The Bolt’s Journey Has Been A Bumpy One
If you’ve been following the news of the Bolt EV here, you’ve seen the highs and the lows. On the upside, GM managed to bring it to market faster than Tesla brought out the Model 3, but it didn’t sell like Tesla’s entry-level electric vehicle did. It had better range than compliance cars like the Spark EV did, liquid cooling, better room, and more, but it’s also front-wheel drive, looks cute instead of futuristic (especially before 2022), and can’t charge faster than 55 kW
When the $7500 tax credits ran out for GM, it wasn’t able to keep the price up the way Tesla did. Instead, GM had what seemed like an endless series of deep, deep discounts and factory incentives that kept the price in the mid-$20,000s.
Just as it was phasing the Bolt EUV in, a more SUV-ish version of the vehicle that should have majorly boosted sales, GM ran into a huge problem: fires. It turns out that like other manufacturers, GM bought defective battery cells from LG Chem that could go up in flames and take the whole vehicle with it. Attempts to fix the vehicles without a full recall of all battery cells failed, and then the company had to replace every Bolt EV and EUV battery pack.
The 2023 Price Drop
News last week of the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV’s 2023 pricing got a lot of attention in media. While it’s a pretty steep price cut, most don’t know that it’s not actually as big as some of the factory incentives that we’ve seen for the vehicle before. What makes this special is that they’re now making those price drops permanent instead of frequently temporarily dropping the price.
Personally, I don’t think the Bolt EV was ever really worth $35,000 or more. Yes, it’s an EV, but as I pointed out earlier, it’s inferior to the Tesla Model 3 in many ways. It’s better than the Nissan LEAF in that it has liquid cooling, but while the Model 3 can charge at 250 kW, the Bolt can only charge at 55 kW. That makes it a very difficult car to take the occasional road trip in while it’s relatively easy in a Model 3. It’s also front-wheel drive, which is not necessary either for cost or for snow performance in an EV. Plus, the Model 3 has available all-wheel drive.
This feature and performance disparity left Chevrolet and GM with no choice but to drop the price, but they didn’t want to do it permanently.
The Bolt EV Is Still A Decent EV, Though
If you don’t go out of town much and don’t know or care about which wheels get the power, the Bolt EV is still a very decent vehicle. With an EPA range of just under 260 miles, it’s about as useful as a Tesla for most drivers. It has great interior room, especially if you get the larger SUV version (even if you lose some cargo space in the rear hatch). Both versions still have a liquid-cooled battery that should give a long usable life, too.
By offering the vehicle at a reasonable price that reflects its limitations, we’re going to see a lot more people be able to afford one. This will allow a larger percentage of the population to consider switching to an EV for their local driving needs, and even some limited regional drives if you have the patience for charging.
I think most readers would agree that opening up the bottom of the market for more people is great for the whole industry.
Featured image by GM.
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