The Chevy Bolt has been around long enough to have been normalized, familiar, commonplace. Even if one saw its Opel Ampera twin on the street it would still probably register as a Bolt, and most wouldn’t spot the Opel badge. Its boxy, inoffensive looks may lack a certain sense of stylistic risk-taking, and taking range-related risks probably aren’t what its buyers are after because it actually packs quite a lot of range into its modest footprint.
Now, the Bolt has experienced a sudden jolt in sales. The electric hatch surged over 50% in sales in the first quarter of 2021 compared to Q1 of 2020. Chevy dealers moved 9,025 examples of the Bolt in the first three months of this year, giving the Bolt its best-ever sales quarter since its debut in 2016. And that’s despite a greater field of competitors than it had to worry about when it first launched, as despite some pandemic-related economic jitters.
What’s to credit for this sudden surge?
Surprisingly generous discounts can be found on leftover 2021 model year Bolts, just as the Bolt EUV gets closer to the start of sales this summer alongside a thoroughly updated Bolt hatch. This means Bolts that had been sitting around since last summer are being showered in rebates to make room. The revised 2022 Bolt hatch will start hitting store shelves this summer with updated front and rear fascias, and the option of GM’s Super Cruise driver assist system that first appeared in Cadillac models.
Here’s the kicker: The 2022 model will be priced $5,500 below the outgoing one, so the deals offered on outgoing Bolts have to be that much sweeter.
The updated Bolt hatch promises the same EPA-rated range of 259 miles despite losing 1 kWh from its battery—there will be 65 kWh of juice in the Bolt’s battery, instead of 66 kWh. The 200 hp and 266 lb-ft motor is staying though, so the tweaks with this mid-cycle upgrade are largely tech- and styling-focused. The identical range means those opting for last years’ leftovers should be able to save significant amounts off the purchase price.
The real test for Bolt sales will come this year when the Bolt EUV will challenge other affordable electric crossovers including the Volkswagen ID.4, Nissan Ariya, Tesla Model Y, and the Hyundai Ioniq. That’s perhaps another reason the Bolt hatch is getting a price cut—GM simply expects many to opt for the crossover, but it still has to make the updated hatch compelling to buyers. And very soon buyers will have a lot of choices when it comes to pocket-sized electric crossovers and SUVs.
Should EV makers offer more hatchbacks like the standard Bolt, or is the hatchback bodystyle on its way out? Let us know in the comments below.
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