Chevy Bolt Sales Estimates Continue To Slide While Volt Gains Ground

Chevy Volt and Bolt EV


Chevy winds down 2018 Bolt sales – 2019 production begins in July.

Unfortunately, due to GM’s recent decision to withhold monthly sales reports in favor of a Tesla-like quarterly reporting system, the following numbers are estimates.

InsideEVs considers this information important to our readers and a testament to what we’ve been doing for some time. So, we won’t deprive you of what we’ve learned over the course of the month. Our goal is to be as accurate as possible with the estimate. Our numbers are primarily based upon daily inventory tracking, as well as accounts from buyers, dealers and other sources.

Keep in mind that we will watch, update, and adjust the sales scorecard in July when GM releases final quarterly sales.

Read Also: 2019 Chevy Bolt Gets Minor Improvements

In March and April, the Chevrolet Volt barely edged out the Bolt EV in sales. In May it likely has led the Bolt by several hundred units.

The primary reason Bolt sales are sagging? Inventories have almost completely dried up, due to high demand and a shortened 2018 model year. Chevrolet stopped taking new orders in May and will begin taking orders on the 2019 Bolt in mid-June.

Last Month’s Results: Canadian Bolt Orders Face Delays Up To 12 Months

For confirmation I reached out to Buzz Smith, an EV activist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and salesperson at Classic Chevrolet. “The last week a 2018 Bolt could be ordered from the factory was last week. Filling the last orders will keep the plant turning out 2018’s for a month or so.” Stated Buzz, adding that “Bolt EV production will be stopped for the model year change for a very short time. (3 days)”

According to the dates provided, orders placed by May 24th should be filled before 2018 production ends on July 27th. 2019’s will begin production just 3 days later on July 30th.  Orders will open for the 2019 model year starting June 14th.

Bolt deliveries have also resumed in South Korea. Between late March and the beginning of April, approximately 500 units were sold. This has also further strained US inventories of the popular electric hatchback. Throughout May, inventories of the 2018 Bolt hovered around 1,000 units.

After tracking inventories and considering these additional factors, we believe Volt sales surpassed the Bolt once again in May.

For the month of May 2018, we estimate U.S. Chevrolet Bolt EV deliveries at 1,125, compared to last May’s 1,566 and last month’s estimated 1,275. Meanwhile, the Volt moved an estimated 1,675 for the month.

Thankfully, Chevrolet seemed to plan for this Bolt shortfall by bulking up Volt inventories as an alternative. Volt sales are off slightly compared to May 2017’s 1,817, but appear to be trending upward. It seems GM is aware that it’s highly successful, long-range plug-in hybrid may still have some pull with buyers.

Let’s face it, searching for any new car sheds more light on the segment overall and more people’s eyes are opened to electric vehicles. Despite increased competition, very few other PHEV (EREV) offerings have the sportiness, range, availability and reliability of the Chevrolet Volt.

It can also be assumed that those looking at all of these newly offered plug-ins have come to realize the Volt is an incredibly viable option. Moreover, some people initially considering the Bolt are likely finding that the Volt’s feature set is the better choice for their priorities.

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt EVs - finding more US driveways every month!
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The introduction (and US reception) of the Chevy Bolt EV has pulled forward GM's 200,000th sale by at least a year (now expected in Q2 2018) Chevrolet Bolt at the recent GM Official autocross event near Detroit. Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet Bolt EV The best option overall is generally to drive at normal speed Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior Chevrolet Bolt EV:  Lots of useful room inside...and a fair about of standard finishes Bolt Interior Chevy Bolt Chevrolet Bolt EV - right-hand-drive?! Chevy Bolt rear seats The rear seating area offers plenty of room for passengers Inside the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Volt

2017 Chevrolet Volt
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Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt The New 2016 Volt Features 53 Miles Of All-Electric Range, And A 1.5L Generator That Nets 42 MPG Thereafter Under The New CVRP Program, The Unemployed Person In San Francisco Can Now Get A $3,000 Rebate Off The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Next Generation Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt The Most Famous E-REV - 2017 Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt 2016 Chevrolet Volt 2017 Chevrolet Volt Interior

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100 Comments on "Chevy Bolt Sales Estimates Continue To Slide While Volt Gains Ground"

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Shouldn’t the article title begin with something like “Estimates are that” or something similar, since at present we just don’t know what’s happening? Don’t get me wrong, the story has some good analysis.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see how accurate they end up being, but definitive press titles (positive or negative) on sales seems a bit off given we’re talking about estimates here, heh.

My hope: Rising gas prices causes all EV sales to rise far more than anticipated. Wishful thinking? I hope not! 🙂

Done. Good catch. Thanks!

Good point, I think I made it clear in the article that they’re estimates but my headline didn’t reflect that. Thanks! 🙂

You’re welcome, thanks for the quick edit. The story was definitely well done and very clear!

I’m very glad to see IEVs becoming more responsive to requests for increased accuracy in headlines.

Dare I say it? The look of the site isn’t the only thing that’s been improving of late. The standards for journalism have been improving, too!

Thanks to Steven Loveday and all the members of IEVs’ growing staff. 🙂

Thanks so much. It’s a huge work in progress and many new tasks every day! It’s so worth it. We appreciate it!

Well maybe the Bolt wouldn’t slide so much if it came with traction control and AWD…

I don’t think you’re legally able to sell a car without traction control in the western world.

Last year for non-traction control in the US was 2011 if I recall

It was meant to be a wordplay on the dual meaning of “slide,” but I guess I shot myself in the foot with technical inaccuracies… 🙁

Sadly your well intentioned joke didn’t get much traction. 😉

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

The punchline “slid” past everyone….

You’re telling me some people complain about stuff they made up in their heads?

Shocking! Thank goodness we don’t have any members of the tinfoil hat brigade among the Usual Suspects posting to IEVs comment threads.

Oh, wait…

Is that what you think of me?

2011 had t/c. You just can’t turn it off. With all that torque I know first hand it still fries the tires.

Those numbers are pretty poor. Historically, the Volt has had 2 months over 3,000 and the Bolt has had 1, as well. Both have had a handful of months with US deliveries between 2500 and 3000. To see both the Bolt and Volt scraping along below 2000 for the first 5 months of the year (not the busiest sales time of the year, but still notable) is pretty sad.
I love my Gen I Volt, but GM hasn’t stepped up to the plate with a product that makes people want to hit the sales lot. I may own my Volt longer than I had planned. I had thought that I would step up to something markedly better by around now.
I think the real drivers of the EV market in the US are going to be the Tesla 3 and the Prime, kind of the Alpha and Omega of electrification. But GM, Nissan, Honda, Ford and BMW are simply not fielding cars that speak to most car buyers. The fact that a slug of a car, the Prime, is solidly in second place for the year speaks to the lack of real competition.

The Bolt is going to have the same fate as the Leaf: an initial burst of attention from GM and then it’s going to languish for years with only as passing attempt to keep it up to date. Maybe there will be a new stripped down version soon to push the MSRP down to the low 30s with a street price below 30k.

How much more stripped down can you get? The interior already looks like a $20,000 car, and it does not have many luxury or advanced safety features standard. The Bolt really only has two things going for it, long range, and fast acceleration. There’s nothing wrong with it, I think GM did a good job with it for what it is.

Look at what Nissan did with the Leaf S in 2013. Dumped the connected features, stripped out anything that could be conceived as “optional”, threw on steel wheels with wheel covers, and then leased them for dirt cheap.

Step off the curb here in Silicon valley and the chances are good the car that runs you over is a Bolt. They are everywhere.

I have seen more Model 3s than Bolts here…

In SF Bay Area, Bolt sightings are about 2:1 compared with Model 3.

But I do imagine that ratio will change to the other way around by the end of the year.

No need to strip it down. Just need to increase production for economy of scale. And get battery prices down. Which should be for 2020 MY?

Often overlooked is the part where LG is building a parts factory in Michigan so the electric motor and all that jazz is set to drop when it comes online late 2018. This would coincide with Mary Barra’s statements that volume will be increased later this year. I’m thinking when they switch to MY2019 a couple things will happen. 1. Much of the drivetrain will be US made bringing costs down. 2. Last year mid summer they stopped the line to shift more production from Sonic to Bolt (same assembly line). I’m betting they do that again. Additionally they’ll start a second shift. Right now that plant is underutilized. From Autoweek: “Barra said GM can easily adjust the Bolt assembly line in Lake Orion, Mich., to expand production. The car is built on the same line as the Chevy Sonic, and the plant currently runs on only one daily shift.” If you are running one shift and demand exceeds supply, it’s hard to jump up to a shift and a half. And it’s irresponsible to go out and hire an entire shift of employees until you are CERTAIN you will have continued demand enough. So these factors will likely all… Read more »

Bolt sales are sadly slow. Maybe the SUV version will be more attractive.

I have 18k miles on my Bolt, and still think it’s the best commuter car I’ve ever had.

I have a Bolt and a Volt. We love both cars, they’ve been absolutely fantastic.

But dealers are reporting demand much higher than current allocation. Bolt sales have dropped primarily due to lack of inventory…

Hopefully the coming of the 2019 model year means the increased production Mary Barra announced earlier this year.

Lack of inventory? Not in California. We all know why sales are weak so let’s stop pretending.

There are currently less than 900 2018 Bolt EVs in dealers or in route to dealers across the US.

2017s were still trickling into dealers up until February of this year. Of the remaining inventory, 1,407 are base model or LT trim rather than premier, many of which lack fast charging. They’ve been on dealer lots for months because they don’t have the features that someone looking for a 37,000 EV might want. So they can be easily up-sold to a 41,000 car that are more profitable.

California has parking lot full of Bolts and Volts. GM was giving away the Volt in March and April. $6600 for 3 years, 12,000 miles per year. Factor in $1500+$450 rebates, you looking at $4650 or $129/month.

GM cannot move the Bolt and Volt, in California, without taking a blood bath.

Completely agree with both commenters on the Bolt. I have had mine since November, 7625 miles, and could not be more pleased with the ride and performance of the car. But it was one of the first sales in my area (Winston-Salem, NC) and with the comments on low inventory I realize that I was luckier than I thought. It’s hard to believe that the low sales numbers are driven by lack of demand; the car is too much fun to drive. If I had signed up for a Model 3 I would still be waiting, or would have paid a lot more for the non-stripped down version, which is all Tesla seems to be delivering at this point.

Sales of all EVs (except Tesla’s) should start picking up in Texas. TCEQ just funded and has started taking applications from the $2,500 rebate for the first 2,000 EV leases or purchases that apply under the LDPLIP. There is over $7,700,000 in the pot and the program is retroactive for EV leases and purchases back to September of 2017.

Will be interesting to see what happens in WA. May 31st marked the end of the EV sales tax exemption incentive. I saved roughly $3,000 in sales tax on my Pacifica PHEV.

But only if bought through a dealer. Direct sales do not qualify.

“The primary reason Bolt sales are sagging? Inventories have almost completely dried up, due to high demand and a shortened 2018 model year”.

But…if demand is high, where are the sales? So far Bolt sales haven’t been impressive. I’m sure GM is selling all the Bolts it needs to but clearly it only needs to sell so many to comply.

I think a number are being deferred into various programs. Where they’re selling them into fleets.

It’s a good point that we don’t know the allocation of Bolt’s to fleet orders – there are more fleet options on the 2018/2019 Bolt than there were on the 2017, and GM is going to be launching it’s autonomous Bolt program next year.

So I’m sure this will have at least a small effect on inventories (and thus, on our estimates) as well.

A coworker of mine just bought a brand new 2017 Bolt EV three days ago that’s been sitting on the lot the better part of a year. This is in Los Angeles, an EV hot spot.

Bolt demand ain’t that robust.

SoCal is saturated. Not so much the rest of the US, or the world.

Sure but that’s the thing with a car like Bolt that still has compliance as its main mission: there isn’t all that much point in selling them outside the CARB states, where there’s no ZEV credits to be earned to make up for the losses (though there should be a CAFE reward, but apparently not enough to sell more…) Hence the low sales numbers.

It certainly does seem that GM has little interest in selling the Bolt EV outside CARB states. Elon Musk was mostly right in his analysis indicating that GM’s primary motive in selling the Bolt EV is earning ZEV credits (see link below). It’s true that GM is selling some Bolt EVs in U.S. States that are not CARB compliant, but not that many.

What I would love to see is GM create a new badge, or revive an old one (Pontiac?) to sell EVs under in Europe, and start building the Bolt EV in larger numbers for sales there. Apparently the “econobox” styling is more popular there. Making and selling the Bolt EV in larger numbers would gain the advantage of economy of scale, which would tip the Bolt EV over from being nearly a zero-profit car (not losing money, but not making much either) into a profitable one.

Sadly, there is absolutely no indication that GM is going to do that. Perhaps in another few years, when the price of batteries drops some more, GM will start making plans to sell PEVs in Europe.

If they’re selling more in CARB states it’s because they have more incentives for the buyer, and more incentives means easier to sell.

Example: NY state has a $2000 EV rebate for Bolt EV. All other things equal, a product will always be easier to sell when it is less expensive to the end consumer.

GM actually sort of priced Bolt out of the European Market. makes sense, no more compliance issues since Opel was ditched.

Bolt EV is doing well in SF Bay Area but terrible around LA area. that is kind of unique for a given EV.

I imagine that is probably due to style/look of the Bolt. LA area is filled with “shallow” buyers who want an exception looks where SF Bay Area buyers are more value/practical orientated…

Shallow? We, Southerns, still have some dignity.

Top 5 reasons the Bolt sells up North.
1. Long commute because of crazy housing price.
2. Carpool lane sticker.
3. Small footprint where parking space is at a premium.
4. HOV sticker.
5. Fast lane sticker.

Top 6 reasons the Bolt doesn’t sell in Socal
1. Our commute is not that long. No need for 250 mile range.
2. Car looks stupid.
3. Lots of other cars have HOV sticker. Range not important.
4. We still have some dignity.
5. Can’t pick up chicks in that car.
6. Parking space is plentiful.

Eh… parking is only plentiful in LA because they have all that freeway space serving as additional parking.

By my own experience, I can say that, unless it was a fantastic, non-existent, tech and service crew, it is a very bad history for an EV to sit around in hot lots for most of a year.

Can’t easily buy a car if it is not on the lot.

Looks like there is plenty on lots in CARB states…

Further underlying the image of it being a compliance car.

If anything, more on lots in CA points more to two other more relevant aspects/conclusions:
1) Chevy should’ve made DC fast charging standard, since many of these “sitting on lots” are the ones without fast charge.
2) People in CA are getting mode Model 3’s than anyone else right now. An unsurprisingly corollary would be that less EVs of other makes are being sold, like the Bolt EV, Leaf, etc. in CA.

Neither of those conclusions have anything to do with being a supposed “compliance car”

“I’m sure GM is selling all the Bolts it needs to but clearly it only needs to sell so many to comply.”

Can we stop perpetuating false information? GM had all the ZEV credits they needed well past 2020 with the Spark EV sales from several years ago. Since then, they sold hundreds more Spark EVs, and now several thousand Bolt EVs.

To reiterate, GM needed to sell ZERO Bolt EVs to “comply”

Isn’t GM into selling loads of the ZEV credits it earns? Great business no doubt but also a need to keep moving compliance metal. Also there is the wider compliance issue like CAFE.

Not that I’ve seen. You can view credit transfers to/from companies for each year on CARB’s website by manufacturer.

I’m glad it was optional. Would be a waste of money in my case. Can’t use it, therefore don’t need it. They could have loaded up the car with more options that I’d never want and then I wouldn’t buy it.

But apparently few are buying it anyway so doesn’t matter.

I think the underlying good news is that if GM did predict a pickup in Volt (due to Bolt changeover) then they do understand the appeal of an electric and are just playing the game to best transition from ICE to EV. Once you’ve driven a Bolt (or any good EV), getting into an ICE is just disappointing and a feeling of stepping back in history. Probably like getting out to hand crank an ICE after having an electronic ignition.

I’m very surprised it has taken this long for GM to come up with a CUV based off of the Volt Platform. It seems that the Volt drivetrain is great. Just low cost tweaks of that, in a stylish CUV shell would be popular.

A big looming problem for GM though, is that the U.S. Tax Exemption will be expiring for them soon. That will kill sales.

A CUV should would give them the headroom in the backseat that turns off many buyers. I am just baffled why other vehicles have not been launched using the same powertrain as that was the original communication back in the day.

The volt really seems like the Green Chevy Camaro, and is really great, except for that rear suspension, and rear seat headroom. This is a single guy’s or young couple’s car. Which is ok.
If you can do simple math you can calculate that this car should pay for at least 50% of it’s list price.

“This is a single guy’s […] car”

Is it a chick magnet?

Mine doesn’t appear to be a chick magnet, but that might be due to me, not my car.
Sadly, my 350z failed in that department also. So it must be me. 😉

In California? You driving a Volt in California means your taken or have taken a vow of celibacy.

“Volt Gains Ground” doesn’t reflect history. Monthly sales of 1,600 to 1,700 was the trend throughout a bulk of gen-1 offerings, with the exception of year-end rushes and the price-drops. That was considered poor no matter how it was looked upon too, which is why much higher expectations were set for gen-2 sales.

For any plug-in to be realistically competitive with traditional vehicles (a true mark of replacement progress), unsubsidized monthly sales here must be at least 5,000. Below that, the status quo simply isn’t getting changed. To sustain momentum into the world of electrification, significant growth is required.

Considering that small car and sedan sales are down pretty much across the board* (so much so that automakers are cancelling sedan production for many models), Bolt and Volt sales holding somewhat steady is remarkable.

*Tesla Model 3 is an exception, though.

Woah, someone is actually looking at all the data trying to understand full context of the numbers, rather than a subset to support their own biases for or against a given manufacturer. Need more of this!

Ding dong – the bolt will go the way of the Volt and the dodo.
GM will start working on EV in Buicks and CUV.

“Bolt ev is disappointing…”.

Yes, well, GM of all companies should know that Oriental Styling will not appeal to most Occidentals. Plus, the car unfortunately – deservedly or Not – has a huge ECONOBOX appearance – even though the materials used work.

Its the Chevrolet Biscayne of the EV car world. Basically a great car that few want. My parents had a 1959 Biscayne since it was the cheapest Chevy available at the time.

I bought my Bolt ev for the FINALLY usable range (essentially identical to my Roadster – but in practice it actually goes much further given equal driving styles) – I’m surprised young people aren’t going for the car since they don’t usually demand the ultimate in Luxury, and its a hoot to drive, besides giving all indications of being extremely reliable – especially that extra beefy gearbox. Perhaps most can only afford used BOLT ev’s.

I’ve driven mine at about a 24,000 miles per year rate – I’ve only driven the Roadster a bit less than half as much – thats how fun to drive the car is.

The Bolt EV was designed by Holden Design in Melbourne Australia. Asian car don’t look at stupid.

I assume English isn’t your first language since I didn’t understand what you said…The BULBOUS Aussie look was even worse.

I think the car is more European styled than anything else… which is funny since they really don’t want to sell them to their former subsidiary in the EU>

Why is the 2018 Bolt a short year? What are the changes/improvements for 2019?

The “typical” GM MY year switchover occurs during the summer months. The Bolt was off the normal schedule due to debuting in Dec, and finally gets on the “regular” MY schedule this summer.

Whelp, Mary Barra said Bolt production would be increased this year. Looks like it will increase with the start of MY2019 production.

Bolt sales will slide until a redesign makes it an attractive vehicle. It may be the ugliest EV I’ve ever seen. So disappointing because I’m a Volt owner who wanted a Volt with the Bolt all electric drivetrain and range.

I think the current Bolt is better looking than the original Leaf or the iMiev but that is pretty low bar to beat. LOL!

Yeah, Bolt EV really doesn’t look that bad. Much better than iMiev and LEAF, but fits right in with Chevy Sonic, Honda Fit, etc. in the same type of class, and really looks pretty good in comparison to those as well.

It’s not the kind of exterior styling I personally want, but it’s a nice looking car for what it is. And the interior really is a surprise – very spacious! – when you get in, compared to what you expect looking at the exterior.

The engineers that designed the Bolt built a roomy car with nice acceleration and excellent utility. I really agree about how spacious the Bolt is, it is deceivingly spacious.
I just wish it looked a bit more like the Buick Encore. I see soccer moms getting out of the Encore all the time, I would bet money they are proud of that car/CUV.

From Article: “Chevy Bolt Sales Estimates Continue To Slide While Volt Gains Ground”

Because Chevy EVs do not have access to a convenient & reliable fast charge network for those occasional long distance trips, the Chevy Volt is more particle for many than a Bolt.

If I had to choose between Volt & Bolt as my primary car for sure I’d choose the Volt because I know all to well from personal experience the hassle of long distance trip charging and the importance of having access to a Tesla Supercharger type of charging network. For those that don’t take occasional long distance trips or if they do but are OK with dealing with long trip surprise charging adventures then the Bolt works.

Convenient/Reliable fast charge network is only a few months away…

@ClarksonCote said: “Convenient/Reliable fast charge network is only a few months away…”

Hopefully your correct…

My guess it will be 3-5 years.

What about that huge hole in the charging network around Eastern Montana and North Dakota?!
Just kidding. 😉

I think that is bingo. The problem with EV’s is not range or price, it is charging stations. I love my Leaf, but it’s a commuter car for someone that also has a long range car. Superchargers are Tesla’s ace card.

Bolt needs to make adaptive cruise control with braking standard on all models, with no increase in pricing. Then sales will pick up. Currently it is too expensive to get these features.

Adaptive Cruise (aka Dynamic Radar Cruise Control) is included standard on all the common Toyota cars… RAV4, C-HR, Corolla, Camry, Prius.

GM’s sacrifice if leaving off features like that hasn’t proven a wise choice. It’s more confirmation of having focused too heavily on enthusiast interests, rather than mainstream consumers.

Yes, people who buy BEVs are nerds. They want the latest technology. Without adaptive cruise/auto braking they are not interested.

When someone goes shopping for a Bolt, they are likely going to end up in a new Leaf.

I’m in Ontario, Canada and I put a deposit down on a Bolt over a month ago at my local GM dealership. This was to reserve a spot to eventually place an order for the 2019 Bolt, when they begin taking orders in Canada. I would have bought any Bolt model on the spot, if one was available. I was told at the time that I would have to wait 12-13 months to take delivery. So now I wait…and wait…and wait… My current EV is a Smart, so the Bolt will be a huge step up for me.

There is now a segment for PHEV/EREV, and thanks to Honda, there is aggressive and appropriate advertising. Volt fans can point out that the Volt beat out new Honda by over 6 years. Of course, that Honda is larger. I hope someone at GM is taking note of these trends and will consider a decent ad campaign for and larger follow-on to the Volt.

Yeah, although having very weak regeneration and dopey controls, overall the Honda Clarity PHEV is a fine vehicle and is a very good bargain. I fully expect they’ll ultimately sell more of them than Chevy sells VOLTS.


Where is the detailed investigation on the GM bolt production pitfalls? They are likely supply constrained but no one cares. A mouse farts in Fremont and it’s international news…

The Tesla Killer Isn’t killing Tesla after all ..It’s Making Tesla look even Better & More Desirable as People Take a Closer Look ….The Winner Is & was always Obvious even to my 2yr. Old Nephew !

Seat cloth in the base Volt is an odd pattern.

I don’t want either as they are too crampy! No deal from me! Build an SUV or a minivan then call me!

Any word on updates to the Bolt for the 2019 model? Probably just very minor tweaks again I’m guessing, with a refresh with range bump to come in 2020.

Too bad GM hasn’t gone for the gusto with this car. I’d hoped they’d have ramped up volume and dropped the price by now.

Dodos due to the terrible choice of segments…GM upcoming Buick EVs/PHEVs will make us all forget about these…

Why is the Bolt sales so sluggish and poor? Simple. People want the Model 3 over the Bolt, even if they have to wait longer to get it.

The fact of the matter is you can’t even get a 35k model 3 right now. That just shows how strong the brand Tesla has over the competition. People would rather pay for a 50k model 3 over a 29k bolt.

I agree.. That is the current situation.

Short answer they don’t have the batteries