An unfortunate thing happened when General Motors discontinued the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV at the end of last year: its total electric vehicle sales cratered. It turns out that when you axe America's most affordable EV, as well as the best-selling EV in your lineup, and your portfolio of new EVs is dogged by production and software issues, well... things don't turn out so great. 

Six months later, we might be seeing a very different General Motors. With little fanfare, the automaker just had its best month of all-electric vehicle sales ever in May, an outcome that would've sounded unfathomable not very long ago. 

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Are GM's EV woes in the past?

Production of GM's Ultium-powered battery cars hit several roadblocks in 2023, as did software issues that took one model off dealer lots for several months. Afterward, GM vowed to turn things around, and preliminary sales data indicates it may be doing exactly that. 

GM CEO Mary Barra announced the news during last night's annual shareholder meeting. Curious as to how GM pulled this off even without the Bolt in its lineup, I asked David Caldwell, who directs finance and sales communications for the company, for more information. And he indicated that sales of the rest of the Ultium EV lineup seem to be making up considerable lost ground.

"We’re seeing strong demand and increases basically across the board, in particular Cadillac Lyriq and the new Chevrolet Blazer EV," Caldwell said in an email. "[The] Hummer EV is building volume, as is the Silverado EV. Initial deliveries of the new Equinox EV occurred at the end of May." 

Caldwell added that "the biggest impact comes from Lyriq," which saw more than 3,000 units sold in May. GM's total EV volume in the U.S. and Canada was more than 9,000 vehicles last month too. (According to past data, GM's previous "best ever" month for EVs would've been sometime in 2023, and around 7,000 electric units sold.)

It's key to note that we won't get exact details on GM's EV sales for a few more weeks. 

Gallery: 2024 Cadillac Lyriq

Unlike other automakers, GM has reported its sales figures quarterly instead of monthly for the past few years—hence why tracking down its past monthly EV record is tricky. GM officials declined to provide detailed information on EV sales for May. But Caldwell said that the newest quarterly figures will be released around July 2 as the second quarter of 2024 comes to a close. 

Still, there are several interesting trends to parse here. As Cadillac's global vice president John Roth told InsideEVs earlier this year, the Lyriq has had considerable "momentum" within the luxury brand, and it made up an impressive 17% of Cadillac's total sales in Q1. The Blazer EV also went back on sale after a three-month hiatus following reports of software issues, including by this publication.

Meanwhile, the Equinox EV seems poised to be a promising volume-seller thanks to its $35,000 (after tax credits) price tag and an even more affordable variant coming soon; as Caldwell noted, its sales are just starting to get underway.

GM has even more electric options coming this year, including the entry-luxury Cadillac Optiq, Escalade IQ and GMC Sierra EV. Sales of the consumer-spec Silverado EV are also just now starting to ramp up as well. 

Gallery: 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV

At the same time, GM too seems to be feeling the heat of an EV market that's less even and predictable than the auto industry imagined. High interest rates and fears around range and charging may keep more next-wave EV adopters away for now. Barra herself has begun admitting that an industrywide EV transition may actually take decades, and Cadillac has reversed course on phasing out internal combustion by the start of the 2030s. 

Nonetheless, this news—limited in detail though it may be for now—is an outstanding development for GM and for the wider EV market. The automaker promised an electric turnaround for 2024, and it seems to making good on that right now. The General is also locked in a tight race with Hyundai Motor Group and Ford to see which company can collectively sell more than 100,000 EVs in a year, a feat only accomplished by Tesla so far.

If GM can keep delivering with this expanded EV lineup, it runs an extremely good chance of getting there next. 

Contact the author: patrick.george@insideevs.com

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