Tesla Model 3 Production Compared To Chevrolet Bolt

Tesla Model 3


Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

So, how will the upcoming Tesla Model 3 production ramp compare to its segment predecessor and only true competitor, the Chevrolet Bolt?

It’s hard to compare production figures just yet, but now that the Model 3 is hitting its initial goal two weeks ahead of schedule, and we have some more realistic information from CEO Elon Musk, let’s take a look.

Some estimated that 70,000 to over 100,000 Model 3s would grace our presence before the close of the year. This may be due in part to Elon Musk’s early estimates. We banked on about 25,000-35,000 deliveries in 2017 when production plans for the 3 were announced during Tesla’s Q4 2016 report.

Now, Musk says 30 in July, 100 in August (details), and some 1,500 or more in September. He ended by saying that Tesla may be able to reach 20,000 built per month in December, which may be the loftiest goal in his recent statements.

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt EV

No matter how you figure the ramp up, if we roughly go with what Musk stated this week, it could mean some 30,000-40,000 Model 3s built this year.

Tesla says that it’s on pace to make 10,000 Model 3 sedans per week sometime in 2018, which would (in theory) amount to the automaker’s commonly stated goal of 500,000 vehicles per year; but 500,000 Model 3 vehicles in the first full year …not likely.

Anyhow, the Chevrolet Bolt’s Orion plant, when combined with Sonic production has a max build capacity of about 90,000 vehicles per year via 1 shift  (per Reuters via Teslarati).  Of that, about a third is allocated/supplied to ultimately build the Bolt EV (as well as the Euro spec version – the Opel Ampera E).

Of note: The Sonic sold ~59,000 copies last year in North America, but the sales for the compact car has been diving hard (something GM is all to aware of), and so far in 2017 after 6 months, just ~14,000 have been moved)…so there is lots of spare capacity for the Bolt EV/Ampera E if needed, at least from a labor/”room on the line” prospective.

This month, the Bolt’s best so far, amounted to 1,626 sales in the US, 169 in Canada, and another ~500 to Europe (data still incoming, but 389 of which into Norway).  Net of ~2,300.

To date, Chevrolet has sold 7,292 Bolts in the US, 748 to Canada, and about 900 internationally (data still incoming, but 634 to Norway) – good for a total of about 9,000 copies, or 1,500 a month on average.

If Elon is right, Tesla will roughly match GM’s average monthly sales output to date this September, before kicking things into high gear.

Demand for the Bolt obviously has not been as great as what is anticipated for the Model 3. Tesla has some 300,000-400,000 pre-orders to fill, and orders are still coming in. The Silicon Valley automaker better be planning to ramp up as aggressively as is possible.

Battery production is another key ingredient. Tesla has the advantage of being able to produce as many batteries as needed in-house at the Tesla Gigafactory. LG Chem supplies the Bolt’s batteries, and plans to make about 30,000 this year. Musk believes that about 500,000 EV batteries will be produced in 2018.

Whether or not Tesla can make 500,000 total cars or battery packs in 2018, let alone 500,000 Model 3s, is beside the fact. Even if Tesla falls well short of its goals, eventually the orders must be filled. Tesla is compelled to produce all of these batteries and vehicles, and in the least amount of time possible. It’s truly imminent unless the company folds or fails completely, which some skeptics still expect.

Bolt sales have been strong in comparison to past EVs and current competitors, but will demand remain strong? We still do not yet have a true feel for the demand level for the 238 mile Chevy, as nationwide deliveries don’t show up on the books until mid-August.

Will GM be able to keep up with inventory if demand exceeds plans? It would seem the company is facing that exact situation in Europe tdoay, where only about ~5,000 of the 25-30k annual run had been ear-marked as Ampera-Es.  The automaker has definitely had issue with such in the past. Again, without a full nationwide rollout as of yet, it’s difficult to speculate. In some areas of the US we are hearing of a plethora of Bolts, while in other areas (even those where roll-out has initiated) you can’t get one.

While it may be safe to say that Tesla Model 3 sales will fairly quickly surpass ChevyBolt sales, and will eventually soar high above, there are still too many variables to make a fair prediction where the final chips will lie once the initial surge/demand for both EVs are filled, but it will surely be a sight to see.

What do you think? If today was the start of the year 2019, what do the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV sales splits look like?  Let us know in the comment section.

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Chevrolet, Tesla

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164 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Production Compared To Chevrolet Bolt"

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If Tesla can produce the III in large numbers without quality control becoming an issue, then this one car is going to double the amount of plug in electric cars sold in the US every month. It will come close to doubling the amount of plug in cars sold world wide, if they choose to split the III production 50/50, US and the rest of the world.
That is incredible. But it looks like it may happen by mid-2018. Time for the rest of the car makers to up their game or Tesla will kick them to the curb.

What’s more disappointing is BMW and MB customers not responding to the EV offerings of their companies.

Tesla will have no problem disrupting their business model.

The MB B250e doesn’t merit much of a response.

MB and BMWs real EV offerings for main stream customers are still waiting in the wings till say around 2020??

It amazes me, the company that shipped out under 25K cars per quarter (less then 10K per month) (http://insideevs.com/tesla-deliveries-exceed-230000/) will from nowhere more then triple its production in less then 4 months (the current product + the new model 3)?

Elon likes to set high goals, this one is very very high.

I like the way Musk said “Tesla MAY be able” to produce 20,000 III’s a month by December and some people think that number and date are written in stone.
BUT, I bet Tesla produces that many III’s a month by the middle of next year.
When you have 400,000 people waiting to buy your car, you will find a way to tool up and deliver the goods.

The problem with Tesla’s current production capacity has nothing to do with how many cars it can produce, and everything to do with how many cars it can *sell*.

And the Model 3 aims to fix that with a lower price point.

That’s all there is to it.

Time for the rest of the car makers to look for another job!

My prediction… Tesla is hyping their 2 week early first builds to gain investor confidence at a time of peak cash crunch. The actual ramp up will be slower than projected to avoid massive recalls on teething issues from a new vehicle. Blindly cranking out high volume of new tech is foolish and could devistate the company.

There is this repeating meme of Tesla somehow being behind where traditional ICE car makers are in putting out high quality electric cars. As if ICE car makers had some monopoly on quality.

And yet even though Tesla has had problems with quality in initial cars, Tesla improved quality 93% after the first months of limited Model X production, and now have customer satisfaction ratings that crush the vast majority of ICE cars.

On the other hand, it was actually a long-time ICE car maker that actually had a 6-month production delay on their plug-in vehicle, from Nov. to April:


And then had to entirely cease production of the same plug-in vehicle, and recall every single one of them for an expensive battery fix:


I think it is about time to put this meme to rest that ICE car makers somehow automatically do things better just because they’ve been around longer.

Subaru has a history of leaky head gaskets and piston rings with poor oil control issues. I work with people who have had motors replaced under warranty for each problem. Legacy car makers have been making ICE for how long and they still skew up to these basic components? Tesla will need a major screwup to equal Subaru’s quality problems.

All you did was confirm why you do a slow roll out by referencing the slow Model X roll out as proof of how you avoid massive issues by taking on those issues in small numbers at the front of a release. The couple hundred vehicles Tesla will release in July/August are confirmation of that rather valid approach. All the people on this forum that constantly complain about things like ‘BOLT TOO SLOWWWWW!!!!’ are basically ignorant of how manufacturing works when responsible adults are in charge. Tesla is an order of magnitude more aggressive but still not stupid levels of risky. There isn’t going to be 20,000 M3 built in any month in 2017…period. ‘May’ and other ‘aspirational’ terms as we are calling it these days are just that. If they can ramp it to that by end of Q1 that would be really cool.

Or, they’re early by two weeks, and have a fiduciary duty to report that.

DING! Also Musk notified anxious fans that he would announce the update.

Sounds about right.

Can you imagine if the Bolt only put 30 units out the first month. You’d be hearing screams from half the people here about how that month/year shouldn’t count, and how it’s just a stupid compliance car. Oh wait, that did happen and they sold way more more than 30 cars.

Never mind the fact that those cars went to people who are unassociated with GM…

Personally the whole “we’re going to be selling 30 cars to people who are likely board members and the like and not the average Joe” is BS and shouldn’t count. When they begin selling cars to “normal” people then that is when it should start. Then again though I don’t really care 😀

“Never mind the fact that those cars went to people who are unassociated with GM…”
You mean the dealerships?
Maybe GM employees know something…
It’s a release party where they give away 30 cars to friends. They know how to get people to talk about them and draw attention. If you don’t care why post about it?

You are as usual are completely missing the point.

The point is that they aren’t ahead of schedule. They aren’t selling production cars to the general public but rather pushing 30 out the door to a select few. If GM tried that crap they would be getting berated by half the people here but because it’s Tesla they’re being praised for being ahead of schedule when in reality they aren’t. So as usual Tesla gets praise for doing something worse than the OEMs do. It’s par for the course really here.

And yes I posted it and don’t really care because I can discuss things that I don’t really care about. If people only talked about things they really cared about I suspect there would be a hell of a lot less talking going on…

Also, GM’s 1st Bolt EV Delivery Event was, what? Six Vehicles?

It was three. But they sent the next batch along a lot more quickly than a month.

unlucky, Are you under the false delusion that Tesla will wait until the end of August to deliver the next 100 cars after they deliver their first 30 at the end of July? Because absolutely nobody has suggested any such thing.

If you have a source saying Tesla won’t do continuous deliveries after their first 30, please post it.

“false delusion”? Isn’t that redundant?

I am of the belief they won’t deliver more cars for a month. As they did with the Model X.

As to whether this is false or not, you aren’t in a position to know. It hasn’t happened yet.

If you want a source for my belief. It’s me. If you have a source which shows that it certainly will happen…

Considering you are on record saying that Tesla wouldn’t deliver Model 3’s in volume until 2019, I think we all know how worthless your “beliefs” are about Tesla.

“The point is that they aren’t ahead of schedule. They aren’t selling production cars to the general public but rather pushing 30 out the door to a select few.”

That is Tesla’s schedule, and Tesla is ahead of that schedule. Duh.

Now man up and admit you only post here in a desperate and ridiculous attempt to depress Tesla’s stock price. Why don’t you face reality; no matter how many Tesla-hating posts you write, you personally can’t affect Tesla’s stock price as much as even 1¢.

I really have to feel sorry for you trolls; do you really value your own time so little?

“Can you imagine if the Bolt only put 30 units out the first month.”

For all we know, perhaps GM did only produce 30 Bolt EVs in the first month of production. They just didn’t sell them that soon. GM puts some of the early production units in the hands of its employees and lets them give them some real-world driving tests, to see how well they hold up before cranking production up to full speed.

Rather like what Tesla is doing… except that Tesla is able to get its own employees to actually buy the cars they are going to be Beta testers for! Of course, that’s a rather risky business strategy, but I’ll bet GM wishes its cars were that wildly popular!

Here is what we do know:

1) Bolt production of cars for intended for sale began in the last week of Oct. 2016.

2) By the end of 2016, 2 months and 1 week later, GM had sold 579 Bolts.

On the Tesla side, we have the following projections:

1) First month: 30
2) Second month: 100
3) Third month: 1500+ (or 375+/week)

(all info sourced here on IEV’s) Total projected Tesla Model 3’s over the first 2 months and 1 week of production:

Drum roll please….

505+ cars.

I guess 579 Bolts is just so much more that obviously GM knows everything about making EV’s, and Tesla knows nothing and is going to go bankrupt and close their doors with 400K reservations left unfilled.


2019: 9 model 3 to 1 bolt.

GM will still be contemplating in which markets to sell and not to sell.

GM’s slow ramp up of the Volt, with now wagon version, and no SUV version, gives the market to Tesla.


According to one analysis I’ve seen, GM is producing Bolt EVs in little more than the number necessary to generate the additional ZEV credits they need.

If that continues to be the case, then Tesla can easily out-produce every other BEV maker, and even all of them put together with the possible exception of BYD.

It’s not that GM can’t out-produce Tesla; it’s that they have no motive to do so. Well, to be more specific: GM can out-produce Tesla in the long run. In the short run they can’t, because they don’t control their own supply of battery cells the way Tesla does.

GM only sells half its production in California, which is the only state it even needs any credits in. Half their cars aren’t helping them meet their credit needs.

So perhaps “little more” is an exaggeration.

Who makes the batteries is immaterial. In house or outsourced, if the supplier has to scale up they have to scale up. If you offer them more sales they will scale up, if you don’t, they won’t.

It’s hard to tell if LG Chem just hasn’t had enough time to scale up yet or if GM hasn’t requested them (and guaranteed them the sales) to do so. We’ll know more after some more time. If after a year GM still hasn’t scaled up then it’s because they aren’t willing to commit to more battery production (whether rightly or wrongly).

Obviously Tesla has committed to higher battery production fully.

Musk has gone on record to say that the Bolt is a compliance car and GM will never make more than 30-35K per year.

This article seems to allude to that with both production capacity and battery supply.

I want a Bolt, but only if/when there are more CCS stations. California’s Drive-the-Arc DCFC program is partly sponsored by Nissan, hence the CHAdeMO/CCS combo stations run by eVgo are free for CHAdeMO only. When is GM gonna participate?

Hopefully never if you’re SparkEV 😉

Only a small portion of California’s DCFCs are drive-the-ARC stations. If you are attributing the presence of stations to that program I think you should look a bit further.

As to Musk, he says a lot of things. Him going on record about what a competitor’s plans are is exactly as valid as me doing so. We’re both just supposing. There is one big difference though, I don’t have a vested financial interest in claiming GM can’t compete with Tesla. Musk does.

I mean, it’s not like many Model 3 owners are going to be able to get free Supercharging, so why is it expected for the Bolts to get free DCFC?

unlucky said: “GM only sells half its production in California, which is the only state it even needs any credits in. Half their cars aren’t helping them meet their credit needs.” Do you have any citations to back up your assertion there? I see it was Elon Musk, not exactly a disinterested party, who claimed that GM would be making only a little more than the number of Bolt EVs which GM needs for CARB credits. But then, Unlucky, you’ve established yourself as a very strong GM advocate and a frequent Tesla basher. Not a FUDster, and I don’t believe you say things you know are not true, but a frequent basher nonetheless. I’d be interested to see any facts or figures to back up what you’re saying, or to dispute what Elon said. What doesn’t make sense, if what Elon says is wrong, is why GM isn’t sending a lot more of the Bolt EVs to Europe, where the style of the car is far more popular that it is here in the USA. Now, as to the battery supply issue, Jay Cole has pretty strongly asserted that LG Chem can’t — literally is not physically able to —… Read more »
Pushy, if you have a problem with my figures you look up the counter. It’s the easiest thing in the world for an ignorant person to say they disbelieve and to then force the other person to act. Look it up yourself. I tire of hearing you call others bashers. Let’s stick to info instead of calling names, okay? If GM isn’t sending a lot of their production to Opel which is now owned by a competitor, there might be other reasons you might consider which would cause this. As to Jay Cole, he said nothing which backs what you are saying. Jay Cole said similar to what I said. That if GM told LG Chem to prepare for N packs this year then they cannot get double that this year. They might get a few more, but not double. This is what I said below. If GM is pack constrained this year it is because last year they told LG Chem they only wanted N packs this year and the only paid enough money to convince LG Chem to build out to make N packs this year. Jay says, as I said, that if GM said (and paid an… Read more »
“Pushy, if you have a problem with my figures you look up the counter.” I have no idea what “counter” you are referring to. And I don’t see that you have cited any actual figures which refute or call into question anything I’ve said about GM being limited in various ways, some intentional and some beyond its control, in its production of the Bolt EV. “Jay says, as I said, that if GM said (and paid an advance on) N packs last year they will get about N packs this year, not 2N. This is exactly the same as Tesla. If Tesla planned to get M packs next year and only spent enough to build out their plant to make M packs next year they will only get M packs next year.” No, but that’s a cleverly worded fallacy, so I give you credit for making a cleverly worded altho fallacious argument. 😉 Tesla was in the same position that GM is in now. Tesla was in the position of being dependent on Panasonic deciding how many battery cells it was willing to contract to make. Tesla kept pushing and pushing for Panasonic to ramp up production faster, but was… Read more »

GM only needs to sell 1000 Bolts in CARB states to satisfy their ZEV requirements in those states this year. And only about 1400 next year. They’re at over 7500 cars sold for the year, with unsold inventory somewhere between 4000 and 6000, with 36 more states slated to receive the Bolt next month. They are producing way more Bolts than they need to satisfy any ZEV requirements for the next few years.

I would appreciate it if you would please cite your source for those figures. They are sharply at variance with what Elon Musk has claimed.

I see you are spreading more pro-Tesla, anti-other EV FUD as you like to call it. Spouting nonsense with no facts to back it up.

You obviously have me confused with someone else. I never post things I know are not true. Sometimes I’m wrong, just like nearly everyone else. And if I am, then please do cite facts and demonstrate where I’m wrong. That’s how I learn things!

But just to throw stones at me without actually refuting anything I’ve said, just posting personal pejorative remarks without citing any facts to the contrary… that’s not a useful contribution to the discussion.

Yes. I am not bashing GM, and love my Spark EV. The Volt, Spark EV, and Volt are solid, well engineered and reliable EV’s. But GM is selling them because they must.

I believe they have a specific number they need to sell, and thus WILL sell. With the serious competition they will have in the near future, GM will undoubtedly both lower the price and aggressively lease the Bolt to compensate.

GM is lacking neither the engineering talent nor production capacity to produce EV’s by the millions. What they lack is the desire to actually do so.

That’s true, but the reason they have little desire to produce them is because they don’t think they can make money on them. As battery prices come down, that math should change. If the Bolt was a $22500 or $25000 car instead of $37500 it would be selling better.

Even accounting for rebates the Bolt is a bit too expensive, especially because GM is only passing on half the rebate on the lease. And at this point in time with all that’s happening in EV tech, do you really want to be locked in for 7-8 years on a purchased car?

Within 5 years I think we’ll be seeing at least 3x as many Volts and Bolts being sold.

When I took a test drive in a Bolt my impression was that it felt and looked like a fun $23,000 car.

I felt it was a little better than a Honda Fit with perhaps $5000 in potential fuel and upkeep savings. If a Honda Fit is $18,000 then $23,000 for a Bolt made sense to me.

The car was fun to drive and the driver’s view was good, but the driver’s seat was a little uncomfortable in the mid back area.

I suspect my viewpoint on the Bolt is pretty common.

Hauer is apparently the first to answer the question of 2019 Bolt to model 3 sales ratio.

9 to 1 seems high to me. The primary advantages of the the Model 3 are exterior styling, super chargers, and status symbol. I am assuming the Bolt will have a discount price advantage, and possibly interior design/space and repair/service network advantage. My guess is 4.5 to 1. Perhaps it will fall between the two guesses at 6.5 or so to 1.

I will take those odds 6.5 to 1.

How will USA model 3 sales in 2019 compare to 2017 USA model S sales??

In 2017 a 75kw base model S with rebates/incentives can be had for about $60,000. In 2019 the base 3 75kw might be $40,000.

I think the 2019 3 will outsell the 2017 Model S in the USA by about 4 to 1. Could it get as high as 10 to 1??

Just a difference of opinion, but I think the base price will be just under $30k. I know what you are thinking, price creep, inflation and no government incentives, but I believe Musk’s primary goal with high speed production is to dramatically reduce costs and they will pass on those savings to the customer.

I personally don’t see Tesla lowering prices. Adding content while maintaining price is a more likely “best case” scenario.

This isnt a bad thing. It maintains better residual value and status. And Musk has stated that Tesla has no current plans for additional models BELOW the Model 3.

Tesla has every intention of being a highly profitable company despite massive debt load, and my personal belief is that we won’t see a LESS expensive Tesla any time in the foreseeable future.

But will the shareholders allow that? At some point, the demand for profit will begin to really play a big part of the conversation.

You forgot autopilot, whereas the Bolt doesn’t even have adaptive cruise. It would take little effort for the Model 3 to have better seats than the Bolt. Hopefully that’s another advantage.

“Hauer is apparently the first to answer the question of 2019 Bolt to model 3 sales ratio.

“9 to 1 seems high to me.”

But it’s not as high as what Tesla plans. Tesla plans on 400,000 Model 3’s per year, and plans on reaching that by 2019. If GM settles on, let’s say, 35,000 Bolt EVs per year, that would be an 11.4:1 ratio. If GM sticks to only 30,000 per year, it goes to 13.33:1!

I can see tesla selling model three at three to four times the rate of Model S, assuming an entry price of about $40,000. So I am thinking about 150,000 a year world-wide after the initial hype and status rush wears off.

If the net price could drop into the $25,000 – $28,000 range then my guess is the sales could perhaps double to 300,000 units until a model y style eats up some of the model 3 sales.

Yearly sales of 400,000 units several years in a row seems very high end estimate in light of current model S sales and the drop of buying interest overall in sedans.

Tesla is planning a 520k / yr M3 production rate before 2019.

“No matter how you figure the ramp up, if we roughly go with what Musk stated this week, it could mean some 30,000-40,000 Model 3s built this year.”

So if if you plot the data and integrate under the curve you get 30-40k??

Looks high to me but i haven’t done the math.

Just estimated it. I get 40k roughly for the integration. So their numbers look ok.

“Tesla has the advantage of being able to produce as many batteries as needed in-house at the Tesla Gigafactory.”

Well… There are limitations there as well. The supply side for the Model 3 would be more significant as a limiting factor (ie, the 100 kWh battery for the Model S/X limiting sales), whereas demand for the Bolt EV at the current price and geo-availability constraints at this point are the fly in the ointment.

The production hold-up with the S/X 100 kWh battery pack was in the hands of Tesla to fix, and reportedly Tesla has done so. My impression is it was a pack-level problem, not a problem with the cells. Even where there is a problem of this type, Tesla is in control of production. Contrariwise, the limitation of battery cell production for the Bolt EV is out of the hands of GM. It’s controlled by a third party: LG Chem. GM cannot just crank over a magic knob to cause LG to ramp up battery cell production quickly. To quote someone who certainly knows more about this subject than I do: “There is no battery supplier that will let a company make a set order, then guarantee 2X expansion of that order over the short term/“just in time” model if that OEM finds unexpected demand. Especially not LG Chem, who is first to market with inexpensive/2nd gen batteries and currently has ~21 different OEM contracts. They would of course say they will do their best to oblige as best they can, but that would be it… there is no leverage.” — Jay Cole, comment at InsideEVs.com, May 30, 2017 http://insideevs.com/nissan-close-to-exiting-battery-business/#comment-1214733 If… Read more »

The point is supply-side limitations are not new to Tesla whether they are intrinsic (batteries, software) or not (seats, tires, etc).

No, GM does not have to build its own battery factory anymore than it has to build its own tire factory. Vertical integration is but one manufacturing model. While it does provide control it also comes with tremendous capital demands and great risk. The ability of any large scale manufacturing facility to run at optimal capacity depends on the level of demand. Greater demand means lower cost per unit (typically). However,it isn’t easy to increase or decrease production on a whim. If the demand isn’t there, the facility will run at a less than optimal rate resulting in a higher unit cost. And if demand really craters (or never materializes), workers will have to be furloughed and fixed costs (taxes, etc.) will continue to mount. In a buy scenario, those risks are borne by the supplier. Also, an external supplier has the option to sell to more than one oem further reducing costs and spreading risk.

Musk was wrong about the X’s doors. He could be wrong about this on a much larger scale. GM and now Nissan have chosen to go another route. I guess we will find out who is right.

“I guess we will find out who is right.”

Tesla is moving strongly towards a goal of 400,000 Model 3’s produced per year. Not just talking about it, but actually building out capacity for making that many cars per year, both at Gigafactory 1 and at the Fremont assembly plant.

Contrariwise, GM is giving every sign of sticking to its plan of ~30,000-32,000 Bolt EVs per year. The closer we look, the more we see that GM has chosen to limit production and sales of the Bolt EV.

So, John: We already know who is right. You’re just not willing to admit the direction that all the facts point to.

Production capacity does not equal sales. What don’t you understand about this. In its entire history, Tesla has sold a little over 200K vehicles. What makes you think their will be demand for 400K of this one model year after year. That’s a ton of risk for a company so dependent on capital markets for survival.

I highly doubt there is demand for that many. At least not now. In a decade? Who knows. But either way Tesla has a problem in that they’re talking Honda Civic numbers on a car that costs twice as much. Right now with the rebate it’s closer, but the rebate goes away before they even get through their order backlog and then the effective price jumps way up.

I think it’s almost guaranteed that Tesla needs to cut the price of the Model 3 as the rebate goes away, just like GM will have to do with the Volt and Bolt. Hopefully with the decline in battery costs those price reductions will be possible.

The bottom line is the future of EVs depends on prices coming down. They’re not going to take over if they cost $30K+

“Production capacity does not equal sales. What don’t you understand about this. In its entire history, Tesla has sold a little over 200K vehicles. What makes you think their will be demand for 400K of this one model year after year.”

That is quite similar to what Tesla bashers repeatedly claimed about the Model S, which was (and is) made in much greater quantities than the Roadster. They repeatedly claimed that after the rush of initial reservations was satisfied, there would be only low-level demand for the Model S. In fact, Tesla bashers ridiculously kept on repeating the claim that demand for the Model S would suddenly evaporate and Tesla would go bankrupt. (In fact, some Tesla haters even repeatedly claimed Tesla was faking its sales numbers!)

How did that work out, again? Oh, yeah:

Tesla’s total annual sales:
2012: 2650
2013: 22,300
2014: 31,655 (+41.95%)
2015: 50,580 (+59.8%)
2016: 76,230 (+50.7%)

Thunderbirds are Go!

The shorts are having a field day. I think this is a good time to buy Tesla. This is the last time for a while you are going to see the stock dip. This is the fear crowd gaining the upper hand. The greed crowd will be back soon.

The biggest reason the Bolt isn’t selling at high rates is because of the Model 3. Who would pick the bolt over the Model 3 when the Tesla comes with a charging infrastructure that allows long distance travel.

I think history will see GMs reluctance to put in charging infrastructure as a major corporate blunder.

No, the biggest reasons are that most Chevy dealers are not promoting the car, and that GM isn’t actually interested in making or selling the car in sufficient numbers to challenge even an average selling gasmobile.

We don’t need any clairvoyance nor a crystal ball to see that the Model 3 will almost certainly outsell the Bolt EV within a year or less. We only need to observe that Tesla is ramping up M3 production very aggressively, and that GM isn’t showing any signs or intentions of ramping up Bolt EV beyond the planned target of ~30-32k per year.

Minor technical challenge. It would appear based on numbers earlier in the thread that GM sold about 2500 Bolts in June worldwide which is 30,000 per year. So it took them 6 months to get to that number. We will see if they choose to increase that.

Correction: “you” wouldn’t but other people might because…
1. They have a GM dealer nearby and yes although I hate dealers, not everybody does and it gives them comfort. There are several times as many Bolt dealers as Tesla stores.
2. Some people prefer the form factor of a high sitting hatch type vehicle. Not everybody prefers to be driving around in a ‘sports’ car. i.e. people have different tastes.
3. Your average Bolt owner will care much less about public charging than most people think. They’ll have a garage.

I think there are some thoughtful points there.

We are a Model 3 reservation holding family of 4 who bought a BoltEV. * Dealer gave $4500 off MSRP * Hatch has utility * BoltEV is a surprisingly well packaged car. They used the EV format well — short length to fit into small driveway, great turning radius, excellent passenger space. * BoltEV has a LOT of battery and some pep. Zero range anxiety. * Admittedly questionable seats It grows on you. We have come to really like it. I think this is why it is not selling yet; it takes a little time to really like its advantages. As for ‘compliance car’ I’m not so sure. This is certainly a well-designed EV from the ground up (not a Sonic with a battery stuffed in it which I had assumed it would be). My take is that this is a LG Chem play and GM went along for the ride and the ZEV credits. Reading the quarterly reports from LG Chem is enlightening; it appears that they got scared that Panasonic via the Gigafactor(ies) would soon own an huge percentage of the battery market and they needed to create demand for their batteries to counter it. LG Chem’s quarterly… Read more »
You make a lot of good point in regards to LG Chem, but I think you short GM on credit a bit, for two main reasons. 1. GM, due to the impact of their still recent bankruptcy is highly focused on profitability, this focus combined with the second reason I believe this fully explains the slower rollout of EV tech that GM is exhibiting. 2. They got badly burned by the lack of demand for the Volt in Gen1. No one at GM (and for good reasons) is going to go all in on EVs at this stage of adoption after what happened with the Volt rollout. So I think it unfair to say GM doesn’t take the market seriously or is purposefully holding back on EVs. I just think they are going to follow rather than lead the market. They will build out to a proven market, this has the possibility of them ceding some of the lead they built with the Volt and Bolt, but it also means they won’t be burnt by building ahead of the market demand and potentially costing themselves a lot of money in capital stranded unproductively. In the end it’s more a conservative… Read more »

Excellent points.

I fully agree with all this. A lot of people don’t understand that the car manufacturers are trying to make money in a pretty competitive market. A company can’t afford to go all in on EVs if the demand isn’t there yet. I think GM is actually preparing well for the future but they’re content to wait for that future to arrive. They’re also not in the same situation as Tesla. If Tesla sells 400K EVs per year that would be an amazing accomplishment. If GM sold 400K EVs (and no gas cars) they would be bankrupt. Also in regards to the Gen1 Volt, I personally wasn’t sold on it. The range was just too low. Gen2 is a huge improvement over it. I think the first gen was just a bit too early to the game, but GM stuck with it and improved it. Then they came out with the Bolt on top of it. If they really had no intention of pushing EVs they easily could have used the muted reception of the Volt to pull the plug on the whole project. Tesla and GM are not in the same position. Therefore they are obviously going to act… Read more »

To your point regarding LG Chem. They’re working to develop 20 different EV models for Iran.

@Hans Hammermill:

Thank you for an informative and most interesting post!

If LG Chem is really that worried about the Gigafactory(-ies) taking over the market, then it seems strange that LG isn’t moving more strongly — much more strongly — to build out new production capacity. LG has talked big about ramping up production to challenge Gigafactory 1, but I haven’t seen much in the way of follow-through. Oh sure, they are building new production capacity. They’re just not building it that fast; not nearly as fast as I expected, given their rapidly growing list of customers.

Push, I have been to 3 Northern Virginia Chevy dealers to look at Bolts, and all 3 had salespeople that didn’t bungle their spiel on the Bolt too badly. Of course, I drove up in a Chevy Volt so they weren’t as likely to try to push me on a Cruze or a Malibu! LOL!
And the odd thing is that none of the people I chatted with tried any hard sell techniques. Maybe it was because I was asking specific questions about fast charging and front seat width, but it was kind of interesting to see polite, seemingly informed sales people that didn’t give off the slimey slick car sales routine.
And the odd thing is that two of these dealers did have that kind of sales people 4 years ago when I got my Volt, which is why I went north to Maryland to get it.

I’m glad that you personally have had a good experience shopping for a Bolt EV. Fortunately, not every dealership encourages its salesmen to be high-pressure a-holes, treating potential customers as “marks” to be fleeced.

The problem, of course, is that far too many of them do.

I wish I could say you are wrong about that…

You don’t know any of this. Just more of your usual anti-GM FUD. You have no idea what GM’s strategy is for the Motor Trend 2017 Car of the Year.

I don’t often get accused of posting FUD. When I do, it’s always by someone who is a FUDster angry over how I’ve debunked their FUD with real figures and actual facts.

Truth is a powerful weapon. You might try using it sometime.

You forgot GMs inventory.

About 6k Bolts were sitting on dealer lots at the end of last month. So they should be closer to 3k production rate, if not higher.

That is about what they need for a national inventory in order for the traditional dealership model to work. They basically need at least 30-60 day’s worth of inventory on the lot for the Dealer’s Lot sales methodology to work.

If GM wants to sell 30K by the end of 2017, GM needs 3,500 to 7,000 units in inventory across thousands of Chevy dealerships across the US and Canada.

That is the difficulty of a dealer/inventory sales methodology. You can’t sell what you don’t have.

True, but those still need to be included in the number of produced cars.

Yea, that gets into my whole rant about production and sales numbers being conflated wildly. The TM3 numbers conflate the two wildly, and clearly there is a huge gap between production vs. sales for the Bolt too.

Now take all those discrepancies, and the fact that GM has also back-loaded their numbers to the second half of the year by slowly rolling out across all the states, and trying to draw a rational conclusion becomes nearly impossible.

See my post below.

“Musk says 30 in July, 100 in August … 1,500 or more in September … 20,000 built per month in December”

The problem with trying to do predictions based on these numbers, is that Elon seems to willy-nilly switching back and forth between DELIVERY numbers and PRODUCTION numbers as if they were interchangeable.

The problem is we don’t actually know how long it will take to deliver 20K TM3’s “built” in December. And with the production being heavily back-loaded into December, as much as a quarter to a third of 2017 production numbers may not get delivered until early 2018.

There is likely to be a significant gap between built and delivered numbers that make it nearly impossible to make an accurate prediction.

Official Tesla guidance is about a month away…..

The model 3 should make the Bolt more affordable. Applying downward pressure to slash prices, unless GM just doesn’t care.
It should force them to pretend a little harder though…

Between the Leaf 2.0 and Model 3, they’re going to have to do something.

It’s a shame GM engaged in questionable tactics like:

GM artificially inflated the Bolt price in the USA by $5,800

GM started out pocketing the full Federal Tax Credit on all Bolt leases instead of passing it to the customer through a cap cost reduction. Since then, they’re giving $2,500 in “lease cash”. Now, they’re only pocketing $5,000 of the $7,500 federal tax credit.

I would love to see the Bolt succeed. I don’t see how it can when GM is pulling this type of non-sense.

GM has from the start been passing on $2500 of the federal tax credit as a Capital Cost Reduction, at least in California. The rest of the credit has been used to prop up the residual. They aren’t stealing it. The tax credit goes to the owner of the vehicle. If and how they choose to pass it on to prospective lessors of the car is entirely up to them.

I can’t believe any of these numbers. The same promises were made for the X, repeatedly, and they were all lies. Elon is the Iraqi Information Minister of Tesla victory forecasts.

Just wow! He has to make his best assumption based on the information he has available. They are ESTIMATIONS not lies. Remember(if you’re the least bit geniune about your assertions) the X was initially extremely problematic, which made pinning down early numbers difficult. The Model 3 is specifically tailored to avoid the complexity pitfalls that plagued the X.

How touching! Elon says whatever he thinks will impress the market. His ideal is to make a promise which he hopes the market will forget about when he fails to deliver. One example of this is the capital raise for the Model 3 and Gigafactory – which was actually used to purchase Solar City.

Wow! The short-selling Tesla trolls are really crawling out of their holes, aren’t they?

A serial anti-Tesla FUDster like “Four Electrics”, repeating his Big Lies while complaining about some honest mistakes made by Elon Musk, trying to label those mistakes as “lies”.

We have a contender here for this year’s “Mr. Hypocrisy” award.

When you always over estimate that is called lying. Maybe he should opt for a more conservative approach and not be called out as a liar?

If you under estimate at times and over estimate at times people get it but Elon always over estimates.

How are those Tesla solar roof installs going? Didn’t they say in May say that in June the first installs were going to happen? Well June came and went. I mean how bad as “estimations” do you have to be to not know that you can’t get something done the following month.

It’s a game and he plays it very well but in the end let’s at least call it what it is…

“Estimates” are so old school. We use ‘aspirational goals’ these days.

DJ posted more Tesla-hating FUD:

“If you under estimate at times and over estimate at times people get it but Elon always over estimates.”

So, was it somebody else who estimated the timeline for building Gigafactory 1? Was it someone else who estimated the timeline for start of Model 3 production?

No, it was Elon, in both cases.

You could have stuck to the truth, and said “mostly” instead of “always”. If you had, then you wouldn’t have left yourself open — yet again — to someone pointing out that what you’re saying simply isn’t true.

Sometimes I just have to shake my head at the Tesla bashers. There appears to be some sort of psychological change that happens when someone decides to start publicly posting FUD. They seem to completely lose track of the value of telling the truth, and start telling lies even when sticking to the truth would serve them better!

Truth can be a powerful weapon, DJ. You should try using it sometime.

So out of all the traditional carmakers, which ones are to suffer the most once tesla ramps up the model 3 and builds more gigafactories around the world and announces the Y ?

In the long run, it will be those who put off, for the longest time, their own attempts to make and sell long-range PEVs (Plug-in EVs) in large numbers. Just like Eastman Kodak invented the digital camera but then chose to shelve the technology, leaving it to others to develop. Kinda like GM and the EV1, hmmm? Or like BlackBerry, introducing the smart phone but then making very little attempt to improve it after Apple introduced a more compelling competitor. Kinda like Nissan and the Leaf, hmmmm? But right now, it looks like Ford is the largest auto maker that’s really falling behind the pack on developing EV tech. GM clearly isn’t planning to make or sell the Bolt EV in large numbers, but at least they’ve spent some money developing the tech. And Nissan does finally seem to be making at least a half-hearted effort to update the Leaf; we’ll know more later this year, when we find out whether or not Nissan is going to put an active cooling system into the Leaf battery pack. There are of course several smaller auto makers which are making no attempt at all to develop EV tech, and almost certainly will… Read more »

Exactly like that.

I like Xerox and the mouse for a similar example.

I don’t think GM could have sold more than a handful of EV1’s in 2003, unless they took a $10,000 to $20,000 loss on each one of them. It took 7 more years of the economies of scale reducing the price of Lithium Ion batteries to get to the point where a Volt pack cost just $10,000 to produce in 2010. And the cost to produce Volts was probably so high that they really did lose a bit of money on each base model sold, at first.
The EV1 and the RAV-4EV were cars built before their time. They couldn’t be sold profitably, but at least Toyota had the common sense to take their medicine and sell their RAV-4EV’s. If GM had done so they would have never been seen as the evil corporation that “Killed the Electric Car”, even though selling the existing EV1’s would have made no real difference in the development of electric cars.

What did not make sense is they crushed all the EV1s. It didn’t matter if they took a loss on selling those they produced because they lost 100% by crushing them (actually more if you consider the cost of taking them back and paying for the crusher). Their argument was they didn’t want to have to support the cars with parts, but I frankly don’t buy it. There were ways that could have been worked out.

As for Toyota they sold the RAV4EV but now they are dragging their feet on EVs. So to a large extent GM and Toyota have change positions. There is no reason the Prius EV couldn’t have been the Nissan Leaf of the EV world and it probably would have sold better due to the Prius tie in.

I agree that crushing them was the big mistake. What a way to build negative brand equity!

Ziv: I agree 100% with everything you said. But still, GM should have continued to develop EV tech as a back-burner project, just like Kodak should have developed digital camera tech as a back-burner project. Alan Cocconi invented the modern AC “integrated motor controller” (including the efficient inverter) when he was working at GM. It was used in 1990 in the Impact, a GM concept car. The Impact became the prototype for the EV1. Cocconi left GM and in 1992 co-founded his own R&D company, AC Propulsion, which made the tZero electric sports car which became, effectively, the prototype for the Tesla Roadster. (Isn’t it fascinating that we can trace a clear, unambiguous path from the EV1 to the Tesla Roadster?) And it was the news that Tesla was putting the Roadster into production which inspired GM to develop the Volt. There is one big difference between the digital camera revolution (and Kodak) and the EV revolution (and GM): The EV revolution is taking much longer. So GM has had time to catch up, to some extent, with Tesla’s technological development. But to slightly paraphrase what was recently posted by abc123: Tesla is creating market demand whereas GM is merely… Read more »
I actually think it’s going to go the other way. When the OEMs get in the EV game for real I suspect Tesla will be taking the biggest hit. Most of the people on this site aren’t “in the norm” when it comes to car buying and many I am sure would rather get a car from an established company with a known track record that isn’t tarnished by quality issues. As more OEMs bring out their offerings there will be more and more choices and frankly that doesn’t bode well when you’re really one of the only names in the game currently. I’m not saying they will go out of business or anything but I would expect their % of the market to decrease as more and more OEMs get in the game. I also don’t get the whole “I hate dealerships” crap either. Dealerships save you $. What, you think Tesla’s MSRP is saving you $ some how? Competition leads to better deals for consumers and as you can see with the Bolt being offered with discounts already in many states that’s happening. If a dealership is such a hassle than go through Costco or TrueCar to get… Read more »

A musical tribute to your POV:

The only people who believe that dealerships save you money either work at dealerships, or are members of the NADA.

“I also don’t get the whole “I hate dealerships” crap either. Dealerships save you $. What, you think Tesla’s MSRP is saving you $ some how? Competition leads to better deals for consumers and as you can see with the Bolt being offered with discounts already in many states that’s happening.”

Tesla competition is other manufacturers and they price their cars accordingly. GM sells their cars to dealerships and for the most part at a fixed price, just like Tesla. MSRP is just that “Suggested” and should not be compared to Tesla’s retail price because it is a markup above GM’s price. Dealerships cannot sell their cars for cost or they would go out of business they are not in business just to make enough money to break even, but to make a profit. Tesla owned stores are not trying to make a profit, they are a way of advertising and probably cheaper than most companies spend on media advertising.

“rather get a car from an established company with a known track record that isn’t tarnished by quality issues”

Can’t wait for the next episode where you are going to tell us the name of this unicorn… the suspense is killing me!

You don’t get why smart people hate dealers? I will give you my example. Went in to buy an eGolf and after 4 hour wrestling got one. After finding out they lied to me about the service (ripoff) package i was ready to take them to court but eventually we sorted things out. In this process they actually showed me the accounting papers pertaining to my deal and to my surprise they where “loosing” only $1k on a $23600 sell price for my $29950 msrp eGolf SE. In the market to get a Volt now so stay tuned for more drama…

Don’t ever pay for packages. EVER.

They sell those hard because they make money on them. 9/10 you’ll come out behind, so just take the risk and “self insure” by not paying up front.

I agree, i got that reimbursed. They lied about how much the scheduled maintenance cost and that was the reason i got the package in the first place. On leases it’s a bit tricky since they can come after you if you skip maintenance appointments.

DJ said:

“…an established company with a known track record that isn’t tarnished by quality issues.”

Name one single established auto maker of any size which hasn’t had its reputation tarnished, at one time or another, by quality issues. Of course, you can’t. The only way to avoid that is to be such a new company that it hasn’t happened yet.

Here are some of the more notorious quality issues:

Ford: Pinto “exploding” gas tank, and Ford’s callous decision to ignore the deaths it would cause

GM: Ignition switch scandal. Settlement included paid compensation for 124 deaths.

Volkswagen and other auto makers: Outright fraud in faking emissions tests

Toyota: Coverup of the cause of runaway acceleration linked to at least 5 deaths

I’m sure others can add more to this list.

Ford, hands down have the most to lose. In 2016, Ford sold around 800,000 small and midsize CUV/SUV’s in the US. They have the most market share at risk, and the most to lose.

Out of the domestic manufacturers not named Tesla they are also the least prepared for the switch to electrification.

Yup, they are the most exposed, and currently the least ready to compete.

Which may be why Ford is planning a 300 mile range CUV Model Y competitor by 2020:


I’m pretty sure they know exactly how exposed they are, and what they have to do. The question is whether it will be enough, soon enough. Or too little, too late.

‘Tesla has the advantage of being able to produce as many batteries as needed in-house at the Tesla Gigafactory. LG Chem supplies the Bolt’s batteries, and plans to make about 30,000 this year.’

There’s no advantage or disadvantage to this. If Tesla wants more batteries they have to commit money to build them and then invest it into the ability to do so. If GM wants more batteries they have to commit money to build them and then hand it to LG Chem who will then invest it into the ability to do so.

The reason Tesla is scaling up and GM doesn’t appear to do so is because Tesla has committed financially to making more packs (more capacity) and GM hasn’t. It’s not that LG Chem can’t scale up or would refuse to do so if presented with a financial commitment similar to the one Tesla is making. It’s that GM isn’t willing to commit financially to making that many EVs.

It’s really strange to see people misunderstanding the effects of outsourcing. Japan taught us about this process of outsourcing in the 80s. That’s 30 years ago.

LG and GM have delivery contracts. Yes, I’m sure LG could manufacture more if GM wanted more. But LG would have costs associated with adding new shifts, or adding more manufacturing equipment, or starting production in other facilities, etc.

The question is whether GM could eat those additional costs at the sales rates and prices they are currently selling at. We’ve already seen Bolt discounting (which is normal and expected for any GM vehicle — that is how GM has always moved steel, by discounting). The question would be whether GM bean counters would authorize additional expenses for a car that is a rounding error on their global production numbers. Especially knowing that they would have to use additional discounting in order to drive up the sales numbers.

I give that decision a very low probability. GM’s great victory with the Bolt was being first to market with an affordable 200+ mile pure EV. That victory won’t change if the number of units changes by 10 or 20 percent in a year. That victory is already in the bag.

What exactly are these additional costs? Usually the more you manufacture in the same facility the cheaper the unit cost. If they added another shift and stayed within the same facility it would be very strange if somehow those cost more seeing as their fixed costs are not increasing.

I already listed the additional costs, depending upon what they would need to do to hit higher numbers:

“LG would have costs associated with adding new shifts, or adding more manufacturing equipment, or starting production in other facilities”

2nd and 3rd shifts come with added expense of paying more to get people to work off hours, and the cost of recruiting new workers.

New equipment is the cost of new equipment (if needed).

New facilities adds cost of hiring, plus new equipment.

Yes, scaling up production by an order of magnitude does bring down the cost of manufacturing. But I don’t think LG would be doing that. It would be a 10-20% increase in production, so if they needed a new shift of workers, or new equipment, or both in a new factory, the savings for increased volume wouldn’t be enough.

We need to take into consideration Tesla Energy as well as Tesla Automotive when it comes to batteries. Musk has said many times that battery packs for the grid or off-grid will probably be more volume than EV batteries.

Yes. LG would have costs associated with more shifts, more plants, etc. And so does Tesla if they want more batteries. In both cases these costs are amortized across more batteries products. So on a unit cost basis it works fine as long as you actually use more batteries. If you want more batteries but aren’t sure there is a financial risk to scaling up. There’s a risk with insourcing and with outsourcing. Tesla has committed to scaling up and taking the risk. It appears GM hasn’t. I only say appears because it is possible GM did pay to have more packs available and aren’t using them. But I don’t actually believe that. I feel that the rate of packs GM is getting today is reflective of how many they felt comfortable they would need when projecting forward a year or so ago. So it’s all they asked LG Chem to build. And if GM said they wanted more now they could get a few more with LG Chem able to squeeze out a few extra, but of they wanted a lot more they would have to pay LG Chem to scale up to more workers and factories. And that’s… Read more »
unlucky said: “There’s no advantage or disadvantage to this. If Tesla wants more batteries they have to commit money to build them and then invest it into the ability to do so.” There is a very large advantage to Tesla paying to build a large-capacity battery factory: Tesla will soon control its own battery supply. That will give Tesla, for the first time, the ability to expand its production as fast as it wants. In the past it has been repeatedly constrained in its growth by the volume of batteries Panasonic has been willing to supply. And until GM moves to do the same, it will have to get in line to buy LG Chem’s batteries, just like all of LG’s other customers. We’ve been over this subject many times. I really don’t understand why people refuse to acknowledge a truth which is really pretty straightforward. Tesla is spending billions of dollars to build Gigafactory 1 for exactly the same reason the Ford Motor Co. spent a lot of money to build the River Rouge industrial complex, back in the days of the Model T. In both cases, it let (or will let) the auto maker expand rapidly into a… Read more »
Again, no. Whether you insource or outsource you can expand as fast as you want. You have control in both cases. The same control. Panasonic is no constraint to Tesla. If Tesla wants more batteries from Panasonic all they have to do is financially commit to them. Then Panasonic will build them. It’s really this simple. HEre is a phone call from the CEO to the in-house battery department: “Hey, I want to be able to produce 3x as many batteries next year.” “Oh, you do? You know that’ll cost money, right?” “Yep, I’ve signed the check, it’ll be there Monday.” “Great, we’ll get started immediately.” Now here is a phone call from the CEO to an outsourced battery company: “Hey, I want to be able to produce 3x as many batteries next year.” “Oh you do? You realize there is a substantial financial cost and risk to expanding to produce more.” “Yes, I know. I’ve signed the check, it’ll be there Monday.” “Great, we’ll get started Monday.” There’s no appreciable difference. The supplier wants money. They can’t scale up for free so they will want money up front to scale up. But that’s the same way in-house scaling up… Read more »

Well put. So far Tesla has written a much bigger check.

Well to be fair, having production in house does take out one level of profit from the equation. In other words, LG has to make a profit on the battery sale, then GM has to make a profit on the car sale. With Tesla they can make the battery at cost with no mark-up and just make money off the car sale. (That being said, the fact it’s a joint venture with Panasonic does muddy the waters a bit.)

In terms of ramping up, you’re right it’s probably not that different, but in theory Tesla’s battery cost should be lower overall.

Even in the Gigafactory Tesla buys cells from Panasonic based on a purchase agreement. It’s a close working relationship but Tesla cannot arbitrarily increase output.

“Even in the Gigafactory Tesla buys cells from Panasonic based on a purchase agreement. It’s a close working relationship but Tesla cannot arbitrarily increase output.” No, I think you are significantly understating the case. It’s not just a purchase agreement; it’s a partnership. Furthermore, my understanding is that Tesla is in charge of supplying raw materials to the Gigafactory, as well as producing battery packs from cells made by the Panasonic side (see flow chart linked below). Also, it’s Tesla who decides where those cells which are produced wind up. It’s not like Panasonic can decide to sell some of the 2170 cells to GM or Toyota, unless Tesla agrees to do that. So Tesla controls the input to, as well as the output from, Gigafactory 1. To say that Tesla is “buying cells from Panasonic based on a purchase agreement”… No. That’s what Tesla was doing before building Gigafactory 1. The main reason Tesla is spending billions of dollars on building Gigafactory 1 is precisely so it can control the factory output. A lot of commenters focus on the per-kWh price reduction in 2170 cells, but that’s not the main reason Tesla is spending all that money to build… Read more »

It seems to me it is just two different business models. The bit of reading I’ve done in economics (comparative advantage) suggests that it is better for each to do what it does most efficiently.
By bringing battery production in-house, an EV-focused company such as Tesla commits to doing the research to keep its battery quality and manufacturing techniques & equipment up to global market standards.
By contracting with a battery-focused company, a more diversified company can obtain competitive products despite not focusing on them. (At a cost of higher unit pricing vs savings of R&D and manufacturing updates overhead).
It seems the Nissan battery plant in TN may be an example of what happens when an entity not focused on constant improvement tries to bring production in-house. Rumor has it they want to get rid of the factory and contract with a battery company. Owning their factory hasn’t made them leaders in battery quality. Thoughts?

Nissan’s biggest problem was that they got nowhere near their production targets. It is hard to continually invest, when the numbers aren’t there.

On the other hand, Tesla is actually fighting with too high of numbers sooner than they planned. All of their targets were way lower for the Model 3 before they got 400K reservations. 100K reservations was considered a fantasy by many — except this guy who got it right: http://insideevs.com/op-ed-2016-plug-sales-predictions-us/#comment-793922

I’m not sure that comparing a battery factory for a car that failed to get anywhere near planned numbers, to a car that is by far above all predictions is a very good comparison.

The Bolt has been available in Virginia since February. There were 200 Bolts sitting on Chevy lots in Virginia last month. I saw my first one on the road yesterday! Outside of EV sites, nobody knows the Bolt exists. I talk to people who have heard of Tesla, but didn’t know it was electric!

I live in Northern Virginia where I see 2 or 3 Teslas and maybe 4 or 5 Volts every day. I see a Bolt once or twice a week. It is early days, but GM botched their first long range BEV. It suffers from a widely despised bow tie on the front end, it looks like a boring econobox and it starts at $37,500, less credit.

They haven’t done anything of the sort.

Chevy compacts have a poor reputation?
The Bolt is a slightly pedestrian looking car?

For most people the answers are yes to both.
The Volt and Bolt appear to be very nice cars but Chevy compacts have usually deserved their abysmal reputation.

Telsa’s only market is BEV. GM’s primary market is ICE.

Obviously, Telsa’s going to win this one. They have to.

Telsa’s creating market demand whereas GM’s responding to market demand. Therefore, GM will always be behind the curve when it comes to producing EV’s and marketing material.

Thank you! 🙂

I wish I had said that; you put it so much more succinctly and clearly than I did.

This is true, but GM doesn’t need to beat Tesla if they beat everyone not named Tesla. And quite frankly they are in a good position to do that.

Paul — Yes, this is how I see it too. In fact, Tesla’s success is loosely tied to the success of all car maker’s lines of EV’s.

If Tesla is alone in building great EV’s that people literally line up to buy, there will be no EV revolution sweeping the masses. Instead we would have just a little EV rebellion on the sidelines of a mass ICE industry.

GM just needs to make good EV’s too, along with Tesla making good EV’s. Then they take their market share out of ICE cars, not out of each other.

There are dozens of car makers, building thousands of models of ICE cars around the world. That variety exists because there is a huge market for “losing” cars that aren’t actually the “winner” in their segment. That is all the Bolt has to do to be successful. Variety exists for ICE cars because there is a market for variety. The same goes for EV’s.

GM doesn’t have to “beat” the TM3 to be successful.

The market is not going to sit still. As the old adage goes: “Nature abhors a vacuum.” If legacy auto makers like GM and Toyota and Ford and Nissan and Volkswagen don’t soon start making and selling compelling plug-in EVs in large numbers, then startup auto makers will be more than happy to move into the market the legacy auto makers are ignoring.

Not all auto startups other than Tesla are guaranteed flops, like Faraday Future. Rivian might have a shot at success, and so might Lucid. I expect BYD will make a major effort to market one or more BEVs in the U.S. and/or Europe within just a few years, too.

In most if not all tech revolutions, new players arise to challenge the old ones. Did Samsung, Apple, Nokia, Sony, or LG Electronics make telephones before the cell phone revolution? I think not!

Nor do I think that Sony or Panasonic made cameras before the digital camera revolution.

New markets bring new players.

The quote is “Power abhors a vacuum”. Why do you seem to forget that Nissan is the number one EV company. And that is before adding in Renault and Mitsubishi. Nissan is about to release an all new version of the best selling EV of all time. I don’t think it’s Nissan that should be worried at all. They are well capitalized, have wordwide distribution and service and have diverse products. Here’s a quote for you: “If you come at the king, you best not miss”.

Hmmm, let’s see what Mr. Google has to say:

“nature abhors a vacuum”: “About 188,000 results”

“power abhors a vacuum”: “About 2,790 results”

I’m surprised you’ve never heard of the former expression, John. It’s quite common. I’ve never seen the latter before; it’s likely just a riff on the former.

I expect that at least half of those companies will have compelling mass market EV’s and PHEV’s within the 2018/2020 time-frame for the US market.

Unless politics and stupid laws ruin everything in the US market, and EV’s become a China/EU thing.

I had a conversation recently that said it all. My friend was looking to buy a Volt. I told him that was a good car, but I was interested in why was choosing a Volt over a Bolt. He asked me “what is the range of that car”? I said about 220-250 miles, about the same as a Tesla.

He said: “that has the same range as a Telsa???”

Tesla is winning the PR war. Draw your own conclusions.

I certainly hope Tesla can pull off even half of what they want to. It’s been really frustrating in Canada to see all the futzing around GM has done with the Bolt EV. I am hoping Tesla’s success will finally get GM to stop playing with customers and deliver the cars people have ordered in a timely and professional manner. People complain about dealers, and some of them are a problem, but with the Bolt EV, they are as frustrated as potential customers.

I think the number of Model 3s made this year will be between 12,000 to 18,000. I think Next year they’re going to really crank up the volume. It’s not a bad thing to focus on quality.

“So, how will the upcoming Tesla Model 3 production ramp compare to its segment predecessor and only true competitor, the Chevrolet Bolt?”
The Bolt is only a competitor in the US, and only in the ZEV mandate states.
Let’s wait for a WW availability before going further.

GM killed the EV(1), and will try again.

“The Bolt is only a competitor in the US, and only in the ZEV mandate states.”

This kind of “false news” spread is what divides the world today. Bolt are available in Texas too and people aren’t buying it.

False news divides EV community too.

People like you are the cancer of the EV community.

ModernMarvelFan, when you don’t like the news you call it fake news or false news. “The Bolt is only a competitor in the US, and only in the ZEV mandate states.” That’s not false news. The reason why the bolt does not come supercharged capable is because it’s a compliance car ( supercharged is optional). The reason why it takes over an hour and a half to charge to 80% on a standard 50 KW supercharger is because it’s a compliance car. That’s News, not false news!

It is definitely fake news to claim that the Bolt EV is available only in CARB States, or “ZEV States” as you put it.

In fact, we know that some Bolt EVs have already been sold in S. Korea, as well as some non-CARB States. My understanding is that it will soon be available in at least 48 States; dunno about Alaska and Hawaii.

Some Bolt EVs will also be sold in Europe, badged as the “Ampera-e”. Some in Canada, too.

Now, if you want to claim that most of the Bolt EV units will be sold in CARB States… I think that is true. But there is no good reason to overstate the case, and to claim the Bolt EV is “just a compliance car”, as some EV advocates have done, is IMHO simply trolling.


For that matter most Teslas will be sold in the CARB states too. It’s not just because of mandates, but actually where demand exists for them too.

Yes, the reality is that CARB states are all self-selected. The voters in those states wanted clean air enough that they got their states to vote to join (or create) CARB.

It makes sense that those states also have higher numbers of people who would also buy cars that don’t pollute.

M3- Reserved - Niro - TBD

Too much profit in ICE for the regular manufacturers. Why risk profit margin to wait for technology to mature? That’s why you see investment in it, but not full tilt manufacturing beyond ZEV and PR promo.

Nissan did it as sales of its ICE were dragging and took a risk on the LEAF — whether that’s been successful or not for Nissan is up to debate.

Tesla is a disruptor and hopefully will be successful on the M3 — the key isn’t so much the production scale, but also the service scale of a mainstream car. Tesla will die a quick death if a large recall with no remedy is easily handled — see Takata recall.

I will be glad to drive Model 3 before 2018 and comfortable in San Diego and Beta-testing type person; but if I lived in GA and discerning upper middle class, would be a little more reluctant diving in over a BMW 3-class.

“Nissan… took a risk on the LEAF — whether that’s been successful or not for Nissan is up to debate.” I think Nissan is acting like it was unsuccessful. Nissan has let years go by without any significant update of the Leaf, and they have let their control of their own battery supply fade away as their battery factories have been allowed to slow production or even go idle. I remember some Nissan exec saying, when Leaf production was beginning, that Nissan planned to start making an overall net profit on the model in 3 years. Normally an automaker starts making a profit shortly after the first year of production, so clearly Nissan believed it would take longer to amortize the Leaf startup costs. But then Nissan was hit with a production slowdown from the tsunami that hit Japan, and wound up having to build both an assembly plant and a battery factory in both Tennessee and the UK before the Leaf finally reached a production to match demand. So, logic and common sense suggest the Leaf program has cost Nissan far more than they intended, and I think it’s a fair question to ask if the model has made… Read more »

“So, logic and common sense suggest the Leaf program has cost Nissan far more than they intended, and I think it’s a fair question to ask if the model has made any net profit at all.”

More FUD that can’t go unchallenged. 7 years is a normal production cycle for a car and you conveniently forget that a new model is coming out in two months. You also conveniently forget that Nissan has made improvements along the way (durability and range). You have no idea how much money Nissan has made, but my logic says it’s plenty. If they were losing money why would they continue to crank them out. Why protect the current model and be so secretive about the new model? Face it, Nissan is the most successful EV company in history (so far).

From your reaction — did I hit a nerve? — I can only conclude that you must work for Nissan or a Nissan dealership. “More FUD that can’t go unchallenged.” You appear to be very confused. It’s you who keeps posting FUD; I have yet to do so. Ever. “7 years is a normal production cycle for a car and you conveniently forget that a new model is coming out in two months.” It’s not a new model. If it was a new model, then it wouldn’t be given the name of the old model: Leaf. That’s how these things work. For someone who apparently works for Nissan, you seem amazingly ignorant! “You also conveniently forget that Nissan has made improvements along the way (durability and range). You mean, the change to the “lizard battery”? That was a very minimal improvement, and was only made in response to some very negative publicity over the failure of their engineering. Or to put it another way: That was only lessening a fault, not actually making a positive improvement. As far as range: I know that Nissan “gamed the system” to get the EPA to report a longer EV range, after the first… Read more »

I guess I don’t see the practical Bolt competing with the model 3 for maintstream buyers. If one needs or wants hatchback utility one opts for the Bolt. If one wants a sedan then model 3. The BMW 3 series class is the real competition and I suspect BMW et al are puckering right now. Their cash cow might be Tesla’s dinner pretty soon.

“If one needs or wants hatchback utility one opts for the Bolt”
I bet the Leaf will eat most of Bolt lunch later this year.

Everything is always a competition :/

I see the Bolt being like the Volt, and more of a slow burn than a big explosion like the Model 3. People said the Volt sales would plummet once the Bolt EV was out, but they are holding strong. In the US, only 1% of customers are buying plug-ins. As more & more people become aware more will be sold by all manufacturers. Tesla has the “IT” factor right now, but it’s mainly from EV enthusiasts. I see a lot of potential plug-in buyers sticking w/their favorite brands, or a traditional auto company in general. Lots of reasons for this, I don’t care to get into at this time, but the point is, it’s going to take all car companies selling EVs to move the big needle. Let’s not put all our eggs in one basked.


I can’t wait to see the effect of the M3 on the prices of used MS.All those 2012+ MS should be seen their prices go down. I guess MS would like to switch to the new kid on the block , thereby leaving more offer of MS in the second hand market.

In the other hand, let’s don’t forget that GM makes money selling SUV’s with pricey options.

I don’t know what GM is doing with the Bolt , bit clearly don’t go crazy pushing the car around.

The current prices on used Tesla’s seem stupid high.

For example why pay $45,000 for a basic 60kw 2013 w/o autopilot when a new 2017 with 75kw can be had for a net $61,000. If the extra 15kw is worth say $5000 then the buyer is paying about $10,000 for the first four years of depreciation on a $56,000 sedan. Only 5% reduction per year new vs old sedan is nuts and that is the standard asking price on a 2013 S60.

That typical 2013 model S60 should sell under $35,000.

Yes, Tesla is holding their resale value very well.

Remember that Tesla will have its federal tax credit phase out early in the Model 3 production (per the current rules). This will cause the real cost of the vehicle to jump by 25% or so. Once this realization hits I would expect to see quite a lot of cancelled reservations from those whose place in line is after the phase out. (Any cut back in state rebates where they exist will just make this worse.)

My guess is that 500K/yr. is pie in the sky for this decade and that Tesla stock will retreat to $100-$200 per share.

Still, it’s a car with more pizazz than the Bolt (which is also impressive) and will likely outsell it.

I agree, the “500k III’s produced” in 2018 is pretty unlikely in the short to medium term.
But I could see Tesla selling 200k-250k III’s worldwide next year. And combining that with their S & X sales means that Tesla production is enough to be nearly match last years total plug in car production.
Even if Tesla sales don’t match some of Musks bombastic predictions, it is going to change the face of the electric car industry in a huge way.

I get super tired of people saying Chevy doesn’t want to build electrics.

They are on track for nationwide USA release, – why PSA Citroen is delaying their purchase of the Ampera-E’s until 2018 I have no clue, since Europeans seem to be chomping at the bit for this car.

The few released in Canada I can see since GM probably doesn’t make much on the Canadian sales since the BOLT ev’s there are full featured (standard CCS, etc, where its $750 more in the states), for a much lower MSRP, when factoring in the exchange ratio.

But it looks to me very soon the entire USA Chevy dealership population will be flooded with Bolt evs.

I can’t see why people forget the obvious fact that to make an additional BOLT, someone else has to step up to the plate and buy one with their own money.

The BOLT ev is not a perfect car, but its good enough that I DEFINITELY HAD TO HAVE ONE.

I’m glad GM wanted to make one for me.