2 Under-the-Radar Electric Cars That Just Had a Huge Spike in Popularity
Electric vehicles are definitely having a moment. EV sales in the United States surpassed 313,000 units in the third quarter (Q3) of 2023. That’s about 5% more than the previous quarter (Q2) and almost a 50% increase from the same time last year.
Although Tesla is still capturing approximately half of all EV buyers, its stranglehold on that market is starting to slip, even if slightly. In fact, two other EVs have enjoyed a noticeable bump in sales over the past few months: the Chevrolet Bolt and Volkswagen’s ID.4.
Chevy’s Bolt is going out with a bang
Chevrolet’s Bolt sold 15,835 units in Q3, up about 13% from its performance in Q2 2023. Those numbers represent the total of both the standard hatchback and the slightly larger Bolt EUV combined. For those not in the know, the Bolt EUV is based on the same underpinnings as the hatchback version, but is more spacious.
Even though the Bolt is now in its seventh year without any massive updates, the formula still works. It’s as conventional and unoffensive as an electrical vehicle can be and Chevy keeps the price low to compensate for not being the latest and greatest.
The Bolt starts at just $26,500, while the Bolt EUV begins at $27,800, plus a mandatory $995 each destination charge. Best of all, that’s not counting the available $7,500 federal tax credit, making either of the Bolts a great buy and likely a huge chunk of the reason for their brisk sales.
Another explanation for the sudden spike in Bolt sales could be because earlier this year, Chevy announced that’s it killing the Bolt as we know it by the end of this year, creating a sense of urgency for those that want one before the axe falls.
Reportedly, nixing the Bolt is a move to free up capacity at a manufacturing plant that will be making the presumably more profitable Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV full-size pickup trucks. According to various sources, a mildly redesigned Bolt that will incorporate GM’s Ultium battery technology and its latest Ultify software platform is on the way soon, but a specific timeline hasn’t been provided.
The Volkswagen ID.4 gets a boost from tax credits
A similar success plays out for German automaker Volkswagen with its ID.4 battery-electric crossover SUV. The ID.4 sold 10,707 units in the third quarter of 2023, a new quarterly record and a full 61% more than the same quarter last year.
In fact, in the entire year of 2022, Volkswagen sold 20,511 units of the ID.4 according to InsideEVs, but if current trend continues, the brand could easily sell more than 50,000 of the popular crossover EV in 2023.
The ID.4 is not quite as cheap as the Chevy Bolt, with a base price of $38,995 plus a $1,295 destination charge, totaling $40,290. However, a federal tax credit for qualifying U.S. buyers can make it an attractive proposition.
Because the ID.4 is built in Tennessee and its battery is manufactured in Georgia, it qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit — the only foreign owned brand to do so. That lowers the ID.4’s price of entry to a tempting $32,790.
In initial reviews, the ID.4 has been criticized for delivering less range than its competitors and indeed, the base 2023 model only travels 209 miles on a full charge according to VW’s official specs. The entry-level ID.4 with its 62 kWh battery and rear-wheel drive will carry over into the 2024 model year, but higher-level trims will gain both horsepower and range over the current model, though specific EPA estimates haven’t been made available quiet yet, nor have updated pricing.