Tesla faces increased pressure from GM’s Bolt

After Tesla booked nearly 400,000 reservations for its Model 3 in the days following its April 2016 release, the company hailed the rollout as “the week that¬†electric vehicles went mainstream.”

Other automakers took note.

A GM executive told Automotive News last week the automaker is pushing up the release date of the all-electric Bolt, from September to August. GM’s move comes as the Bolt’s prime competitor — the Model 3 — is slated for initial release in late July.

Both EVs carry a sticker price around $35,000 before federal and state incentives, and have a range of more than 200 miles on a single charge. GM released the Bolt in California and Oregon late last year, and a company executive said its training and distribution are ahead of schedule. The company has sold about 6,500 vehicles through May.

Tesla expects to deliver its first Model 3s late next month. Company enthusiasts have spotted pre-release vehicles near Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto and by the SpaceX offices in southern California.

CEO Elon Musk noted last week that Tesla was formed as a reaction to GM’s decision to kill the EV-1, a futuristic electric car recalled by the Detroit automaker to the dismay of its owners.

 

The Bolt advertises a range of 238 miles on a single charge. The hatchback received strong reviews and won the Motor Trend 2017 Car of the Year.

The anticipated Model 3 comes with 215 miles per charge, and zips off the line from zero to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. The 4-door sedan will have less luxury features than its more expensive older brother, the Model S.

Tesla is advertising test drives for late 2017. New reservations are expected to be delivered by mid-2018, at the earliest.

File Photo:¬†The Chevy Bolt, released to California and Oregon customers in December, will compete with Tesla’s Model 3 sedan. Both electric vehicles carry a sticker price around $35,000 and a single-charge range of more than 200 miles. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

 

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  • Douglas Godfrey

    2 items I take issue with.
    Bolt pricing starts at $37,495, not $35k and new model 3 reservations shouldn’t expect delivery before 2019.

  • Rich Partain

    Pressure? What pressure? Walked into Chevy dealer in central California and asked if they had any Bolts to look at. “Nope” Said the suddenly uninterested in me salesperson. “They are limited in production and only selling in few states. We won’t have one for quite awhile”. But he was sure interested in selling a loaded 2017 $37,000 Equinox SUV sitting on the showroom floor. So said me, “No thanks, I’ll wait to see the Tesla Model 3 coming out world wide next month. Don’t really need a new car until
    next year anyway.” He went back to his coffee mug.

  • Ben

    Where do I charge my new Bolt on the cross-country trip that I’m planning next fall? I’m curious to know how many fast charging stations GM will be installing in the next year or so.

    • DisruptiveChanges

      The key point for the next few years.

      • Ben

        Exactly.

      • Capt601

        Key point for many years, not just next few years. Gm has zero incentive to push for a high speed charging network as it would kill their ICE car sales which would killmheirmshady dealers business model.

        • gvel

          It would kill their other sales? I would think most people who want to get an electric car would go elsewhere rather than being “up sold” to a gas guzzler at the same dealer. It’s a hard sell to get people who aren’t even thinking electric to get one. What seems to work best is if they see a neighbor or relative driving one and crowing about eliminating visits to the gas station and electricity being much cheaper the gasoline in most parts of the country.

  • Robert Fahey

    Oh I’m sure Tesla is trembling.

    • 1C5

      They should be. It is well known that GM is losing money on every Bolt they sell. No problem. Bolt sales enable GM to sell the money makers. If GM cannot profit with their tremendous scale, expertise with small cars and partnership with LG Chem, how is Tesla going to do it? Think they have as much clout with suppliers as GM? if Tesla cannot sell base model 3’s at a profit, they will struggle to survive.

      • Robert Fahey

        Tremendous scale? They’re praying for 30k units this year, and likely to come up very short of even that.

        • 1C5

          Scale? The Bolt shares many parts in common with other GM cars. Economy of scale is appropriate and accurate. A Model S has ZF steering gear, Brembo brakes, Nvidia electronics, Some Mercedes sourced and other widely sourced parts. if Tesla sold 500,000 cars the cost would come down.

      • Capt601

        Brilliant business practice for gm, sell a car at a tremendous loss in order to sell gas guzzlers. Brilliant!!
        And how can Tesla do it? Well, Crist they aren’t gm and don’t have dealers forced on them who control sales of cars. They also created a car for the ground up for efficiency, unlike gm which doesn’t give a crap. It’s only a trivial car in order to slow down Tesla, and they have failed.
        Expertise with small cars and lg chem?? Oh please share. Gms quality is oh so legendary on their cars. Lol. And lg is well behind Tesla and Panasonic on quality and efficiency in their batteries. And costs are well behind as well. Lg has poor design for their batteries.

        • 1C5

          Loose with the facts again? It is brilliant that GM created the Bolt. As stated one of the pluses is it allows GM to sell cash cows without paying for Tesla ZEV credits. “The Bolt is only a trivial car to slow down GM?” You must be a brilliant analyst to come up with that. “LG has poor quality and design for their batteries.” Again, you must be a brilliant analyst with myriad of sources. Can you cite one of them? Your grasp of English, mastery of battery technology and your overall thinking does not mesh with many Tesla owners I know. Do you really own a Tesla?

          In 2016, 18 million ICE’s were sold. How many BEV’s? About 80,000? They’re still a drop in the bucket. One might conclude that 18 million Americans did not want to trade their Ford, Chevy or Toyota for a BEV that is LESS CONVENIENT … HAS LESS RANGE … AND IS MORE EXPENSIVE. If not … please explain how i am wrong. I would like to know.

  • James Portagallo

    What a joke of an article…

  • Capt601

    So a car with extremely limited high speed charging network; a handful of them between cities; sold via the shady dealer network; and it is going to compete with tesla and its high speed network that is everywhere and faster than any other? Hmm tell me some more.
    And of course the bolt is from a car company this is so well known for quality. SMH.

    • 1C5

      You play loose with the facts. “High speed network that is everywhere??” Five US states do not have any superchargers. The US has 4.2 million miles of roads. 121,000 gas stations service them. How many US superchargers are there? 300? Everywhere? Attempt a trip from Billings MT to Minneapolis. See how far you get. In the Dakota’s most superchargers are located at 170 mile intervals. Fine in summer … unlikely in winter. A 90kW X cannot make that distance on a 5F day. Remember, batteries are sensitive to cold and very hot temps. Li-Ion loses 35-40% of its range on cold days. Think the Model 3 will fare any better on long trips? Those who enjoy long distance and carefree traveling are much better off choosing an ICE or hybrid over a Tesla. Just get behind the wheel and go.

      Still, in California and similar places a Tesla can excel. Also, a GM study showed potential Bolt customers do not intend to use them for long distance travel. Rather, the Bolt is intended to allow secure and carefree commuting in large metro areas. In that domain the Bolt and Model X will excel.

      A mainstream US car means it can commute or travel long distance equally well. Don’t even try to argue that a BEV is equal to any ICE in terms of CONVENIENCE … COST … AND RANGE. BEV’s are not yet mainstream. We’ll see how many put their deposits on a car they’ve never sat in or driven and then find it can’t replace the old Ford or Chevy it’s intended to replace.

      In some applications BEV’s are great cars. But right now, they’re not for everyone.

      • DisruptiveChanges

        You sure like to cherry pick negatives.

      • Capt601

        Comical indeed. Yes I hVe known a few that have driven east from billings to the east coast. With little issue I must add.
        You see youmcheery pick as said above. Superchargers don’t need to be as numerous as gas stations because they are for long distance travel not for in cities and daily use like a gas station. You see every home is a charger so let’s add up all the homes in the US and see how gas stations compare to that number. Oops.90% of chargignmismdoen in the home.
        And your comment on the bolt owners only driving local is pathetic. Exact reason why gm and the others are so far behind with EVs and its tech. You see 200 miles is not needed for city ev driving, so you end up with a heavy car lugging around a battery you will never use. And with the extra battery, and no high speed charger network, you can’t drive long distance either. So you end up with a very wasteful car. But at least the dealers are happy because you are forced to buy a second gas guzzler car in order to drive any distance. Oops. Yet the Tesla owner does not need an extra car.
        And suggest you check your numbers on winter ops in a Tesla. Yes at times their is a reduction but that can easily be managed. Also suggest you read up on ICE car efficiency in winter time as well. AAA has estimated a reduction in gas guzzler driving of 24-38% in winter time. Oops.
        Gm failed with the bolt again as they created another city ev car to keep their dealers happy. Plain and simple. And they have to keep their partnership with big oil happy as well.
        Keep those excuses coming for the others while Tesla shows how easy it is to drive a Tesla daily and for any trip.aks me how I know cuz I’ve driven it cross country and many other trips with zero issues and very little extra time needed.

        • 1C5

          Check winter numbers in a Tesla? 30% is right from their own page. Tesla’s own range calculation shows a Model S @ 65MPH @ 10F and while using the heat loses 30%. Easy to guess what happens at at 75 or 80 MPH. Large metro areas? A BEV driver commuting from Naperville IL to Michigan Avenue in Chicago on a -15F day will be glad he/she has the largest battery possible. Think a Leaf can do it? The Eisenhower is no place to be stranded in winter. 200 miles IS NEEDED for city driving in LARGE METRO areas. Time? After long periods of tests, TESLERATI printed out, that on long trips, plan on a Tesla using 40% more time than an ICE.

          i say again … Anyone who enjoys frequent and carefree long distance driving is better off buying an ICE or hybrid. Can you dispute that? Again, I am not saying Tesla’s are not great cars … they are. But, at present, batteries do have limitations.

          Cherry picking negatives? Two years ago a Los Angeles Realtor bought a Model S and grew to love the car. In spring she decided to use it to pick up her daughter from college in another state. Before the trip was over both were in tears. Charging/towing issues. She maintained Tesla never adequately prepared her for cross country driving. She has a great car, but might have picked up some tips by reading these forums.

          Last year, a businessman needed to travel from Minneapolis to Chicago. He decided to take his 85kW S. He took the best route, I-94, across Wisconsin. Nearing Baraboo he decided to stop for the night. His computer indicated 30 miles and the Baraboo supercharger was 20 miles away. As is the reality in the Midwest, the Best Western did not have charging available. That night the temp dropped to 21F. Next morning his range read “0.” He was shocked and called Tesla who advised him to find a 110 volt outlet. After 3 hours and warmer temps, he accumulated enough range to make the supercharger and he missed his meeting. A gallon of gas in an ICE is a gallon the next morning regardless of the temp. 30 miles of range in a BEV may not be 30 miles the next morning even if plugged into a 110 outlet. Batteries are different.

          Again Tesla’s are great cars and owners in California and similar places will enjoy their cars in every way. Potential owners in Alpena Michigan and similar places will not.

          • gvel

            1C5, a lot of your complaints about the Tesla in the winter are moot in most places, and will be moot almost everywhere, as Tesla is aggressively filling in the spots in-between Superchargers with more of them.

            As for your bellyaching about cold climates, remember that the Tesla has been the NUMBER ONE best selling car, even against gasoline cars, in Norway. And that’s about as far north as you can get.

            As for your dumb stories about driving from Minneapolis, yeah, I almost ran out of gas because the gas stations were so far apart in South Dakota one time. Was a real bitch. Didn’t figure they’d be that far apart. As for the guy who slept overnight, should have plugged into 120 Volts all night — I always do even when I don’t need it at hotels and they have no other options. I’ve traveled all over the country in my Model S, not yet ever had any close calls. But I’ve had plenty of close calls in gasoline cars when I didn’t pay attention to the lack of gas stations.

            Just a lot of whining, really.

          • Capt601

            Would hate for you to have actual facts rather than your opinion form reading blogs, but no driving a Tesla long distance is very little extra time with very simple planning. Yes, I have One and have done it. Versus what you have done with a Tesla. And many others I know have taken long trips as well with little time needed. But please go on about how you read it.
            Love the 2 stories you cherry picked. While thousands of others have zero issues. But guess I shouldn’t tell you about the person on the side of the road today that ran out of gas. Oh my god, better right a blog about that and make up a good story.
            Amazing how far the anti ev people will go with their stories.
            Yet that gallon of gas in a gas guzzler will only be a gallon, while the Tesla,owner has a full tank the next morning while taking no extra time out of their day. But please go on. You sound like a very dealer which is comical.

        • gvel

          Not sure what you mean by “failed again” with the Bolt, Capt601. GM did very well with the Chevy Volt as a concept, and it’s doing pretty well. They solved the range-limitation problem right out of the gate, and early in the lithium EV age too, even before Tesla had Supercharger coverage nationwide.

          • Capt601

            So they did well with the bolt? Hmm let’s see. They started out to design an ev, and failed that one. As they realized their own customers couldn’t handle an ev. Than they realized their own dealers wouldn’t sell an ev as it would kill their business model which relies on a full service center if ICE cars.
            Than they built a hybrid and called it an ev. But the government got involved and told them nope. It’s a hybrid. You see an ev doesn’t have a gas engine. So gm had their marketing department get together and crate a new term – range extended electric vehicle to get around their failure to build a true ev.
            And than they designed a 4 seater car. Oops. Who doesn’t that nowadays? Only gm. So next versi has 5 seats with room for a midget in the 5 seat position. Too funny.
            And far from a sales success.

  • Michael Will

    I test drove the Bolt this January in California. It’s a nice replacement for say a VW e-Golf, good as a metro car, especially if you prefer a hatchback to a sedan. But I would not want to go on road trips long distance with it, because it does not have any autopilot option nor fast supercharging. The supercharger with about 110kW charges about 300 miles per hour, which conveniently fits into a lunch or dinner break without wasting any extra time. The Bolt with its on paper 70kW but in reality less than 50kW charging will require a lot of extra stops / time. It is workable but does not fit conveniently into the lifestyle. Model 3 base model was said to have at least 215 miles of range. I expect it to have more when it is actually announced. The base model costs $35,000 before incentives, pricing for the Bolt is closer to $40k from what I have ben quoted when I test drove one, with not much options able to add, i.e. no automated cruise control or autopilot like features. Tesla has nothing to worry about and certainly doesnt feel any pressure from the Bolt, but that does not mean that the Bolt doesnt have its own smaller market segment where it can be successful in, if GM so wishes. So far they have not sold many and thats because they did not try, probably too afraid to canabilize sales of Cruze etc, which I blame on short sightedness.

    • DisruptiveChanges

      Auto pilot is a waste of money. It is out of date right after you buy it.

      • Michael Will

        Not my experience. We bought the Tesla Model X in May 2016 and we put 23k miles on the car in less than 12 months, lots of long distance trips that with the Honda Odyssey I would have refused to do but with Model X and autopilot are a piece of cake. Why micromanage distance and lane keeping for hours when you can just lean back until you get to a spot where its fun to be in charge, or where it is not appropriate to rely on autopilot, and then take over and as soon as it gets boring again, reenable it. Also when there are sidewinds making you struggle the wheel against the wind, just enable autopilot and its taken care of. This is AP1 which is said to never have fully autonomous mode, which I could think is sad, but at the same time it is already awesome the way it is and I would not buy a car that doesnt at least have that, ever again.

  • DisruptiveChanges

    And when you wish to drive cross country the winner is…….

    • Big Will

      rent a gas powered car or fly. Not a big deal.

    • gvel

      The winner is the the Telsa. Got a used Model S with unlimited mileage warranty still good for 4+ years and free lifetimes Supercharging. The Supercharging network makes it possible to drive across the country with ease, with free fuel. Most places you can’t find a fast charger for the Bolt in the middle of the country along the Interstates. And that is if you even bothered to get the CCS fast charge option on the Bolt

      • DisruptiveChanges

        Good luck with your Model S, I sold mine after 11 months.

        • gvel

          Why? And what did you get instead? Just curious.

          I live in the middle of the country and wanted to get a Tesla three years ago, but they didn’t have the Supercharger network covering the whole middle of the country like they do now. So I got a Chevy Volt so I could drive electrically for local travel and still be able to go on long trips in the same car. It’s only in the last year that I could do that with the Tesla.

          • DisruptiveChanges

            Loud B pillar wind noise, both sides. 80 in wide and alum doors and parking lot dings. Low air dam and front in parking. No spot on the windshield permits an EZPass to work. Can’t use many car washes due to ground clearance. Very rough ride. No coat hooks and thus no means of using a clothes rack. A few warranty issues but due to the 65 mi distance to the service center it was easier to sell it. Partial list.

          • gvel

            Wonder if the adjustable pneumatic suspension would have given you enough clearance in the car wash. Yeah, it’s a big car. 19 inches longer and 7 inches wider than my old 2014 Chevy Volt. At first I misjudged it and scraped underneath on front when parking (with no camera to accurately judge) and climbed a few curbs on right turns due to the width and longer trailing length.

  • CharlieTuba

    GM didn’t “recall” the EV1’s, Elon. They were leased to drivers with no purchase option at the end of the lease. GM decided to not renew the leases, and crushed most of the cars so they wouldn’t be liable for anything that may have happened to one that got on the road. The rest had their powertrains deactivated and were donated to museums.

    • 1C5

      Federal law required that after specific conditions were met, GM would have to support the cars with parts for 10 years. EV-1’s were already hand built and very expensive. GM did not want to invest further.

  • Poisoned Pens

    Advertorial wishing and hoping. No one with the means to buy even the least expensive model Tesla is looking to buy a GM econobox subcompact with a $15,000 battery pack strapped on…

    • gvel

      Actually, you’re wrong. It’s selling very well in Europe under the Ampera name. Also will sell reasonably well no the coasts. Problem in the middle of the country is lack of fast charging, which, by comparison, Tesla has the advantage — no comparison — with its network of Superchargers.

      • Thomas Kelleher

        “It’s selling very well in Europe under the Ampera name.”
        The Bolt isn’t. You’re talking about the European version of the Volt, which is a car I own and love…
        But I agree with you….GM has done nothing to establish the necessary infrastructure to compete with Tesla. With all prices being equal, you’d be crazy, or at least hugely uninformed, to buy the Bolt instead of the Tesla at this point. I think the Bolt is a very good and fun car, but without the proper infrastructure, it will be difficult to travel long distances with. The Tesla wins hands down.

        • gvel

          My statement is correct. The Bolt is sold under the name Ampera E, which you’re confusing with the European version of the Chevy Volt, known as the Opel Ampera. Poor and confusing choice of names all around in my opinion.

          • Thomas Kelleher

            Oh. OK. I stand corrected, then.

  • Ben Hammer

    The stock market is valuing Tesla greater in value than GM. The market must think that gas powered cars are like horse buggies were in 1890. There were lots of buggy makers and few automobile makers but look at what happened over the next 30 years. I am sure GM, Ford and other automakers are paying attention to investors and will be expanding electric car production.

 
 
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