After finishing 2017 with a bang, we can only hope that U.S. Chevrolet Bolt sales maintain a healthy rise through 2018, and February's numbers provide some promise.
We were a bit surprised that the Chevrolet Bolt didn't fare so well in January, though it did come in third overall for the month. It barely surpassed last January's numbers even though it has been on sale for over a year and is available in all 50 U.S. states. Inventory is strong, but it seems that interest may have dropped off following the strong fourth quarter of 2017. Did everyone that really yearned for a Bolt buy theirs at the end of last year and take advantage of that quick federal EV rebate?
Despite a surprisingly weak February and March of 2017, Bolt sales increased every month last year to culminate in a December that eclipsed the 3,000 mark by a healthy margin (3,227). We couldn't expect January to continue that climb, but the fact that February is up from last month and last year's numbers is refreshing (even though last February wasn't a hard number to beat).
The new 2018 Nissan LEAF should give the Chevrolet Bolt a decent run for its money now that it has finally arrived. However, sadly, we may have to wait another month or two to see the impact in all of its glory.
January is a rough month for EV sales, the Bolt was in the midst of a model-year changeover, and buying early in the year means no EV tax rebate for a long, long time. So, the hope is that the Bolt's numbers grow monthly again as the year moves on. The good news is that February's Chevrolet Bolt sales are a small indication that this may be the case. However, with the all-new Nissan LEAF just starting to put up numbers, and the Tesla Model 3 beginning to see increased production and deliveries, it will get increasingly interesting watching how the Bolt competes.
For February, 1,424 Bolts were delivered, which is up 49.6% from last February's 952. And, up considerably from last month's 1,177.
In October, GM publicized its future electrification plans, which will include up to 20 electric vehicles. Inside of the next two years, GM will offer two new all-electric vehicles.
As we previously reported, the first is a Bolt-based Buick utility vehicle. We received exclusive information back in July from a source who attended a GM focus group. During the event, GM accidentally included the upcoming information in a presentation given by CEO Mary Barra (check out that photo below).
An InsideEVs anonymous source was at a focus group this summer and confidently states THIS is GM's next all-electric vehicle - a compact utility offering under the Buick badge
While Chevrolet Bolt sales continue to remain promising, its stablemate, the Chevrolet Volt, not only has to compete with the Bolt, but also a growing range of plug-in hybrid competitors.
Chevrolet Volt: An ever-growing field of plug-in hybrid competitors has cut into the Chevrolet Bolt's stablemate
November welcomed the Honda Clarity PHEV - which has been priced strongly ($33,400 for a mid-size car with 47 miles of range) and is likely to become one of the Volt's toughest rivals to date. In December, the Clarity PHEV kicked it up a notch, selling 898 copies. However, only 594 were moved in January. So, it's yet to pass the Volt for monthly sales. We'll have to wait and see how the two compare for February.
In addition to the Clarity, Hyundai just released outstanding pricing for its IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid, which starts at $24,950. It joined the mix in January, along with its corporate cousin, the Kia Niro PHEV. This new pair arrives ahead of multiple upcoming PHEVs with plenty of sales potential. We'll soon see how they performed in their first full month of sales.
Moreover, the Toyota Prius Prime has proven to be the Volt's strongest contender thus far, having placed narrowly ahead of the Volt for five straight months. The December came, and the Prime surged ahead with a solid 2,420 copies sold, making it boss to the Volt for a full six months. It came as no surprise when the Prime topped the Volt once again in January and was the second-best selling plug-in overall.
With the growing mix of PHEVs and aggressive pricing, the Volt may continue to see declining sales through 2018.
For February, GM sold 983 Volts (against a total of ~28 other plug-in offerings in the U.S. market). This is down 46% from the 1,820 sold in February of 2017. However, it's up significantly from January's 713 moved.
Nonetheless, the news still continues to be promising for GM on the EV front as a whole, and it can only get better as the automaker brings more EVs to market. The automaker sold 2,431 (count includes a respectable 24 CT6 PHEVs sold) plug-ins for February, compared to last year's 2,772.