Chevrolet Bolt Sales Predictions Range From 30,000 To 80,000 For First Full Year On Market

2 years ago by Steven Loveday 135

Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Karl Brauer, analyst for Kelley Blue Book, is predicting that Chevy will sell 30,000 to 80,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs during the first full model year. Other recent predictions put the numbers at 20k to 30k, via suppliers and other insider information. GM insists it can easily pull off 50,000.

The all-electric Bolt is set to launch late in 2016, and many are guessing as to how it may fare against the similarly priced Tesla Model 3.

Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior

Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior

There has been much press about the competition between new OEM Tesla and its first affordable vehicle for the masses, and “tried and true” automaker Chevrolet, with its first all-electric, long range, roomy crossover vehicle.

While both vehicles will ring in at nearly the same price range, as well as the same extended “mile” range, the Model 3 will not hit the roads until a year or more later. Many buyers will not see a Model 3 in their driveways until well into 2018 or later depending on many factors. This is not to say that the Tesla vehicle will suffer in sales, as 400,000 deposits have already been processed for the car.

All of this is even more reason for GM (Chevrolet) to ramp up marketing and provide fierce competition for the Tesla record-setter. Though similar in the above aspects, the Model 3 is a small, sporty sedan, versus the even smaller Bolt EV crossover/hatchback.

At this point, the Bolt EV needs to be a game changer for GM. Of the 400,000 Tesla Model 3, fully refundable deposits, anyone can change their mind at any point, although analysts expect many will wait it out. While 30,000 in the first year is not a small number, 80,000 could be substantial for Chevrolet, especially if the company can exceed such numbers in years to come. It’s not like the EV market is a “catch-all” at this point in time, but exposure and growth is continually more promising. Looming CAFE regulations can only help the situation.

Unfortunately, GM has been hitting Tesla “below the belt” in recent press. But some of the opinions may be warranted as the start-up is yet to generate funds, has been late to market in the past, and doesn’t yet have the track record of established automakers.

General Motors has been noted as the current “King” of EVs. The company can only hope that the Bolt EV, along with the new Volt, can continue its surge to the forefront. GM still profits highly in ICE vehicles and banks on its trucks and SUVs. If the sales are at a high level for its EVs, curbing overall fuel economy, it can continue to benefit from high sales volume overall, awaiting the inevitable “EV revolution”.

Source: Autoblog

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135 responses to "Chevrolet Bolt Sales Predictions Range From 30,000 To 80,000 For First Full Year On Market"

  1. jelloslug says:

    Make it and they will come.

    1. Rv45 says:

      Si le prix est correcte. Les ventes seront énorme tout simplement.

  2. SJC says:

    I don’t think it is a contest between Bolt and the Model 3, they are different cars for different people.

    1. wavelet says:

      Sure, normally that’s true — people don’t cross-shop cars from different categories (sports sedan like the BMW 3-series and a compact hatchback like the Chevy Sonic).

      However, that’ll become the case only once there’s a large enough variety of EVs on the market.

      Currently, the market segment for these two is “mid-priced cars with 200mi AER”, and they’re the only demonstrated (or, for that matter, announced) cars in that segment, even if everyone expects several other models within 1-2 years.

      Therefore, and esp. given the small-ish price difference, they’ll certainly be cross-shopped.

      1. SJC says:

        The Bolt at $37,500 will be available this year with $7500 Federal and $2500 state tax breaks in California .
        The Model 3 may be available in two years for $43,000+ when they are sold the tax credits may be used up. Quite a difference between $27,500 and $43,500.

        1. Omar Sultan says:

          How, exactly did you land on $43K for the Model 3?

  3. John says:

    I predict they’ll sell as many as the dealers actually want to. Which in my experience, will be very few.

    Every time I’ve gone to a dealer to look at a Volt, they try to show me something else.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      LOL. Sadly true.

      1. super390 says:

        Even if our markets were free, culture is not. Culture is systematized conformity, and social scientists keep doing depressing research on how conformist we all really are almost from birth; the Stanford Prison Experiment, the Milgram Experiment, the black doll vs white doll experiment.

        Car dealers have a particularly unpleasant hothouse subculture. It might be so deep that it will not change, merely perish with dealerships themselves. The last time anything got better was when established dealers spurned the wave of new imports a half century ago, and new guys signed up instead with values better in tune with the cars and their buyers. But why would dealers with new ideas ever sign up with established ICE manufacturers who only have one token EV model each?

    2. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

      I have been to GM several times, and never had that happen. I recommend you just tell the salesman: “I am here to buy an electric car…. where is the electric car salesman?”. I imagine that will get the hint across.

      1. Djoni says:

        Part of that is true.
        However, having to repeat it many times is upsetting.

      2. Nick says:

        Real data on this would be interesting.

        I’ve personally experienced it at both Toyota and GM dealerships, but not Nissan. Many people claim to have seen the same.

        We need data to know if these anecdotes are representative.

        Thanks!

        1. Paul Smith says:

          Dealers make most of their profit on service. They don’t like EVs.

          1. James says:

            The Toyota dealerships I have visited seem pretty pumped about Prius, the Prius line and the Hybridized HSD Highlander and Camry.

            The profit margins must be good for those models. The PHEV Prius, not so much.

            It’s all about what makes money for them and the dealership. You really can’t blame them.

            You can, however, blame Toyota, GM, Ford and… … …. If they built proprietary EV and PHEV models in larger numbers, they would sell and the margins would be higher.

          2. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

            What dealers really want is for you to bend over and write a blank check while they f**k you up the a**.

            I don’t see a lot of folks offering that up…

            1. Nick says:

              Really?

              That’s all I see consumers offering up.

              Welcome to capitalism baby! 🙂

  4. jerryd says:

    GM can only make as many as they ordered batteries last yr.
    Personally I think they can sell 100k of them easily if they want to and dealers , salespeople don’t sabotage the sales.

    1. Tech01x says:

      There is a limit to what LG Chem can supply with batteries. At 30,000, that’s 1.8 GWh. Remember, LG Chem also supplies GM for the Volt, Ford, Volvo, VW, Audi, Porsche, Hyundai, Renault, and more. Going to 50,000 vehicles is 3 GWh, or about 40-50% of all their 2017 capacity.

      Chances are, GM is ordering up about 25,000 to 30,000 Bolt’s for the first year’s production. They’ll gauge demand. They can then order up to about 50% increase in production for the 2nd year if the demand warrants it.

      If Tesla falls short of their estimates for 2017, they might still ship more Model 3’s than the Bolt in 2016 + 2017. The first phase of the Gigafactory is about 7 GWh, so about 115,000 Model 3 packs. If that is cranking out even half that rate in 2016/2017, then we’re talking about almost 60,000 Model 3’s. Tesla wants to bring on around 2 more phases into 2018, so even if they only manage to bring on 1 more phase, we’re talking 200,000 in 2018.

      To do 200,000 Bolts, GM has give LG about $2 billion in capital to start building a new battery factory on top of all the expansions they’ve already announced.

      1. JeremyK says:

        Please sight your source that says that LG is constrained in the number of cells (kWh) that it can produce in 2017/2018 timeframe. Your statement is simply regurgitated nonsense that has no factual basis.

  5. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

    These cars are not in the same market. Who thinks: “gee, do I get a sports car or a rounded hatchback?”. One is a wife move, the other an aging dude move. You pick.

    Scott, the aging dude…..

    1. Dan says:

      They are not in the same price bracket either. The M3s that are 35k will likely not be manufactured till 2019. We are comparing a car that is 37k with a car that is closer to 50k.

      1. Brandon says:

        Not exactly. 2018 will likely see substantial deliveries of the Model 3.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Only if Tesla actually gets the Model ≡ into production in 2017, and only if they ramp up production a lot faster than they did with the Model S and X.

          Tesla’s history doesn’t suggest that’s going to happen.

      2. SparkEV says:

        Both cars will run out of tax credit soon. However, Tesla 3 at $50K will be well optioned, may include AWD and maybe even more power and bigger battery. Then one has to compare Bolt small CUV ($37.5K) to base Tesla 3 sedan ($35K).

        From what we know so far, Tesla 3 will be quicker (“wow” factor), which makes Bolt not that appealing. Bolt would be a good EV to lease while waiting for base Tesla 3 if one doesn’t already have an EV.

        But, Chevy could do better with Bolt by supporting charging network (not free!) and having more power and towing. If (when?) that happens, demand could rise, especially against gas cars like WRX, GTI, etc. though probably not against entry level BMW and Mercedes that Tesla is targeting.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Well, Tesla will continue to get free publicity for its cars from all the buzz about drag racing and 0-to-60 times, and that will continue for the Model ≡. So in that respect, the faster acceleration will help Tesla sell more cars.

          But I rather doubt many potential customers would base their car buying decision on the actual difference in feel of the acceleration between the Bolt and the Model ≡. Even the poky Leaf has gotten positive reviews for its 0-30 acceleration, just like any other EV engineered to not need a transmission.

          So long as the Bolt has a noticeably better acceleration than the Leaf, I think it will sell just fine to those who want some “Oomph”. And with a battery pack more than twice as big as the Leaf’s, there’s plenty of power there to draw on for acceleration. The only question is just how powerful a motor LG Electronics will be building for the Bolt. Will it be powerful enough to take full advantage of the power from that 60 kWh battery pack? Or will they put in a more modest motor, to conserve range?

          1. V. Stenbekk says:

            200 hp should do nicely.

          2. SparkEV says:

            It’s about marketing. If you’re buying a car of similar characteristics (ie, 200 miles range EV), one car is cheaper by $2500 and quicker than the other, which would you take? You may not need 6 sec 0-60, but to pay more for slower car makes no sense.

            Of course, this assumes Chevy will expand the charger network to rival Tesla (which Chevy said not). Then the difference comes down to CUV vs sedan. Basically, Chevy needed Bolt to wow against Tesla 3, which it isn’t.

          3. JeremyK says:

            I really can’t wait to see how Tesla hits their performance targets for the M3. Knowing how well GM controls cost, the specs for the M3 just don’t add up. When you increase the power enough to go 0-60 in 6 seconds, you’re putting a lot more stress on other driveline components. Shafts, gears, power electronics, wiring, all need to beefed up. That adds weight and cost. There’s no way around that, UNLESS you’re willing to sacrifice performance through high warranty claims. Even assuming Tesla is able to save a few bucks per kWh using GF batteries, that does not account for the $2500 cost and performance differential we’re seeing between the two cars.

            1. Omar Sultan says:

              You do realize the 0-60 in under 6 seconds is de-tuning even their slowest drivetrain, right?

        2. Nick says:

          No super charging will give the Bolt a tough head wind.

          1. Texas FFE says:

            You put too much regard in Supercharging. It will take just afew minutes longer charging with CCS and after several hours of driving that few extra minutes of rest will be welcomed.

            1. Andrew Mitchell says:

              That depends entirely on whether 200 strategically placed (near fast food) CCS charging stations, each able to charge 4-12 cars simultaneously and reliably at reasonable prices ($10 for 200 miles)… suddenly pop up.

              If so, then sure, the Bolt will have what Tesla has with Supercharging.
              However, I doubt they will execute as well as Tesla on this.

              1. Rick Danger says:

                FFE is all butthurt because he can’t afford a Tesla, but he thinks they should make the Supercharging network *they paid for* available to him. He doesn’t seem to have a problem that his GM and Ford idols (the REAL automakers, not some stuck-up noob like Elon Musk, huh FFE?) aren’t bothering to put out a network at all. Nope, he’s all Hunky-Dory with that.
                Go Figure. Some people just refuse to get it. Their problem.

            2. Stimpy says:

              A few minutes longer? 50 kW vs 120 kW is quite a difference and much more than “a few minutes” in practice.

            3. jelloslug says:

              It’s not “just a few minutes”; it’s more than double.

        3. theflew says:

          Let’s be honest the difference between the Model 3 and Bolt 0-60 performance will be within about a second of each other. GM has been very generic with it’s 0-60 times. All they have said is under 7 seconds. That could be anywhere between 6.0 to 6.9.

      3. super390 says:

        How do you know the Bolts won’t be optioned up as well? They’re sold by dealers, and dealers love loading up in-demand models as much as they hate electric cars. If you believe there is a lot of demand for the Bolt, which I agree with, then it will have its price inflated one way or the other.

        And if there are no options available, that doesn’t speak well of the Bolt as a class competitor to the Model 3. Options are generally a good thing.

        1. theflew says:

          The difference is in the fall I could walk into a dealer and order a base Bolt and receive it in a couple of months. Might be a while before you can do that with the Model 3. You are correct that the first Bolts will be highly optioned because they will be customer orders.

        2. SparkEV says:

          Bolt is FWD. Optioned well will still be FWD. At $50K, Tesla could offer AWD, self driving mode, etc. etc. Bolt is most likely one battery option. Tesla will probably offer many options.

          As for Chevy, they keep talking about on-vehicle 4G LTE as something extraordinary. I have 4G LTE from Freedompop that cost $0/mo that I take with me everywhere, including the car. It’s like Chevy is stuck in 2006.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            It is better than the 2G stuff that Nissan built into the LEAF in 2015. LOL.

            Doesn’t Tesla only have 3G?

          2. Stimpy says:

            We use the free LTE in out Chevy precisely zero times during the free 3 month trial. Why would we use that when our phones already have LTE?

          3. JeremyK says:

            I love AWD, but if you compare a fully optioned Bolt vs. a fully optioned M3 we’re probably talking a $15K price differential. AWD is worth about $3K to me.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      Oh come on. They are the ONLY 2 affordable 200+ mile range EVs on the market. Of course they are in the same zone.

  6. LOL says:

    Bolt will sell good in the US, but slightly better in Europe, as European buyers crave exactly that design. What GM should see to is installing of inductive chargers in its dealerships and thus attract buyers who live in condos/apartments. That’s very significant outreach, if they truly want to stand a chance against Tesla M 3. One other thing to be borne on mind – take a firm stance of not disseminating self-driving vehicles, given a normal mind functions perfectly fine without that nonsense feature. If GM passes through these gates, then it stands fair chances of confronting Tesla Motors in a successful manner and to a more than pleasing degree. Go GM !

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      So… you’re suggesting that GM installing EV chargers at its dealerships will attract apartment dwellers who can’t charge at home? That apartment dwellers will be attracted by the idea they can come and spend hours waiting around at the dealership 2-3 or more times a week, to charge their car?

      Ummm…. no. Just no.

    2. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

      The bolt will sell WELL….

      Well is an adverb.

      Good is an adjective.

      http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/good-versus-well

      1. LOL says:

        Thank you for your correction..

      2. ffbj says:

        That is all well and good.

    3. sveno says:

      * Would sell well in Europe IF it would be manufactured by Opel in Germany.

  7. Texas FFE says:

    Are these sells estimates for the whole world or just the US market? If you include the European and Chinese variant sales, the way Tesla did, I would think these sales estimates would much higher.

    I believe there’s a market for GM to sell 100,000+ Bolts in 2017. Whether GM will ramp up production and make available enough Bolts to sell 100,000+ that’s another question. Maybe GM should be taking pre-orders so they can judge the market for next year.

    One of big mistakes Ford made with FFE is that the FFE only came in one trim package with virtually no options. One of the reasons Nissan sells ten Leafs to every one FFE Ford sells is because the Leaf comes in three trim packages. If GM does not push the one-size-fits-all approach but offers multiple trim levels and multiple options their sells will be greatly improved.

    1. super390 says:

      I hadn’t heard there was a Chinese Bolt planned. That would be great, something that would hit China at exactly the right time. The Chinese EV companies would really have to up their game.

    2. Ambulator says:

      US sales are scheduled to start late 2016 or very early 2017. When will international sale begin? Perhaps not until 2018.

      1. wavelet says:

        It might not happen then, but GM is on record saying the Opel Ampera-e will go on sale in Europe in 2017 (that’s LHD, I don’t think there was any mention yet of a RHD version for the UK/Ireland).
        Opel’s CEO has also stated it will be affordable. While that isn’t a statement of actual price, Opel is a solidly mid-priced carmaker. They have no luxury cars or luxury-trim variants whatsoever.

      2. jelloslug says:

        Full US roll out won’t be until spring of ’17 at the earliest. Just look at the 2nd gen Volt roll out. It was a tiny trickle in CARB states six months and then they started being available nation wide.

    3. wavelet says:

      In retrospect, the Spark EV was a combo compliance/engineering-pilot project, so the Bolt would be GM’s first commercially-sold EV effort.

      It’s anybody’s guess whether they’ll will be doing aggressive marketing for the Bolt. They may, if they’re sure the EV segment is ripe for widespread sales (which means to the mainstream public); they might not, if they think it isn’t.

      I think they made sure the Bolt has full _potential_ for a volume car (in terms of design and production requirements), but also made sure the business decisions can be deferred… that also means the supply contracts with LG and others are flexible enough.
      Reason I’m cautiously optimistic is the fact that the existence of the Euro model (e-Ampera) was announced in advance… GM could have waited, not said anything initially, and seen what sales reception the car gets in the US first.

    4. LEAF_n_PiP says:

      Also the FFE STILL doesn’t have L3 charging, which tosses it out for many EV shoppers.

      1. Texas FFE says:

        No argument. It’s going to be interesting to see how the 2017 FFE with CCS does against the Leaf.

        1. Stimpy says:

          Not very well considering the leaf will soon have 200 mile AER also.

  8. Brandon says:

    Another factor often mentioned regarding the appeal of the Bolt and Model 3 to drivers is that without a decent CCS fast charge network for longer distance driving, the Bolt is at a disadvantage and will be off to a slower start compared to the Model 3.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Yeah, I hope the Chevy Bolt sells well. But I suspect the Model 3 will just slaughter it.

      I am going to assume that Tesla misses its $35K price and comes in at $37,500 just like the Bolt. But even if that happens:
      1) The Tesla has the worldwide Supercharger network of strategically places higher speed DC fast-chargers.
      2) The Model 3 is just damn sexy compared to the econobox looking Bolt.

      The Bolt will get some sales because it is a hatchback and the Model 3 is not. It will also get some sales for coming out long before the Model 3. But beyond that, it is hard to find reasons to get the Bolt instead of a Model 3.

      1. Texas FFE says:

        We will see, but I think just the opposite is true. I think all the high priced options that make the Model 3 sexy (like the ludicrous mode) are going to put the Model 3 out of reach for most people. I think the practicality of the CUV Bolt is going make it much more attractive to those that can only afford the lower end models.

        Personally I like the Bolt much more than the Model 3. I get excited whenever I see the least little tidbit of information on the Bolt but I’m pretty complacent about Model 3 news. I need an EV that I can use to commute to work with, to go to the grocery store and hardware store and that I can load up with lots of stuff for long trips, not an EV that will do 0 to 60 mph in less than 2 seconds.

        1. Lou says:

          Tex: I think you have a point there. The Bolt EV gets topped out at a few thousand dollars more than the base model. However, the M3 gets optioned way above its listed selling price. No one HAS to order all the options, but $50K gets you a VERY nicely equipped BEV, wit probably longer range than anything but a Model S(assuming one purchase the larger battery). I can also see the Bolt EV being reduced in price once the M3 hits the market full time.

          1. jerryd says:

            Yes but the optioned up T3 will be so much more car than the Bolt,far faster with 4wh drive,etc.
            It’ll compete with cars that cost 2x as much money leaving the Bolt in the dust.

            1. Paul Stoller says:

              More car in the sense of technology and performance, but when it comes to utility the Bolt will win hands down. If one wants an affordable Tesla with utility, one will have to wait for the Model Y.

      2. jelloslug says:

        Another “ace in the hole” for Tesla was the already announced delivery schedule of well optioned cars first. This will let them ramp up production on cars with higher margins first to let them get the costs down when they start making the stripped down versions.

    2. Texas FFE says:

      I disagree. The majority of sales for the Bolt will come from areas well endowed with CCS stations, like the US East and West coasts and most of Europe. I don’t think the location of Supercharger stations is going to much influence on Bolt purchase decisions.

      1. Nick says:

        There are no areas which have CSS stations like the supercharger network.

        Not yet anyway. Perhaps GM will come to their senses and make redundant, high power, multistall CSS stations ubiquitous before the bolt launches, but they’ve said they’re not going to do that.

        Since you can’t rely on them, CHAdeMO and CSS stations are practically useless compared to the supercharging infrastructure.

        1. Texas FFE says:

          On the east and west coasts of the US and in Europe there are many, many more CCS stations than Supercharger stations. Supercharger stations have no advantage over CCS stations in these areas. If you don’t believe me you should checkout PlugShare.

          1. Brandon says:

            You are wrong. First off the CCS stations are only 24-50 kW. Not too great for the longer distance travel being referred to. Secondly, they are not even close to being reliable as Superchargers. Just today there was this article:
            https://chargedevs.com/newswire/tesla-supercharger-users-rate-experience-far-better-than-other-fast-charging-users/
            I doubt there are as many CCS stations as individual Supercharger stalls. If fact, know there aren’t. There are currently 263 Supercharger locations in the US making a total of at least 1500+ stalls nationwide if its figured that each location has 6 stalls. Now I know you said on the East and West coasts, but that too is probably eclipsed in number by Supercharger stalls there. Currently there are 550+ CCS chargers in the US. So the advantage of Superchargers on the East and West coasts is proportionally more. Sorry to have to balance you out that far, but I believe I’m accurate here. In Europe I grant there may possibly be more CCS, but again they fail the power level comparison and reliability comparison. At least that’s the way it is now in 2016. That will change in the coming years tho.

            1. Texas FFE says:

              No I’m not wrong. We were talking about stations, not stalls. Most of the time when I drive by supercharger stations there are not any Teslas charging, what good are all those stalls if they hardly ever get used?

              1. Brandon says:

                Well number of stations is a very poor comparison to make I must say. We will have to wait a few years yet for the next generation of fast charge stations to develop, and then it may compare to Tesla Supercharger stations.

              2. Stimpy says:

                I can tell your FFE doesn’t have CCS because if it did you’d be aware of how silly it sounds to compare a multi-stall supercharger location as equal to a single stall CCS location.

                Lot of good that single plug doesn when it’s out of order, as CCS stations tend to be!

          2. sveno says:

            It will be a long time before you can make a CCS powered trip across Europe. Not to mention quite a few CCS stations require a subscription/contract.
            Compare that with the Supercharger plan for 2016 – The whole Schengen area will be covered!

          3. jelloslug says:

            Plugshare is very deceptive when looking at locations only. There are several combo DC fast chargers listed in my city and only one Supercharger but each of the combo unit locations can only service one car. The supercharger location has 8 plugs.

    3. Spider-Dan says:

      I think the value of a QC network is severely overrated.

      Right now, Tesla is hiding the costs of quick charging in the price of the car. When the Model III comes out, if it sells in anything like the numbers Tesla is projecting, a free-to-use SC network would quickly be overrun.

      Tesla is going to have to switch to pay-by-usage SCs for MIII, and when they do, you are going to see many BEV drivers comparing the following:

      a) the cost to charge at home
      b) the cost to use a quick charger
      c) the cost to make that same trip using gasoline

      This is the REAL reason why quick charging networks are lagging in development. Quick charging is not even remotely price-competitive with today’s gas prices.

      1. sveno says:

        I don’t think there will be many drivers in US or Europe that need DC fast charging every day on a 200+ mile car so price premium is not a problem. You don’t need DC fast charging only if the EV is your second car.
        In Europe the fast charging prices are quite ok in my opinion and will only go down.

        1. Spider-Dan says:

          But that’s my point: either DC fast charging is incredibly vital to the success of long-range BEVs, or it’s not that big of a deal, but it can’t be both… and I think it’s more of the latter.

          DC charging isn’t going to be widespread until it’s financially viable, which won’t happen until it’s cheaper than gas. Until we reach that point, longer-ranged PHEVs like the Volt will have a sizable cost advantage over BEVs.

      2. JeremyK says:

        Totally agree. Even the local PUBLIC library is price gouging at the EV charger. Mostly out of ignorance. Last time I checked the per mile cost was much greater than using gas.

        Most 200 mile BEV drivers are going to charge at home/work and will have a second vehicle they use for long trips. Anybody thinking they’re getting a “deal” by paying extra money for SuperCharging is crazy. Why not rent the most expensive luxury/performance car you can find and use that on long trips? Most of those people will still save money compared to paying for SCing, whether it’s an add on fee or built into the cost of the car.

  9. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    The article claims:

    “GM insists it can easily pull off 50,000.”

    Really? Let’s look at what a GM rep actually said, as quoted in the previous article linked in the article above:

    “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.”

    Yeah, there’s more than one problem here:

    1. Nowhere in those quotes is the word “easily” stated or implied. What the rep actually said is he thinks GM could reach a production as high as 50,000 in the first year of production.

    2. There most certainly is something restricting production: Battery supply. LG Chem contracts out for deliveries two years in advance. That’s why we knew that one or more “200-mile” EVs were coming, two years ago; because LG Chem was touting that. GM can’t suddenly crank up the dial for Bolt production, because they’re supply limited by how many EV powertrains, including battery packs, that LG Chem and LG Electronics are willing and able to supply them.

    I’ve said it before, several times, but far too many people are still ignoring this reality: If GM wanted to produce the Bolt in large numbers, they would have developed the EV powertrain in-house, and they would also be building their own battery factories, just as Nissan and BYD have done, and as Tesla is now doing.

    So long as EV makers are dependent on outside suppliers for battery cells, they’ll be production constrained. Just as Tesla has been production constrained by depending on Panasonic for supply. Despite Tesla’s very public efforts to get Panasonic to ramp up production faster, it very much appears that in most financial quarters, Tesla has been production limited by battery supply.

    Similarly, Nissan was unable to make as many Leafs as it wanted to, until it built out battery factories in Tennessee and the UK. Depending on the AESC factory (or factories) in Japan simply didn’t work for them.

    It’s quite easy to tell which companies are actually committed to building long-range EVs in large numbers… and which are not. GM is one of the latter.

    1. Mr. B. says:

      Do you honestly believe GM and LG contracts are that simplistic, and that the two have not given any consideration to scaling to meet a potential increase in demand?

      As for GM’s approach to volume EV production, I don’t presume to have insight as to rationales behind their strategies. I do know that repeating a statement over and over does not make it any more (or less) true, merely tedious.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I honestly believe GM is not interested in making or selling the Bolt in large numbers. That’s pretty obvious from the way they farmed out production of the entire powertrain to LG Chem and LG Electronics, the same way that Toyota farmed out the entire EV powertrain for the RAV4 EV to Tesla. In both cases, it was a way for the big auto maker to limit development costs on a model it didn’t plan to sell in large numbers.

        “I do know that repeating a statement over and over does not make it any more (or less) true, merely tedious.”

        Not everyone reads every comment posted to InsideEVs. In fact, I don’t even do that myself. Repetition of significant information is helpful, whether you personally like it or not.

        1. Mr. B. says:

          I question your assertion that your statements regarding GM and LG abilities to scale production are information. Rather, your statements strike me as personal opinions you are attempting to promulgate as facts through repetition. It is this I take exception to. You lack sufficient facts to back up your statements, thus eroding your credibility on the subject.

          1. Paul Stoller says:

            I believe Pushmi-Pullyu often has good information on their side, but in this instance I have to agree with you.

        2. theflew says:

          Actually I think GM is serious about Bolt sales. Farming out the cell, pack, motor control electronics makes a lot of sense. The motor and inverter are GM designs. But if you look at the things I listed they are all commodities parts. The only way you’ll have any advantage in assembly them yourself is if you have very high volumes. But LG already makes millions of motors and battery cells so they are already well ahead of the curve. LG can even manufacture their own cell making machines that GM would have to buy. GM is use to working with suppliers on critical vehicle systems so this is no different.

          1. Doggydogworld says:

            Excellent points. Furthermore, GM assembly means UAW labor which puts GM at a competitive disadvantage. That’s why the Big 3 moved away from vertical integration the past few decades – to save on labor costs.

            1. storky says:

              . . . but a sales advantage of employees who can afford the product they help build.

        3. wavelet says:

          Your comparison between the RAV4 and Bolt is not apropos at all.
          The RAV4 was explicitly intended to be a CARB compliance vehicle.
          Toyota stated as such, and said in advance they would produce 2600 of them, exactly the mimimum number needed. They stopped the assembly line as soon as #2600 rolled off.
          AFAIK, it was only sold in California.

          Under those circumstances, it’s not surprising Toyota decided to choose the minimum-effort, minimal-risk way to do an EV that would still sell those 2600 units: An electric conversion of an existing well-regarded car, with an outside supplier for the entire drivetrain. The idea was to comply with the letter of the CARB ZEV regs, while completely raspberry-ing the spirit.

          The Bolt is a new platform, not a conversion, and was explicitly conceived from the start as a global-market car.
          AFAIK, GM did the entire drivetrain design (they most certainly did the motor & gearbox-equivalent), whereas LG is the manufacturing partner.
          As for why GM isn’t doing their own manufacturing facilities for the components, two reasons for it:
          1) The automotive industry doesn’t work that way. Carmakers are primarily body-panel makers, assemblers and integrators, a.f.a. manufacturing is concerned.
          2) They’re certainly still primarily an ICE maker, and until they can see how actual EV demand plays out with non-early-adopters, they want to be cautious about investments and not bet the farm. This may or may not cost them in marketshare and/or revenue and/or profits — too early to tell.

    2. Mike says:

      Ok, trick here is “orders”…

      The dealers, ever so much want to call them by the more accurate “stealers”, won’t order them. They make their money on maintenance…

      How many times can they change the nitrogen in the tires or “surface” the barely used brake pads?

      No oil changes, and hardly anything to break…

      So yeah, they’ll order a whole ton of them, meaning 2000lbs. of them…

      Just bought a volt. Dealer sucked. Lied several times, charged me for equipment they didn’t install, didn’t prep the car as they were supposed to. Routed my loan to highest profit. First service, they were SO proud, except they didn’t update the all software as I asked… They just updated the part that was a recall. They got the interior of the car dirty…

      Yeah… They’ll order a TON of Bolts…

      1. Mr. B. says:

        Sorry to hear you had such a poor experience with the dealer. Hopefully you’re enjoying the car, and can find a better dealer nearby!

    3. JeremyK says:

      Wrong, wrong, wrong. That’s not how the automotive supply chain works at all. Cars are not i-Phones. Demand for a brand new vehicle, usually ramps as word of mouth spreads about quality, performance, etc. There is no INSTANT demand for XXX,000 vehicles that must be met on day one. Usually/smartly OEMs respond to customer demand and ramp accordingly. If an OEM or supplier were to just ASSUME a certain production volume, they’d be hanging their a$$ out to dry. Any manufacturing line that isn’t fully utilized is essentially losing money and the effective per part cost skyrockets. Most companies moved away from vertical integration because there some huge inherent risks involved. I promise you, if GM senses a true demand for the Bolt, LG/GM will ramp accordingly. Nobody, including Tesla is going to sell 200K EVs in the first year of production (due to customer demand, not supply constraints).

  10. Mr. B. says:

    “…the Model 3 is a small, sporty sedan, versus the even smaller Bolt EV crossover/hatchback.” is an inaccurate characterization of the Bolt EV. The Bolt EV has as much passenger volume as the Model S, 94 cubic feet. Tesla stated that the Model 3 is about 20% smaller than the Model S. Since there would be no way to preserve the same passenger volume in the Model 3 while retaining the “sporty sedan” shape, this means that the Model 3 must have a smaller overall volume than the Bolt EV. Which is another way of saying that the Bolt EV is bigger than the Model 3.

    The Model 3 has a sexier, more aerodynamic shape. The Bolt EV has a more space efficient shape. The Bolt EV is a little shorter, and a touch narrower, but it’s taller. The key to this is that the Bolt EV’s height approaches maximum sooner and stays high longer (compared to the Model 3) as you traverse from the front of the car to the rear. That’s how the Bolt EV ends up bigger.

    Note that I’m disregarding variations in maximum vehicle width for this analysis. Similar reasoning applies to the width of the two vehicles, but as the widths vary much less than the heights, the effects on volume are much smaller.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      There’s no question that the Bolt will have much more usable cargo space, especially since it has a hatchback and the Model ≡ does not.

      But it seems pretty clear that GM has no intention of making the Bolt in large numbers, whereas Tesla will ramp up production of the Model ≡ as fast as possible. Most people who want a Bolt will wind up buying some other car, because there won’t be a Bolt available for them. Certainly not all of those buyers will buy a Model ≡, but equally certainly, many of them will.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        If you write Model ≡, you have to write T≡sla. Otherwise you look like a fanboi.

      2. mxs says:

        You, as many other, are assuming that GM cannot ramp up production in year 2,3,4 … which is probably realistically the time Tesla will need to get to 30K. Unless of course, Tesla will defy all the manufacturing experts in the whole world, which are the same experts they would so desperately hire as Musk has said recently.

      3. Mr. B. says:

        What seems clear to me is that you have strong opinions as to what GM will and won’t do, and you are willing to broadcast these opinions as fact without having done the research and analysis to sufficiently back up your claims.

        My opinions on the matter are that GM leadership recognizes a sea change in the industry, and is positioning itself, its employees, and its partners to survive and prosper in the coming world, while minimizing disruption. I believe GM is not, and cannot be, like Tesla. That is neither good nor bad, in my opinion, merely different.

        With respect to the Bolt EV, GM has stated they planned for 30,000 unit production, with a scale up to 50,000 if needed. There is absolutely no reason to believe they did not put contract options in place to support that increase if needed. I imagine both GM and LG production planners and contract lawyers would have insured appropriate language for production goals at various levels, compensation, bonuses, penalties and so on. It’s what large, prudent manufacturing businesses do, day in, day out. Yet you would have us believe GM would stray from this pattern to strike a simplistic, naive bargain with LG, and that LG would agree? I think not. Rather, I believe the naivety lies with you.

        Again, my opinion. Like you, I do not have the relevant contracts available to inspect. Thus this is opinion, and not “information” to be shouted repeatedly from the four walls each hour.

        1. JeremyK says:

          +1 Mr B. So that’s at least two of that agree with you “opinion.

      4. Mr. B. says:

        I believe most of the people who want a Bolt EV will get a Bolt EV. I also believe that for the first year or two of Model 3 production a number of people who want a Model 3 will get a Model S instead, or will get some non-Tesla car.

        I see the Bolt EV and Model 3 as belonging to separate market segments. In my view the cars do not compete except as mid priced 200+ mile EVs. Price wise I believe there will be no competition at all until basic model 3 variants become available. I do believe there is pent up demand for the model 3 in the upper content price ranges that will first be available.

        For the Bolt EV my impression is that it will be a lot of money for the image it offers, which will put a bit of a damper on demand after the initial rush. The tea leaves are harder to read on this one, though.

    2. Tech01x says:

      You have to be careful about using total volume as a measurement tool. The Bolt is a narrow and tall design. That makes it terrible at aerodynamics, but gives it great headroom.

      At 39.7″ inches in the front and 37.9″ in the rear for headroom, it’s great if you are very tall. However, it’s also 54.6″ shoulder room in the front and only 52.8″ shoulder room in the back. Hip is smaller at 51.6″/50.8″. That means the car actually feels smaller as a result, as the width available inside the cabin is pretty small. Plenty of headroom, not as much width. That makes the rear seat tough for 3 across the back.

      The Chevy Trax/Buick Encore is pretty much dead on in terms of interior dimensions – since they are based on the same platform, that makes sense. The Encore has slightly more headroom in the back and slightly less legroom overall.

      The Model 3 is smaller overall… but the cabin is not that much smaller. Matter of fact, the headroom is likely about the same as the Model S since the height of the vehicles is pretty close. It probably has less headroom still than the Bolt, but more shoulder/hip room, making the 3rd row more comfortable for 3. As it stands, the Model S, as width a lot of sports sedans has less head room than the Bolt/Trax/Encore. But it’s the width that really makes the car feel big or not.

      Another example: Audi S7 headroom is almost 3 inches shorter in front, 1.3 inches in the rear, but the shoulder room is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear. All that extra headroom in the front gives a larger overall interior volume, but not nearly as useful.

      1. agzand says:

        I think Model 3 battery pack is ticker than Model S because Tesla wants to use larger cells.

      2. Mr. B. says:

        Thank you for your informative analysis of the perceived interior size of the two vehicles, and the ergonomic benefits of the alternative design choices. I don’t doubt that the Model 3 will feel more spacious to most people. The uncluttered dash design and the glass roof will also contribute to that sense of openness and space. That was not my point, however. I was merely attempting to demonstrate that the Bolt EV is, in actuality, a larger car then the Model 3, nothing more.

  11. Jacked Beanstalk says:

    15,000 tops. GM couldn’t market snowplows in a blizzard.

    1. Tim says:

      I agree your estimate is much more likely.

      The Volt is doing about 30k / year. The Leaf just a bit less. The Bolt most likely will compete mostly with the Leaf. While it has more range than a Leaf, it appeals to the same buyer who likes that body style.

      Personally, you couldn’t give it a 500 mile range and convince me to get one. Ugly is ugly.

  12. mxs says:

    I know a guy who frequents a supplier in Canada who will be manufacturing parts of subframe, rear axle etc. …. we talk cars often and especially GM Bolt vehicle … he said to me that right now the supplier’s capacity is 30K/year … with probably a stretch to 50K/year if GM really wanted and the supplier would have a space for additional line/robots …. anything past 50K/year is out of question, unless GM will start manufacture the same part at different suppliers … which is a no-no I believe from quality control standpoint.

    So, I think there’s a bit of hype in the title, especial when “first year” is added to it.

    1. Jacked Beanstalk says:

      Even 30K in the first year would be huge. I’d actually prefer to see demand outstrip capacity so GM feels pressure to add capacity and engineer enhancements for the 2nd through 3rd years. Better for the engineers to tell the business dorks “I told you so” than the other way around.

    2. theflew says:

      Does the Bolt even have a rear axle? Unless it has optional 4 will drive there wouldn’t be an axle.

      1. Texas FFE says:

        The Bolt uses a torsion bar rear suspension. There is no straight axle on the rear wheels of the Bolt.

      2. mxs says:

        Ever heard of dead axle, torsion bar …. anyway moot point.

    3. Texas FFE says:

      This is just a rumor and doesn’t mean GM can’t build many more if they need to. Ford thought they were going to sell less than 100,000 Mustangs in 1965 but ended up selling more than 400,000. GM can find other manufacturers to help meet demand if that one manufacturer gets maxed out.

      1. mxs says:

        My understanding is that it is not what normally one does. Maybe on something like a 0.50$ plastic part … but not a subframe etc.

        1. JeremyK says:

          Texas is correct.

    4. JeremyK says:

      You’re right on. When contracts are written there is an agreement for a minimum and maximum volume. Within those ranges the price is fixed. outside those volumes the prices goes up. There’s also an absolute upper limit, which appears to be 50k at this particular supplier. Basically, what would happen is that if GM decided that 2018 volumes were going to be 80K, is that they would ask the supplier to add another “line” or ask what changes they would have to make to meet the new target. Lead time on manufacturing equipment is usually under 1 year, even for very complex equipment.

      Just read an article about how Tesla hasn’t even chosen all of their suppliers yet, which means to me that production capacity and prices are NOT locked in. Any manufacturing projections he makes are complete nonsense until the design is finalized and contracts are signed.

  13. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

    I say screw all the nuts with Bolts….

    1. Brandon says:

      Hah.. good one!!

    2. LOL says:

      That “Screw all the nuts with Bolts” could possibly be one of the best captions for Bolt ads. GM should really seriously take this into consideration. + 1

      1. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

        Don’t be a dolt! Buy a Bolt! (or volt).

        Don’t get screwed! Buy a Bolt!

        Unless you are a nut, buy a bolt!

        Hey, its not my fault GM made them all rhyme.

  14. ModernMarvelFan says:

    You assume that there will be more than 20K people willing to lease/buy the Bolt the first year.

    Unless oil/gas gets expensive by the end of the year, you can forget that.

    Tesla Model 3 orders don’t matter. That is a 15 year pent up demand which has no bearing on Bolt sales since those pent up demands are only pent up hates toward the Bolt.

  15. Texas FFE says:

    Tesla doesn’t advertise but yet they were able to sale 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3. How did Tesla get the word out? Tesla got the word out by getting articles written like the one you and I are reading and posting on.

    Whether you like it on not you are advertising for the GM Bolt right now. Tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people are going to read this article and our posts. Judging from the fact that this article has had over seventy post in the couple of hours since it was published I would say the GM Bolt is getting a lot of good advertising out of this article.

    If GM can keep dishing out tidbits of information on the Bolt that generate these kinds of interest and intense discussion, GM should have any trouble in exceeding high end sales expectations.

    1. mxs says:

      Not really … Tesla has consistently overplayed what they are able to achieve … I guess normal for any company who needs cash badly.

      The fans have no problem believing Musk, they will always do. The stockholders have been playing very soft and nice with Musk … so far. Future will show whether they will continue to do so.

      That’s what brought them 350Kx 1K worth of pre-orders … not what you or I write here or elsewhere.

      So easy to crowd source anything these days.

  16. georges says:

    I agree with PMPU.

    Gm doesn’t want to sell very many BoltEV’s. They would rather sell pick up trucks.

    If you want to maximize profits you crank out as many high margin vehicles as you can. That means gas cars and trucks. GM isn’t in this game to be eco minded. They are in it to make money. Short sighted? Probably but a simple fact. Making money is the name of the game.

    They demonstrate this over and over. They have great engineers that do an excellent job on power trains. Both the Volt and the Bolt EV are good examples.

    What do they do with these excellent power trains?

    They stick them in undesirable car bodies. Volt is a great example. No room inside, perfect for a CUV….but noooo.

    Management strikes again.

    Now look at the BoltEV:

    Excellent power train. What do they stick it in?

    A compact. If you read the latest SAE paper on the BoltEV design you find they had to go out of their way to stuff that much stuff into a compact. That is why there is no frunk.

    If you are going to go to all that trouble to design that nice of a power train why would you limit it’s usefulness by putting it in a compact?

    Answer is: GM doesn’t want to sell that many.

    Management strikes again.

    1. ffbj says:

      Yeah, me too. I think in general all signs point to a rather lukewarm effort with the Bolt.

      1. mxs says:

        OMG …. you guys are boring with this line of thinking. Try something better pls.

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “If you are going to go to all that trouble to design that nice of a power train why would you limit it’s usefulness by putting it in a compact?”

      You mean the Compact with more interior passenger volume than a “full size” Model S?

      Geez… GM did such a terrible job.

      Maybe it is because that is the only 200 miles BEV that is under 3,600lb..

    3. Mr. B. says:

      Chevy Malibu. Cadillac CT6. Buick Lacrosse (China only). All have or are getting Voltec powertrains engineered for their specific use cases.

  17. Ambulator says:

    I like the chair shown in the Bolt on the main page. I don’t think you could get that into the Model 3’s trunk.

  18. James says:

    I keep out that hope that people who spring for a PHEV with 20-ish mile EV range will long for that EV experience much the more after they’ve experienced it.

    It’s a boating city where I live and new boat buyers ALWAYS get “10 foot fever”. They buy a 17 foot boat and the next one’s got to be 27 feet, and so on…It’s the human condition.

    Current LEAF owners will buy Bolt EVs, no doubt, and in my area there are A LOT OF LEAFS driving around. There will also be the Lyft business and the people who drop off the M3 list.

    Still, with awful fast charging ( optional on Bolt EV ) choices – and when buyers become aware that literally no SAE CCS chargers are around…We can safely see 30,000-ish Bolt EVs move the first year and gen 1 Volt volumes each year thereafter.

  19. James says:

    My prediction is Bolt EV sales will spike at first, but once current LEAF owners ponder the fast charging differences – very many will hang onto their LEAF and wait for gen 2 from Nissan.

    Current LEAF leaseholders are bound to give Bolt EV a very good look.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Why?

      Many LEAF owners are GM haters who would NEVER touch anything made by GM.

      I know this because at least 5 of them told me so. Yes, only 5. But that is 5 out of the 7 LEAF owners I know personally.

      1. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

        I hate GM and I lease a Spark.

        Actually, I do business with and have worked for several companies I hate. If I didn’t I would never get anything done.

        1. Fred says:

          Why?

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          That is totally strange then…

          I guess you leased a Spark EV because GM were giving it away with cheap deals. when it is that cheap, even if you hate it, you are willing to do it becuase you are cheap…

    2. Mr. B. says:

      I believe there will be a spike in Bolt EV sales as well, but I don’t think lack of fast charging options will have much to do with the tail off.

      At first I was dismayed at the lack of CCS chargers where I live, almost to the point of leasing a LEAF, despite my dislike of the looks and the driving experience. Turns out since getting an EV I’ve charged away from home very rarely. My big issue is vehicle range on certain days, particularly when it is very cold out. A 200+ mile range permanently solves that problem regardless of temperature, for as long as I will have the vehicle.

      The Bolt EV solves the range anxiety issue. Surprise extra trips aren’t an issue, cold weather range reduction isn’t an issue. When all the ~80 mile range car owners are done replacing their cars with Bolt EVs, LEAF 2.0s, or other notably longer range EVs then demand will taper off a bit.

      I believe it will be the 300+ mile range generation of EVs that will finally result in mainstream adoption and force ubiquitous rapid charging locations, on interstates as well as around town. I think the 200+ generation will help push CCS adoption locally, but I don’t feel that it will compel highway installations.

  20. David says:

    I still think Nissan will announce LEAF 2.0 shortly before the Bolt becomes available.

    1. sveno says:

      +1

      I also believe this to be true – best case scenario they will make it available too at roughly the same time as Bolt EV.

      They won’t announce Leaf 2 not a minute sooner than absolutely necessary or they will kill Leaf 1 sales.

  21. Speculawyer says:

    I will estimate 25,000 Bolts the first year. I hope i am completely wrong and they sell far more. But I fear that even that prediction is a bit over optimistic. :-/

  22. Apkungen says:

    If they would start off with a punch introducing it would wide and having them at every dealership urging the dealers to sell it they could sell 200 000 bolts the first year i think. It is all up to Chevy.