Whatever Happened To The Chevy Bolt?

Remember the Chevy Bolt? Last year, hype was building for what some were hailing as a potential “Tesla Killer,” that would usher a new age of practicality and availability for consumers looking to snag an electric vehicle on the cheap. Where are all the Bolts at, though? It’s rare to see one out “in the wild,” let alone a single advertisement promoting Chevy’s ambitious new vehicle. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Chevy has only managed to sell 6,529 Bolts since they started rolling them out last December (even fewer than the much pricier Corvette, the article also notes). Does this mean the Bolt is DOA?

The EV was all set to provide motorists with an under $40,000 option coupled with a hefty 238-mile range. Chevy went to great lengths to make sure the Bolt would hit the market well before Tesla could start pumping out Model 3s, helping them hone in on price-conscious consumers while competition was still sparse. Based on early impressions of the vehicle (almost all positive) and Chevy’s aggressive production push, the strategy seemed primed for success.

Now, months after its release, the Bolt has earned its fair share of praise. Most reviewers agree that it’s a fantastic car, with some even going so far as to say (in a nutshell) that the vehicle’s overwhelming quality converted them into true believers. There’s little question that the Bolt is capable, but those seemingly low sales figures are enough to raise a few eyebrows. The Bolt’s position appears even more precarious when you consider the fact that Tesla is gearing up to release the Model 3 this year, and the Bolt lacks the PR push and loyal following Tesla has managed to garner over the years. The government’s aims at rescinding the federal tax credit for EVs further complicate the issue, as such a move might dampen the incentive to purchase electric vehicles across the board.

Chevy remains hopeful, though. According to Chevrolet spokesman Jim Cain, the rollout is currently “right on plan,” as they continue to make the Bolt available in more states nationwide. As Green Car Reports notes, May was the highest sales month for the Bolt yet with 1,566 units moved, and they’ve still got plenty of states to get to until they hit their mark of having the car available across the country come September. Perhaps with increased availability (and some better marketing) the Bolt will reach the level of popularity they seemed poised to capture from the beginning.