Did the Dying Chevy Bolt Smash Tesla’s Market Dominance?

The Chevy Bolt EV might be on its way to discontinuation station, but it still upset the electric vehicle (EV) market by providing an affordable alternative to pricier models like the Tesla Model 3. However, does the Bolt have the momentum to siphon off some of Tesla’s superfans? Or is the Bolt and the next generation of GM electric cars doomed to play second-fiddle to Tesla’s most affordable EV? 

The Chevy Bolt returned the most impressive rise in popularity of any EV in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023. The Chevrolet EV model saw an increase from 0.1% to 9.7% of new electric car registrations in the United States. 

A light blue 2023 Chevy Bolt EV electric car cruises down a highway.
Bolt EV | General Motors

That’s more than any Tesla EV, the Volkswagen ID.4, and the popular Ford F-150 Lightning. Moreover, the Bolt led General Motors’ tidal wave of rising EV sales in Q1 2023, which nearly doubled that of Ford’s electric vehicle lineup. Specifically, GM sold 20,670 EVs in January, February, and March, around 9,804 more than the Blue Oval.   

Tesla’s popularity in the EV market is unquestionable, but it might not stay that way. While Tesla sold a whopping 161,630 EVs in Q1 2023, most of the automaker’s popular models decreased in popularity. According to Axios, the Model 3, Tesla’s cheapest vehicle, saw around 11.3% fewer registrations from 2022 to 2023. 

Of course, the entry-level 2023 Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive starts at $40,240, nearly $13,740 more than the Chevy Bolt EV. Moreover, until Tesla introduces a more affordable option, like a Model 2, the electric automaker’s vehicles will remain much more expensive than the Bolt EV or Nissan LEAF.  

A black Tesla Model 3 drives snowy roads.
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

How much is the cheapest Chevy Bolt?

The entry-level Chevy Bolt EV 1LT starts at around $26,500. Fortunately, the base 1LT gets the same 259-mile single-charge range as the plusher 2LT trim. 

As a result, it’s understandable that first-time or budget-oriented electric car shoppers would be the most successful car in GM’s electric lineup. However, impressive sales and market penetration aren’t enough to save the Bolt from the chopping block; Chevy is discontinuing the Bolt EV and EUV by the end of 2023, per InsideEVs.   

Why is GM discontinuing the Chevy Bolt?

GM and its subsidiaries are continuing to move away from sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks in favor of SUVs, trucks, and crossovers, according to CBS. The announcement arrives despite the Bolt EV’s popularity as an affordable alternative to more expensive electric cars like the Tesla Model 3.