Chevy Volt Crosses 100,000 Sales Milestone

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

More than 100,000 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrids have now been sold to date, following the passing of the new milestone in October, according to recent reports.

The new milestone was actually achieved only just 2 months before the model’s 5-year anniversary. Of course, the newest Volts that are on sale now (the 2016 model years) are actually quite a bit different than the earlier models — following an extensive redesign. While the 2016 model year is not going to see a full nationwide rollout, the 2017 model year is set to be released nationwide next year, and GM has stated it will be rolling the cars out to all markets essentially as fast as it can.


As far as the sales to date, unsurprisingly, the vast majority were in the US — with a fair number in Canada as well. Relatively sparse sales in the European and Australian markets made up the difference.

Here are the specifics coming to us via the site (which is not owned or sponsored by GM):

Counting more than 9,900 rebadged and re-trimmed “Ampera” variants sold under Opel/Vauxhall nameplates in Europe, the tally is actually close to 102,000 following October sales. In this count are 84,656 Chevy Volts delivered in the US and 5,023 in Canada through October, plus through September are counted with help by sales tracker Mario R Duran around 1,750 European market Chevy Volts and 245 Holden Volts in Australia.

Among top European countries which absorbed the car, the Netherlands accounted for 52% of sales, or 4,976 Amperas and 1,065 Volts. Germany bought 1,539 Amperas and 73 Volts, and the UK took 1,250 Amperas and 124 Volts through June. The best two US sales years for the Volt at 23,000-and-change each were 2012 and 2013.

With the upcoming nationwide release of the 2017 model year of the popular plug-in hybrid, presumably, sales will see a large uptick. Many potential buyers have no doubt been holding off on a purchase until the revamp was complete.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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21 thoughts on “Chevy Volt Crosses 100,000 Sales Milestone

  • If it hits 25,000 US sales per year (exceeding it’s previous best ever) that gives it 4.7 years to hit the 200,000 tax rebate limit in the US. Probably more realistically it will take 5-6 years to hit that rebate limit. There is a gradual decrease in rebates for the year after that so add an extra year. We can reasonably expect that in that time frame GM can reduce the list price by at least the $7500 rebate amount to about $25,000 to keep sales going.

    If they can do that then they have a truly competitive vehicle price and we can expect small utility vehicles and light trucks to come into the mix. Then we are truly on the way to seriously cutting the use of oil (by 65% based on current Volt fuel usage).

    I know the Model 3 will be out by then but I think it will be like Leaf vs Volt. Some people are just not going to feel comfortable without the ICE backup and a gas station on every corner. Arguing with people on what they feel comfortable with does not work.

    • It would realistically be 3 years or less. The Spark EV counts towards the tax credit plus the hot selling Chevy Bolt that would be in customer’s hands 3 years ahead of the Model 3. The model 3 won’t get a penny of a rebate or credit as Model S and X would have sucked away everything before the end of next year.

      The next Generation Chevy Volt would be a hot seller. It is now supply constrained.

      • Is that Volt supply constrained? That would be great news.

        • Yes for the 2016 Model. It has been discussed in the GM-Volt forum

        • There were substantial rebates on the 2015 Volt. I suspect many people have been waiting for the ’16.

      • The Spark EV sold about 2,500 cars *total* in the first two years of sales – 2013 + 2014. Not worth noting.

        “Hot selling Bolt” You know this for a fact? Can you also tell us who wins the 2017 National League Pennant? Anyway, you are right – I forgot about the Bolt. Thanks for the comment. Assume the Bolt sells as well as the Volt, then as you say, we are looking at 3-3.5 years to max out tax incentives, assuming they aren’t extended.

        Most new models are supply-constrained the first few months – all the months of marketing build up for the new model and tapering sales for the older model causes a huge surge initially. This is followed by a gradual decline, year after year, until the next model comes out. It would be nice to see the new Volt defy this norm and sell more every year as it’s market range is extended and more people get word-of-mouth but it would be unusual.

        • Has GM ever stated what they intend/hope the Chevy Volt’s production numbers would be? It seems to me they are pretty quiet on the matter and smartly want to match production with demand as closely as they can. That makes fine business sense but I wish they would seemingly try harder.

          For GM to only produce as much or less than Tesla does (a brand new company) is an utter shame. Clearly they should be able to produce far more… Is battery supply the issue or is that just a weak excuse for such a huge manufacturer like GM to drag their feet and only produce a few Volts?

          • GM originally expected it to be a huge success and thought they would have a platform for other variations. Instead there was a lot of opposition, and dis-information from the GOP and allied media like Fox News and Forbes. Sales were nothing like they anticipated and it was an embarrassment.

            Many people still don’t understand it is not a pure electric so they won’t even consider it. I mention it to my friends that are very concerned with global warming, have solar panels, and are members of various Sierra club type organizations and they are very surprised to hear it has an extended range when the battery runs out.

            It has also been a money loser. There are limits to economies of scale and only with this year’s version have they been able to do better than break even. It is essentially a Civic-class car but they are charging Lexus prices because batteries are still expensive. You can get great deals on it in CA and other CARB states because they need the “Zero Emission Vehicle” credits in order to sell their money-making Silverados. Those ZEVs are not transferable from non-CARB states.

            The Prius had the same sort of problems. For years after it first came out it was a money loser for Toyota, and many people had the same question of what happens when the battery runs out. Even more informed people were worried about battery replacement which by 2005 had come *down* to a still-intimidating $10,000 (it is about $4,000 now).

            It took about 5 years to stop losing money on the Prius and even longer for everyone to get the concept.

          • 2018 and the end of the travel provision for CARB states will interesting to see. They better be able to make money on their EVs because they are going to have to sell a whole lot more of them then.

        • The Bolt would be limited to only 30,000 produced per year according to GM’s plans. Everything would be sold because it is the first median affordable mass market long range EV car 3 years ahead of the non existent Model 3 and a full year ahead of the more expensive long range Leaf. Plus it will be marketed as a small SUV as it is more spacious and taller than the Chevy Volt. so 30,000 per year is significant and hoping that GM will change its mind and produce more of it beyond the planned 30,000 per year cap.

          • I hope you are right but they initially projected 60,000 Volts a year and got less than half that. Nissan was similarly optimistic about their Leaf.

            There is clearly a market for an electric car, but it has to be very like something people drive now and it has to be as easily recharged as going to any gas station. Infrastructure is currently what holds back EVs from being something other than a commuter second car.

          • If GM doesn’t actually build a fast charger network to support driving the Bolt long range, it may as well be an 84 mile Leaf and they’ll further reduce the image of EVs in the public eye as everyone complains of long lines at chargers, chargers failing on long routes causing strandings, and general inability to use the 200 mile range. I’m really not seeing much sign that GM WANTS the Bolt to be successful.

          • Every manufacturer of every EV has to build their own charging network?? What about Leaf’s 200 mile range version in 2018? They have to build their own charging network too?

          • I just wrote this in another thread:

            The more I drive my Tesla long distances, the more I realize that the supercharger network with its reliability and 6-12 charger ports per station at 120kw is absolutely critical to an EV being usable for long trips. I’d even call Tesla’s network a bare minimum standard. Long trips take planning and patience and will probably disappoint the masses who are used to quick fillups at gas stations and eating on the road to get there as fast as possible.

            So the fact that GM is putting out a 200 mile range EV with no coherant charging network, relying on randomly placed chargers run by numerous different companies that cost different amounts, use different access cards, have different reliability, rarely have more than 1-2 chargers per location, and all generally run at 50kw or less is going to absolutely kill any desire of the average driver to want to take a Bolt on long trips. Die hard environmentalists will make it work, but everyone else will complain to their friends and kill sales. It will take GM years to catch up to the Tesla network and they need to be starting now, or they need to buy access to the network.

            So yes, they do all need their own charging network, or they need to work together using a common standard with good planning, 100kw bare minimum charger rate, installation of additional chargers when they get crowded, good reliability, and evenly-spaced locations. Basically, they need to do what Tesla has done for years.

            For the fast charging essential to long distance travel, Nissan uses CHAdeMO, GM uses SAE Combo. These chargers are not compatible and not easy to make adapters between (Tesla makes an adapter that costs $450 for Tesla to CHAdeMO). SAE Combo chargers are currently very rare. Bolt is going to be released with virtually no fast charger network if GM doesn’t do something fast.

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  • The Bolt should help to sell the Volt too. Gives Chevy dealers a plugin product line with choices. That should help getting the dealers more focused on EV.

    In urban areas I expect Chevy car buyers are older. These cars should help bring in younger buyers.

  • So the day after GM hits 200,000 ev sales the tax rebate disappears completely? Advanced US policymaking, on evidence in the ITC and PTC cliffs, strikes again. Has nobody heard of tapered sunsetting? The rational policy is a tax rebate without a quota that drops straight-line every year, disappearing in say 10 years, giving 10% every year. The degression can be varied up or down within a range in response to market developments.

    • Yeah I always thought the individual manufacture pool was stupid idea. I would have preferred either what you described or a collective pool that all the manufactures draw from. Then every time Tesla, Chevy, Nissan sold an EV the other manufactures would know there was one less in the pool for them.

    • “The rational policy is a tax rebate without a quota that drops
      straight-line every year, disappearing in say 10 years, giving 10% every

      Well, that’s rational IF you want to phase out subsidies for EV’s. But it is irrational to phase out subsidies at all, since every dollar spent on EV subsidies will accrue benefits at least 100-fold in adaptation costs avoided. Laissez-faire economics is why we are in this mess in the first place, and it will doom us if we respect it in the fight against global warming.

      Let’s counter this strategy of the denialist right-wing that the loss of subsidies for renewables is an inevitable or good thing.

    • It’s a gradual tapering off the year they hit 200,000. I don’t know any more details than that.

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