Bad news for those consumers saving up for the much anticipated Chevy Bolt. General Motors has recently announced that the Bolt won’t hit all the major dealerships until spring of 2017. It will still be released but only on a limited basis. The General Motors Chevy Bolt has attracted a fair amount of attention as only the second car that is an affordable long-range electric car next to Tesla’s Model S. It will cost $37,500 before federal tax credits and can drive 238 miles on a single charge. It has already won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, being the second electric car to do so, again after Tesla. While the Chevy Bolt was initially announced to hit car dealerships by the end of 2016 ahead of Tesla’s Model S, but news reports on Thursday from General Motors stated that the electric car will only be available initially in California and Oregon for that stated deadline. Also, it was further reported that starting in the spring of 2017, the Chevy Bolt will only be available in limited quantities and deliveries will follow a “slow flow” pace.
General Motors has yet to comment on this sudden shift in its marketing strategy. The Bolt has been highly touted to have a significant advantage in the electric vehicle market by hitting dealerships supposedly way ahead of Tesla’s also affordable electric vehicle. Tesla is slating its first deliveries by the end of 2017. People wondering why the dealerships in California and Oregon are receiving first dibs will well recall that these two states are part of nine states that have adopted the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate that requires a certain percentage of car manufacturer’s sales to come from zero-emission vehicle or risk being fined. Perhaps this is the main reason why GM Chevy is targeting these two markets first.
In spite of this slight marketing deviation, the folks at Tesla – the supposedly electric vehicle masters of the universe – have been put on notice because the Bolt sets a benchmark for value and performance they’ll have to work overtime to match. This is a direct challenge for Tesla to make the Model 3 anything near the Bolt EV for the same price. Chevrolet has made affordable long-range electric transportation available to the masses. Elon Musk should be afraid. The Bolt can go 238 miles on a single charge in contrast to Tesla’s 220 miles. And in terms of price, Elon Musk must be very, very afraid. It is, simply, a world-class small car, and that’s before you factor in the benefits inherent in the smoothness, silence, and instant-on torque provided by the electric motor. The ride is firm and sporty, but transmitted road noise is very well damped. The steering has slightly artificial weighting, but brake feel is natural, and once you learn to use the higher regenerative braking modes, you can pretty much drive all the time without touching the friction brakes at all.