? 2018 and $47,500 seems pessimistic.

Is that Steve Carell to your right of Mary Barra?

What Bolt is … is anticompetetive trick.

Why buy 80miles range car now, when 200 miles car with same price is 2 years away?

TWO years as October date is PRODUCTION start -> hundreds of cars made -> nothing that can be sold at volume -> 2017Q1 will mark volume sales!

What’s the Model 3 then in your opinion? The hyper-superduper-anticompetetive trick?

At least we have seen the Bolt and NAIAS 2015 visitors could touch it…plus there are credible rumors for an early 2017 launch.

The Model3 on the oher hand doesn’t exist (well maybe as a CAD on Tesla’s computers) and no-one has seen it.

As the article states I doubt Tesla can/will launch the Model 3 before 2018 at the earliest with (global) volume production likely pushed back to 2019-2020.

And the same thing can be said about the 180 mile range Leaf. Is it just a trick too?

It the natural évolution in
Electric vic.from 800 dollars à kilowatts two 250
dollars , double thé batteriery for less .

uh, Tesla could design about 10 or 20 cars simultaneusly if it chooses to. Tesla’s capital potential is about half of that of BMW’s capital potential.

And Tesla’s capital potential is about ten times larger than Nissan Electric and BMW i-segment combined.

I agree $10,000 may as well be a different price realm, but how certain are we that Nissan won’t also be forced to tag its 170-200 mile car with a higher price? “Quick charge port” adds $6k, to a Leaf. People buying 170-200 miles of range will feel duped without it.

I see Leaf/Bolt going head to head.

Exactly. I haven’t seen any promises that the new Leaf with double or more range will be priced at the stripper Leaf S price.

Carlos has said thé next
leaf Would double thé range

Where do you get quick charge port adds 7k? Looks more like $1.7K OR 1700 bucks. Now I think it should just be a standard feature like it is on the Kia Soul EV and the Mitsubishi iMiev… but it ain’t 7000. I also agree that every EV should have the quickest charger available to make them more generally useful.

Of course, the biggest question mark here is the 800-pound gorilla in affordable BEV world: Nissan. Has no one noticed how closely they keep their cards close to hand? All they’ve indicated thus far, despite incessant pestering from press and customers, is that they have the technology, are likely to meet or beat anyone else on timing/volume/price of a new >150 mile design, and will choose the timing according to their own priorities. The Bolt definitely lights a fire under Nissan’s butt. But I will be very surprised to learn that Nissan does *not* have other jokers in that deck. For example, a higher-capacity battery with the same form factor as the current Leaf, thus enabling both longer-range trims for the 2016/7 model years using the current exterior design (both model years are before any plausible Bolt launch), and range-upgrades for older Leafs on the road. That, besides the Leaf 2. Right now we can only guess which of the two – Leaf 2 or Bolt – will get to market earlier and by how many months, but it will be close. Last but not least, despite both being BEVs, the Bolt is a 4-seat subcompact and the Leaf a… Read more »

I really hope Leaf changes its exterior styling. Or at least offers a new style along with the current polarizing one.

I am willing to bet the Bolt and next Leaf will debut close to one another. Nissan raced to get the Leaf out when the Volt was scheduled to arrive and it shows with their under engineered battery design (lacking BMS).

Actually the Leaf has, and always had, a BMS. I think you meant TMS. And I don’t think that’s what they sacrificed in the race to beat the Volt. Look at the improvements made to the 2013+ Leaf: Heat pump, more resilient battery chemistry, better integrated electronics. I think that’s what Nissan sacrificed. I don’t think they ever intended to have a TMS for their battery.

Remember, the reason the Leaf is so cheap is that Nissan skipped the thermal management system for the battery. That makes it a non-starter in my book, whether its range is 80 or 180.

Hard to say they rushed it… miscalculated is more like it… my guess… just a guess is that it was originally designed for milder climes… and then the decision was already made about battery chemistry. The models made for 2014 and on have been modified and have so far not shown the same problems. I have a july 2013 model that still has full battery capacity at 17 k miles and so far shows little signs of any quick decline. I occasionally use CHAdeMO quick chargers and use the car everyday… The lack of battery cooling has not been a problem. The few folks who bought earlier models and have seen bad degradation have had theirs replaced under warranty with the newer battery.


“Right now we can only guess which of the two – Leaf 2 or Bolt – will get to market earlier and by how many months, but it will be close.”

Nope. I’d bet money that the “double the range” Leaf won’t debut in 2016, and I have serious doubts about 2017. Car companies don’t “play their cards close to the vest” when they’re close to producing something. They brag about it to get all the publicity they can.

The Bolt will be a home run for GM. Thank you, Elon, for upping the game.

If they will stick to the high, unergonomic and small trunk door, the Bolt will be a no-go for everyone with children. Trunkspace looks also be much smaller, than in a Leaf.

What does the trunk door have to do with children?

Everything. I take it you don’t have any yourself because with children comes stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. For younger kids, strollers, pack-n-plays, diaper bags, etc. For older kids, there are toys, bikes, etc. With any age, there is a significant array of spare clothing to boot, particularly in winter.

Sounds like you are talking about storage. What does this have to do with the door?

You have to get bulky items in and out of that trunk somehow. What’s more, this design would make it nearly impossible for a small child to access the trunk themselves. All that said, I understand this is a concept car. I’m sure the production Bolt will be far more functional.

With the short production cycle of this thing, I’m not.

They can change door handles and slap a more mainstream interior in there, but there isn’t tons of time to redesign it from scratch and have this thing out the door in 2016, without having all kinds of quality issues pop up.

Sometimes, delays are good… 😉

that lift gate looks plenty big enough to get a stroller or bicycle into it. i mean, if you are talking really big items, you’re going to be looking at having to fold down at least one of the seats. if you need the rear bench and you need to carry a lot of stuff, you are probably better served with a minivan.

Trunks and children? Perhaps a question best left unanswered!

But seriously . . . the hatch size is probably dictated by the crash worthiness of the rear bumper and the size that would have to be on a vehicle of this size class.

I’ve always found the Leaf’s rear hatch to be somewhat restrictive in size, tapering to an envelope flap-like shape when it could have just as easily been so much wider where it meets the bumper. There’s also an awkward bump in the floors of the Leaf’s rear compartment to make room for the battery. You notice it most when you pull down the rear seats. Hopefully, this won’t be an issue on the Bolt.

Glad to see you’re back, Ben.

Looks fine for children to me.

It’s very tiresome when people get hung up on so many non-EV details. I dread they day when we have a 500 post article about cup holders.


That reminds me. They really need to move those rear cup holders in the 2016 Volt, don’t you think? 🙂

Another point, at the time the Bolt will be released, Nissan might sell off the current generation Leafs at discount to make room for the next generation.

I think 170 will be the top end range of the new Nissan Leaf. And even that might end up costing users more as an option, with a 125 mile “base” option.

The prices are spot on though – the Leaf will start at 30K before tax credits, and the Bolt will start at 30K *after* tax credits. Once you add in an extra $5,000 for that 50 miles extra range, it gets more competitive.

The Model 3 isn’t a competitor for either, because by the time Tesla starts to sell the base “$35,000” Model 3, it will be well into 2018 – and GM and Nissan will have been selling their products for more than 18 months, and can adjust pricing if necessary. Tesla also will not have any EV credits left by then either – they will likely have sold more than the 200,000 units by mid 2017.

Seems to me that all three (gm, nissan, tesla) will be in about the same boat regarding tax credits in mid 2017. Probably about 50,000 left if the program isn’t changed before then.

That is a good point. The bill was worded so that the tax credits don’t disappear immediately after the 200,000th car is delivered, though.

” The credit begins to phase out for vehicles at the beginning of the second calendar quarter after the manufacturer produces 200,000 eligible plug-in electric vehicles… ”

So if GM/Nissan delivers the 200,000th electric car in March 2017, they get one answer, i.e. the full tax credit goes away at the end of June 2017 and the $3750 credit will be available for 6 months after that. But if they deliver the 200,000th electric car in April 2017, their customers will get the full tax credit until the end of September 2017. Or, that is how I read it.

My guess is that Nissan will rush to get out ahead of the Bolt soon. The best plan I could imagine is an immediate production change to the denser battery chemistry they have to have in their labs… in the existing car. Push its range to a rated 120 to 140 miles. Sell it with the 2016 models and as a replacement for the same 6500 the current one costs. That takes care of all the folks with existing cars and sells off the current models.

Then… stretch it or whatever… bring out a Leaf with at least 190 to 220 rated miles. If it costs 35 to 50k loaded it should do fine… and go head to head with the Tesla Model S60 which is rated 208 and costs over 60k. Better make it roomy and crisp looking too to go head to head with Tesla. Maybe a redesign of the Infinity model you were prepping with existing Leaf powertrain.

However it happens… it’s really getting interesting. Somebody pass me the popcorn!

oops… I meant $6500 battery… very unclear… these streams of conscience can have strange eddys.

Plus one , give me thé coke

Uh, the Leaf & S60 have very little in common besides both being BEVs.
Forget range — the Model S is two size classes larger, RWD vs FWD, seating capacity, cargo capacity, performance… EV choice is expanding, and within a year I doubt anyone will be cross shopping a Leaf with the S.

If Nissan decides they need a Model-S competitor, it’ll be an entirely different model. It’ll happen eventually (probably badged Infiniti…), but not necessarily by 2017.

Model 3 with doors, “auto” transmission, infotainment system, power windows,power locks, keyless entry,AC, heat,200+ EPA Miles will be priced no higher than the Bolt. Ergo Chevy dealers will be forced to reduce actual asking price. And it will be here in 2nd half of 2017.

Tesla just announced a “less adventurous” design for Model 3 1.0 to desrisk the schedule. No “falcon wing doors” or some other manufacturing enigma to solve. Gigafactory is on schedule. No mention yet where GM will get batteries for 25k plus Volts and 25k plus Bolts.

If LEAF is 30k with 160 plus EPA miles Bolt is toast. I just really doubt it. More like a $5k premium for the big battery.

If i3 does not match BEV range of Bolt and LEAF it is toast despite protestations of BMWistas and pledge to keep buying i3s.

You don’t need a gigafactory for 25k Volts and 25k Bolts. Really, the cells are a non-issue. They’ve got 18 months to ramp up a modest increase in supply.

I like the Tesla “inspired” door handles on the prototype. Anyone think those will make it to production on initial release? 😉

I hope they don’t. One more thing to go wrong. KISS.

That’s what worries me. I’d hate to see GM pull another “Volt”, and release a radically altered, yet more conservative design than they’re currently generating media buzz with.

I love electric vehicles. Heck, I got 2 (BEVs). Honestly speaking though, and imho (with a lot of guessing – educated, I hope), Bolt will be a sales failure once it’s gone through the EV enthusiasts crowd. Hear me out. The biggest market for EVs currently – Georgia and California. By the time the Bolt is released, it’s likely that incentives in Georgia will be gone, thus making BEVs much less attractive to own or lease. Even if it’s still there, the high MSRP will mean a much more expensive lease payment (not counting fire sales of Nissan LEAF 2012 or Volt in around same time period). A $40K vehicle has a lease price of roughly $400/month (plus tax when applicable), with a roughly $2500 down payment, plus all those dealership fees (based on historical data of 2011/12 LEAF and Volt)…that’s a far cry from the super popular $2000 or less down payment (plus whatever fees), $199 or less plus tax (when applicable) currently on LEAF, 500E, Focus, etc. Just as important – those $ #s are for well-qualified buyers. In CA, a lot of you are missing 1 importantly thing: SALES TAX, almost 10% in many metro cities. A… Read more »

Your prices seem inflated. What about all the people that will trade in their Leafs and upgrade to a cheap Bolt lease with over double the range?

“Your prices seem inflated.” Did I inflate the “predicted” MSRP of $37500? Or the dealership fees (delivery fee, license, documents, etc.) of roughly $2000 in a transaction? And I did specifically use CA (1 of the hottest EV sales state) for the tax rate, correct? “What about all the people that will trade in their Leafs and upgrade to a cheap Bolt lease with over double the range?” Cheap Bolt lease? Has such figure been released? And what makes you think that people will trade in their LEAFs, instead of keeping them or waiting for the next LEAFs (recall their highest LEAF loyalty number just several days ago?)? Crystal Ball? As I’ve stated, LEAFs current sales exploded due to its cheap price (lease, and incentives like that in Georgia). What makes you think that, the same people I’m referring to – EV enthusiasts excluded, will suddenly go up to a higher price category for A VEHICLE (not just EVs)? If what you are saying is true (trading in a LEAF to a Bolt), then the same should have applied to, say, Corolla to Prius sales, or Cruze to Volt sales, or Civics to Accord (PHEV) sales (or a combination of… Read more »

You kept referring to the Bolt as a $40k vehicle. It’s $37.5K. The leasing company gets the $7.5 tax credit in a lease (and any other tax credits). So you’d be leasing a $30K or less vehicle.

A lot of BEVs are leased now. Thus, there will be a lot of people already savvy to EVs ready to upgrade when it’s available. Most people that drive EVs want more range. That’s a big incentive. This isn’t even counting gasser conquest sales. A lot of people have been holding off on buying a BEV because the range just didn’t cut it. With 200 miles, that really opens the window (for all those that can’t afford a Tesla).

Unless there is incentives, or dealer discount (or both), there’s no way on Earth here in the US you can drive this vehicle out of the dealer’s lot @ $37.5K. It IS a $40K vehicle. Ok, maybe $39,995. Strike that. It is a MORE THAN $40K vehicle in most US states. You are ignoring those delivery charges and dealership fees. They aren’t cheap, you know? And unless you are living in 1 of those tax free states for vehicle sales, you have to pay sales tax! That’s also not cheap, you know, especially in California where most EVs are sold (except Georgia). I used CA & GA because these are the 2 states where most BEVs are sold. That’s most likely what GM would be using as reference sales data. Obviously there’s some round up here. Price is NOT final, so it’s impossible to say, it’s exactly $40K. Let’s give it benefit of the doubt – $39-40K + tax, when applicable. Again, I’m not here to debate the details of the lease, because this vehicle isn’t even available at this point. The lease payment I used – $2500 down /$400 per month plus tax (estimation based on 11/12 LEAFs and… Read more »

Londo Bell said:

“You are ignoring those delivery charges and dealership fees. They aren’t cheap, you know?”

Now you’re just moving the goal posts after you’ve lost the argument. -Every- car has fees added on by the dealer. (Well, except Tesla, which doesn’t sell thru dealers.)

Let’s please stick to comparing MSRPs. Otherwise, you’re just doing a bait-and-switch argument, using an apples-to-oranges comparison.

My Volt sticker was $39,900 … after all incentives … I paid $22,900 in Dec of 2012.
The car has performed flawless.
Much better than expected…
No going back.

I like your analysis. Down to earth and mostly well-thought-out. The one problem I have is when you talk about Volt sales. I don’t think Volt sales are poor because of the qualities of the car. I think it has more to do with the Volt getting beaten up from both the left and the right in the early years, and GM more or less giving up on it in the later years. Inventories are very low. Marketting is practically non-existent. And dealers have not been pushing the Volt.

Talk about sales…What about the Volt being kept out of all major markets with huge non-tariffs… can’t say tariff because they will say there are no tariffs in other countries… but if you want to buy one in Japan it will cost you $80,000. Even in Canada it will cost you $10,000 more.. our buddies.

keep in mind that you pay for cars in local currency. so when you see the price of a Volt in canada, that price is in *canadian* dollars and not in US dollars. a US dollar is worth about 1.25 canadian dollars. so you would reasonably expect the nominal price of a Volt in canada to be higher than the nominal cost of a Volt in the US.

Londo Bell:

Your argument appears self-contradictory. First you say that EVs will fail to sell because the $7500 tax rebate will expire for EV makers making a lot of EVs, and then you say that most don’t qualify for that level of rebate.

Let’s remember that when there is a -valid- purpose for a tax rebate on products using new tech, that purpose is to “prime the pump” to stimulate production in early adopter years. When EVs become fully competitive with gas guzzlers, they won’t need any rebate to compete. Now, I’m not saying we’ve reached that point yet, but arguably if those nominally “200 mile” EVs are built to be compelling, competitive cars, then the need for rebates will be at least substantially lessened, if not gone completely.

What’s your guess for a A Model 3 without doors?

That was my question! Seriously, someone get this guy an editor.

Perhaps the will have a Fantasy Island option Model 3

Seems to me that recently InsideEVs improved the grammar and spelling in many or most of their articles, but clearly more improvement in that area is still needed. Here’s hoping they hire a copy-editor, or another one if they already have one.

I took that as a facetious way of referring to a base model.

The best information we have says that the Bolt will go into production in 10/2016, so I would be shocked to see it hit dealerships in anything but token quantities before 1/2017. And the best info on the Leaf 2.0 is that it will ship in early 2017, so there’s really not much of a gap, even assuming that Nissan doesn’t accelerate their plans by a few months. I want to strongly agree with the comment someone made upthread about people cross-shopping brands for an EV. I did that in 2013 before I settled on a Leaf, and I will certainly do it — I already am — before I terminate my lease likely this summer. (I just recently extended it.) For me and a lot of other EV drivers, EV/non-EV is a much brighter line in the sand than is brand X/brand Y. I’ve had some horrid experiences with GM products, so I doubt I could convince both myself and my wife to get a Bolt, no matter how good the reviews look and how well a test drive went. But if the Bolt does indeed light fire under Nissan’s butt and we get a slightly better or cheaper… Read more »

I agree about having to convince my wife… after what they personally did to me over a defective Geo Metro and the killing of the EV1 debacle… and the destruction of the ‘New Dealer model one price sales” of Saturn… I find it hard to trust them also. I am hopeful that Ms Barra can overcome the entrenched, old, stupid, GM forces of evil, and make it a decent company again.

I also agree about it lighting a fire under Nissan. This is Carlos Ghosn’s big chance to steal GM’s thunder. They are getting loads of great press out of this… If Nissan is able to inline a denser battery optionally into the current LEAF line and at least meet the range and price of the Bolt with the new Leaf line in late 2016 The GM option will be riskier based on the Nissan EV leadership in this market.
If Nissan also releases the eNV200 minivan in cargo, 5 and 7 passenger models (yes I know the back row is tiny… but that hasn’t stopped Tesla from claiming 7 seats in Model S) to the US market with somewhat higher density batteries… the game will be on. How about that E-NV200 RV? RV parks all have enough voltage to overnight a battery. Nice place to rest too while charging.

let it go with this EV1 stuff already! this is about as bad as that stupid “remember the alamo” nonsense that texASS people like to prattle on about…

“We predict that the Bolt’s expected price of $37,500 (before federal tax credit) could be undercut by as much as $7,500 by the next-gen LEAF, which we assume will have a range of 170 – 200 miles.”

Do you have anything to back up this bold prediction on price, since it’s the premise of the entire article?

“Currently, General Motors is putting annual production at 20,000 to 30,000 units after ramp up. Honestly, we all know that won’t be nearly enough to meet demand.”

Really? What exactly do you expect the demand to be? You think 30,000 per year won’t be nearly enough to meet demand when the next-gen LEAF will be undercutting it by as much as $7,500, and the next-gen Volt will also be on sale?

sven asked: “What exactly do you expect the demand to be? You think 30,000 per year won’t be nearly enough to meet demand when the next-gen LEAF will be undercutting it by as much as $7,500, and the next-gen Volt will also be on sale?” I certainly don’t think it will be anywhere near sufficient to meet demand, if the Bolt really is gonna be a BEV with real-world range of 150+ miles. If Tesla thinks it has a market for 500,000 cars a year, most of which will be the “200 mile” Model ≡, then it’s not reasonable to think that GM couldn’t sell at least 100,000 a year of -its- nominally 200-mile BEV… if GM really wanted to. But of course, they don’t at all want to. They want to sell gas guzzlers, not EVs. If you think doubling range from the nominally 100 mile Leaf to the nominally 200 mile Bolt would not exponentially increase demand… then think again. Exceeding that 100 mile psychological barrier that most new car buyers have, which prevents them from seriously considering any current EV (except the Model S), will go a long way towards more interest in buying EVs. Remember, 99%… Read more »

Your continual refrain: “GM doesn’t want to sell EVs, just gas guzzlers” only shows how little you know about GM and business in general.

As if the billion dollars they’ve invested in electrification is merely a smokescreen, an expensive diversion to the ‘real truth’ as you have exposed to us all.

Anyways, that GM doesn’t sell cars to consumers – they sell to dealers – makes your anti-GM claim totally trollworthy.

I’m really interested to see what Nissan, BMW, VW and possibly Mitsu announce in the next 6 months. I believe there is a huge market for this vehicle, but by 2017 GM will not be lonely in this ‘niche’.
I predict a 150mile+ (50kWh) Leaf and i3 by mid 2016 and Golf by late 2016.

Much like Volt 2.0, you aren’t likely to see/hear anything on LEAF 2.0 until Nissan is within 4-5 months of production, so as to not bastardize/undermine current sales…unless of course something “leaks” out unintentionally. With the Bolt, GM has nothing to undermine by announcing it today, so GM can say “Tada, here is a great car everyone…that will be delivering in two years” No one is going to hold off on a Impala sale waiting on the Bolt. Really announcements such as this just put pressure on all the existing plug-ins on the market, and aren’t necessary a reflection of a particular advantage that an OEM will have when it comes to market, it is mostly just an announcement that they will be participating in the segment. Just given the way product cycles/lead times work, everyone knows Nissan already has a fully modeled/mechanically functional version (or 20) of the 2017/2018 next gen LEAF completed already and is working on the mechanics of the tool-up now…but given the stated advancements that are coming to the industry in next gen offerings, they would be crazy to announce/show it now. Quite honestly, the thing that excites me the most about this product (Bolt)… Read more »

Probably true, but conversely GM has every reason to want those interested in purchasing one, to think that a relatively affordable electric vehicle with 200 miles of range is coming to market late in 2016. Just one of many reasons I don’t think it will. Maybe late 2017 would more reasonable.

Jay Cole said:

“Much like Volt 2.0, you aren’t likely to see/hear anything on LEAF 2.0 until Nissan is within 4-5 months of production…”

That’s an interesting point. The Volt 2.0 is supposed to go on sale in October of this year; when will it (by your yardstick) enter production?

I guess it depends on what you consider true start of production (ie – turning on, or a finished product sitting in the pen waiting for allocation), but Dham should be spitting out cars by mid summer.

it may be exciting to you that GM introduced a separate model for the BEV, but from a marketing perspective it is a more expensive way to go, so it would be easier to have an EV version of an existing car. although another benefit of a separate model is that it reduces confusion about which “version” you want. i mean, you see the Chevrolet Spark being widely sold but that doesn’t mean that the Spark EV is widely sold. in the case of the Bolt, i will not be introduced simultaneously in all 50 states as would a new ICE; i would expect the initial markets to be california, washington, texASS and georgia; so this would lead to confusion if the Bolt had the same name as an ICE that would be initially sold in all 50 states.

at this stage, though, the confusion is not really a big deal because the current size of the *EV market is so small compared to the overall automotive segment.

another reason for a separate model is to the extent that you can build a better EV as a ground-up project than you can by adapting an existing car.

As was alluded to the really interesting option will the be the next Leaf and i3.

For the Leaf having an 80mile version that is priced identical or only $1-2K more than the Versa will be killer. Yes lots of people would like the larger version to do 150mi highway trips but a genuinely affordable low range leaf will open up a lot of doors.

On the i3 side, I really hope they do decide to put batteries in the space where the range-extender currently sits. Because getting it up to a 120mil range would again, lower the barriers to buying it.

Yes… a drop in battery in place of the REX would be a fantastic idea… don’t understand why BMW didn’t offer it with initial release… packaged correctly they might make it 24 to 30kWh… give that range a big boost… it will certainly need it against these newcomers.

Tesla Model 3 will be at a lower price than the Bolt. Tesla is pricing their Model 3 without any government rebate near $30,000 while the Bolt will cost close to $40,000 without government rebate. The Bolt might come out first, but they will be in limited numbers like maybe a few thousand for 2016 and 20,000 for 2017 if they come out on time. In comparison, the Tesla Model 3 will sell tens of thousands in 2017 and ramp up to hundreds of thousands in 2-3 years. They will be faster, safer, more reliable, more advanced, and longer lasting with better support than any other car at that price point.

Elon reiterated $35,000 recently.

People are making too much of the apparent price disparity in any case. These cars are both still many months away. Price is the easiest thing to adjust. I don’t think GM’s $37.5k is any firmer than Tesla’s $35k.

Plus, it remains to be seen what Tesla can do at a mass-market price point. I hope you’re right about that, though.

That’s a 6.5% difference, which isn’t very significant. Esp. given that the actual intro date for the Model 3 is completely unknown, as is the standard equipment which will be offered, EV-related and otherwise.

Price also depends a lot on manufacturing cost, and BEVs have one very large line item: The battery.
It’ll be interesting to see Tesla with the Gigafactory will be able to drive prices down more than GM, which will be relying (presumably) on the traditional automotive outside-supplier paradigm.

I think the i3 can get it’s range doubled. The rex-space offers room for a secondary battery compartment. Combine that with more potent cells and you ahould be able to almost double the range.

80milish EV-sales could get hurt in general with the aperance of 200milish EVs – unless they get really cheap 🙂 But I also think that 30000 a year wouldn’t nearly be close to demand.

I like that picture of Mary and Alan Batey. The last article had that photo as a teaser at the top of the home page but when we got to the article it wasn’t there any more.

I was a little unsure about Mary at the beginning as far as being EV supportive but she appears to be pro EV.

BTW Mark Reuss gave a great talk session with the reporters at Detroit auto show and there’s some interesting little tid bits in it.

1) The production tooling is ready to go
2) The concept car seats may be kept in the production version
3) The battery tech is already done and on the table
4) The Bolt will use some of GM’s latest weight lightening tech in the form of multiple materials and bonding.
5) The Bolt will have 5 seats.

Still waiting for
6) access to national network of fast chargers spaced along major travel routes.
This would be huge. But will GM go there?

GM would not be operating such a network, but i could easily seem them going into a partnership with a third party that would operate such a network.

Lol @ the front end, so much excess space. i hate “tall” vehicles

You’re gonna hate the Model X then. You may find it looking like a inflated, potbellied Model S.

Only with a 3-phase AC TYP2 onboard charger it will be a game changer in Europe. 11kw or 22kw AC ist a MUST for Europe. Even a SMART ED can charge with 22kw AC. Without that the Bolt can not access thousands of 22kw AC stations. CCS is btw a must also, but please with 100kw.

Well, they could offer a dual or triple 3,6 kw charger option for 7,2 kw or 10,8 kw and tie it to your, how you say? Type 2 Mennekes Plug?

But its more likely you’ll here GM say that the 16 amp 3.6 kw charger they’ve chosen meets stringent requirements in Switzerland and Italy, and if you need more you are to go to the MEGACHARGING filling station on the corner where you can charge up 500 km in 2 minutes.

Now hopefully they don’t have the exact same answer with the BOLT, and implement a plan similar to the one above which satisfies your 11 kw requirement/desire.

Oh sorry, I thought we were talking about the VOlt compared to the BOlt. I’m easily confused.

These mileage claims (from all the manufacturers) are a bunch of BS until there is an EPA rated range and a TW** range test at 60 MPH. Remember that Nissan is still advertising the Leaf as a 100 mile BEV, a range that only a few–in mild climates and with a very gentle foot–can attain.

** Tony Williams

Tony’s range test on the Spark EV exceeded GM’s advertised range figures. It handily beat the LEAF’s results which were substantially lower than their 100 mile advertised claims.

Volt owners easily surpass the EPA’s 38 mile EV range figure except in severe cold weather.

I think GM can be believed as much as any manufacturer can be when it comes to what they say regarding range.

I am excited GM plans to make a “200 mile EV” that isn’t riding on a converted ICE platform, but as many stated, that car appears to be a non-starter for anyone with children. Our LEAF works fine for our small family, but anything smaller won’t work. (Not to mention I would fear for my kids’ safety in anything smaller.)

I would love a 150 mile Leaf, maybe slightly larger with considerably better looks for a couple grand more than I paid for my 2013.

I know personally one of the things that will influence my decision is the availability of Level 3 DC rapid chargers. I drive a Volt now and 99% of the time I don’t need more than the 40 miles in the pack. But that 1% I might need to drive 200-400 miles in a day. The Volt makes that possible.

Once the lease is up on my Volt I would LOVE to go fully electric. But to make that happen I would need some vehicle capable of rapid charging. I would assume that the Bolt would come with the SAE Combo Charger for Level 3 charging. Yet when I look on map for SAE Combo Chargers it’s still pretty slim. I am REALLY interested in this car for many reasons, but I fear a Nissan Leaf may be in my future due to the CHAdeMO lead in installations.

Assuming for a moment that Tesla’s Model 3 were to be an equivalent vehicle with the Bolt, GM might well be able to price the Bolt below that of the Model 3, but it is unlikely that GM will be able to produce it at comparable cost.

Tesla is following the SpaceX model of eliminating costly middlemen wherever they possibly can, bringing as much development and manufacturing as is feasible in house. Their entire business plan for the Model 3 is built on controlling cost, and with their Giga Factory investment Tesla appears to be going all in, but costs will
determine pricing.

For GM, the Bolt is an investment in its corporate future and they can offset program costs against the goodwill generated, reduced CARB levies, and as a R&D
project that will yield intellectual property capital for their entire business going forward.

GM may be able to price the Bolt below an equivalent offering from Tesla but I doubt it will be because they developed superior technology or executed better
than Tesla.

It’s Yankee’s vs. A’s and I’m rooting for Tesla!

People are funny. The Bolt is a compliance car and will only sell in California and Atlanta. It’s ugly, and the only thing new it brings to the table is a longer range. By the time it comes out, there will be other players with the same or close enough range. Hopefully they won’t look like crap.

So do you like it?

i think that the initial markets will be west coast states, texASS and georgia.

i see the Bolt as a kind of EV halo car, one to bring publicity and bragging rights; but the real action for GM will be in PHEVs. so i don’t expect to see a lot of other BEVs from GMs.

the other problem with the Bolt, is that people will see that it will sell at a premium relative to the Volt. so even those who are inclined toward purchasing an EV will have to decide whether they are willing to pay a premium to get more EV range. so i would expect a large part of the customer base for the Bolt will be EV enthusiasts.

I think if you have a 200 mile range EV go up angst a 80 mile EV and the 200 mile EV is a few thousand less it’s going to do some heavy damage to BMW. Also the Nissan leaf is going to get thrown around like a cow boy on a angry bull if they think they can keep selling the 80 mile leaf while the 200 mile one comes to market.

Me personally the fact the GM 200 mile range EV can go 200 miles I’m willing to buy it new then buy a used low range EV. In that the 200 mile EV can pretty much meet all of my long distant trip needs.

“But which electric cars will the Bolt actually compete against? The simple answer is… none.”

Uh-oh. Don’t you InsideEVs guys know that in this modern era, actual news has been replaced with infotainment, and the purpose articles is to highlight extreme positions and/or create conflict even where none actually exists?

You’re gonna get thrown out of the Journalism Club!


Bolt will compete against other $40k cars. I cross-shopped Camaro and Challenger when I leased Volt. I didn’t cross-shop anything when I upgraded to ELR.

Conclusion: GM has a lifetime customer.

I shall believe it when I see it! 200 miles of range and ‘affordable’ price and all. MW