If you need hard data to back up General Motors' continued struggles on the electric vehicle front, its fourth-quarter sales report speaks volumes. 

GM reported 625,176 vehicle deliveries during Q4 2023 in the United States, which is 0.3% more than a year ago. The total volume in 2023 amounted to 2,594,698 (up 14.1% year-over-year.) The automaker managed to increase its all-electric vehicle sales as well, although the volume and the year-over-year rate of growth continue to disappoint—as did the models that are actually being sold.

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In 2023 GM sold over 75,000 EVs

The year 2023, despite challenges with ramping-up the all-new models, based on the Ultium EV platform, ended with a record number of over 75,000 electric vehicle sales. That's 93% more than in 2022. The biggest issue is that Ultium EVs noted less than 14,000 units, and the rest was the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUV duo.

In Q4, GM delivered 19,469 battery-electric vehicles, which is 20% more than a year ago and about 3.1% of its total volume. However, this result is disappointing—it's a bit lower than Q3's result of 20,092, all while other automakers are reporting record EV sales and GM continues to commit to being all-electric by 2035

The results include EV sales from four brands: Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and the commercial EV brand BrightDrop, although Chevrolet is the one that is responsible for the vast majority of the BEV sales. And most of those sales come down to just two models: the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUV duo (12,551), which is about to enter retirement. The Bolt models ended production in December, and despite a pretty phenomenal final year, its sales were down 22% year-over-year in Q4.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Interior

Chevrolet Bolt EUV

GM is retiring the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV for a number of reasons, including its outdated platform and battery setup, fast charging that trails more modern rivals and general unprofitability. Instead, GM is said to be focused on its new generation of EVs on the Ultium platform, including the Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Blazer EV and more.

Unfortunately, Ultium EV sales in Q4 amounted to just 6,918 cars sold across all of those brands. Though that's up from a mere 158 cars sold a year ago or even the 4,257 units moved in Q3, it's not much—especially considering that the Ultium lineup consists of five models with more supposedly coming in 2024. Many Ultium EVs have suffered from repeated delays, and the Blazer EV is currently under a stop-sale order following defects reported by Edmunds and our own Kevin Williams' failed road trip in December.

For context, Hyundai sold 13,293 examples of two of its EVs, the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, in Q4 2023. 

The best-selling Ultium model in Q4 was the Cadillac Lyriq with 3,820 units—a new record—and a very interesting 10.5% share in the Cadillac's total volume. The runner-up is the GMC Hummer EV Pickup and GMC Hummer EV SUV duo, which also tallied a record with 2,028 units sold.

Meanwhile, Chevrolet is far behind with the ramp-up as the Chevrolet Blazer EV and Chevrolet Silverado EV were both below 500 units in Q4. The BrightDrop van models netted a total of 164 units.

GM BEV sales in Q4'2023 (YOY change):

  • BrightDrop: 164 (vs. 0 a year ago)
  • Cadillac (Lyriq): 3,820 (up 4,342%) and 10.5% share
  • Chevrolet: 13,457 (down 16%) and 3.3% share
    • Chevrolet Blazer EV: 463 (new)
    • Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUV: 12,551 (down 22%)
    • Chevrolet Silverado EV: 443 (new)
  • GMC (Hummer EV Pickup/SUV): 2,028 (up 2,717%) and 1.5% share
  • Total: 19,469 (up 20%) and 3.1% share

General Motors BEV Sales in the U.S. - Q4 2023

In 2023, GM delivered 75,883 all-electric vehicles in the U.S., about 2.9% of its total volume, which is some 93% more than a year ago. But again, the soon-to-be-discontinued Bolt models did the vast majority of the heavy lifting there. Only 13,838 units were based on the Ultium platform (vs. 976 a year ago). Meanwhile, the last full year for the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV was a record one with a massive 62,045 sales (up 63% year-over-year.)

GM BEV sales in Q1-Q4'2023 (YOY change):

  • BrightDrop: 497 (up 240%)
  • Cadillac (Lyriq): 9,154 (up 7,403%) and 6.2% share
  • Chevrolet: 62,988 (up 65%) and 3.7% share
    • Chevrolet Blazer EV: 482 (new)
    • Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUV: 62,045 (up 63%)
    • Chevrolet Silverado EV: 461 (new)
  • GMC (Hummer EV Pickup/SUV): 3,244 (up 280%) and 0.6% share
  • Total: 75,883 (up 93%) and 2.9% share

For reference, in 2022, General Motors delivered 39,096 all-electric vehicles in the U.S. (up 57% year-over-year), which was 1.7% of the total volume.

Making Sense Of The Data

Taking a broader perspective, GM has really accelerated its all-electric vehicle sales in 2023, which were quite flat for several years. 

The year 2023 was marked by difficulties with the ramp-up of the Ultium electric vehicles and a spectacular boost of sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUV duo, which for quite some time were the most affordable entry-level models with good driving range. Despite not having the charging speeds of modern rivals, the Bolt twins represent an incredible value; whatever remaining examples are on dealer lots could be had for as low as $19,995.

GM explains in its presentation that is "scaling production of Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV" and hints at new launches: the affordable Chevrolet Equinox EV, Cadillac Escalade IQ, Cadillac Celestiq halo sedan and Cadillac Optiq SUV.

But 2024 starts with a stop-sale of the Chevrolet Blazer EV after breakdown reports, and as there will be no more Bolt EV and Bolt EUV going to dealer lots, GM can't count on those to boost its all-electric sales for much longer. There is a hope that the ramp-up will accelerate and issues will be solved, but a good Q1 2024 is not certain at this point.

Updated (January 8, 2024): Let's remember that by 2025, the company would like to increase its installed manufacturing capacity of all-electric vehicles (not "BEV sales" as we reported initially) in North America to 1 million annually (or 250,000 per quarter), which is about 10 times more than its record quarters so far.

One ray of hope may come in the form of the rebooted Chevrolet Bolt EUV, which is due to arrive in 2025 with several updates using Ultium technology but is said to retain the current car's size, shape and overall design. With any luck, that will keep the Bolt affordable, which has been key to its success so far—so long as GM doesn't run into production issues with it.

Charts

Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV sales in the U.S. - Q4 2023

Cadillac Lyriq sales in the U.S. - Q4 2023

GMC Hummer EV Pickup/SUV sales in the U.S. - Q4 2023

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