General Motors posted impressive third-quarter sales numbers yesterday for the battery-powered Chevy Bolt EV and the slightly larger Bolt EUV.
Both models sold a combined 14,709 units, a record for quarterly sales. GM says demand has “outstripped supply,” so it has raised production forecasts for 2023 by 60% compared to 2022.
In response to high Bolts sales numbers and growing demand, GM shifted production priorities. The company will halt production of the GMC Hummer EV pickup for a few weeks in November to prioritize filling orders for the Silverado EV, which arrives next year. GM says it already has 170,000 reservations for the electric pickup — “and counting.”
Chevy Bolts are among the most affordable EVs on the market with a respectable range—259 miles for the Bolt EV and 247 miles for the Bolt EUV (short for “electric utility vehicle”). Prices for both models have also come down steadily over the past few years, making them increasingly affordable.
The Bolt EV was $37,495 in 2021, $31,995 in 2022 and will be $25,600 in 2023 (starting price). The Bolt EUV launched in 2022 with a price tag of $33,500, and the 2023 model starts at $27,200.
Chevy is also enticing buyers by offering free level two home charger installation. “Most EV drivers do at least 80% of their charging at home, and nearly two-thirds of Bolt EV and Bolt EUV retail customers choose Chevrolet’s home charging option,” GM says.(Opens in a new window).
Car charging in garage. (Credit: Chevrolet)
Although Chevy plans to ramp up production next year, the Bolts will soon start to show their age since they’re not built on the new Ultium battery platform(Opens in a new window) found on the Silverado EV and the upcoming 2023 Chevy Equinox EV (fall) and Blazer EV (summer). Yesterday’s announcement confirmed that these launches are all on schedule.
The Ultium platform is designed as a series of smaller batteries that can be easily rearranged and upgraded incrementally. The Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, also from GM, use the Ultium platform. The Bolts, however, have a large battery pack like most early EVs.
The version of the Ultium battery platform used in the Hummer EV. (Credit: PCMag/Emily Dreibelbis)
GM plans to produce Ultium batteries at four plants in the U.S., a move likely intended to ensure GM’s electric vehicles qualify for the new $7,500 EV tax credit, which requires qualifying vehicles to have a certain percentage of mineral battery supply and battery production in North America.
GM has confirmed that it has opened its first plant to produce Ultium Cells in Warren, Ohio, which “will help increase production of the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq in 2023.” Two more plants will open in 2024, one in Tennessee and one in Michigan. The location and timing for the fourth plant (out of four) has yet to be announced.
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2023 Cadillac Lyriq (System: Cadillac)
When it comes to mineral sourcing, arguably the toughest battery-related requirement automakers must meet in order to qualify their 2023 vehicles for the credit, GM says it has “binding agreements that secure all necessary raw material of batteries to support the annual North American EV capacity target in 2025, including the supply of lithium, nickel, cobalt and full-cathode active material.”
That’s a good sign for those hoping GM’s full lineup of electrics will qualify for the federal tax credit next year. The brand has yet to confirm, but should do so by the 2022 deadline.
GM CEO Mary Barra plans to transition all of its car brands to fully electric by 2035, but in the meantime, the company will continue to invest in gas-powered, revenue-generating SUVs.
Yesterday’s sales release claims GM was number one in full-size SUVs, full-size pickups and large luxury SUVs in the country in the third quarter. The Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, plus the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, made up nearly 70% of the full-size SUV market in the third quarter. The Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV made up nearly 31% of the luxury SUV market, GM claims.
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