Tesla isn’t the only automaker that sold a surprising number of EVs in the first quarter. Chevrolet sold 5,873 Bolt EVs in Q1 2020, an increase of 36.1% compared to a year ago. The Bolt may just be the second most popular EV in the US at the moment, behind only the Tesla Model 3 (it’s hard to say for sure, as Tesla doesn’t break out sales figures by models or markets).
True, GM had to resort to some heavy discounting to move this many Bolts (the EV has seen declining sales for the last two years). Dealers were offering discounts of up to $10,000 off MSRP, and leases starting at $199 a month. (Check your local dealer—some great deals may still be out there.)
Discounts or no, the Bolt defied a trend of declining auto sales across all GM’s brands in Q1: Chevrolet shed 3.8%; GMC gave up 5%; Cadillac cratered by 16%; and Buick blew it to the tune of a 35% drop.
There are headwinds in store for the Bolt—GM’s EV sales have passed the 200,000-unit mark that causes the federal tax incentive to sunset. In Q1, Bolt buyers could still claim a $1,875 tax credit, but after April 1, the credit is history.
“General Motors believes an important part of reaching a zero-emissions future and establishing the US as the leader in electrification is to continue to provide a federal tax credit to help make electric vehicles more affordable for all customers,” GM spokesperson Megan Soule told Electrek. “We feel that the tax credit should be modified, so all customers continue to receive the full benefit.”
Under the current US administration, that’s unlikely, to say the least. If GM really wants to establish the US as the leader in electrification, maybe it should stop supporting the Trump administration’s attacks on federal and state emissions standards—but that’s a subject for another article.
Unfortunately, the launch of an updated version of Bolt, which was supposed to take place this year, has been postponed due to the global health crisis. The improvements will now have to wait until 2021, when the 2022 model-year Bolt is revealed.