Cleveland, Ohio – General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt EV all-electric car is now available nationwide, though models are still rare on dealership lots outside of California and other early markets.
GM launched the vehicle in December 2016 in California, slowly rolling it out to other states with zero-emission-vehicle mandates. Sales topped 2,000 units for the first time in August, so September’s results will be the first look at how the battery powered vehicle does in less environmentally conscious markets.
With gas prices low, fuel-efficient vehicle sales have been down in 2017 with sales of Toyota’s Prius hybrid down 20.5% through August. However, all-electric vehicles have continued to grab headlines, especially following the launch of Tesla’s Model 3 earlier this year.
Despite that interest, electric cars are still low-volume, niche products. Tesla does not report monthly sales totals, but based on quarterly numbers, its output won’t challenge traditional vehicles any time soon. Some estimates that combine all electric vehicle sales have monthly sales totals in the low-10,000-vehicle range, or roughly 125,000 units in 2017.
Even with total industry sales coming in lower than estimates, analysts expect total industry sales to be somewhere between 16 million and 17 million with most predictions coming on the high side of that range. So, even the most pessimistic prediction for overall sales will result in electric accounting for less than 1% of industry sales.
With availability growing – the nationwide availability of the Bolt and a promised increase in shipments of Model 3s – that share of the vehicle market could change in the final months of this year.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.