Chevy Bolt image by John Goreham
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Chevy Bolt Deliveries Nearly Double In Q1 - Surpass Toyota Prius Hybrid

The Chevy Bolt battery-electric vehicle had a great Q1. Its sales are way up, and it is now overtaking some legends in the green car space.
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Chevy's Bolt battery-electric vehicle (BEV) deliveries jumped 54% this past first quarter of 2021 by comparison to the first quarter of 2020. Be sure to factor in the unusual period that encompasses, but let's give credit where it is due. Chevy has been building Bolts, the dealers in EV-target states are motivated, and both are discounting the Bolt heavily to spur sales.

Image courtesy of GM

2021 Q1 General Motors EV Sales
The Chevy Bolt is GM's only battery-electric vehicle on sale in America. Odd for a company that told the world its all-electric future was now back in 2019. This one car is carrying the banner for a company that wants to emphasize it is now all about EVs while still introducing "new" V8 gas models with stick shifts. No easy task. Setting aside the irony, GM managed to deliver 9,025 Bolts in Q1. Up from 5,873 in Q1 of 2020. As you may know, GM no longer provides monthly delivery breakdowns but does so quarterly instead.

Image courtesy of GM

Bolt discounts range widely by the local market, but in New England, new Bolt LTs sell for under $20K. GM offers "Instant Cash Back" of $8,500 to many shoppers before they even contact a dealer. These discounts have proven helpful. A new Bolt lease is the closest thing to a free car in America. In Massachusetts, for example, one can lease a Bolt for just $125 per month. The downpayment is the same $2,500 as the state rebate, so there is no actual need to put money down. Imagine driving a new vehicle with virtually no maintenance costs and the lowest cost for energy possible for just $4 per day.

Bolt vs. Green Car Peers
Let's compare the Bolt to the planet's most successful green vehicle, the Toyota Prius Hybrid. In Q1, Toyota delivered just 7,051 Prius hybrids. Somehow, the Prius managed to be down in sales this quarter vs. 2020. The Bolt easily out-delivered the classic Prius. Toyota also delivered 6,999 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, so the Bolt has not outsold the entire Prius family. Yet. However, that is the direction deliveries have been trending. With a new Bolt about to appear on dealer lots, we expect the vehicle to sell even better. And the all-new Bolt EUV joins the party. Will Q2 be the quarter in which the Bolt family overtakes the Prius family?

While we have compared the Bolt to the mainstay vehicle in the green car space its size, let's not confuse this story with one that cast these two cars as enemies. The goal is more green vehicles in more driveways. The Bolt is still doing well after many years without a meaningful update. Imagine the success the Chevy Bolt might be capable of if GM were to do a full generational update?

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin


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