Will The New Chevrolet Bolt EV & EUV Move The Sales Needle?
“More value for less.”
That was the core message from Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s VP of Marketing, to more than 100 reporters during a media briefing on the updated Bolt EV and new Bolt EUV this past Friday.
From the briefing, GM’s near-term 4-pronged approach to EVs got a bit more clarity, at least for this observer:
- Offer inexpensive models in China through its joint venture brands and higher-end models via the Cadillac and Buick brands.
- Offer lower volume performance and luxury models via its GMC (Hummer) and Cadillac (LYRIQ, Celestiq) brands in North America.
- Use the Bolt models to compete on price and basic functionality and hopefully at much higher volumes than current levels.
- And increase scale and profitability by producing EV powertrains on the Ultium battery platform for other OEMs, currently including Honda and Acura.
But will the combined sales of the revised Bolt EV and new Bolt EUV actually reach a significant volume of sales in the US? Before attempting to answer that question, let’s take a look at the revised Bolt and new variation, the EUV.
$4,505 MSRP Price Decrease On The Updated Bolt EV?
Perhaps the biggest and most noteworthy change with the Bolt EV is the new lower starting MSRP. At $31,995 (including destination charge), the Bolt EV is clearly the lowest starting price of any currently available EV in the US, and if you look at the various incentives on the market, you have a price point that is going to be attractive to a lot of buyers for a commuter car.
On the Chevrolet website, the 2021 Bolt EV is currently listed at a starting MSRP of $36,500, but there have been many reports of significant deals. According to a January article in Car and Driver, offers include: “$7000 of down payment assistance and zero percent APR if you sign up for an 84-month financing deal. Financing a new 2021 Bolt EV through GM Financial means you can get up to $3500 in down payment assistance and zero percent APR for a 72-month agreement.”
GM is being especially aggressive with current incentives as it tries to clean out existing Bolt inventory at dealers and drive current demand, as some potential buyers may be waiting for the updated model, or more likely the EUV version.
GM has had to be fairly aggressive on the now 4-year old Bolt as several new BEV hatchback/crossover models, including the Tesla Model Y, have become available — and with many more are on the way in 2021. However, while the Bolt is a perfectly good car — whether ICE or EV — it also had a rather bland exterior and interior and may not have enticed or excited a lot of the current crop of early-adopting EV buyers.
In California, which accounts for nearly 50% of EV purchases in the US and likely an even higher percentage of Bolt sales, multiple incentives can bring the Bolt down to $28,495:
- $2000 — Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP)
- $1,500 — California Clean Fuel Reward
And if the newly proposed revision to the federal EV tax credit is passed in Congress, qualifying Bolt EV/EUV buyers could claim an additional $7,000 credit on their tax return. Because it is a tax credit and not a rebate, I personally don’t like to present the credit as a direct price discount, but for those that do use it, that could bring the net cost of a Bolt EV/EUV down to roughly $21,500 for many California buyers, for example.
At that price, even if the Bolt doesn’t get your juices flowing or turn your neighbors’ heads, the new and improved Bolt EV and new EUV become really compelling commuter or around-town second cars for many households.
What’s New With the 2022 Bolt EV?
The first things you notice about the 2022 Bolt EV versus the 2021 model are a more contemporary and upright front fascia along with new front (high-eye daytime running lights) and rear lighting signatures.
On the inside, both the EV and EUV feature new instrument panels, vehicle controls, and seats, with a 10.2-inch-diagonal infotainment color touchscreen and integrated climate controls. “The infotainment screen features real-time displays with more details available on the 8-inch-diagonal reconfigurable color gauge cluster.”
GM has also done away with the traditional stick gear shift selector and moved to using pull toggles and push buttons “to free up more interior space.” To make regenerative braking even simpler, GM has also added a new one-pedal driving button that “keeps the system active between drive cycles.”
While I’ve never owned a Bolt, the first time I sat in one and took a test drive when it first came out, I was personally really disappointed in the cheap-feeling interior — as I think a lot of potential buyers were. GM clearly heard that feedback and has improved the interior with redesigned seats that are softer and appear to be a bit more upscale.
While car appearances are clearly a matter of personal taste and preferences, to my eye, the design of the EUV is much more attractive and distinctive than that of the Bolt EV. GM refers to the Bolt EUV as an SUV, but from where I sit, it is much closer to a crossover than an SUV — especially lacking all-wheel drive and minimal ground clearance.
While the Bolt EUV exterior is a step up in looks (to me at least), it isn’t nearly as attractive as, say, the Ford Mustang Mach-E. But costing many thousands of dollars less, the Bolt EUV should compete will against the upcoming Volkswagen ID.4 and Nissan Ariya — and possibly even the Model Y Standard Range.