After Tesla last year, GM has become the second automaker to deliver 200,000 electric vehicles in the US – triggering the phase-out of the $7,500 tax credit.
Potential Bolt EV and Volt buyers have until the end of March to take delivery in order to claim the full tax credit.
GM had already been guiding that it would the threshold in the fourth quarter of 2018, but it has now confirmed it with the release of its delivery results.
The automaker delivered 6,212 Bolt EVs and 5,063 Volts in the US during the fourth quarter.
Based on the tax code, the phase-out starts after the end of the quarter following the quarter in which an automaker delivers its 200,000th electric vehicle in the US.
Tesla delivered its 200,000th electric vehicle in the US at the beginning of July 2018, which resulted in the phase-out starting in January.
For GM, it will start in April – the start of Q2 2019.
The automaker hit the threshold even though its electric vehicle sales went down in the US last year.
In its delivery report, GM confirmed that it delivered 18,019 Bolt EVs in the US in 2018. That’s down over 22% from 2017.
That’s even though GM claims to have increased production during the fourth quarter, but they say that some of that production went to other markets.
They wrote in the delivery result press release:
“GM increased production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV during the fourth quarter to meet strong global demand, including higher than expected demand in South Korea and Canada, and to begin rebuilding U.S. dealer inventories.”
GM actually delivered more Volts than Bolt EVs in the US in 2018.
The company confirmed today that they delivered 18,306 Volts over the last 12 months – down 10% over the previous year.
Interestingly, the timing of the tax credit phase-out for GM coincides with the end of the production of the Volt.
Last year, the company announced that they will shut down production of the Chevy Volt in March 2019 – virtually killing the vehicle after 8 years.
I think the phase-out of the electric vehicle tax credit is going to be pretty hard on the Bolt EV.
It might still be popular in some markets where the $3,750 credit can be combined with a local incentive, like in California, but I think sales will slow down significantly in other markets.
GM needs new electric vehicle options and higher EV production.
Tesla hit the threshold with an EV production capacity of over 300,000 vehicles per year. As for GM, it looks like it is producing at a rate of about 50,000 units per year.
It means that it won’t be able to take advantage of the phase-out period.
They have been promising new electric vehicles including 5 crossovers, 2 minivans, 7 SUVs, and more, but we have yet to even see concepts for any of those.
Hopefully, that will change in 2019.