With Chevrolet preparing for perhaps one of its most important launches ever, the competition between the bow tie brand’s Bolt EV and Tesla’s Model 3 sedan is heating up. This was perhaps most noticeable during the Model 3’s highly anticipated unveiling in March which saw the Silicon Valley based car company garner hundreds of thousands of deposits during the first day. So how important will an edge in this heated battle be for Chevrolet?
Critically important, according to Kelly Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer who predicts that Chevrolet will sell between 30,000 and 80,000 Bolts during its first year on the market. These are ambitious figures for a pure electric vehicle, and the 30,000 unit low end that was forecasted by Brauer is nearly double the low end of other EV offerings currently on the market. The Bolt would also have an advantage in getting out to customers with the model expected to be released in late 2016 before being available nationwide in 2017. The Model 3 in contrast is slated to arrive in late 2017 with the vast majority of early adopters possibly not getting their hands on the car until 2018 and beyond. This late release would give the Bolt an early lead, and also prove to be enticing to fleet managers that want first dibs on a new vehicle for their commercial fleets.
In addition the Bolt could potentially be crowned the king of the EV’s and help score an impressive victory for Detroit while also dealing Tesla a key blow to both its image and prestige among EV buyers. In addition to this image boost, GM can benefit from the improved average fuel economy that the Bolt would provide. This improved figure would allow the firm to sell more of its profitable pickup trucks and SUVs.
It would be interesting to see what happens if Bolt sales lean towards the higher end of this spectrum especially in regards to the fierce competition between the Bolt and the Model 3. More importantly the battle could turn into a three way affair when Ford’s 200 mile range EV gets involved in the festivities in its own attempt to shake up the EV sales race in Ford’s favor.