Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales Race Higher In January, But Volt Still King

FEB 1 2017 BY JAY COLE 91

The month of January is traditionally no friend to plug-in vehicle sales in the US, but that didn’t stop the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s momentum in its first full month on the market, while the Volt completely ignored traditional sales conventions and sales shot 60% higher.

As for the Bolt EV, after moving 579 copies in a shorten December, GM’s 238 mile EV sold an impressive 1,162 copies in the first month of 2017 (which is almost exactly as we predicted at 1,200).

GM CEO Mary Barra And Mark Reuss (GMNA Boss) both separately made statements that more EVs based on the Bolt EV would be arriving in the future this month

GM CEO Mary Barra And Mark Reuss (GMNA Boss) both separately made statements that more EVs based on the Bolt EV would be arriving in the future this month

Interestingly, the Bolt EV’s January result made the ‘podium’ for the industry.

The Volt picked up the first spot for sales with just over 1m600 copies moved, while the new Toyota Prius Prime finished in second (logging 1,366 sales in January); with the Bolt EV in third – the only other EV to cross into the 4 digit promised land for the month.

Over the past few weeks we have seen a lot of first drives and reviews on the Bolt EV (here and here for example), but we also heard from GM’s CEO Mary Barra as well, who said her company has bigger plans for the platform:

“…the Bolt is our platform that we’re going to continue on and have a huge range of vehicles.”

During January, the Bolt EV was still only sold regionally in California and Oregon, but GM says it expects about ~50% of all says to come from these areas….meaning we could extrapolate 2x the current sales as being a realistic ‘could have been’ figure.

Further to the company’s roll-out plans Chevy released its “distribution plan” for the Bolt, which expands availability to 5 states in February (adding Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia), before ultimately being available nationwide by September.

Chevrolet Bolt Rollout Schedule For U.S.

Chevrolet Bolt Rollout Schedule For U.S.

Chevy Volt: Top safety pick for 2017, and (at least for now) top selling plug-in too

Separately, and still completely overshadowed by the Bolt EV’s media debut glow, the Chevrolet Volt quietly went about its business … of destroying past plug-in sales records in the US.

The extended range Volt moved an incredibly impressive 1,611 copies in January, good for a 62% gain over the 996 moved a year ago.

And it isn’t the personal improvement gain that makes the result so impressive, it is the raw number itself.

Before the 1,600+ Volts sold this month, the most plug-ins sold of any model, ever in January, was the Nissan LEAF back in January of 2014 with 1,252 sales.

Editor’s note:  We know some readers like to know everything when it comes to EV sales and GM, so just to round out the numbers, the discontinued Cadillac ELR sold 4 copies, while the also recently ended Chevrolet Spark EV sold 3 cars in January.

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91 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt EV Sales Race Higher In January, But Volt Still King"

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Wow I am shocked! I thought Volt sales might actually be down a bit from last year since December sales were so unexpectedly high.

Both are very good numbers for January, though. Especially for a new car only currently available in 2 states. I can’t wait until summer when it comes my way! 🙂

I suspect this may be more evidence that Bolt EV interest is also resulting in increased Volt sales.

Totally! Which doesn’t surprise me, I figured that the Bolt EV would boost Volt sales, especially in the first year while the Bolt EV availability is limited.

But I know at least two dealers in my area did not expect the Volt sales boost in December and they were having trouble replenishing stock in January. But it looks like this wasn’t the case everywhere thankfully. 🙂

It could also be that the Prius Prime is driving sales. Any informed
consumer is likely to at least consider looking at a Volt and I have yet to see a comparison review that doesn’t conclude that the Volt is a better car.

I waited months to test drive a Prius Prime and a Volt on the same day, which finally happened 10 days ago. I pick up my new Volt on Friday!

Good choice! You won’t regret the extra EV miles and performance.

Volt owner here. Congratulations! Next move is to get a GM credit card, and start earning 5% cash back towards your next Volt. GM often adds to your earned cash. For example, I have a $1000 bonus offer right now towards any GM product except the Corvette ZR1. Good luck!

Good choice! We own volt 2016 and we are enjoying it for a year now. We used it to drive cross country from San Francisco to Indianapolis,IN last summer and we only spent $129 for gas (one way)

that’s an interesting theory. i have also thought that the Bolt is a good complementary car for the Volt. the thinking being that buyers of the Volt are good prospects for also selling a Bolt. the Bolt provides the range for a wide variety of “radius” driving scenarios; the Volt provide the range for most driving scenarios plus the flexibility of a gasoline range extender. consequently, an owner of a Volt/Bolt combination could drive emission free virtually at all times.

For me, it is the other way around…

The Bolt is our main care (my nerd dream car!), and we considered getting a Volt for trips, but we got a stupid cheap FIAT 500e lease, so figure that if we need to, we can rent a car, and we will still come out ahead.

I bet few BEV selling Dealerships have a list of car rental agencies and or Truro rental offers within a 100 mile radius of themselves, that they could offer to potential EV buyers, to show that they could rent if the EV range covered everything but long trips.

yes, the complementary aspect goes both ways.

Indeed. A rising Tide lifts all ships.

that statement is no more true for car sales than it was for reaganomics. there is such a thing a product cannibalism, in which increasing sales of one product correspond to decreasing sales of another product.

That really depends on a lot of things. When mobile phones started in the 1980’s there were probably very few companies making them and they were selling almost no phones a year. Once the number of mobile phones hit the point where there was decent network coverage there were a lot more people making and selling mobile phones and the market grew at an incredible rate.

EV’s don’t need much infrastructure but they do need some, as more people get EV’s the better the infrastructure becomes which leads to more sales for everyone. I think this is more true of BEV’s than PHEV’s due to DCFC networks being a big enabler of the technology but I still think in 2017 every EV sale is a win for the whole industry.

Yes but the questions is are the sales going down on ICE, or PHEV?

my thinking is that there is a limited market for people who want to buy BEVs. so an increase in the number of Bolt cars sold might result in a decrease in the number of, say, tesla model 3 cars that get sold. that was what i meant by product cannibalization. the usage was a bit of a misnomer on my part because “cannibalization” typically refers to products sold by the same entity.

It is far more likely that the boost year-over-year is mostly because the Volt was in very short supply last January and was not available nationwide until March. I would be more interested in March comparison (availability of 2017 model) and June (2017 with Adaptive Cruise Control). General interest in the Volt has exploded in the last year. 13 months ago the Chevy Volt Owner Facebook page reached 6000 members after roughly 5 years in existence. November 19 we reached 8000, and now already at 8743.

They’re selling well in spite of the dealers. Check this actual page from the dealer where I bought my Volt. It’s the largest Volt dealer in Atlanta. This is real.

I’m glad I got the one with 160 hp and with slightly better mileage.

lol!!! miles per gallon is a difficult term to measure with the Volt. with an ICEV, the meaning is relatively clear, but with a PHEV like the Volt, the term is loaded with assumptions.

Actually, there are very real numbers for the Volt. On gas alone it is rated 43 city/42 highway 42 overall.

0 mpg!? Lol! Some dealers just do not get it.

I do kind of love that they’ve categorized the Bolt EV as an ‘SUV’ in that screenshot though! XD Sure, why not? Maybe they can trick some potential Tahoe buyers into going EV.

I googled ‘chevy suvs’ on my computer just now and the Bolt is listed right under the Chevy Trax as an ‘SUV’ also. XP

Believe it or not, the EPA classifies the Bolt as a “small station wagon”, with less than 130 cu ft of interior volume. GM refers to the Bolt as a crossover.

I really don’t get these classifications anymore. Not just in the US, but also Europe.

Cars are diversified to the closest cubic inch of interior volume, but a crossove/SUV is eiter small, or large.

And with 4 door coupes, coupe SUVs, liftet wagons, lowered SUVs, bulky hatchbakcs, hatchback sedans and so on, there isn’t really a point to differentiate anymore. What for example it the Audi A4 allroad? What is the Bolt?

According to the “monthly score card” section on this site january stood for about 3.9% of annual sales of EVs last year. Extrapolating the 1162 Bolts sold this january would then give a projection of about 30k cars in the US alone.
Then we have to consider the limited market so far and probably the still ongoing ramp-up. I’m sure GM will sell at least 40k cars in the US and then another 20k-30k in Canada and Europe, so maybe 70k in total this year.

The Second Gen Volt had time on it’s side to build up momentum. I wouldn’t discard the new Prius and other newcomers so easily .. the Volt doesn’t have the market all to its own.

I’m guessing that was meant for WadeTyhon?

I for one am impressed with the Bolt EV’s numbers, but you’re wrongfully assuming the numbers won’t change…The real number to look out for, assuming the rollout doesn’t change is October…In Sept it’ll be available in all 50 states and in Oct the preorders will be all fulfilled…

I’m just using the numbers that are available right now. If GM can sell even more Bolts than my projection I’m all for it!

Or when the Model 3 actually launches….The earlier the worse for the Bolt. Significant delays may see the Bolt sales accelerate.

Considering that Elon desired to start Model 3 “Mass Production” on July 1st, 2017, but admits that might not be a real probability, I will suggest that there may well just be some Model 3 delivery Event in California in July, as the first ones get handed over to buyers, like GM did with Bolt EV in early December! The hand over for the Model X was 6 units, if I remember right, so I am guessing Elon would show at least that many, if not 12 or more!

The next question is, can he deliver more Model 3’s in his first full or part Month than Bolt EV, or better, Prius Prime?

Tesla 3 Production of Model 3 beta prototypes is currently underway. (10 March).

” completely overshadowed by the Bolt EV”

I understand Jan is a notoriously weak for auto sales but the Bolt EV in Jan already outsold all other month of Jan Volt sales except for 2017…Understand there are dealers advertising $5000 off the Volt BEFORE incentives and there are bonus tags and super bonus tags along with tons of other incentives some may qualify for…The Volt also has very attractive lease rates especially in the CARB states…

The Bolt EV on the otherhand, only available in two states, generally $2000 off MSRP is about as low as they go, qualifies for virtually zero incentives and does not have a favorable lease…That’s the real story in GM land…

Of course the ill fated CARB only 2016 Volt had such a short run so there just wasn’t much stock in January either as they began transitioning to the nationwide roll out of the 2017 model in March. They sold 1,126 in February of 2016 which was pretty much the bulk of the last of the 2016s. Then they cleared out what was left over the next couple of overlap months. The numbers steadily climbed from March on then with the 2017 offered nationwide. For the gen 1 you are correct with the exception of Jan 2013 when they sold 1,140 which is pretty close with only 22 cars less. What will be interesting to see is how the much slower nationwide rollout of the Bolt will affect sales. The gen 2 Volt had an advantage in that only the first 5 months were restricted to CARB states and they got to distributing nationwide fairly quickly after that. From March 2016 on sales quickly climbed over 2,000 and then peaked at 3,600 by the end of the year. If the Bolt begins selling over 2,000 by May before it even goes nationwide then that will be a good sign of… Read more »

Think January sales of the Bolt would have been much higher if availability had been higher. At the first part of the month there a lot of people on waiting list and none on dealer lots. according to the role out schedule Bolts are supposed to start showing up in Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia this month, any word on when dealer in those states will start getting Bolts?

I just check AutoTrader. There are dealers in three states advertising the Bolt. There are no pictures so I don’t believe there have been any deliveries but it looks we do have Bolts in transit to MA, MD and VA.

2 Virginia dealers have been advertizing Bolts for the last week. Not sure when they will arrive, though.

“meaning we could extrapolate 2x the current sales as being a realistic ”

I would hope gm could do 3k a month. 2400/month is pretty lakluster IMO.

Seems like bro had a gm quote that they could do 5000/month.

But on the other hand it is still pretty pricey little car. I think bro had on his blog a 650$/month payment.

And i think you can I saw EQuinox leases for 200$/mo so pricing is still too high to convert many gas heads

Yup. Pricing is the problem. Bolt at about 1150 is not much more than SparkEV about 950 back in Apr. 2015 when they announced $1000 price reduction which the popular media picked up. Bolt with multiple COTY awards had far bigger media exposure, yet it’s barely above SparkEV? It has to be the pricing.

But it is a concern. With all the media hoopla, it’s not completely sold out like SparkEV was? It’s not a good sign. Too bad there’s smaller battery Bolt option for lower price.

It’s GM. An aggressively low cost lease will no doubt come into play before too long.

Unfortunately, unlikely Bolt EV could offer a 45 kWh or so Battery, for a lower price, since expected ranges are now at 200+ miles. But a 160-165 mile range Bolt, at something like $30,995 MSRP could edge into Prius Prime sales a bit, after its larger Tax Credit.

Even in my coworkers that drive 50-60 miles each way to work, such an package could get their attention, since, even in the Winter, it could probably do the full commute on one charge, as we have no workplace charging! Plus, it could get at least as much as $10,000-$11,000 rebates on a probable Ontario price around $36,000!

They question is how many vehicles were actually shipped to a dealers. Chevy is still likely very supply side limited right now. Yes they are reports of some dealers with cars but how many are in dealer hands?

Wow, go GM! They are killing it with plug-ins. I hope they keep up this momentum!

Hey brian,

Don’t you have a Leaf?

Seems like a bolt would be a good replacement

Yes I do (my red Leaf is pictured in my avatar), and yes it would. I am waiting until the Bolt is not quite so high demand, and hoping GM will start to offer some better deals.

I live in Syracuse, NY. The main interstate, I-90, was identified as a future EV charging corridor. I am also waiting for some kind of QC infrastructure to roll out along I-90 from Albany to Buffalo. Until it does, a Bolt doesn’t buy me all that much utility over my Leaf. Basically, almost anything the Leaf doesn’t do, a Bolt also wouldn’t do without at least one short charging stop (i.e. trips over 250 miles).

I’ve been following the Bolt forum, and the current owners are saying that it drives very well. I can’t wait to try one for myself (should be here in March!).

Don’t forget to wait for NYS to implement the its EV Consumer Rebate Program to get $2,000 back. The state budget passed on April 1, 2016, requires the program to be implemented by the end of the fiscal year, which is March 31, 2017. It might be retroactive to purchases made before it’s implemented, but there is no guarantee that it will be retroactive.

Since New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is responsible for implementation of the rebate, the latest news about the rebate will be found on its web page and the news tab on that webpage.

Thanks, Sven!

Yeah but SVEN, yesterday morning I was just on the verge of putting down a downpayment on a BOLT. But yesterday afternoon, I called NYSERDA and they told me the NON-Retroactive $2000 rebate is not going to happen until sometime in April, but they couldn’t even guarantee a date then. The only thing I was told is that it HAS to be approved before the next NYS budget.

Do you have any other information saying when the $2000 rebate will be in effect? The Non-retroactivity is what is throwing a monkey-wrench in my plans.

Good plan with ANY vehicle. Once initial demand begins to taper off, it’s reasonable to expect a far better deal, especially on a lease. Less chance of deffects to boot.

Quick charging infrastructure will hopefully improve at least somewhat in the near future as well, but in the current US political environment, it’s difficult to forsee any massive implementation.

Are only top spec Bolts available at the moment or are the stripper’s up for grabs too ?

Pretty good given the number available at this stage.

All trim levels are available with pricing ranging from as low as $36,345 to $46,905 not counting incentives.

gm doesn’t operate like tesla, when buying gm cars, you’re going to be buying through a dealer. i would think that the dealers are probably going to stock more of the “premier” trim models. if you don’t see what you want on a dealer lot, you can either go to another dealer or order an “lt” trim model.

Actually more than half the available Bolts according to AutoTrader are in LT trim. Either the Premiere trim models are getting bought up more quickly or GM wants more of the lower priced trim models to be available. Maybe GM expects a lot of taxi companies or businesses to buy the lower trim models.

Alan, I’m very happy to report that you may order a BOLT from 0 options to all options and in any color scheme available. No restrictions. They will build exactly as you want to order.

As I mentioned a few comments down from here, the dealership merely picks the colors and the options they think people will find most popular, but if you order the car at the time the dealer would make an order anyway, most dealers will allow you to order exactly the way you want it. No restrictions.

I’m impresse by the Volt. And with the Bolt GM have two aces in his hand. I hope they won’t spoil it.
I don’t think that Toyota with his Prius Prime, can’t take down the Volt.

The Bolt have a boulvard before the arrival of others 60kWh BEV for less than 40.000$. I think it’s the moment where GM can take down some competitors, by promoting the Bolt.

Actually in France, Renault sells the Zoé 40 like candy. For january Renault score 1,646 new Zoe. It’s represent 73% of the market.

The Bolt can performe more than 3,000 sells per month if GM really wants it.

Exactly Seuthes….. Hopefully there will be a significant export for the OPEL Ampera-E.

One thing that may help is our new President has said all EXPORT Income will occur TAX FREE.

The US, especially in the North East, has seen too many people ripped from their jobs. Mr. Trump has gone to corporation heads requesting the NUMBER OF NEW FACTORIES they are planning to build in the US.

So tax free income would be a powerful incentive for OPEL to import the VOLT and Ampera-E as much as possible. Right-handed steering could be made in a Vauxhill plant in Britain.

I’m convinced people are going to dealerships looking for a Bolt EV, can’t find one, but end up driving away in a Volt once they have a look at the vehicle.

Yup – agree.

I totally agree Volts were rarely advertised and when I bought mine with the research I did before the purchase I knew more than the dealer. Yes once they are drawn into the showroom to look at a Bolt and compare it to a Volt, the volt might be a better fit.

the Volt is actually quite generously advertised given it sales volume. i believe insideevs posted an article stating that gm spending on Volt ads were about 1/3 that of spending on Cruze ads, while sales volume for the Cruze is 10 times that of the Volt.

Classic chicken and egg problem.

i think what it really means is that the people at gm understand the concept of a product life cycle. as such, the market for electric vehicles is in the early adopter stage, so there is a limit to how much return they will receive from advertising. even at that, gm does seem to be going out of its way to provide more advertising than the sales volume would justify. that indicates that gm is attempting to grow the business for electric vehicles.

What about a simple Dealer Banner for the Bolt EV? Put up the banner in the window? Do web ads…Google Ads…PPC seems more appropriate than TV ads! And dealers that want to sell bolt, just make a “Bolt EV now in stock!” Line in their print ads! People that know will check them out, people that don’t, might begin to research the Bolt EV!

Add a line under that with some specs like range per charge, charge simplicity, MPGe efficiency #, etc., for more value! Just two lines of text in their large print ads, is one excellent start! Do not even need a photo yet! Only if sales slow will it need more space in their print ads!

there is an educational task required and the burden of education of the public falls squarely on the shoulders of the manufacturer. the product managers and marketing people at the manufacturer are supposed to create the market conditions so that it is easy for the dealer to sell the car.

The Volt also has good lease deals, while the Bolt doesn’t.

I see more Volts than Bolts now. Tons of new Volts everywhere. Great to see. Although they are all stock and i’ve yet to see a Volt as cool as mine lol

Brian I live near Corning NY on I86. Our governor thinks we don’t exist in the Southern Tier and has no plans to electrify our major interstate but I do need the range of the Bolt as a commuter and local car. BTW Tesla does have a SC in Binghamton so at least Tesla knows we are here. I am not blaming GM because they are saying rightfully so that the Bolt is a great commuter/city car. I do hope that the forward thinking Chevy dealers will open their fast chargers to Bolt owners in the same way that Nissan Leaf dealers do. My Chevy dealer already does that with their 240V charger but it isn’t clear what they plan to do about the installation of a fast charger.

I feel you, Dan. If upstate NY is mostly ignored, the southern tier may as well not exist.

QC in Binghamton (other than Tesla’s SC at “The Spot”) would be great. I sometimes travel down there, although not often. When I do, it’s normally passing through, down I-81 and then east on 17 (forever “future” I-86). A quick stop there would easily get me all the way to Middletown, if not Newburgh.

It will take time, but if EVs actually continue to grow in sales, it is basically inevitable that there will be something in Binghamton.

Are there any EV organizations in that area that could help promote DC QC’s? Potential Bolt EV owner Groups or Meetups? Check out the Electric Auto Association listings. (The Other EAA!)

Any big box stores, like Wal-Mart, Ikea, or others, that are receptive to supporting EV’s? Maybe they could put a couple multistandard QC’s in with CCS & CHAdeMO?

I wish there was such a group. There used to be, but it never took off. I was probably the second- or third-most enthusiastic member. But we couldn’t get enough interest to keep it going. Maybe it’s worth trying again, since the market has grown a bit since then.

One potential host for DCQC is Stewart’s Shops. Based out of Albany, NY, there are shops throughout upstate NY. They sell gas, but also have a convenience store typically with eat-in seating. What is really interesting is that the owner of the chain drives a Model S…

There is always Diane’s Auto in Ithaca. Of 5 bolt’s ive seen the order forms for here in WNY, only 1 had the CCS $750 option.

I found it refreshing that GM is giving the dealers carte blanche as to what options they take on the car.

I can certainly understand the dearth of CCS of the cars ordered in my area, because they don’t have anything other than Diane’s Auto.

I wonder about how this relates to availability though. My local dealer is selling out as fast as they can get them.

So are there DCQC stations at every dealership that sells them? This was announced by GM a while back, but I would expect that it might take some time.

Virtually no Chevrolet dealership have DCFC chargers right now. It’s probably going to be at least a year before most of the certified dealerships get DCFC chargers. Remember before the Bolt only a couple of CARB states even sold the Spark EV that could DCFC and very few dealers in those states ever installed DCFC chargers.

There are a couple of Chevrolet dealerships in remote areas I would like to see get DCFC chargers but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

I just checked California in PlugShare and did not see a single Chevrolet dealership with a DCFC charger. I was surprised to see a couple of Ford dealerships with DCFC chargers. Maybe DCFC chargers at dealerships are part of Chevrolets five-year plan.

The DCFCs wouldn’t be in PlugShare. They are for dealer use. Although I can say that the dealer I got mine from (which has sold a lot already) doesn’t even have a DCFC for their own use yet.

GM doesn’t plan to use dealer chargers as infrastructure. And having seen how it went at Nissan dealers I don’t blame them. The dealers are overwhelmingly likely to block the DCFCs spots with cars of any sort they need to park. Putting DCFCs at other places where parking is easier is a much better idea. Walgreens, convenience stores, etc.

So 1,162… pretty close to the prediction by GM of 1,200.

Stupid compliance car.


Why is a compliant car bad, but a compliant spouse good? :*)

BC Scrapit Program just raised the incentive for a New EV from $3250 to $6250!

Used EV get $3250, and new gets $6250.

Awesome, should be an article here on this.

Great! Is that in addition to the BC $5,000 EV rebate?

I like the picture at the top with all the Bolts in a row. I hope to see scenes like this at dealerships near me soon.

New logo idea: a Bolt (Hex Head) with lightening bolts, & a plug!

GM as a company saw a 130% increase for year over year sales in January for plugins.
2773 vs 1202. Granted it is still only 2773, but at least it is heading quickly in the right direction.

Got my Bolt Premier on the 9th of Jan. Love it so far.

If you agree that Ford’s Mark Fields should retract his request to lower emission standards so that we are not paying for his desire to avoid fuel efficiency rules at the expense of our kids’ and our planet’s health, please sign my petition. Thanks.

I think I will add that to the web pages I look after: and plus twitter, blog & Facebook pages for them!

Neither are, nor will be for sale in Australia so who cares. More news on European and Asian EV solutions are of more interest to us

The Volt only keeps selling because the Bolt and others are not available yet. The sales in Oct-DEC will be the real numbers to watch.
I already miss the SPARK EV , super light and efficient with 100 mile range and low priced. The batteries never seem to wear out. ZERO capacity loss in over 3 years.

At this point, I would buy a Volt over a Bolt in a heartbeat. For the majority of people, they get almost all the benefits of the Bolt in the Volt with the added ability to feasibly take long trips and a lower price. That last part is crucial especially since the traditional econoboxes of yesteryear can now be optioned to nearly the same specs as a loaded Bolt for a third less. That $15k will buy a lot of gas.