By on June 9, 2017

2017 Bolt, image: General Motors

General Motors will begin selling the Chevrolet Bolt nationwide in August, a month earlier than it originally planned. While California power nerds like Bill Nye and Steve Wozniak received their EVs months ago, GM’s rollout schedule hinged on dealerships getting their ducks in a row before the rest of America could gain access.

“We were waiting for the training to be done, we were waiting for the right tools to be in place,” Steve Majoros, Chevy’s marketing director, said at a media event. “We are kind of ahead of schedule on implementing all of those things as well as making sure we have enough sufficient inventory.” 

Since its December introduction, U.S. deliveries of the Bolt have totaled 6,529 units. That’s not bad for an niche market vehicle temporarily handicapped by regional limitations. May saw 1,566 deliveries and volume is expected to grow as the little electric reaches more areas. Nissan’s Leaf, which is probably the Chevy’s closest competition for the time being, managed to sell 1,392 EVs without the same restrictions.

“It’s this delicate balancing act,” Majoros said. “But we think we’re at the right level of sufficient inventory. We can keep feeding where there’s a stronghold of sales.”

Due to demand, GM was briefly forced to take steps to ensure Bolts sent to certain regions were sold to customers in those regions. According to Automotive News, at least one dealer in Atlanta used a loophole to sources vehicles from California.

Majoros explained that General Motors is preparing a national advertising campaign for the Bolt for the coming weeks — reminding everyone that the car will soon be available for purchase countrywide, now that the auto show afterglow has faded.

Of course, Chevrolet has bestowed the Bolt with a $37,495 starting price, minus the $7,500 federal tax credit, and a 238-mile range. Those two factors create the best price-to-range ratio currently available among pure electrics. That should be more than enough to sell it to anyone shopping for an EV who doesn’t also require the prestige associated with Tesla ownership. But we’ll be on the lookout for the TV spots anyway.

[Image: General Motors]

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40 Comments on “Chevrolet Bolt Will Hit Remaining Dealer Lots in August...”


  • avatar
    thelaine

    Just waiting for the new Leaf to come out to compare. Then I’m gonna lease one or the other. They finally have acceptable range for my use.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Still wishing Chevy would come out with the special high-performance “Ussain” edition of the Bolt.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Unless there is a real unexpected surprise lurking in some manufacturer’s skunk works, this is the leading candidate to replace our leased C-Max Energi when the lease expires in March 2019. It checks all of our boxes except for a few missing minor features.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I’m considering leasing a regular C-Max next year when I turn in my TDI. I figure if I did a 2 or 3 year lease by 2020 or 2021 – the Bolt would probably have a much higher range and there should be a lot more DC fast chargers.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    It’s nice that GM wants to sell through dealers. That is their prerogative.

    Just as it should be Tesla’s prerogative to sell direct, if they so choose.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      GM is *forced* to sell through dealers.

      Tesla is not some special snowflake who should get their own rules to play by. Either every automaker has the option of direct sales, or none of them do.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @JimZ

      GM *supports* the laws that require them and everyone else to sell through dealers. That is a choice they make. Claiming they are being “forced” is a stretch when they’re complicit in their own forcing.

      @Both

      I agree that ideally, all or none should have the option of direct sales. But there are two possible counterarguments:

      1) Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla has no existing dealers to harm or compete against. Therefore, Tesla really is something of a special snowflake in that regard.

      2) Realistically, if treating Tesla as an exception jams a crowbar into the door that eventually leads to direct sales option for all, then it’s an acceptable real-world compromise. Anything to get that ball rolling.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “GM *supports* the laws that require them and everyone else to sell through dealers. That is a choice they make.”

        Horsecrap.

        they fought Tesla in a few states because Tesla wanted an exception.

        “then it’s an acceptable real-world compromise.”

        yeah, right. Massachusetts allowed Tesla to sell direct by carefully crafting legislation which permitted direct sales of cars if said cars met certain criteria. And those criteria just happened- out of total coincidence!- exactly match Tesla’s cars.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “That should be more than enough to sell it to anyone shopping for an EV who doesn’t also require the prestige associated with Tesla ownership.”

    And anyone who doesn’t care about access to a nationwide network of charging stations:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2017/06/07/road-trip-a-chevy-bolts-journey-to-the-far-reaches-of-its-rang/

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      SCE, I will be interested in your thoughts on the new Leaf when it is released. I am hoping it will be a bit bigger than the bolt and comparably priced. If everything else is roughly comparable, I will probably go for the Leaf.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        curious why you’d go for the one with a history of being very hard on its battery.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @jimz: That history “might” not be an issue now. I’ve been beating the living crap out of my Leaf battery and haven’t had the range loss issues that earlier Leaf battery technology had. I now have 48,800 miles, 219 quick charges, and 2,452 L1/L2 charges. It still has all 12 bars. Still pretty close to original distance on my “first bar mileage” test. That could change suddenly, but so far so good. Still, just one example and still only 48k miles, but so far so good considering I’ve been fairly merciless with the quick charges.

          GM is more conservative with their batteries and one tradeoff with the Bolt may be a slower quick charge rate than the 18 Leaf. It’s going to be one of those things that EV shoppers are going to be debating. Faster charging vs. battery life. How much extra life will that conservatism buy? Hopefully, some of the technology improvements will start moving from the labs into mass production over the next few years.

          Here’s my guess on 2018 Leaf vs. Bolt. The Nissan will be cheaper. Both list price and cash on the hood. I suspect they’ve designed it knowing the subsidy is going away and it will probably show inside and out. Quick charging will be faster on the Leaf, but may impact battery life. Nissan will have “pro pilot” (or whatever it’s called) available. Both cars will suffer from having a certain number of dealers that consider selling EVs an annoyance and they still lack a solid well-maintained charging network.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            well, I never know what to expect, given there are people here who still hate GM because of something they made 40 years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            mcs, I did not know the federal subsidy was going away. That may change everything. I wonder if you know when it is gone? I will consult google.

            JimZ, the Bolt is very small and looks like the result of a ladybug raping a jellybean. If the Leaf is a little bigger and less hideous, it may be a better choice for me. The Leaf battery issues have been addressed.

            I do not admire the quality of Nissan or GM vehicles or dealers in general. That is why I intend to lease. The only other choice in lower-cost all-electric 200+ mile range is Tesla. I strongly suspect the Tesla 3 is going to be significantly more money for similar range. If the tax subsidy really does go away, I believe the Model 3 is going to be in trouble. The 3 is supposed to be the affordable Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Actually, I should have said phase-out, but here’s a chart with estimates on the phase-out:

            http://insideevs.com/us-federal-7500-ev-credit-expiry-date-by-automaker-estimates/

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Much obliged mcs.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      SCE
      Does Tesla use gov funding to build the charging network?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @TrailerTrash: No.

        They realized early on that EV standards weren’t solidifying well, and that their cars would require a faster rate than anyone supported at the time. So Tesla has built their own network on their dime, worldwide.

        It’s very expensive to do this, however. When Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda developed hydrogen fuel cell cars, they sat on their hands waiting for local governments to underwrite the H2 filling station network – didn’t happen.

        So over the course of a few years, H2 filling stations have gone from 9 in the US to 35, with 32 of them in California. H2 stations are quite expensive to construct, and predictably without a private benefactor the network is stalled.

        At least Tesla is trying to make their own luck by building their own network, and so they can’t point at others and blame them for lack of a charging network.

    • 0 avatar
      Giskard

      The Supercharger network is Tesla’s main differentiator here and will help keep them at the top of the EV heap for some time, even if they’re a bit more expensive. I would be giving the Bolt a look if it had access to a widespread fast charging network, but alas it does not and GM is not lifting a finger to help in that regard (other than their dealer network is installing charging points that are typically available only during dealer hours).

    • 0 avatar

      Tesla’s network is better (better placed and faster) but CCS is moving quickly. Within 400 miles of my house (as far as I typically drive before flying) there are 128 CCS chargers and 60 Superchargers as an example. I know several near me are 50KW and there are several 80 and 100KW units around. The East coast is pretty well covered by now but the middle of the country is lacking.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    They are on pace to sell about 15,000 units in 2017, and have sufficient inventory to expand nationwide ahead of schedule. I expect this means that demand has been lighter than expected in the prime EV markets, so they are hoping to get rid of excess inventory through nationwide expansion. For a well-rated car that is not a good sign, and because they already lose money at full-price there isn’t any room for discounting to boost sales. Sub-$3 gasoline is death to EVs and hybrids in a market the loves pickups and SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @stingray65: “Sub-$3 gasoline is death to EVs and hybrids in a market the loves pickups and SUVs.”

      Cost savings isn’t the only thing that drives EV sales. In a world of turbo-4’s, complicated ICE technology, and complex transmissions, it’s nice to have something that moves a car quietly with lots of smooth power. However, I’ve got to agree with you that people do like and many need the capabilities of pickups, but EV technology just isn’t there yet.

      For those of us that can make EV technology work for us, these cars are really, really nice to drive. No stupid fuel sensors, check engine lights, hunting transmissions, ethanol, oxygen sensors, oil leaks, alternator failures, belts, or fuel composition sensors. Yeah, it might need a battery after 100,000, but I can deal with that one thing. Saving money? I personally don’t care. Just give me that instant pushback from those electrons.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        @mcs : +1 The benefits of commuting in an EV really go way beyond finances. The silence, smoothness, and effortless power all have their charm in an unexpected way. Sure, I love a v8 with a hot cam as much as the next guy, but silence and smooth on a daily commute are welcome.

        Those who bemoan the “payback time” and complain that “EVs might not be the cheapest option” aren’t paying attention. The financial upside is an ancillary benefit. There are countless articles about if any given EV “makes financial sense” – but does a Mustang? Or any SUV?

        We buy things we like, and EVs are a great tool for commuting. And gliding back and forth to work in an EV makes my weekend jaunts in the Mustang even more visceral and fun.

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          Electric cars were widely praised for being smoother, quieter, and easier to drive than gas or steam cars 115 years ago, and I know that most of the current ones have the same characteristics. All reviews of the Bolt have been positive and I am sure it is a nice car for commuting, but apparently there are relatively few people that want one – even with current subsidies.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @stingray65

            Otto Cycle engines are 150+ year-old technology. Modern EVs are based on technology from the 80’s. Calling EVs 115- year-old technology is like saying some homes are heated with 2 million-year-old technology because a flame is involved.

            Part of the reason the Bolt isn’t selling well is probably due to the fact that it was only sold in a few states. What do you expect? I understand that EVs aren’t for everyone and like anything new, it’s going to take time for people to discover them.

            Why wouldn’t the Bolt be good for longer distance trips? It has 200+ mile range? What’s the problem? So, you have to stop for 45 minutes or whatever every 2 hours or so. It’s not that big a deal if you’re not doing it on a daily basis. I haven’t driven in a car in one day much more than 150 miles for the last decade. I guess if you like wearing astronaut diapers and are driving six hours straight every day, then maybe EVs aren’t for you.

            If people want to rattle around in clunky turbo 4 cylinder turbo cars that will get less reliable as they get more complex over time I really don’t care. I’m moving on.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        If I was a mostly urban dweller and the gov insisted on helping me with the $7k , this would be a great second car to zip around in

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Anyone know how the vehicle handles in cold weather esp. during the wintertime with freezing temps and lots of snow?

    In northern New England, there’s hardly any charging stations and, worse for renters, can’t install a charging unit in a rental dwelling.

    The range is acceptable but finding a charging station will be difficult.

    Also, the price is still relatively high when a hybrid does more in a similiar price range. Once the federal (and possible state) tax rebates goes away, the EV vehicles may not sell (as much). So far, the value of used EV vehicles have Not held up. But guess it’s good to buy a used EV vehicle like the Nissan Leaf but don’t expect much from it.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’m also interested to see EV winter performance . Not a lot of heavy winter snow in my part of Southern Ontario. We do experience bitter winter cold..Ice storms are common. For my driving requirements an EV would work quite well for me.

    I’m going to play wait and see…The Ontario government has lowered Hydro rates, as a tool to win the next election. Its just a matter of time until rates sky rocket again…I’ll give it a couple of years,and see what plays out.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      EVs are very popular in Norway where there is lots of snow and cold weather. Range is greatly reduced by cold weather, and you might therefore find the EV reviews on Youtube by Bjorn Nyland to be interesting as he drives from Trondheim to Oslo (about 300 miles) during the winter in a BMW i3 (high capacity battery version) and has to stop many times to recharge.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Does this mean that Chevy will (or has) stopped selling the Volt? I thought about the Volt but my Chevy salesman couldn’t tell me how far I could go until the car wouldn’t go any more. Is the Bolt a better value than a Prius? Some Toyota fans will get all excite about Toyota quality. I live in the western D.C. suburbs and a trip to a Chevy OR a Toyota dealer leaves me wanting to take a shower.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      What I know about the Volt is that it is still on sale and it has a very good reputation for quality. It is a plug in hybrid, not a pure electric. It has a big battery, so it is intended as an electric car with a range-extending engine on board. Some people with a short commute or who can plug in at work go months without putting gas in it. It is not better or worse than the Prius, in my opinion. The biggest difference is sedan vs. hatch. The reliability of the Prius is stellar.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The Volt is best-suited for people who have short commutes, and don’t want to swap vehicles for longer trips. If you drive more than 50 miles a day, you’re better off with a regular hybrid, diesel, or full EV (depending on what your daily mileage actually is).

      • 0 avatar
        gomez

        Yes and no. I commute 150 miles on weekdays. The Volt would cover about a third of my commute under electric power and would save me roughly 25 gal of gas per month. While a normal hybrid or diesel would save a little more fuel, the Volt would allow me to do 100% of my weekend driving under electric power. On the other hand, I would be fully depleting and recharging the battery almost daily, which might affect the battery life of the Volt.

        An EV like the Bolt would be perfect for me, but I’m concerned with how much the range will drop in the winter. There are many winter days in MN spent below 20F and sometimes we get a week of subzero temps. It would also be parked outside in the cold for extended periods of time. Several of the Goodwill stores in Minneapolis offer DCFC but that is not something I would want to use daily.


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