General Motors will sell more than 30,000 Chevrolet Bolts next year after its launch late in 2016.

So says the vice president of the Bolt’s battery supplier, LG Chem, and LG Electronics was also instrumental in building several components GM’s 238-mile electric car.

Vice President Kang Chang-beom made the Bolt sales projection during a conference call on the company’s third-quarter earnings.

That would put the all-electric Bolt in direct competition with the Tesla Model S about a year before the Tesla Model 3 will be released. According to HybridCar’s Dashboard report, the Model S led U.S. plug-in sales last year with 25,202 units sold and the most EVs sold in one year was just over 30,000 in 2014 by the Nissan Leaf.

So far this year, the Model S continues to lead U.S. sales at 21,400 sold through the end of September. With about 4,100 units sold in September, it could easily bump past the 30,000 mark by the end of this year.

SEE ALSO:  ‘Not a compliance car,’ GM says 2017 Chevy Bolt can meet demand of over 50,000 per year

Competition could be even more fierce with the Tesla Model 3. The Chevy Bolt has been starting at $37,495 including shipping, prior to federal tax incentives and state rebates. The Tesla Model 3 is projected by Tesla to be available for a base price of $35,000 and an expected average selling price with upgrade packages around $42,000. While it’s a year away, the miles per charge for the base model is expected to be at least 215.

Production volume may also be at a different level. Tesla predicts it will be ready to manufacture 500,000 Tesla models – the bulk of them Model 3 – at its Fremont, Calif.-plant in 2018.

Earlier this year, General Motors said that the 2017 Chevy Bolt would not be production limited and is “not a compliance car.” The automaker said it will be able to meet demand of over 50,000 Bolts a year.

The matchup between the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3 will be closely watched. Tesla may be able to scale up production to a record level for electric cars, but will consumers buy enough of them for a decent return on investment?

General Motors is taking a more conservative approach. For now.

Automotive News