EV Predictions - 2017 will be the year of the Chevy Bolt.
John Goreham's picture

Electric Vehicle U.S. Market Predictions for 2017 - Tesla Model 3 a No-Show?

2017 will be the year of the Chevy Bolt. How the Bolt sells will decide the future of EVs in America.

Electric vehicles in America are the most talked about non-selling cars of any type. The affordable sales leaders sell at volumes so low that they would be canceled as models were they not mandated by California and the states that follow California in all things environmental. With battery electric vehicles still nowhere close to 1% of new car sales, the Chevy Bolt arrives on the scene in 2017 to prove or disprove what we think we know about why fully-electric EVs don't sell. Unlike Tesla's Model 3, the Bolt is really here and sales have already started.

Tesla's other models, the Model S and Model X, will continue to sell at roughly the same volume they do now. Tesla's "problem", whether by design or by accident, is that it does not (cannot) build vehicles in volume and that won't change for the S and X in 2017. Yes, the X will creep up slightly over the less than 1200 units per month it averaged 2016, but don't expect Tesla to sell 30K of each model in 2017. Thus far, Tesla has either had a good Model S month or a good Model X month of sales in the U.S. with rare exceptions. We (I) will go on the record now and predict that the Model 3 will be late, just like every other Tesla product. The company will roll our a handful of pre-production units in the late part of 2017 so that its fans can be happy it "Made its deadline" and then the wait will continue into 2018 for production models in any real volume. Tesla does not want to sell too many Model S and Model X vehicles before the Model 3 arrives. The secret reason is explained in our prior story about Federal Tax rebates and the Model 3.

Ford will continue to see decent sales of its Fusion Energi PHEV, but that model is growing stale. Add to that list pretty much every other plug-in hybrid except one. The Toyota Prius Prime will rise to third among all electrified vehicles in sales during part of 2017.

As for the Bolt, here is this writer's prediction by quarter:
Q1 - A slow roll out of about 1,500 units per month.
Q2 - Ramps to about 3,000 units per month.
Q3 - Bolt hits its stride and sales top 4,000 per month, then slow.
Q4 - Chevy discounts Bolts heavily and the "Deliveries" to dealers rise to over 4,500 units per month on average. Total 2017 Bolt sales = 38,241 units in 2017.The side effect of the Bolt is that the Leaf, Kia Soul EV, Focus Electric, BMW i3, Fiat 500e, e-Golf and other low-volume EVs will be basically given away by their automakers. The Bolt will have a slight net positive effect on battery electric sales in 2017, but its side effect is that EVs with a range of around 110 miles will no longer make any sense at all for most buyers.

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None of the claims here appear to based in fact :( Was hoping for something more substantial.
Tesla Model S will continue rank number in Full Size Luxury Sedan Sales. Tesla Model X will outsell Porsche Cayenne( that has a base starting price $24k lower) and the Cadillac Escalade. Model 3 will have at least 10k units delivered.
Bold prediction on the Model X sales, but you could well be correct. Through November the Escalade has outsold the X by about 40% (20K sold vs about 14K sold) and if the Escalade ESV is included Escalade has outsold the X by almost three to one this year. So far this year it is a tie between the Cayenne and the X. What makes the story interesting is that Tesla is sitting on customer orders for its X. It just has not been able to fill them. The only question is, in 2017 can Tesla finally begin to meet demand, or will the excuses continue another year.
Thanks for the support. You and I have the same exact Tesla sales prediction. No argument that Tesla will continue to be the largest seller of large luxury performance sedans (perhaps the smallest of all mainstream automotive segments). You predict 10,000 Model 3 units. My prediction was "a handful." For a vehicle projected by its maker to sell in volumes approaching 400K units per year, 10K is about one week's production volume.
It should be noted that Tesla recently acquired a company that specializes in automating industrial processes.
Frankly, I don't you have the faintest idea what you are talking about but lets eait and see.
What a ridiculous article, so devoid of credible information, it's almost like he a payed shill for the fossil fuel industry. Some facts... Tesla is on track in 2016 to sell at least 80,000 Vehicles S&X, with many European countries and cities aiming aiming for Zero emission vehicles only, those sales figures are unlikely to go down. As for Model ≡, the supplier deadline is mid 2017, any supplier failing to meet that goal will be cut and suppliers are scrambling to take a piece of that Tesla pie. I go on the record for a prediction; Full production will commence before the end of the year. (At least 30,000 on the road)
Tesla has sold about 38,000 total new vehicles through November in the U.S., which is the market the article discusses predictions for. Your prediction is noted.
Your information appears to be bad. Tesla produced/sold/delivered 14820 vehicles in Q1 of 2016; a further 14370 in Q2 of 2016; and another 24500 in Q3 of 2016 -- for a total of 53690 vehicles through the end of September. Q4 numbers don't appear to have been released yet, but you are off by 15690 -- more than 40%, and that neglects the October and November numbers which just makes your position worse. Please check your sources, they have led you into what appears to be an mistaken position.
J. L. Brown, are you confusing total Tesla production with U.S. sales - which is what the story is about?
I would like the source for your US sales figures claim. Tesla has produced/sold/delivered 53690 vehicles in the first three quarters of 2016; Q4 figures are due soon. How do you derive monthly figures?
When I need one, my source is Inside EVs for inter-quarter Tesla U.S. sales numbers. When you go to the site, there is a Monthly Sales Figures page that is the best in the business. For Tesla, who hides their monthly sales until they can't do it any longer due to federal law, the site has an explanation on how they calculate the sales for each Tesla model prior to the quarterly SEC filings. Tesla is the only automaker operating in the U.S. that hides its monthly U.S. sales from investors, the public, and its fans. Oh, and the media. Every other automaker reports U.S. sales on the first or second day of the month. I normally post a link to Inside EVs, but this story didn't require that I do that. I only mention Tesla's average U.S. monthly sales, which are widely reported shortly after the SEC reports are submitted.
My apologies for the multi-posts; there is apparently a bigger delay than I expected between submitting a post and seeing show up. My bad.
No worries J.L. we appreciate the great comments. One of our staff has to review them all, and sometimes we get a little behind. Thanks for being patient!
Heres the bottom line I can drive 20 to 22 miles with my three electric and electric plug in vehicles thats 40 cents to go that many miles on electric from electric company. With gas its $2.42 a gallon The electric car has 18 moving parts, gas has over 2000 moving parts.The average cost for gas cars is $30,000 to $33,000 So electric, our plugin electric hybrids are that price or less.I will never have a just gas vehicle their is no way after having electric and plugin electric hybrids they are 100% better then gas vehicles. People need to buy our rent them, our buy used ones.I have had no batterys give any trouble, all charge up the same amount as they did when vehicles were new. People need to wake up the future will be electric, the cost keeps coming down, when electric starts to cost less then to make gas cars, you can kiss gas cars goodbye
These are all well reasoned arguments for why EVs should be more popular Bob. We'd love to know your predictions for 2017. Particularly for the Bolt and Model 3 sales.
One prediction I have for 2017 Chevy Bolt sales: They will not exceed the production capacity of the assembly line GM has assigned to the Bolt. That line is capable of no more than 30,000 units per year. The Bolt -- which by all accounts is a well executed BEV -- will sell in significant numbers only in the ten CARB states, predominantly California. It will not not dominate the national market, nor determine the fate of nor national attitude toward BEVs. This will be a result of deliberate GM choices, who intends the Bolt purely as a 'compliance' car.
You do make an excellent point. If you are correct, and the max is 30K then my estimation is too high. I've been trying to nail down a source on how many cars the line the Bolt and Sonic share at Orion can produce. If you have a link I could really use it. Here is the best I have come up with so far (Sorry you have to cut and paste) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gm-bolt-idUSKBN1300PM
My prediction for 2017 BEV sales: The Bolt will be treated as a 'compliance car' by GM, only sold in significant numbers in the ten CARB states. Total sales of the Bolt will not exceed the production of the assigned Bolt assembly line -- which has a total capacity of 30,000 units. The Bolt will in no way determine the fate of BEVs as a whole in the national market, nor determine how BEVs are perceived or received in the national market. The Model 3 will start deliveries in August, with serious production ramp only in Q4. Expect about a 10k units per week average, with those numbers climbing slowly throughout 2018. Tesla will try to manage their production to game the $7500 tax credit in such a way that all US pre-order holders will get the credit.
I think 2017 will be the turning point for electric cars with bolt and Model 3 with over 200 miles to charge this will get the problem with distants of charge. But the gov needs to get charging stations going all over the place at shopping centers places to eat.when that happens electric vehicles will take off.Chevey needs to wake up. the Bolt is for all the USA.Not just the west coast of USA.Hope they sale the 3 all of the USA not just the west coast, Their are other people in the USA. That want electric vehicles
Well said Robert. I was in a meeting in May of 2015 with an executive from GM who was handling the Bolt and new gen-2 Volt launch. She promised that GM would sell its EVs in every U.S. market, not just the states that follow California's mandates. That promise was almost immediately broken. Chevy is back to saying the Bolt will be widely available outside of just the coastal states. We shall soon see.
Thanks again to everyone who opted to state their predictions. My follow up story is now complete and can be found at: https://www.torquenews.com/1083/follow-our-electric-vehicle-sales-predictions-2017-howd-we-do Cheers