Chevy Bolt had best sales ever after recalls and leads in mainstream EV sales says GM

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

GM released its 2022 year-end sales update and is touting the humble Chevy Bolt’s best sales year ever, calling the Bolt and Bolt EUV the “#1 mainstream EV series” in Q3 and Q4.

GM only has one significant electric model line so far, the Chevy Bolt. It also just started selling the Cadillac Lyriq and the GMC Hummer EV, but both of those are more expensive and much more limited production.

GM has several other electric models coming within the next year or two as its Ultium battery platform gets ready for prime time. These include the Equinox, Blazer, and Silverado EVs. But for the time being, the Bolt makes up the vast majority of GM’s current EV sales.

Bolt sales were up sharply year over year, with more sales growth than all but one of Chevy’s models (the Malibu) and two other GM models (XT4, Terrain). Bolt sold 22,073 vehicles in 2021 and 38,120 in 2022, a 72% increase for this model line. Most of GMs other models showed either sales declines or more modest growth, with the company overall adding 2.5% to sales year over year.

So, Bolt sales are increasing significantly, like many other electric models are, while gas car sales are showing much smaller growth.

But that’s not the whole story.

GM and the Bolt have had a tough past couple years, with a protracted recall that partially or totally impacted four quarters, and production only resuming in April 2022. So sales for both last year and this year were affected by that recall.

This resulted in a dismal 2021 and early 2022 for GM’s EV sales, which resulted in GM falling behind Ford and selling comically low numbers of EVs in Q4 (26 total) and Q1 (457 total). Which also meant comically high percentage increases from their meager 2021 numbers, with Q4 Bolt sales up 94,600% YoY and YTD Hummer EV sales up 85,300% YoY.

It also means that these full-year sales numbers are pretty dismal compared to GM’s full vehicle line. Only 2% of cars GM sold last year were EVs. This despite the company stating several times that it is “all in on EVs.” So we hope a year of selling EVs in earnest, with model lines actually being built in number and sold throughout the whole year, will change that.

After finally getting back to selling the car, GM slashed the MSRP by ~$6,000 in June, making the Bolt the cheapest EV available in America. Sales were also boosted this year, as compared to last year, with the introduction of the larger Bolt EUV model with more storage space for a not-much-higher price.

This is why GM’s release says the Bolt was the “#1 mainstream EV series in Q3 and Q4,” which is after the recall finished and GM was finally able to sell these cars in earnest again. While GM doesn’t define “mainstream” in their release, we suspect this means “not counting Tesla.”

GM’s Bolt sales were probably negatively affected near the end of the year, though, as we got closer to the deadline in the Inflation Reduction Act, which would re-qualify GM for the federal EV tax credit – especially after the US Treasury delayed its guidance on battery sourcing requirements, which means the Bolt will have access to the $7,500 tax credit at least until March, making it a screaming deal until then.

GM also said that the Bolt EV had the highest mix of buyers under 36 compared to its EV competitors, an important demographic for automakers seeking to build brand loyalty. It sees EVs as a growth opportunity and plans to increase Bolt production to more than 70,000 units this year to meet strong global demand in addition to spinning up its Ultium platform and releasing new EVs in the coming quarters.

Electrek’s Take

Top comment by SteveM

Liked by 13 people

And all without access to the Federal EV Tax Credit. Just goes to show that if you build a compelling EV and price it right, it will sell well even without the taxpayer subsidy.

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There are a lot of factors here, but in short, it looks like the Bolt is still selling impressively well for a model that first shipped in 2017, is based on older technology, and has a planned end of life in the next couple years as GM shifts to its new Ultium platform.

And, now that the Bolt is such a great deal, it earned our award as Electrek’s Vehicle of the Year despite this age. It’s just the best bang for your buck you can get, not just out of any EV, but out of any vehicle on the road. Particularly given the EV tax credit situation.

So, we’re not surprised to see it doing well in sales, and we hope GM can build enough of them to satisfy the high demand they must be seeing for this car. We’re hearing from a lot of readers who are having trouble finding a Bolt at all from their local dealers, much less at MSRP, even as auto industry supply constraints start to loosen up a little.

If you’re looking for a Bolt, you can use our links to contact your local dealers about the 2023 Chevy Bolt EV or 2023 Chevy Bolt EUV. Make sure to take delivery before “sometime in March” if you want to take advantage of the current tax credit situation, but consult a tax professional first to ensure you qualify.

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for electrek.co since 2016.

You can contact him at jamie@electrek.co