Tesla Motors Inc has big plans to take EVs to the mainstream and its mass-market Model 3 sits smack dab in the center of Elon Musk’s strategy. However, General Motors is intent on making sure that Musk doesn’t get the lions share of the mass market for EVs. In fact, GM has tried to preempt all of Musk’s moves in order to ensure that its mass-market Chevy Bolt gets as much buzz as the Model 3. GM has thrown another preemptive strike as it delivers the first set of Bolt EVs right in Tesla’s backyard.
GM delivers its first set of Bolt EVs in Tesla’s backyard
Reuters reports that GM delivered units of the first batch Chevy Bolts to buyers in Fremont, CA. The delivery of the first batch of cars is not coincidental and it is a strategic move. To start with, Tesla Motors Inc has its assembly plant in Fremont and the Model 3 is being built out of the Fremont plant. An important tidbit to note is that, GM used to own the Fremont plant that Tesla now calls home.
Tesla has a cult-like following in Fremont CA and any EV brand other than a Tesla might look like an alien craft on the streets of the city. GM built the Chevy Bolt in its Detroit plant but the fact that deliveries started in Fremont is a thinly-veiled attempt to shade Tesla and its unpopular reputation of missing deadlines. The Model 3 won’t be on the roads until late 2017 and now GM’s Bolt is claiming a full year head start in getting EVs to the mass market.
On Tuesday, we observed that buyers are the winners in the battle between the Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt. People who need an EV now might find it easier to buy the Chevy Bolt instead of waiting until the end of 2017 for the Model 3. However, you should note that GM only delivered 3 units of the Bolt yesterday.
The firm says it has more Bolts in transit to buyers in California and Oregon who can expect delivery by the end of this month. Buyers in Mid-Atlantic states should expect the car in showrooms any time from Feb. 2017. Buyers in the rest of the U.S. can expect to see the Bolt in their showrooms by June 2017.
The Chevy Bolt is not a rival to Tesla’s Model 3
GM deserves kudos for bringing the Chevy Bolt to the market in good time. The Bolt is a decent mass-market EV priced at $37,495 before taxes and it has a range of 238 miles on a single charge. However, I don’t think that GM is setting up the Bolt to be a rival to Tesla’s Model 3.
To start with, the Model 3 starts at $35,000 before taxes – options could push the price much higher – but a $35k model 3 looks like a better option than a $37K Bolt. For one, Tesla Motors Inc Model 3 is coming to the market to rival compact German luxury sedans such as Mercedes Benz C class and Audi A4. The Bolt however doesn’t seem to have a DNA for luxury.
More so, Elon Musk has said that ALL is cars will be equipped with self-driving hardware going forward. Hence, we can reasonably expect the Model 3 to have a proven self-driving system. In contrast, GM is still on the drawing board in looking for how to provide self-driving tech in its cars.