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Visual comparison: Bolt vs. Model 3

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by ecarfan, May 2, 2017.

  1. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I want GM to succeed with the Bolt. Seriously. More long range EVs are a good thing. But the more Model 3 release candidate vehicle photos I see, the more I am convinced that the Bolt is not going to sell in volume because -- in my opinion -- it looks no different from any of the dozens of compact hatchbacks currently available on the market while the Model 3 is stunningly beautiful, costs $2.5K less base price, comes standard with DC charging and can use the Supercharger network (for a fee of course), includes EAP/FSDC hardware as standard accelerates quicker, has a frunk as well as a trunk, and also seats 5 comfortably. Plus the Model 3 will offer an AWD option, a Performance option, and the EAP and FSDC options. There are no equivalent options for the Bolt.

    I look at these two photos and think that the only reason the Bolt will sell is that you can buy one right now, no waiting (but only in some states) and a year from now Bolt buyers will still be able to get the full $7.5K federal tax credit while Model 3 buyers will probably not get the full credit (though they will get a partial federal credit and whatever state credits are available). That significantly lower price after incentives will sell some Bolts. But probably not hundreds of thousands of them, which is what needs to happen for the car to be a success.

    (Note on these photos: obviously they are not scaled the same, though the Model 3 is estimated to be longer than the Bolt by about 20" and over 4" wider, so EV buyers who want a smaller car because of parking space limitations may well prefer a Bolt.)

    I look at these photos and wonder: "Why is GM charging more for so much less?"

    1F6D76D4-67AB-4719-9696-9102AA04213A-4357-00000558C0590357.jpeg

    B10D5123-4D65-443C-89F1-C7FCD9D80306-4357-00000558B2790CD4.jpeg
     
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  2. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Well-Known Member

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    Pictures alone would have been more than enough.
     
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  3. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #3 ChadS, May 2, 2017
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
    TL;DNR: You are correct that the Model 3 will outsell the Bolt - but GM is fine with that.

    I agree the Model 3 looks better (even though I am content with the Bolt's appearance), and especially given the other advantages you listed, the Model 3 will clearly sell in higher volumes than the Bolt.

    But I don't think that bothers GM - which is why they are not addressing it. If they were going for big sales numbers, they would not have outsourced all of the EV bits (especially not to a company that has capacity limitations) and so far declined to work on infrastructure projects. Some analysts say the car sells for significantly less than it costs[1]; even if that is not true, they certainly have higher-margin cars they would rather sell. I know some of this is disputed, but still - add it all up, and it sounds like will be happy if they sell enough to hit their CARB/CAFE numbers[2].

    I don't think meeting GM's sales targets will be a problem. It is a really nice little car (and winning tons of awards), with FAR more range (a key buying criteria) than any non-Tesla on the market. And they get props for hitting the mid-price-range first with a long-distance BEV. As far as the drawbacks:
    • Appearance is a big deal to many who buy Teslas and post here; but many consumers are more concerned with price and utility. Not everybody, but there are enough to meet GM's goals.
    • Tesla is the only company with a good long-distance BEV option, so again many on these forums find it important. But many consumers already have an ICE or PHEV (or a Tesla!) in the stable, so the Bolt won't be their long-distance car. Plus many consumers don't drive long distances at all. Not everybody will be happy with a Bolt's DC options, but enough will be to meet GM's numbers.
    • Option availability is another thing that Tesla buyers are more concerned about than the general car-buying population. If GM wanted to sell as many as possible, sure they'd add AWD, performance, more tech features, etc. But there are enough buyers happy with a simpler vehicle to meet GM's goals.
    • If the pricing ends up being an issue...well, it is easy enough to adjust that. But there is no need for them to do so in the early days when it is in a class by itself.
    These disadvantages would be an issue if GM was shooting for the most sales possible. But given their modest (though still solid compared to past BEV sales) sales requirements, the Bolt should do fine. Especially since it has several advantages that may help customers choose it over a Model 3:
    • smaller size makes it easier to park, as you noted
    • hatchback is more useful (I sure prefer it)
    • it MIGHT have better ingress/egress (of course we have to wait for the Model 3 to be sure on that)
    • Everybody has heard of GM. A large number of Americans have not heard of Tesla; or even if they have, they are afraid to try a "new" automaker
    • Related to that, GM has many more sales and service centers
    • Available now, as you noted. And even once the Model 3 starts shipping, the Bolt will likely be easier to get a hold of for a year or so
    GM's CEO has also clearly indicated that there are plans to produce different cars that re-using some bits (unclear how much of the platform). That will allow them to address the Bolt's shortcomings if they desire, and increase quantities sold without having to incur the costs of an entire new product.

    Notes:

    [1] Even if it is true that the Bolt's per-unit costs are higher than the sales price, it doesn't necessarily mean GM is losing money - the accounting neglects the value of EV credits to GM. Not to mention brand greenwashing, new customer acquisition, etc. The company no doubt is shooting for the Bolt project to be an overall financial win for GM, even if not all of the money comes directly from Bolt sales.

    [2] While that COULD point to it being just a compliance car, they are clearly following more than just that strategy. If nothing else, it is an awesome conquest car. They didn't even make it non-cannibalizing; good for them. While many Tesla owners complain about the Bolt looks, I think it's pretty darn mainstream and wasn't intentionally uglified to help them sell more higher-margin alternatives.
     
  4. RubberToe

    RubberToe Supporting the greater good

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    Ah yes, how soon we forget the heady days of early 2015 when GM supplier "sources" were throwing out "low production targets of 25,000 to 30,000" Bolts per year...

    Chevy Bolt Now Scheduled For October 2016

    The GM fanboys were absolutely convinced that the Tesla Killer could even hit 50,000 units, since LG Chem was talking up the idea that they could support that many sales per year...

    General Motors Can Make 50,000 Chevrolet Bolts Per Year

    Fast forward now to 2017, and the Bolt has sold a U.S. total of 4,384 through April. Extrapolate that out and you come up with 13,152 for 2017. There may even be some Tesla Model 3's being sold before the end of 2017, so factor that into upcoming Bolt sales.

    What happened to the 25,000 to 30,000 target, or the 50,000 possible if needed? ;)

    Always easy to rewrite history, but its a bit harder when evidence shows that the Bolt is not selling anywhere near the numbers being thrown around a couple years ago.

    RT
     
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  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    My post did not reference GM's sales targets, which are unclear because GM of course won't publicly state what they are. As @RubberToe pointed out, much has been written about how GM could make 30,000 to 50,000 per year.

    My point was that for the Bolt to be considered a success it will need to sell hundreds of thousands per year because that it the kind of volume truly successful mid-priced cars sell at to make a profit and because the Model 3 will -- in my opinion -- sell hundreds of thousands per year as soon as Tesla can produce that kind of volume (quite possibly by mid-2018, just a year from now).

    Based on how unfavorably the Bolt compares to the Model 3 in terms of appearance and functionality, and how poorly the Bolt is currently selling, I fear that the Bolt will not advance the EV revolution anymore than the BMW i3 has. But, it's better than GM doing nothing. So there's that...
     
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  6. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    The 2018 Bolt apparently hits the market in September and it may well add some additional options like TACC or faster peak DC charging rates.

    Looking at your pictures of the Bolt and Model 3, I actually somewhat dislike the sharp crease running along the side of the Model 3's front door. I also not a big fan of the snout up front and think it would look better with the "Tesla Mustache" seen on today's S and X. The Model 3 interior is also rather starkly different from today's mainstream cars. Some will like it but it may be a turnoff for others. Overall, I think the Model 3 is a winner but I don't see it as being flawless and I don't think the Bolt design is as terrible as some folks think. To me, the Bolt is fairly mainstream looking and those are the kind of cars that most people buy (by definition).

    I think the main issue will be exterior size. Americans are used to associating a somewhat larger exterior size with domestic branded $~35,000 cars. As word gets out about the advantages of the Bolt's electric powertrain I think this will be less of an issue and the exterior size is actually a potential advantage in some key urban heavy EV sales markets.

    As for other non-Tesla competition, we have confirmation today from a Nissan exec quoted as saying the 2018 Nissan LEAF will have a JC 08 range of only 350-400 km. That maps to about 135-155 miles EPA or nowhere close to the Bolt's 238 miles EPA.

    The 25,000 to 30,000 was a global build target that includes sales to Europe and South Korea. Your only quoting the first 3-4 months of US sales.
     
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  7. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    And most US dealers still don't have them; and most US consumers haven't heard of the car. I think (hope?) that Bolt sales will rise.
     
  8. BluestarE3

    BluestarE3 Active Member

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    If that turns out to be the case, that's too bad. I was hoping the next gen Leaf would join the 200+ mile club to give car buyers more options for longer range EVs. Even if many people don't actually need the additional 50-60 mile range, the perception would be that it's a less competent car than competitors' offerings that exceed the 200 mile "magic number".
     
  9. Haxster

    Haxster Member

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    Visually, I'd classify the Bolt as appealing to Millennials; the M3 to the over 35 demographic.
     
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  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    And the US is the only place right now that the Bolt is selling in any real quantity. Electrek just posted this article which shows how Bolt sales are not doing as well as hoped GM’s Chevy Bolt EV sales increased slightly in April to record: 1,292 deliveries

    QUOTE: "GM has been struggling to ramp production and deliveries of the Chevy Bolt EV since its launch in December. While it’s still a long way from the rate it needs be in order to reach its first year goal of 30,000 units, deliveries increased slightly in April with 1,292 units in the US.
    That’s despite inventories increasing in California and some deliveries in other ZEV states.
    Officially, GM is currently delivering the Bolt EV in California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Washington in the US.
    Canada also received a few units, but the first year allocations in the country and some European markets that are supposed to get the vehicle this years are only in the low hundreds of units.
    That’s despite inventories increasing in California and some deliveries in other ZEV states."
     
  11. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Truth? Nobody knows any metrics about the Model 3, except it will probably have 4 wheels and 4 doors. Everything else, including price and availability are unknown.

    We are now 17 months down the road from when Chevrolet allowed the press to drive the Bolt EV, and 11 months from the time they were doing autonomous driving in California.

    I am hoping Tesla exceeds the performance, price, and delivery goals for the Model 3. We will see. But at this stage, it is unlikely any Model 3's have been driven by the press. Which is odd for cars.
     
  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    GM diverted the lion's share of production to CA on the assumption that state would be most interested in the Bolt and to garner ZEV credits. Result: Californians are not interested and Bolts are piling up on dealer lots.

    I still think it could be a hit in Europe, but it is DOA in the US until lease costs drop a good 30%
     
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  13. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    I think it's impressive that a $44k microcar like the Bolt EV that can only be used to reach the store and back, outsold the much larger Fiat 500e that offers $129/month $0 down, $0 acq, $0 driveoff, $0 first payment when the more expensive Bolt leases for 3 times that much.
     
  14. RayW

    RayW Member

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    #14 RayW, May 2, 2017
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
    GM is continuing the tradition of established automobile companies producing ugly EVs.
     
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  15. ApauloThirteen

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    CA Chevy Volt leasee here, 24 months into a 36 mo lease. So far from Chevy, I have received one full page color mailed ad urging me to consider/buy a... Chevy Cruz. Not even another Volt. Nor a Bolt.

    So is Chevy marketing really serious about keeping their current EV interested customer base in Chevy EVs? Nope.
     
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  16. brucet999

    brucet999 Active Member

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    There is no doubt that Bolt ingress/egress will be much better than M3. It has much easier ingress/egress than MS and because it is higher even with smaller wheels, has at least 4" more headroom. Since M3 will be shorter and narrower and no higher than MS, it cannot possibly match Bolt for headroom and easy ingress/egress.
     
  17. ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️

    ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️ Fritterer and waster of hours in an off hand wayer

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    Visually I would classify the Bolt as being more appealing to maybe 1% of the population. I don't think it matters how old you are.
     
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  18. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    #18 McRat, May 2, 2017
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
    Then they will dominate it appears. Fewer than 1% of car buyers find EVs appealing. Cool!

    ~ 270,000,000 passenger cars in the USA.
    17,500,000 sold last year.
    158,614 of them plugged in.
     
  19. ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️

    ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️ Fritterer and waster of hours in an off hand wayer

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    Where did you pull that statistic out of? Same place I got mine?
     
  20. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Look it up.

    Less than 1% of the cars sold last year were plugins in the USA. More than 99% could have bought a new plugin but chose ICE instead.
     

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