Chevrolet Bolt EV Debuts With 579 Sales In December, But Volt Steals The Show With Record 3,691 Deliveries

JAN 4 2017 BY JAY COLE 106

A new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV hits the lot and immediately heads back out with a customer at Rydell Chevrolet in California (via Bro1999)

A new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV hits the lot and immediately heads back out with a customer at Rydell Chevrolet in California (via Bro1999)

The time has finally arrived!

Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept debuted in January 2015

Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept debuted in January 2015 in Detroit (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

Two years after its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (or Detroit Auto Show if you will), the Chevrolet Bolt EV arrived…on time and on budget, with the first deliveries of GM’s 238 mile EV happening on December 13th in the San Francisco Bay area (details).

For the month, 579 Chevrolet Bolts were moved in December.  A decent amount considered the limited selling time, but still a bit of the historical debut record – which was set in November by the Toyota Prius Prime, logging 781 sales.

But pulling itself out of the shadow of the Bolt EV and back into the limelight with a HUGE, record setting month was the Chevrolet Volt.

For December, the “best selling” plug-in for America set a new personal best, selling 3,691 copies, which was up 75% from the 2,114 sold in December of 2015.

Once again..that is 3,691 copies.  That is a lot of extended range plug-ins to be sure.

In total, 24,739 Volts were sold for the full year (up 61% overall), eclipsing the model’s previous yearly best, set back in 2012 when 23,461 were sold.  The previous best monthly result for the Volt was 3,351 sold way back in August of 2013.

Hey remember me? I'm that drab gray vehicle off to the side of the Bolt EV!

Hey remember me? I’m that drab-colored gray vehicle off to the side of the Bolt EV, that has only sold like ~110,000 copies in the US so far and an astounding 3,691 in December!

InsideEVs reader Brian's Bolt EV (Bro1999) getting set to be delivered. (One can also follow his adventure son his Bolt EV blog here)

InsideEVs reader Brian’s Bolt EV (Bro1999) getting prepped for delivery. (One can also follow his adventure son his Bolt EV blog here)

Normally during sales reports we would update the inventory situation, but as one might expect on the Bolt EV, almost all new stock is either spoken for upon arrival or shortly thereafter; although we do note at time of press that a couple California dealers do have some unallocated units…so if you want one bad enough (and right now), make some phone calls.

Not in California or Oregon and looking for a Chevy Bolt EV?  Here is GM’s roll-out schedule:

  • EVs are currently in transit to California and Oregon
  • a number of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia will see first deliveries this winter (late January/February)
  • Bolt EVs arrive at dealerships in additional major metro markets across the US throughout the first half of 2017
  • nationwide at all certified dealers mid-2017

Also of interest in the “random quirky fact” category, a few remaining Cadillac ELRs (3) and Chevrolet Spark EVs (17) were sold out of remaining inventory (both plug-ins are now discontinued), making December the first month GM has sold 4 different models of electric vehicles…only the 3rd OEM to be able to boast such a feat.


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106 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt EV Debuts With 579 Sales In December, But Volt Steals The Show With Record 3,691 Deliveries"

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While Cat’s away …The Mice will Play ! …..Just Wait & see what happens When the model 3 Ramps up production .

I think Tesla is going to have a very nice month of December. I just wish the III was going to be here sooner rather than later. I don’t think Tesla is going to be able to ramp up III production as quickly as the fans wish, but I know they will deliver a great car in decent numbers a long time before the FUD’sters are saying they will.

Electric cars are going out with a bang for 2016. 2017 will be even better but 2018 is going to be phenomenal!

9,725 Teslas sold in December! Woohoo! That is a GREAT month! I may be a Volt guy, but Tesla is doing really well!

I just bought my Bolt last month, I plan to keep it 3 to 4 years in anticipation of purchasing a tesla next. The Bolt is amazing so far, I love it.

You still don’t get it. Elon Musk is the innovator of this current century. He will be remembered for pushing the industries toward a Greener future. I am 100% sure that car manufacturers wouldn’t be pushing this hard to outdo a small startup if his impact in the world was not noticed. His agenda is to push green energy. I hope that Chevy does a good job. I hope that other automakers do a good job. It remains to be seen how they handle their customers that buy their vehicles. In the past major manufacturers of vehicles have poor track records for service and relations to their customers. This is not the case in Tesla.

I am a EV fan, have had one for 3+ years, but please be realistic = Musk is using green to make green, a lot of green. He saw an opportunity to use a social movement to profit – yes I am bit jealous, but he is not a savior.

Did Musk make a lot of money? Citation, please.

He risked all of his fortune on this gamble, but it has not paid off yet. It may still do so, but Tesla’s financial fate hangs on the success of the Model 3. It’s conceivable that Musk could lose all of his money.

As to his motives, you and I can only speculate.

Yes he made a lot of money. We found out for certain in reference to his divorce settlement.

Is this a bad thing? Does he get bonus points for being a monk?

And meanwhile, how much pollution does Musk spew with each SpaceX launch? Pretty sure the sun of his company emissions, even with Tesla and the emissions they dave, are net overall very polluting.

No, those Falcon rocketss use the same jet fuel as airplanes for the first stage, and hydrogen in the second stage. So they don’t “pollute”. Airplanes fly every day and no one cares about their “pollution”.

That Falcon first stage is reuseable. So SpaceX is recycling their rockets. Boeing and the others don’t recycle their rockets.

Rennie Allen said:

“Another deluded teslarati…”

Oh come sir, I think you picked a poor example. — Col. Pickering, My Fair Lady

Damn! Best Volt sales ever! Even though it was basically drowned out by Bolt news. Impressive.

Maybe a lot of would-be Bold buyers came in – could not find the Bolt but said — hey this Volt ain’t so bad…….

Come for the Bolt, leave with a Volt?
Piqued by the Prime, considered the Volt?
Leaf lessees?
Prius dumpers?
Plug-in consideration creep?
Large incentives?

Whatever the reason, I think it’s really positive news.

Another possible effect: Trump-troubled tax credit takers?

I hope that’s not the case… That could mean poor plug-in sales in 2017.

Eduardo Pelegri-LLopart

Wait! Are you pointing out that the Volt / Bolt name mess was actually a brilliant marketing plot?



Perhaps we’ve “misunderestimated” GM’s marketing division. 😉

Way to go Bro. Congrats on your Bolt!!

Thanks. Still needs to make it to MD though. With the luck I’ve had so far, it’ll fall off the truck or something. 😮

No ferry to MD, right?

Don’t say that! My 2011 Volt, #173 off the line, had a “mishap” at the dealer just hours before I was supposed to drive a few hours to get it. Dented a couple doors that needed to be repainted, rage!

So basically, since all Bolts, outside of the initial 3 in the GM PR stunt, were not delivered to dealers until after Christmas, 576 Bolts sold in less than 7 days.

Or pretty much every Bolt delivered to dealers. Not too shabby.

I had a feeling Chevy would take advantage of the Bolt hype and limited availability to sell more Volts.

The Bolt will not be cannibalizing Volt sales any time soon. And not a bad Bolt debut either! Over 4,000 sales this month for chevy EVs… Good things ahead!

That’s what I was going to post. So much for Bolt EVs stealing sales from the Volt.

The Bolt EV stole sales from other EVs, and probably from frustated Model 3 reservations, too.

Wow, best year since 2012 (when I bought my Volt!). Lets hope for 30k Volts and 30k Bolts for next year. Volts should be easy, Bolts harder due to lack of nationwide distribution.

That said, I’ll be spending my Friday at the dealer for “Service high voltage charging system”, 4x in almost five years I’ve had a HV problem (either battery or charging system).

Isn’t that sometimes caused by a faulty EVSE (the wall “charger”)? I had one that amounted to a contractor, and a day for my ’13.

I got GM’s annual flier yesterday, for GM Card holders. The allowance on the Volt doesn’t look like it is up from its usual 2-2.5k, which is another good sign they’re moving along. OTOH, $5,000 on Corvette.

Not really, I’ve had three different chargers and its thrown that error on all three at various points. It is sometimes related to coolant levels, but mine look OK as far as I can tell (maybe I’m reading it wrong). Maybe its a sensor that throws errors randomly. Though after 8 years and my EV system warranty is up I will either have to spring for the device to clear the codes myself, or just trade it in for a Model 3.

Wow. I honestly didn’t expect more than 100 sales for the Bolt given the late sales start. I’m guessing if they didn’t have weather-related delays for the trains to CA that Bolt would have easily beaten the Prime’s first month.

Perhaps we should be ranking first month of sales in terms of sales per selling day, rather than just “first month” overall numbers. 😉

Amazing Volt numbers too, a great month for Plug-ins!!

Is Seattle included in the “major metro markets” of the third stage? Is there a list anywhere?


And good on the Volt! It’s a great car that GM didn’t market properly during its Gen 1.
Hopefully this has changed, and with the Bolt hitting the streets perhaps it will benefit from a coattails/framing effect, along the lines of “Ok, plunging full-electric is perhaps too much for me, but this might be a more cautious choice…”

Btw, our neighbor after looking at new Volts in 2012-3 and not liking dealer attitudes/prices, is now in the market for a used 2013 Volt; pretty determined to get one.

I don’t know about Seattle, but the largest Volt dealer in the Dallas area seems to have just gotten some Bolt EV selling materials. I have to think that Seattle Volt dealers can’t be too far behind.

I’ve been tracking Bolts listed for sale in Autotrader. At least one dealer has over 70 Bolts listed for sale (in transit) but there are no dealers in Washington state advertising the Bolt. There are a few dealers in Oregon advertising the Bolt if you want a Bolt bad enough to drive over the state line.

Hey Jay, how many “selling days” did the Prime have in November versus the Bolt in December? That would be a pretty telling number, I would think, in terms of gauging interest in each.

Good news for Chevy and electric cars in general!
Just 138 Bolts and around 5200 Volts in North American inventory, so the demand for the Bolt is outstripping the supply so far. And the Volt is doing really well now that inventory has stayed fairly high and more people have heard about it.
I have a feeling Tesla is going to have a very nice December as well, so 2016 ended on a very positive note!

Heard of some pretty crazy Volt deals. Like $5k off MSRP before any incentives applied.

That made ~$200/month, $0 down Volt leases possible in CA. And that’s before counting the Costco money or CA rebate.

That is almost better news than a one month report on sales that looks good. If GM can build Volts profitably enough that they can have dealers discount them to that degree, then GM is making enough money on each Volt that they have a decent incentive to push the Volt and maybe even to reduce the MSRP next year so that more people will think they really CAN afford a Volt.

And to think, I was proud of my $333 a month, no down, lease back in June of 2013… LOL! But I did make the deal on the East Coast where bargains were a bit harder to get. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself.

If incentives are only in CA, it means that they needed the ZEV credits.

Maybe in part, but lets face it, the top Volt dealers are almost all in California. They buy 1/3 of the Volts sold. Where do you think the best deals are going to be? Newton Motors in Glasgow, Montana or in Van Nuys, CA?
I am from Glasgow, thought I would throw in a plug for the home town team…
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Certainly not in Salem, VA.

I didn’t think the Volt got ZEV credits?

Maybe you meant TZEV credits.

TZEV = Transitional Zero Emissions Vehicle. It was once called a PZEV or Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, but a “partial” is a fraction. And a fraction of “Zero” is supposed to be “Zero”, too. So logically, a PZEV is impossible. Either the vehicle emits emissions or it doesn’t (ZEV).

I doubt they needed the credits. In fact I know they didn’t. They have plenty of credits with the Spark EV alone to last them for another couple years.

Anecdotally, this also makes sense since the Volt is the best selling plug-in sans the Model S. If they really needed those TZEV credits, then every other automaker would need them even more and Tesla wouldn’t be complaining about the lack of a price premium they’re fetching for their own ZEV credits.

The dealer where I got my Volt earlier this year here in Atlanta is offering $3000 off MSRP. They have only 2 left in stock.

At least one east coast dealer deserves a plug.

As far as I know, the only east coast dealer to acknowledge the Bolt’s existence.

Let’s just clarify that low Bolt sales is due to lack of supply (ie, totally sold out), not because there are as many takers to Bolt than Volt. When people look to this article in the future, they may get the wrong idea that thousands of Bolts may be sitting at dealer lots, which absolutely isn’t the case.

The Bolts that ARE sitting at dealer lots are probably pre-purchased, and the owners just haven’t come by to pick them up yet.

I think Capitol Chevy got 120+ Bolts in their initial shipment, and all of them were pre-sold.

On New Year’s Day at Rydell in SoCal – they had 5 Bolts, all LT’s without quick charging capability. I think 2 may have been sold as they said they only had 3 when I called to find out availability for a test drive, but 5 when I arrived an hour later. The sales rep said he had sold 40 in the last 3 days.

They didn’t get 120+ in their initial shipment.

They said their allocation is 108. But it’s unclear what period of time that 108 covers. It wasn’t the initial shipment, they haven’t received or sold 108 of them yet.

SparkEV, I think the first Bolt EV sales on December 13th were 22 days ago. And today North American inventory for the Bolt is a whopping 138 Bolts. In all of the US and Canada. 138.
If that isn’t supply constrained, nothing is. Here is hoping that GM can deliver a ton of Bolts this month and have a great start to the year.

Since GM has a QC procedure that takes time, I believe that there are hundreds of Chevy Bolt EVs in that process queue and thus take time to leave and ship to the dealers. If someone can check the serial numbers from the factory data at Orion, one may find that over 1,000 Bolt EVs were produced.

@ Spark EV — good point. Initially positioned to buy a 2016 Volt, back in 2015; I waited once Mary Barra announced the Bolt; order it the day it became available; so glad we took delivery in 2016 … expected delivery was this month (Jan 2017). #All Electric All In

Ours might have been the last one sold in 2016 around 10:30 p.m. New Years Eve. In Roseville, CA.

This is a great car! We love it!

Don’t forget that GM is counting the buyers who signed Bolt docs before midnight on 12/31/16 as units sold. That doesn’t mean they actually delivered the cars. I have a deposit down at a local dealership here in SoCal and they were pushing me to sign by midnight to get the tax credit, even though delivery was a week away. I dounbt that Chevy physically delivered that many cars. Fortunately, another local dealer did get 3 Bolts in last week, so I am one of the lucky few who got to test drive one. I’ve got to say, it was pretty impressive. Chevy got this one right. I can’t wait for mine to arrive “sometime this week”.

I’m pretty sure sales aren’t allowed to be counted based on signed documents without vehicle delivery. This sales number should be of Bolts in the hands of people.

Perhaps the laws about that are different in different States?

I think it’s more of an accounting and SEC based rule. It violates GAAP to book sales on paper without actually delivering. And they report sales for investors, partly, so it seems like they would need to not do any funny accounting and follow GAAP. I’m just guessing though.

You can’t count a car as sold until it is delivered. The transaction isn’t complete. Even if you sign it doesn’t constitute a sale.

Also, signing in 2016 even though you didn’t have your car wouldn’t legally qualify you for a rebate in 2016 anyway, according to the law the car must be “placed into service” in 2016.

The car salesmen are lying to you. Pretty common problem to be sure.

If all the documents say 2016, even if you picked up 1 Jan 2017, how is the IRS going to find out that last part? Are they gonna hook you up to a polygraph or something?

They’d probably cross-check registration documents.

The IRS likely isn’t going to figure it out.

But it doesn’t really matter. You’d still be lying. It wouldn’t be any different from claiming the deduction in 2016 because you plan on buying a Bolt in July. Or because you’re going to buy a Prius and you think it deserves a rebate too.

As a 20 year plus GM dealership owner/ employee (retired) sales cards are frequently entered on the computer in the waning hours of a month or quarters end as long as a customer signs the papers and pays for it. GM encourages “getting the cards in” I once sold a Volt the last night of the month that I had to dealer trade from a state away and wouldn’t be in physical inventory until the next month. This requires the other dealer to be open and able to transfer it electronically to you.

GM may allow this for internal incentives and targets, but it’s very unlikely their externally released sale numbers include vehicles that haven’t actually been delivered.

Feel free to use this headline:

Chevy Bolt sales expected to be “unpresidented” in 2017″

Well done however it really might be the opposite…GM has to produce these at a greater rate than 30K/year…

Well, “Unprecedented”, is what the sales numbers of the December Volt Sales were, but if you think EV Sales will Tank, with Trump becoming POTUS, on January 20th, then they might in fact be “Unpresidented”, after all!

That was precisely the joke he was making. 🙂

I’m very impressed particularly about the Volt sales…

One half month down. Many to go. Even though Volt was out in 2010, we are still at the dawn of the age of EVs.

As more alt energy cars are made that compete directly with fossil energy cars, we will get to nirvana.

What is Bolt’s real competition? Not Model 3 or Model S. Bolt needs to compete with other small CUV-ish cars like Soul.

Do you know if the Bolt be available in New Jersey in late January or February?

Not sure about NJ, but I know MD started ordering earlier this month. Since NJ is a CARB state, it is likely they can order too. Just a matter of finding a dealer with Bolt allocations…

My local MD dealer has 3 loaded Bolts on order…all will be sold at MSRP, unless supplier pricing comes online

Just as we thought.


Golden, god-like, puppy and baby-loving, Earth and Mars-saving Tesla delivered 208 Model X in the last quarter of 2015 at a price only the upper 5% could afford. Morally superior and right-thinking leaders who will properly reshape the World, that Tesla.

Stupid, worthless, ICE-making, Koch-loving, planet destroying GM delivered a measly 579 cars in the final month of 2016 at a price aimed at the upper/middle earners. Terrible, compliance-driven cheaters who will soon start crushing their EVs.

Sounds stupid doesn’t it?

And yet that the eeeeevil GM theme will be duplicated here someplace today.

Tesla deserves the praise it gets, whether you like it or not. They did inspire GM to build the Chevy Volt in the first place.

And GM deserves its own praise, too.

The Chevy Volt is an ingenious combination of a pure electric and a gas/electric hybrid. Very practical and liberating for someone who wants to drive electric every day without limiting their plans for long distance driving.

The Chevy Bolt has essentially duplicated the basic elements of the Tesla drivetrain at a more reasonable price. What’s not to love about this car?

Why make negative comments about any of this? As an EV enthusiast, the news just keeps getting better every year!

Where did you read that? Is there any evidence to support the idea that Tesla inspired Chevy to make the Volt?

Lutz says the Volt was created in 2006 by a team he created in 2006. That’s before the Roadster even came out. And Tesla was nobody at that time. If there was an inspiration at that time it would equally likely have been T-Zero.

But Lutz didn’t attribute any inspiration that I know of

Maybe Lutz was doing a follow up to the EV1 which was made in the 1990’s. Some of the original EV1 engineers did work on the Volte later.

Actually, Lutz said that the Roadster (unveiled in 2006) did inspire him to get GM management to investigate making a new EV. However, Lutz originally wanted to make a high-end sportscar (think BEV Corvette).

It was one of his subordinates that convinced him that the more serious threat to GM was not the Roadster, but the Prius. So instead of making a high-end EV to compete with a startup that hadn’t even sold a single car, they should try to leapfrog Toyota in electrification. The Volt was made in response to the Prius, not the Roadster. (Additionally, the lavish praise the media was giving Toyota for their “forward-thinking green tech” – while frequently comparing them to the clumsy, backward neanderthals in Detroit – was a significant pride factor at GM.)

So while it’s fair to say that Tesla had a part in GM’s decision to re-enter the EV market, and was likely the prime motivator for the creation of the Bolt, the Volt is due more to Toyota’s Prius than any other company’s car.

realistic, what? lol
Yeah, that darned Tesla giving out its ev patents so others can profit for free. Sounds pretty evil to me.

We should all be rejoicing that this is only the first few baby steps on the path to an ICE free world.(I don’t mean climate change)

I drive a 2012 volt which is still hitting it’s 35 miles range in all but the coldest days. 40 miles most days. An amazing piece of technology that is the most fun to drive as any car I’ve owned.
I do have a reservation for the model 3 and will be happy to see when the next person takes over my volt to enjoy.
This is not about EV over EV. It’s about finally ridding ourselves of 20th Century dirty automobiles.
Go GM, Go Tesla

Nice! I’m just bummed that I lost big time on my prediction of Dec. sales. I predicted 2K units in their first month. I was too optimistic. GM will easily hit their first 2K in sales soon enough, so I still feel my optimism is still warranted.

We also didn’t hear horror stories of $5K to $20K over MSRP dealer markups, so that is a massive improvement over the original Volt rollout. It would be interesting to hear what GM did to keep that from happening.

Realistically speaking, this rollout is all going down smoothly, which is very nice.

Nix said:

“We also didn’t hear horror stories of $5K to $20K over MSRP dealer markups, so that is a massive improvement over the original Volt rollout.”

Yes indeed, it was quite a relief not to see reports of price gouging by Chevy dealers. Perhaps GM laid down the law?

I’m glad to see that the rollout of the Bolt is apparently going pretty smoothly. And here’s hoping that North American sales of the Bolt kick the arse of the Prius Prime in 2017! (That’s not my prediction, but a two-headed llama can hope! 🙂 )

I wonder if people went to Chevy dealerships wanting to see the Bolt and the salesman said “So you came here to see the Volt? OK then! . . . come on over here . …”


That actually happened to me a couple days ago when I went to test drive a Bolt, but only because the guy misheard me. Once I clarified it was all good. They had a few Bolts on the lot, but most had been spoken for already. Really like the car but the naming is a total fail on Chevy’s part.

Volt and Bolt are two different words. It’s a total fail on anyone’s part if they fail to understand that.

If you cant tell apart a V from a B then you should go back to elementary

Model S – Model X

Those are similar but are completely different, just like Volt and Bolt are.

Ess – Exx

Volt – Bolt

But no one’s saying anything about Tesla LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

“S” and “X” do not rhyme, unlike Bolt and Volt. Combined with the issues of how different accents pronounce B’s and V’s, it has a much higher potential of being confusing.

Completely different…. in English.

They have the same name in many non-English speaking countries where B and V have the same sound.

Not true with S and X.

No, it really depends on people’s accents. And with people who speak Spanish, the two words are VERY similar such that it is very often confused.

And please don’t respond with some anti-immigrant or anti-Latino remark.

Koenigsegg said:

“Model S – Model X

“Those are similar but are completely different, just like Volt and Bolt are.”

And yet, I haven’t noticed anyone mixing up “Model X” with “Model S”. We’ve already had multiple cases reported of people mixing up Bolt and Volt, and I’ve noticed sometimes people write “Volt” in comments when they mean “Bolt”. I confess I did that once myself.

Logical or not, it’s what is actually happening.

Well I suspect many will be accidental mishearings but some will be intentional mishearings depending on what cars they have on the lot. 😉

+2: on-target, funny

Now lets see if they can keep the pace and projections.

45k Volts and 30k Bolt EVs in 2017.

Damn the Bolt EV Concept looked so much better 🙁

It doesn’t seem that different to me? Except for having less of the fake grillage, which yeah, I’d prefer.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the production Bolt looks far more like a Prius than the concept Bolt did.

And looking like a Prius… that’s not meant as a compliment.

It has also headlamps positioned higher so they look better.

It’s just getting started! The EV count is REALLY going to climb the rest of the year!