Reports of orders being placed for the world’s first all-electric car with well over 200 miles range and for under $30,000 after federal subsidy have begun.
Although Chevrolet is not beating the band about it, and it’s unclear if the Orion Township, Mich. assembly line has even started producing the Bolt EVs, customers say they’ve successfully placed orders – not just reserved places in line.
Prior reports were that dealers were allowing customers to sign on to a wish list, as the dealers have received notification that allocations are coming.
Larger dealers like Capitol Chevrolet in San Jose, Northern Calif., reportedly have as many as 110 Bolts coming on the first wave – a sizable number, and counting other dealers, at least 449 Bolts have been allocated to the San Francisco Bay Area.
It appears dealers have been notified on different days, and they are updating their websites as able. Oddly, an Oklahoma dealer was one of the earliest to list the Bolt online, but this is not even a state that will get the first Bolts.
Further, not all Chevy dealers will be stocking the Bolt even when things are fully up and running, as it’s part of an opt-in program requiring special tools and training.
It’s not clear how many dealers will ultimately stock the Bolt, and at this stage, such a question is merely academic.
According to Rick Alpern, the general manager of Keyes Chevrolet in Van Nuys, Southern Calif. which is getting 78, and has sold many already, his General Motors rep said only Oregon and California will get the initial allocation.
Plans for the Bolt EV are to make it for sale in all 50 states. Characteristic of GM, it is doing a staged roll-out, and it’s unclear what the timing is for first deliveries, or what the next states will be that get allocations.
Conjecture over whether the assembly line has even started so as to fulfill this first wave of orders has been mixed. Chevrolet has not announced one way or another.
The automaker has conservatively said it will have the car for sale by year’s end, and presumably first deliveries could be that soon, while hints of November deliveries have been made by some as well.
Chevrolet’s Bolt EV is a compact crossover. Its EPA-rated 238 miles range, consists of 217 miles highway, 255 miles city. The EPA pegs it with a respectable 119 MPGe, higher than the 2016 Nissan Leaf which has 107 miles range.
Space utilization is good for the Bolt with battery in floor. It is built on its own dedicated platform, and is not based on the Chevy Sonic, as some have insinuated based on a perceived likeness. It was designed secretly in a GM design studio in Australia with an eye to beat Tesla’s planned Model E – now known as Model 3 – to market.
Critics have panned it for a lower-than-Tesla DC fast charge rate of just 50 kW nominally. For now, the automaker will only give it charging rate estimates based on the limited capability of the existing 50 kW (125A) chargers installed today. GM will not say if the Bolt EV can charge faster on future higher power chargers that will be installed beginning in the next couple of years. It also has made no indications of supporting a charging network, while charging $750 for DC fast charging capability.
Further, it also lacks adaptive cruise control, and there’s been some question about the readiness of the navigation system.
This said, the $37,495-and-up EV (before incentives) is a huge leap upward by most measures, and is the first of a new generation of EVs in this price-for-performance class. Next to come may be the Tesla Model 3, or the second-generation Nissan Leaf.
Beyond that, automakers including Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, possibly Ford, and others are at work on competitors, but it is the Bolt that is for sale today.
Hat tip to Jeff Nisewanger.