Chevrolet Bolt EV Nets Record Sales In September, Not So Much For The Volt

2 months ago by Jay Cole 121

Chevrolet Bolt EVs – finding more US driveways every month!

As the Chevrolet Bolt EV has made its way across the US, making itself move and more available at local dealers in every state, sales have (perhaps unsurprisingly) began to rise.  For September, GM blew former numbers out of the water, setting a new all-time high, while logging 7 consecutive months of sales gains!

“Yeah, yeah, the Bolt has lots of twirly information, can you just not touch the screen anymore?”

The 238 mile EV also broke into the “2k” level for the second month in a row.  Actually, the Bolt more than broke into the 2,000s…

For September, 2,632 Bolts were sold, a 25% gain over the 2,107 sold a month ago.

For the year, 14,302 all-electric Chevys have been delivered, keeping it firmly in the #5 slot on the best selling plug-in list for the US.

Interestingly, while the Bolt has been reaching a wider audience, the national inventory level on the EV, while more balanced, has been dropping over the past couple months; from a high of ~6,000 earlier in the Summer, to just north of 5,000 on average in August, to a few hundred less than that in September.

At this point we aren’t sure if that is a reflection of the recent higher sales constraining the inventory, or just a keener eye on inventory management from GM.

Hey look, isn’t that the car we seen in the Chevy dealership when we bought the Bolt EV?

As for GM’s other plug-in vehicle, it is hard to now not conclude that the Bolt EV is stealing some sales thunder from the Chevy Volt.

As the Bolt has arrived at more dealers, Volt sales have lessened…and not by just a handful of sales, as the year-over-year number have now turned negative for the last 6 months in a row.

We imagine the Bolt EV at Chevy dealers, and this guy (Prius Prime shown above) are responsible for softer Volt sales of late

For September 1,453 Volts were delivered, off 28.5% from the 2,031 sold a year ago.

For the full year, 15,348 Volts has sold, down 6% from 2016’s total of 16,326 cars delivered through the first 3 quarters.

Just looking at Q3 when the Volt and Bolt EV were better competing for more national eyeballs (and wallets) at the dealer level, Volt sales are off 32% (4,416 vs 6,518).

We should note that it may in fact not just be the Bolt EV taking this consumer attention away from the 53 mile, extended range Volt, it might also be the Toyota Prius Prime, which has found a lot of traction appealing to PHEV shoppers…selling some 15,000 copies this year.

Looking at the best selling EV list, the Chevrolet Volt started 2017 as the leader, had fallen to 2nd place a couple months ago, and is now in danger of falling into 5th spot overall, holding just a couple hundred sales advantage over the Prius Prime (15,056), Tesla Model X (~15,290)…with the Bolt EV just 1,000 deliveries behind (14,302).

What can Chevy do to regain the market share?  The most obvious answer (besides spending more money to advertise the car – which seems unlikely with the Bolt’s arrival on the scene), is a price reduction, or more dealer-offered incentives.

But then again, with GM stating this week that they intend to offer two more all-electric vehicles in the next year and a half and “at least” 20 over the next 5 or so yearsdoes the Volt’s pullback really matter that much?

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121 responses to "Chevrolet Bolt EV Nets Record Sales In September, Not So Much For The Volt"

  1. ffbj says:

    Good for the Bolt. Draw down some of that inventory. The Volt is passe’ at this point.

    1. Joe says:

      “The Volt is passe’ at this point” – this could be true for most, but not all buyers. One nice thing about the Volt is the unlimited range (using gas) and ability to travel on any paved road in the USA without concern of running out of fuel. This is not true of any BEV, including the Bolt. Subjectively, the Volt looks better. I have nothing against the Bolt, and yes, I own a Volt, so I might have some pride in ownership.

      1. ffbj says:

        True. I just think it’s a bit long in the tooth, not that it’s not a good car.

        1. mzs.112000 says:

          I think the Volt could be great if GM actually cared about it.

          They need to switch to a flat battery(so it seats 5 real people, right now it has 5 seats, but ZERO legroom).
          They need to unlock more battery capacity(it is 18.4kWH but only 14.7 is usable, if they up that to 16kWh, it gives 60 miles of range per charge).
          They need to up the maximum charge rate to 6.6kW, then you can take full advantage of the public level 2 chargers, and fully charge in only 3 hours, then the Volt can use electric for more time before you have to switch to gas.
          And ideally, they would add a 1500 watt inverter, literally like that, in a power outage, that would run some essential items like a refrigerator or lights, when the 360volt battery runs low, automatically start the engine for 30 minutes and recharge, the Volt could be a far more efficient than those 2-cycle gas generators, and quieter as well.

          1. Jesse Collette says:

            Those are all good ideas but I think offering a 100% electric version of the Volt (with at least the same range as the Bolt) could really make sales take off.

            1. Or (And?) A PHEV/EREV version of the Bolt, usin about 40 kWh of the current 60 kWh battery, leaving room under the back seat for a gas tank: it should be able to get abot the same 150 EV Miles as the coming new Leaf, plus go on another 300 miles on gas, or more!

              1. Asak says:

                Does the Bolt really have room for a gas engine under that small hood?

                1. Mark says:

                  No it doesn’t . All the electric components except the traction battery are ther. They would have to do what tesla does and put the electric drive train under the car. And a small engine under the rear like the i3 Rex

            2. ClarksonCote says:

              What you describe for an inverter is available after-market, and it behaves exactly as you describe. http://www.evextend.com

              It would be nice if GM built it in, but at least the capability is available.

              1. Null says:

                That’s not what that does.

                It allows higher wattage of 12v to be drawn from the car w/o running the engine.

                Sure wish it did allow 7.2 kwh of charging!

          2. Spider-Dan says:

            Increasing the charging speed for the Volt is a waste of time and money. The value in the EV range is cheap overnight charging costs; paying for commercial charging fees (or even home charging at peak rates) is more expensive AND slower than using gas.

            From a target audience perspective, I doubt that people who are willing to pay more for slower refueling are very interested in PHEVs in the first place; I would imagine they would just buy a BEV.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              “From a target audience perspective, I doubt that people who are willing to pay more for slower refueling are very interested in PHEVs in the first place; I would imagine they would just buy a BEV.”

              It certainly seems reasonable to think that most PHEV drivers would not bother with en-route charging, yet a 2012 report from Ecototality showed Volt drivers using their public chargers more than Leaf drivers!

              It’s possible that’s outlier data, but certainly some Volt drivers do go to the trouble and expense of using public chargers to reduce or eliminate the use of gasoline in their PHEV.

              http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1079936_forget-range-anxiety-chevy-volt-owners-have-gas-anxiety

              1. Asak says:

                It honestly doesn’t surprise me. The Volt has lower electric range. With a Leaf usually you can make it to your destination and back without needing to charge. Also, you’re more mindful of your charge level because running out is a big problem. Hoping a charger is nearby isn’t really a great position to be in, and having to sit at the damn charger is not great either.

                The Volt owners don’t have to worry about running out, and with the lower electric range they probably end up charging more opportunistically.

            2. Asak says:

              The slow charging rate of the Volt does kind of suck. When you’re trying to get energy back into the damn thing it charges sooo slow. With a decent charger it could be charged to full in only a couple hours. I really think a more powerful charger would be a major improvement.

            3. Dan says:

              It’s a major flaw,period. the cost is minimal. It’s really stupid not to include 6KW inboard charger.

            4. Harry How says:

              You are only partly correct.

              It doesn’t make sense to charge during the day at home or when the cost is higher at public stations. However many of us, have access to free charging either provided my our employers or in lots that simply have free charging. Having a 6.6 KW charger allows sharing the charger at work easier and allows you to take better advantage of free pubic charging stations. I know I would have paid more for the option to upgrade to a faster charger had GM offered it.

        2. mevp says:

          It’s a great car, it’s just too small. I’d buy one in a heartbeat if you could somewhat comfortably fit an adult in the rear seat behind a 6+ footer.

          I still think a CUV with this powertrain would be a home run.

          1. ziv says:

            This. I really like my Gen I Volt, but it is just too small when I have friends or clients in the car with me. 3″ of additional rear seat legroom would make this a much better car.
            Admittedly, that is not easy to do, given the platform.
            What Chevy could do, easily, is offer 6.6 kW charge rate as an option. It would be worth it for me and for many other Volt drivers. And it could be done cheaply while making a profit for Chevy. I charge over lunch breaks and getting just 11 miles of AER in an hour means that I use gasoline many afternoons I wouldn’t otherwise have to. Not a huge issue, but an irritating one.

          2. pjwood1 says:

            +1 Too Small. They had plenty of “no leg room” feedback, before doing nothing more than ~1″(??) about it.

            My wife rejected it, for its C-pillar blind spot. Myself, I had an issue with the A-pillar, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker like legroom for kids >10y/o was. -If you’re ~6′ tall and put the seat back, this is what happens.

            The Model 3 will benefit from what inevitably will be less of a “coupe like” feel, since its battery will be underneath the driver. The payoff: driver doesn’t have to go back as far, can’t go down, and thus, legroom improves.

      2. Ted says:

        Ditto.
        I own a Volt and a ELR. GREAT vehicles. 150 mpg plus. Electric extended range vehicles is the answer. Just need an extended range truck & suv. 40 to 50 KW usable battery.

      3. Srini Rao says:

        I chose the 2017 Volt over the Bolt even though the Bolt had a better lease deal. The main reason was that after leasing the 2014 Volt and after test driving the 2017 Volt and Bolt I preferred the styling and the solid feel of the Volt. It’s really a beautiful car to me. Plus I don’t need a long range EV. The 53 Mile range battery is sufficient for my needs and having the gas engine for those times when I need a longer range is perfect.

    2. Peter says:

      Breaking point is here. Almost no need for a Plugin Hyrid any more.

      BEV will take over an rule.
      Less cost and maintenance is the cause.

    3. FISHEV says:

      Volt is the No. 2 selling PHEV behind only the Tesla S for 2017 at the 3rd Quarter mark. More than a few other mfg.s would like to have that kind of “passe” product and market share.

      Volt and Bolt need a couple tweaks. Both need at least power driver seat and Bolt needs dynamic cruise. With introduction of the Bolt, likely many potential Volt buyers are getting the Bolt instead, those who can live with the 238 mile range while the Volt is for the drivers with longer commutes, a smaller market.

  2. Kdawg says:

    So 4,085 Chevy plug-ins for Sept. Not bad.

    I think I’m still sticking to my est. of 22K Bolt EVs produced in 2017.

    1. georgeS says:

      “I think I’m still sticking to my est. of 22K Bolt EVs produced in 2017.”

      Yeh but these numbers seem to indicate the potential that the BoltEV has to sell the way it really should. More like 3K/month.

      Jay doesn’t mention a lot of incentives. Are these sales a result of some good lease deals or what??

    2. WadeTyhon says:

      Look at global sales, US sales and inventory. 22k Bolts have basically already been produced.

      1. Kdawg says:

        That’s true. Let’s go for 22K in worldwide sales then.

        1. WadeTyhon says:

          Worldwide it will be a bit more than that I think 🙂

          If the Bolt averages 2500 for the rest of the year (which is very lowball for Nov/Dec). Then it will sell 22k in the US. It has currently sold over 2k internationally. So I say minimum worldwide sales is 24k.

          But I am thinking 26 or 27. If they end the year with some remaining inventory, then production will be about 30k as expected.

    3. ffbj says:

      Yeah, that was mine too of course, though I am now thinking it will only hit 20k, but still very close to our almost a year ago estimates.

  3. Texas FFE says:

    A lot of Chevy dealers (not in Texas) are starting to deep discount with Bolt to make room for the 2018 models. Sales would be a lot better if Chevrolet lease deals didn’t still suck. I would still like to have a Bolt EV but it’s going to be a few years before I’m willing to pay full price on another new car as expensive as the Bolt EV.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Just as a point of interest, because of the late start of production for the Bolt EV, GM’s Orion plant did not switch to 2018s this Summer alongside all the other models, but continued with 2017 MY production.

      2018 MY production doesn’t kick off until mid-December. So, while there is definitely some discounting going on today, its unlikely the primary reason is to make lot room just yet.

      1. cmina says:

        Are they going to include the charger as of MY 2018 or is it still going to be $750 ?

        1. Viking79 says:

          Just to clarify, the DC Fast Charge option is essentially wires to the battery terminals. You are bypassing the built in charger (7.2 KW, charges from your 240/120V EVSE).

          DC Charging = external charger (you use the charger at the station)
          L2 Charging = internal charger (you use the EVSE to supply power to the charger)

          1. SparkEV says:

            Not that simple. Part of charge control for DCFC is still in the car. This is why “complex” signaling is needed rather than simple pilot on L2.

            Also, it’s not clear to me what IP issues (aka, royalties) are involved.

            1. Bill Howland says:

              “Just wires”.

              Also there is a cord connector lock on CCS equipped models whereas on my car, there is no locking mechanism of any kind.

        2. menorman says:

          I hope so, at the very least on the Premier trim.

        3. Bacardi says:

          I do believe for demand/resell value that it should be standard however, with the glaring omissions, THAT is what you’d like to see in the 2018? Why not “homelink”, powerseats, sunroof, power seats, ACC, supercruise, fixed windshield glare, AWD, summer only tire option, etc…lol

          1. MTN Ranger says:

            I doubt we see any of those things. First because they will be options on the upcoming Buick version and second, Chevrolet versions of cars never seem to have as many luxury features as Buicks and Cadillacs.

          2. Asak says:

            Built in DCFC would be way more of an improvement than fluff features like a sunroof or power seats. Yeah, I know some people like that stuff, but they’re not vital. The lack of DCFC is a huge shortcoming for the car.

          3. V2 says:

            This is why I am not happy Chevy brand was used. Price and size of the Volt/Bolt without including some very basic extras is too high. Keeping my Gen. 1 Volt over those newer ones on looks too

  4. bro1999 says:

    Many Bolt dealers in the non-CARB states still don’t have a healthy inventory of Bolts just yet. Record monthly Bolt sales should be set each month for the rest of the year. 🙂

    1. John Ray says:

      Yup. Not a lot of Bolts in my area just yet.

    2. Texas FFE says:

      Inventories of the Bolt EV in the US has declined dramatically in the last month. If Chevrolet doesn’t step up production, the new markets may have a hard time getting any Bolt EVs this year. I have a feeling that Chevrolet is still more interested in maximizing profit on every Bolt EV than on fulfilling demand.

    3. JeremyK says:

      I agree. A lot of people are going to want to pocket that $7500 tax credit. Won’t be long before Trump starts sniffing around for money to support other pet projects. I can see that credit getting pulled early and really screwing people over that are waiting until 2018.

      I like my 2011 Volt and it still drives like new…but I’m really thinking about pulling the trigger on a Bolt before year’s end. I bet I’m not the only one.

      1. EVShopper says:

        Trump can sniff **** for all that it matters. It would require congress changing the law. And they can’t currently get anything done, so I think tweaking the EV tax rebate is not going to happen. Possibly if they tied it to tax reform and managed somehow to actually get that passed. But I can’t see broad enough support from either side to revoke the tax rebate, not too mention the lobbying from automakers to keep it.

      2. Asak says:

        The EV tax credit is such small potatoes that it’s not going to raise much money.

      3. Peter says:

        I did start with a hybrid Prius and ended up with two modelS cars some years later.
        Have made reservations for two model3 cars no return now.

  5. Tom says:

    I believe based on previous articles stating that ‘over 100 per day’ are being built then production is about 3000 per month and the draw down in inventory is the result of starting to ship Bolts and Ampera e to Europe, Canada, etc. Probably a month or so lag yet and then an uptick in Europe once inventory starts to get there a little more?

  6. David S. says:

    I hope one of the reasons the U.S. inventory is shrinking is that GM is sending more Bolt EVs to Canada to shorten long waiting lists. Bolt sales up north have decreased each month since march because of lack of stock at dealers.

  7. JackDFW says:

    I think big part of the Volt sales problem is the small size of the Volt.

    Put the Volt drive train in a small SUV and watch sales take off..

    1. john1701a says:

      That configuration is loooong overdue. GM is waiting to diversify until after the tax-credits approach their end before taking the next step. Why? We all knew their customer base was SUV/CUV buyers, not people looking for a compact hatchback.

    2. Spider-Dan says:

      I think the product you are envisioning is pretty close to the existing C-Max Energi, which is hardly setting the world on fire.

      Put the existing Voltec drivetrain in a SUV and you get significantly worse EV range and gas mileage. I don’t know if there is a market for a $40k PHEV SUV with 30 miles of range and 30 MPG.

      1. Spoonman. says:

        I drive a C-Max Energi; it’s in no way an SUV.

  8. PhilB says:

    I think the issue with Volt Sales comes from several factors. One is that the Bolt has drawn away sales of some buyers that would have gone with the Volt. But also, there is a fair amount of new competition from the Prius Prime. Plus there are other competitors rising too. If Chevy were to drop the MSRP of the Volt by roughly $2k from the current level, it is my view that would put it back on top again until they run out of tax credits.

    This competition with Toyota is good because it will accelerate price reductions of these vehicles for the consumer.

    1. menorman says:

      They should walk down the Bolt MSRP by the same amount when they do that, but then they might have to add a third shift…

    2. john1701a says:

      Volt needs more than just a price reduction to be competitive. Remember, there’s serious competition on the showroom floor. The sales numbers for Equinox, Malibu, Cruze, Traverse, and Trax are all harsh reminders of what GM has placed Bolt & Volt against.

      Toyota worked really hard to get in front of the entire industry to deliver an affordable plug-in hybrid that also offers a variety of other appeal factors. This list highlights some of those potential draws to deal with the pressure from all parts of the market:

      Prime technical advantages:

        –  EV is more efficient
        –  HV is more efficient
        –  Heater is more efficient
        –  Price is more affordable
        –  Dual-Wave glass
        –  Carbon-Fiber hatch
        –  Charge Mode

      Prime standard safety features:

        –  Dynamic Radar Cruise
        –  Pre-Collision Braking
        –  Lane-Departure Detect with Assist
        –  Automatic High-Beams

      Prime advanced tech options:

        –  Predictive Efficient Drive
        –  Sonar Parking Assist
        –  Rear-Cross Traffic Alert
        –  Blind-Spot Monitor
        –  Vehicle Proximity Notify
        –  Rain-Sensing Variable Wiper
        –  Active Grille Shutter
        –  Color Heads-Up Display
        –  11.6-inch Touch-Display
        –  Charging Cable Lock
        –  Heated Steering-Wheel

      Prime innovation design:

        –  Directed Heating & Cooling

      1. Bill Howland says:

        While the Prius Prime is admittedly is an impressive vehicle, John you really should work for Toyota if you don’t already do so.

        The list of “advanced features” really don’t amount to much, and some of them, like the “Charge Lock” they’ve apparently borrowed from Volkswagen, since all automakers seemingly copy all the competitors’ wet-dream ideas and never copy the decent ones because “that would cost too much!”.

        At a congested public charging location, the charge lock makes it impossible to re-utilize the charging facility EVEN IF THE OWNER OF THE PRIUS WANTS TO MAKE THE CORD AVAILABLE. The cord CANNOT be released until the owner physically shows up.

        This might be a feature in Europe where people have to supply their own charger cords but it is not the case in North America, and, the feature is worse than silly here since there is nothing to steal.

        Speaking of automakers Fiat Chrysler Automobiles head Sergio Marchione just stated “Too many EV’s are putting the planet in DANGER of existence”, due to the excess CO2 made while charging electric cars.

        Although most here subscribe to that fairy tale, the continuing, increasing penetration of solar and wind generation during the day time will minimize CO2 generation, and methane leaks – at least that due to daytime charging of EV’s, so even for those who are worried about this, have nothing to worry about, since any excess CO2 or Methane from daytime fast charging of ev’s will be minimal, compared to the discharge from the regular ICE vehicles that would be needed if the EV wasn’t purchased in the first place.

        Night time charging of EV’s I’ve mentioned several times is a win-win-win benefit to the ‘grid’ and the ‘environment’ so that is additional credit in EV’s favor. Most L1 or L2 charging takes place overnight, and is beneficial all around.

        1. john1701a says:

          I like how you arbitrarily attempt to dismiss items that clearly are a draw.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            If you Notice John, per the comments here I’m the second biggest fan of the new Toyota, second to yourself of course. I’m just not ready to claim the car is flawless.

            Of course my comments are NOT arbitrary. Every car I’ve ever owned has some infuriating feature that I have to live with that would be much better if I was simply given the option to disable it.

            I’ve talked to two Prius Prime owners regarding the charge lock, and they both ADMITTED to me that the feature is NOT cancellable.

            That is one feature that would infuriate me, as well as other BEV owners if at a congested charging location where a PRIME was completed charging and a BEV owner HAD to get a little charge in his battery to get to home, yet the charger was effectively disabled since the engineers at TOYOTA arrogantly thought they knew better than the people who PAID for the vehicle.

            It is trivially easy for the group who wrote the software to offer an on-screen option to cancel the feature, yet to my knowledge neither the VW nor Toyota give the customer the choice.

            The only thing I’ll say about my newest EV, the BOLT, is that it has SOMEWHAT less of GM’s typical arrogance in the car toward the owner, who only happened to provide the money to basically make the whole corporation possible. The fact that you can’t turn off the WIFI even when you set WIFI to off is particularly infuriating since you cannot lock on to a weak signal when your device insists on connecting to your non-functional car WIFI which you cannot stifle the transmission, even though it says it has. This is just one of several pet peeves, but you have to put up with this nonsense if you like the basic GM car for the price you paid for it. In that sense I’m satisfied with the 2 GM evs I currently own.

            1. john1701a says:

              >> I’ve talked to two Prius Prime owners regarding the charge lock, and they both ADMITTED to me that the feature is NOT cancellable.

              That’s a misunderstanding on your part. If an owner intentionally locks the cable, it will remain locked. That feature is something you have to go out of the way to engage. By default, it stays unlocked.

              To cancel it, you either push the button when the FOB is near or use the option on the phone-app.

              1. unlucky says:

                Are you saying you have to go out of your way to engage it or to cancel it?

                1. john1701a says:

                  It is off by default, you have to choose to turn on the locking feature either when setting the timer, programming the schedule, or when plugging in.

              2. devroot says:

                The issue is that there should be a setting where the charge lock defaults to “off” rather than having to manually turn it off each time you charge.

            2. john1701a says:

              btw, the cable can auto-unlock when charging is complete.

              1. Bill Howland says:

                Ok, well maybe neither owner I talked to read the owner’s manual. If it unlocks after the charge is complete, then that is not so bad.

                I’m not conversant with the PRIME obviously – I can only go on what I’ve been told by the owners. Next time I run into someone who complains about the lock, I’ll suggest “could we look at the owner’s manual?”.

      2. CCIE says:

        Toyota in is front of the industry in EVs & PHEVs? I don’t think so. More like they’re at the back, digging in there heels, and hoping that EVs fail.

        They were the leader in HEVs. But, they stopped innovating 10 years ago and let Tesla, GM, Nissan, and BMW take the lead.

        The PP may sell well to former Prius drivers, but no one other than you believes it’s actually the best PHEV. And it’s not innovative in any way. Doesn’t even equal the range or TMS of a Gen1 Volt.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “Toyota worked really hard to get in front of the entire industry to deliver an affordable plug-in hybrid…”

        Wow! You must work for Toyota. In fact, it looks like you work for Toyota marketing.

        Reality check: Toyota introduced the Prius in 1997, yet didn’t introduce the first plug-in version until 2012. And when they did, it literally had no better all-electric range than what Prius owners were already getting using aftermarket plug-in conversion kits! An embarrassingly low 11-12 miles or even much less.

        Even now, the Prius Prime gets only a wimpy 25 miles of EPA rated all-electric range.

        If Toyota had worked “really hard” at producing a popular affordable PHEV, then they would have produced one years and years earlier than 2012. The fact is that they were quite content to rest on their laurels with their non-plug-in HEV, just like BlackBerry didn’t do much to upgrade its smart phones until after Apple released the iPhone.

        Yeah, my opinion is that Toyota is the BlackBerry of EV manufacturers, already badly eclipsed and rapidly falling behind.

        1. john1701a says:

          >> If Toyota had worked “really hard” at producing a popular affordable PHEV, then they would have produced one years and years earlier than 2012.

          Rush to market like GM, then waste tax-credits? No.

          Instead, they rolled out the first truly affordable plug-in hybrid and have 3 plug-ready vehicles… RAV4 hybrid, Camry hybrid, C-HR hybrid.

          1. unlucky says:

            Plug-ready? What a bunch of nonsense.

            6 years after the Volt Toyota finally brought out one good PHEV. And that’s it. Those other 3 are just regular hybrids.

            FIAT/Chrysler has as many plug-ins as Toyota has.

            1. john1701a says:

              Clearly you need to take a closer look at the difference between Prius and Prime. It’s obvious how the EV aspect of the design is being overlooked. That simplicity is key.

              1. CCIE says:

                Do you work for Toyota in some way? That’s the only way I can imagine someone who frequents this site not understanding how poorly Toyota has done with EVs & PHEVs. Even a fast-follower would be able to equal the previous generation released by the leaders. Toyota hasn’t even managed that.

                Toyota, and the other companies who dragged their feet on EVs, are going to be in for a shock when the US EV credit system is reworked to benefit domestic manufactures (GM & Telsa). There is no way a republican congress and president will let the credits benefit foreign companies who have refused to innovate.

                1. john1701a says:

                  The measure of leadership is not based solely on faster & further. It’s really too bad many don’t see that.

                  This is why certain automakers continue to repeat the same mistakes.

                2. john1701a says:

                  >> That’s the only way I can imagine someone who frequents this site not understanding how poorly Toyota has done with EVs & PHEVs.

                  Coming to that conclusion requires a disregard for profit and a dependence on tax-credits.

                  Anyone can slap in a larger battery-pack for good show. Making real change though requires an effort to actually target the masses, instead of just trying to please those who frequent this site.

                  True leadership is often difficult to understand, especially when economics must take precedent to engineering.

                  1. CCIE says:

                    A few of us have now asked about your relationship with Toyota, if any. I assume that you dodging the question means that you do work for/with them. It’s the only way I can wrap my head around someone advocating a sub-par PHEV in an EV enthusiast forum.

                    1. john1701a says:

                      I’m a customer representing ORDINARY CONSUMERS, which is why the enthusiast opinion make little difference.

                      You can “sub-par” until the cows come home. It won’t make any difference. Mainstream buyers just plain don’t care.

                      Enjoy your niche. That’s perfectly fine, but is in no way representative of what someone shopping the showroom floor is looking for.

                    2. john1701a says:

                      I wasn’t dodging the question either. I was stunned to find out that this ENTHUSIAST venue showed such little interest in the mass market.

                      KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Mainstream consumers are much more difficult to reach. The faster & further is great, but lacks balance.

                      There are many other issues to address still.

                    3. CCIE says:

                      To begin with, no one who buys a PHEV or EV is mainstream. They’re still niche vehicles.

                      Second, Toyota is able to retain its previous Prius owners in the US because they just blindly buy another Toyota. They don’t do their research and don’t realize that there at least two PHEVs that are clearly superior to the PP available for the same price out the door.

              2. unlucky says:

                What are you saying? I did say the Prius Prime is a good PHEV. No argument there.

                The PiP wasn’t.

                And they don’t have any other plug-ins.

                You’re giving a ton of credit to Toyota for being 6 years behind the Volt with a PHEV that’s almost as good. It doesn’t many any sense.

                Toyota is a laggard in PHEVs (but not the worst, not by far) and a laggard in EVs. They’re not leading anything. And it’s kind of sad because they made the original RAV4 EV two decades ago and then did no EVs since except for one they outsourced and thus never was financially viable for them. One of the purest expressions of the idea of a compliance car.

                1. john1701a says:

                  >> Toyota is a laggard in PHEVs (but not the worst, not by far) and a laggard in EVs. They’re not leading anything.

                  Continued dismissal of the importance of AFFORDABLE choices means we have nothing else to say.

                  It’s really unfortunate you don’t see that as a priority.

                  Think of what happens when the tax-credits expire.

                  1. unlucky says:

                    We’ll deal with the post-credit prices when we reach that point.

                    If your real point is how cheap this thing is then maybe next time list that instead of things like bubble windows.

                    In my area, where there are daily blow-ups over who is hogging what workplace charger (see other people commenting above about locked charger ports), I greatly see the value of longer electric range vehicles. Even for PHEVs. Having a Prius Prime occupy a charger for 2 hours 10 minutes to get 25 miles because the person wants to get home on electricity only when they could have driven round trip in a Volt or any other vehicle just seems like adding unnecessary congestion.

                    So while there certainly is a value in cheaper PHEVs, even now before the credits run out, longer-range is what is needed where I am. So even if the rest of the country isn’t the same way I’m not going to be as excited about a vehicle which cannot cover the average daily commute on a single charge.

                    1. john1701a says:

                      That’s good reason for your perspective, but still not a good attitude. Remember, our goal is, to replace traditional vehicles… not focus on early-adopter issues.

                    2. Bill Howland says:

                      To reiterate JOHN, I underscore that the PRius Prime is an impressive vehicle, and should sell well in my area seeing as this is a high- volume area for the regular prius.

                      It is obvious to the average consumer that the car is a good value seeing as how well it is selling.

                    3. unlucky says:

                      These aren’t early-adopter issues. These issues are arising because plug-in adoption in my area is approaching 10%.

                      Early adoption is when you don’t have the issues I speak of.

                      It will always be less strain on shared infrastructure if people can charge at night and round-trip. 25 miles range makes that less likely. I know it’s always possible to get better utilization of shared charging if people rotate their cars in and out. But that breaks down some when people just don’t want to take a break in the middle of the day to move their car. It gets worse if people can’t park their their office. They’re somewhat likely to walk out to the parking lot to move their car 2 hours after they get in. They’re a lot less likely to do so if they had to park their car 3 buildings over because the EVSEs at their building are full.

                      I really don’t want to get too deep into it because I know from the battles going on here that the sharing problem has many many sides and is very resistant to a simple solution. But being able to drive round trip from home to work is one of the few there are. Doing that reduces demand on shared infrastructure in a way that having a little bit better charge rate (many say the PP and Volt should be 6.6kW) doesn’t do nearly as well.

                      Any of you out there who don’t see these problems should know that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. If you buy that 25 mile car for a 40 mile commute because there are EVSEs at work and they are rarely used, know that others are going to make the same observation and then they won’t be rarely used anymore.

                      And if you make the same call for going home (I’ll charge at work every day because I can’t charge at home) you’re going to be in an even worse way as chargers fill up.

                      Maybe the lower cost is the most important thing for you. In that case you’re fine. But if you really like that feeling of driving on electricity or you grow to like it later, know that unless you have a dedicated charger (likely at home) and your commute is under 25 miles, then you may find in the future that the public infrastructure you relied on to drive without gas starts to let you down by being congested AFTER you’ve paid for the car.

            2. john1701a says:

              Take the time to look how the system is actually designed. Augmentation is a remarkably simple next step, a very clear path to profitable high-volume sales.

  9. jhm614 says:

    Awesome month for GM. The Bolt is turning into a legitimate hit. I’ll bet it leads all plug-in sales in October and November.
    I feel a little bad for the Volt though. If Chevy was just use comparison advertising against the Prius and maybe play the ‘made in America’ card, it would be selling better.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Not sure if you’d call it a legitimate hit. They were talking 30K cars, up to 50K. It seems they won’t make it. With competition from Tesla 3 (and cheaper Leaf with their free charging), it will be tougher next year.

      1. ffbj says:

        True. It’s been weak in sales, and overseas as the Opel virtually none, perhaps a few hundred have been sold.

        1. Asak says:

          The overseas sales don’t mean anything. They’ve sent almost no units overseas. There are months long wait lists, and all cars delivered have been snapped up. Worldwide the Bolt could easily do 60K per year. Why GM isn’t ramping up is known only to them.

          1. john1701a says:

            Overseas sales are quite significant. Each vehicle built contributes to cost-reduction via economy-of-scale benefit. Where it v is used is irrelevant in that respect.

      2. Kdawg says:

        GM never said 50K cars. All they said was they had the capacity to make 30K. With 2K to Europe, and 28K in the US, they easily could hit 30K produced.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Since last year rumors have perpetuated a notion that GM and supply partner LG Chem have production capacity of only 20,000-30,000 Bolt EVs per year, but this is not true,” said Kevin Kelly, manager, Electrification and Fuel Cell Technology Communications.

          “There is nothing constraining us from doing that,” said Kelly when asked how Chevrolet might handle a potential deluge of 50,000 orders that would far surpass conservative analyst projections for the Bolt’s first year of sales. (source below)

          It seems pretty clear that this was B.S. An LG Chem spokesman said GM had contracted for a bit over 30,000 Bolt EV battery packs and drivetrains. I think it’s safe to say that it would have been physically impossible for GM to have made 50,000 Bolt EVs in this first year of production. Sure, they could have made more gliders (car bodies with suspension and wheels, but no powertrain), but where would they get the extra battery packs and EV drivetrains? They contracted with LG Chem/LG Electronics for those, and it was their only supplier. It’s not like GM could have whipped up a second supplier on a few months’ notice, either. Developing all that takes time.

          http://insideevs.com/general-motors-can-make-50000-chevrolet-bolts-per-year/

          1. Kdawg says:

            That’s what I’m saying. Some are putting words in GM’s mouth, saying they targeted 50K in sales and sadly fell short, but that was never the case. Whenever GM talked, they only talked about the abilities of what they could produce.

          2. unlucky says:

            It’s not clear. You think so, but you’re not LG Chem, you couldn’t know.

            Contracts always allow for asking for more supply. What terms will be given for the extra supply vary a lot. We don’t know if LG Chem could say yes or if so how much they would charge.

            It’s reasonable to assume GM couldn’t get far more packs (like 300,000) because LG Chem wouldn’t have the capacity. But none of us know if LG Chem could make 50,000 by using the equipment and people they already have for more hours a day.

    2. Bacardi says:

      A hit would be a model 3…GM released the Bolt EV without any incentives and slowly cranked them up…When the car was first released a pure base, even with a dealer discount dealers could get below a $0 drive off sub $400/mo lease…Now its not difficult to find them at $0 down $269/mo, that’s with all fees and taxes…

      As SparkEV notes, they were wanting 25K/annual in the US…Missed the mark for this year…

      1. Kdawg says:

        GM never said what they wanted. They said they had the capability to make 30K. Note, they may hit 25K in sales still.

    3. Bacardi says:

      And I feel a little bad for the Volt though. If Chevy was just use comparison advertising against the Prius and maybe play the ‘made in America’ card, it would be selling better…

      They tried that game with the release of the Gen2 Volt (remember the fax machine?) it’s a terrible idea, attack ads are often for the weak…Best way to market is to show the Volt is a fun car…

  10. blandman says:

    It is amazing to me how many Bolts I see in the SF Bay Area already. It seems more prevalent than the Prius Prime, but it is hard for me to distinguish a regular Prius from a Prius Prime on the highway.

    1. bro1999 says:

      “but it is hard for me to distinguish a regular Prius from a Prius Prime on the highway.”

      It’s easy: the rear of the Prius is uglier than—-wait a second, nevermind, they are both equally fugly!

      I believe the Volt was actually the #1 selling Chevy in the bay area, so no surprise to see lots of Bolts driving around there.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Bolt are everywhere now in SF. SF is the perfect city for it.

        Bolt is easy to park but still spacious. 240 miles is more than enough to loop the SF Bay.

      2. Spider-Dan says:

        It’s easy. Prius taillights are vertical, Prius Prime tails are horizontal.

  11. cab says:

    Not a bad showing for the Bolt. Glad to see it. A shame about the Volt though, especially since 6 years after its introduction there really isn’t a better PHEV in terms of battery to gas range balance…nothing even close really.

    1. Kdawg says:

      The Volt still outsold 34 other plug-ins in the US.

  12. Jonathan B says:

    Maybe some deals to be had on the Volt. Honestly I almost prefer a Volt to a Bolt. It’s 50+ miles of range are plenty for most people’s round trip commutes and the addition of a gas motor allows it to do long distance travel without reliance on a charging network. The only thing that the (non-Tesla) brands are going to be behind on for the next decade is the ability to reliably travel 500+ miles while using a charging network.

    Furthermore the Volt has shown that its battery demonstrates little to no degradation, and it also qualifies for the full federal tax credit.

    1. Bill says:

      That’s why I bought mine! I have 4 cars and work from home, I have wanted an EV for years, I really needed a tax credit for 2017, I live somewhat rural, and with tax credits running out sooner than later, with the incentives I got, the Volt was tHe car for me. I can use the electric motor to Do my 5 mile radius errands and not have to fire up and cold-start my gas cars just to run half a mile to the store. And when I need to drive “into town,” I’ve got a gas motor for the 70mph zone on the interstate for 15 miles. Electric in town, gas on the highway. I’d have preferred the large greenhouse of the bolt, but the reality is this car is for me,and my SO on occasion in the passenger seat. I’m driving with the rear seats folded down, for my Costco runs. It’s the most-balanced ev “appliance” for practical use with really no drawbacks. I can charge it overnight in my standard wall outlet. Who cares is it takes 12 hours? I charge at around 30% anyway, so the “8 amp 19 hour” charge is really about a 12 hour deal for me. I’m also glad they aren’t selling as many volts. The fact that they may cancel it was a draw for me. It means there won’t be a million volt 2s on the used market in 3-5 years, so my residual may not be that terrible, and gas pumps will be around the suburbs for a long long time, whereas it will be years for most suburbs and exurbs to get charging stations in public locations. Volt wins…..straight EVs lose I think because without the gas supplemental motor, they are just phones, obsoleted with the next battery upgrade

    2. Larry says:

      As a Volt owner, I agree with Bill. Any way you cut it, the Volt is still the most realistic way to travel electrically nearly all the time without having to own two vehicles. In most of the country there just isn’t the charging infrastructure necessary to make any EV 100% usable. Even the Tesla network requires pre-planning detours. (IMHO)

  13. Chacama says:

    Volt sales have always been down just because GM’s lackluster marketing efforts. I for one, can’t imagine how stressful would have been evacuating from South Florida during hurricane Irma on any other PEV having less than 500 miles of range. Same goes for the drive back as up to 90% of South Florida was without power for a good week. The Volt is such a good vehicle that I had the opportunity to fill-up the gas tank bone week before the hurricane and didn’t have to worry about topping off until my long drive.

  14. Bolt driver says:

    If gm had put a larger battery, say 30kwh in the Volt I would have not even considered a Bolt. But 14/18 kWh is too small to make my daily commute in all but perfect weather. The bolt with hill top reserve active should easily make my commute in any weather and battery age. Down side is that it won’t work for medium to long trips. The volt does those with ease.

  15. Dan says:

    Volt is doomed when Honda clarity plugin hybrid goes on sale. I have to say that family user friendliness was not on their mind. They design it with only driving machine in mind.

    1. Ryan says:

      Except you’re wrong because as posted here numerous times, the Clarity will only be available in California, because Honda doesn’t give two craps about EVs and is only doing it for compliance reasons.

      And you’re wrong because the Clarity as 2/3rds the battery capacity of the Volt.

      And you’re wrong because the Clarity has no thermal mgmt in the battery, has poorer torque/acceleration/performance, and is an unproven product while the Volt is in gen 2.

      It doesn’t matter… Honda isn’t interested in selling it. There’s still no competition for the Volt, no other PHEV matches it.

  16. Dan says:

    Put the volt drive train in Equinox, locate the battery under the floor, increase the range to 60 miles. Make onboard charger 7kw. The designer have not clue what the market wants! Sooner than later starting in 2019, there would be so many pure battery electric SUN’s available. Standing still the American auto way depending on fanfare and endless salesmanship won’t work! Show the real stuff!

  17. Ryan says:

    Volt inventory was low for August and early September as the 2017s were gone and 2018s were just rolling out of the factories. So of course sales were down, there we no cars to sell. They were wait listed a bit up here in Ontario. Just saw a local woman who waited 17 weeks for hers (mine took 9 weeks back in the spring)

    InsideEvs really loves to post these clickbaity articles based on thin evidence. Last month it was all sorts of crap about the Bolt being a failure because of a 1 week extra shutdown in the factory. Now it’s the opposite. Get real.

    You can’t draw statistical trend out of 1 or 2 months of sales information on something that has varying inventory. Wait til the end of the year, then look at the numbers.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      While that might be true for Ontario, it wasn’t for the US – which is what the report is about.

      Average inventory for the month was ~5,000 units (which it has been for several months – if you don’t believe our number, Cars.com does a decent job of report on almost all of them – link here), that’s ~105 days worth on inventory (above industry norms)…and it is at a higher level today than at almost any point in 2016.

      If anything, GM has been trying to manage that number lower, of which it has had some success, as it touched 6K briefly in June (close to an all-time high for the model).


      As for “all sorts of crap” from us last month about the Bolt being a failure, that isn’t even close to reality, we have never taken such a stance. In fact, here is last month’s (August) report:

      Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales Go Higher With National Roll-Out, Chevy Volt Lower
      https://insideevs.com/chevrolet-bolt-ev-volt-sales-august-2017/

      And the month before (July):
      Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales Hit New High In July Ahead Of US-Wide Rollout, Volt New Lows
      https://insideevs.com/chevrolet-bolt-ev-sales-strengthen-june-ahead-us-wide-rollout-volt-flat/

      It’s fine to call us out on mistakes, but we will respond if you don’t use actual facts, and spread mis-information/unwarranted accusations.

      ps) As for “wait til the end of the year, then look at the numbers”… all EV numbers go up at the end of the year, it is just the way it works…as this story is speaking to, it is the YoY comps that tell the story of what is happening with market share. GM sold 3,691 Volts in December of 2016 (8,413 in Q4), it seems very doubtful…based on all 9 months of 2017 data that this number will be approached

      pps) please don’t accuse of of “clickbaity articles” here when there really isn’t anything like that happening

      So we get you aren’t happy with the data as we have presented it, and you have your own opinion/clear fondness for the Volt and its outlook for the rest of 2017 – which is fine, no one is saying people have to agree with our prospective, but please use factual information if you specifically want to call us out – and do so in a mature fashion … or quite frankly, you will be asked to leave.

      1. Ryan says:

        Not at all true, there were _multiple_ articles posted about the Bolt plant slowdown and inventory and poor sales.

        Firstly there is nothing unique about Ontario, our Volts are made in the same factory as your Volts. It is a _fact_ that the 2017 Volt production _ceased_ end of July and 2018 production didn’t begin until August so there were multiple weeks when inventory lagged. Past experience with Cars.com inventory numbers make me _very_ suspicious of them.

        Secondly, here’s just some of your reporting on the Bolt which emphasized its poor performance and its perception as struggling:

        “It’s An Uphill Battle For Struggling Chevrolet Bolt”

        “Op-Ed: GM Electric Vehicles: It’s the Mis-Targeting, Silly”: The extended summer shutdown at GM’s Orion plant, where the Bolt BEV and the Sonic ICE-subcompact are made, has been spun in all directions. But it doesn’t look good.

        “Chevrolet Extends Shutdown At Bolt Factory As Inventory Hits 111 Selling Days”

        Not as bad as some EV press sites, which blew the factory shutdown in the summer way out of proportion, but certainly there are people on your ed. team who took a distinctly negative stance on Bolt sales.

        I stand by my original point: month to month sales numbers are not a statistically significant data point for any kind of trend. Bolt or Volt or anything else. Just In Time production of these low volume cars means you need to look over many months to see any kind of trend.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          There is a difference between reporting on all EV news (good or bad) to offer the most complete picture as possible, and offering “all sorts of crap” and being “clickbaity on thin evidence”

          All those title/stories you noted were fair (as you noted yourself, they were much more in context to the wider media at the time of press), and the one that might have drawn its own conclusions, is clearly labelled Op-Ed (link), and was written by a person from he EV community (not by an IEV writer). Maybe one should read our coverage on the shutdown in some context to the time/wider reporting? It’s far from sensationalized.

          And nothing I can do if you don’t believe our reports on inventory, or the almost ~5,000 cars listing on Cars.com (which I offered in case you wouldn’t take our report at face value).

          As to “Firstly there is nothing unique about Ontario, our Volts are made in the same factory as your Volts.”

          That is true they are made in the same factory, but the inventory allocation/availability to Canada is not the same as the US at all … which is why you also have a a lot of trouble finding the Bolt EV in Ontario. And how do I know this as well as you? I live in Ontario/GTA the majority of the year – and all I do from 7am until 2am/7 days a week is live this business.

          As for Volt production, 2017 production ended June 30th. 2018 MY was scheduled to start July 10th at Hamtramck, but ultimately got going July 24th, 2017.

          So, I will also stand by my points, which I think I have underlined with actual empirical evidence and data, free of personal bias or misinformed conjecture.

          1. Ryan says:

            July 24th production followed by multiple weeks for completion and then delivery to showrooms = well into September for many places. So how is this not consistent with my statement: 2018 inventory availability for September for the Volt would have been spotty, which is consistent with what has been personally stated by many many people on the various Volt Facebook groups I’m on among other places, which includes US ones.

            That’s a gap of almost a month between June30th and July24th when no vehicles were being made. How is that _not_ going to alter sales given most dealerships have 1 or 2 or no Volts on the lot and a good portion are custom orders for which existing 2017 inventory would have been no use.

            You will now see this excess ’17 inventory you claim exists discounted and sold off _if there is any at all_.

            I don’t discount the possibility that Volt sales will sink significantly in the next two years as buyers now have way more options. But it is not clear that one month of dubious sales data shows that at all.

            But the primary restriction on almost _all_ these vehicles is supply, not demand.

  18. Dave - PHX says:

    Neither vehicle’s sales numbers indicate that the EV revolution has picked up speed.

    When the Volt came out, it was believed that it would revolutionize the auto industry, but with monthly sales consistently in the 1500-2500 range for 6 years, that clearly didn’t happen.

    The Bolt, and its 238 miles EV range, was also supposed to be the tipping point for EV’s, but sales numbers mirror those of the Volt during its roll out.

    So for those waiting for the EV revolution, we’ll have to wait a while longer……

    This is not to say these are not great vehicles. I purchased a Volt in 2011 and another one in 2014 and still love them to this day, buying gas only when I go out of town on a long road trip.

    1. Ryan says:

      It’s supply constraint, not demand constraint, and the supply constraint is on the battery supplies and their costs. If GM could get lots of batteries cheap I’m sure they’d make and sell and market the Bolt and Volt like crazy. They can’t/won’t and I agree we’re still a few years off from that.

      In the meantime I will enjoy driving my very unique vehicle. 🙂

  19. john1701a says:

    >> We’ll deal with the post-credit prices when we reach that point.

    Waiting to react is too late.

    Getting caught mid-cycle without a plan already in place is costly mistake.

    Think about how close the GM is to triggering phaseout. If price can be lowered without serious profit loss, great… no change in price won’t help at all though. Growth needs to be promoted somehow. Notice the struggle Volt is already having?

    Be proactive. Don’t wait.

    1. CCIE says:

      They are being proactive. They have lobbyists in DC making sure the rules get changed so that the lazy manufacturers won’t get an advantage for dragging their feet. So, either the credits will be changed to one big bucket that all manufacturers pull from, or they’ll be eliminated when GM exhausts theirs.

      Toyota won’t benefit by refusing to make EVs for the past 10 years.

  20. Bloggin says:

    A Volt EV with the Bolt’s 238-mile battery pack. GM needs to fix this with the two new EVs they are to launch in 2018.

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