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2017 Chevy Bolt Cannot Match Sales Pace of Toyota Prius Plug-in

The long-awaited all-electric Chevy Bolt cannot maintain a sales level even close to the Toyota Prius Prime.

Four months into 2017 and about six months after its initial sales launch the 2017 Chevrolet Volt battery-electric car is shaping up to be yet another failed EV. U.S. sales of the all-new Bolt, the first affordable all-electric EV with a range above 200 miles, remain low. Just like every other battery-electric vehicle (BEV).

Bolt vs. Prime Sales Figures
The new Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is selling much better. In April, Chevy sold 1,292 Bolt BEVs. Toyota sold 1,819 Prius Prime PHEVs. The same sales pattern holds for the year to date sales of both. The Chevy Bolt has found 4,384 buyers and the Prius Prime has found 6,165. Neither Toyota or General Motors made any special mention of these electric vehicles in their monthly sales reports, aside from stating their sales figures.

Bolt Underperforming?
Heading into the 2017 model year, the Chevy Bolt won most of the important car awards granted by journalists and publications. Bolt was voted North American Car of the Year, one of the most coveted automotive awards. Respected writers and organizations like Ezra Dyer at Popular Mechanics put it on their best of 2017 list. But it still does not sell.

Bolt vs. Tesla Model 3

Torque News has covered the Bolt extensively and our Mary Conway saw it as a potential Tesla Model 3 beater. So far it is beating the Tesla since the Tesla is nowhere to be found. The real question for any new battery electric vehicle is can it even beat the other variations of affordable EVs already putting up bigger sales figures.

Image courtesy of reader Jesse Rudavsky.


John Goreham    May 2, 2017 - 12:47PM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

An excellent point, Mike. GM has opted not to sell the Bolt in all markets. Bolt sales started in just Oregon and California last year. Then, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Maryland were added. And sales went down (not up when more states were added). GM says it will sell the Bolt in all states in September as a model year 2018 car. Perhaps GM knows where the bulk of sales are likely to be and limited the rollout to those targeted locations. Perhaps the Bolt has limits on its production like many battery-electrics. Whatever the reason(s), the Bolt is now just one more in a long line of battery electric vehicles that are not selling in numbers that are meaningful. PS - Prius Prime outsold both Tesla models in April too. And the Leaf. And the Volt... More to come.

Robin (not verified)    May 2, 2017 - 3:16PM

Prius Prime is a PHEV, so the better comparison is against the Volt, which sold 1,807 in April. So neck-and-neck with the Prime. Since Toyota doesn't have a BEV, if you add up Volt and Bolt, GM is already selling more electric vehicles than Toyota, and as pointed out the Bolt isn't even available nation-wide until September.

I am a Bolt owner, and it is phenomenal. As with all BEVs the issue is the charging network. But Electrify America will start improving this soon.

Robin Grindley (not verified)    May 3, 2017 - 12:19PM

In reply to by Thong V Nguyen (not verified)

Both Prius Prime and Volt are officially designated as PHEV, commonly referred to as "hybrid". A PHEV is any vehicle can use a battery for motive power and the battery is at least 4 kWh. Prius Prime battery is 8.8 kWh. Volt is 18.4 kWh.

John Goreham    May 3, 2017 - 11:12AM

In reply to by Robin (not verified)

Robin, thank you for your comments, which are spot on. The Bolt is a very exciting new vehicle we and our readers would like to learn more about it from the point of view of an owner. If you'd like to share your experience with us please reach out via the "contact" tab at the bottom of the home page. Thanks again.