GM to Increase Chevy Bolt EV Production by 20 Percent

Production is going up because demand is going up.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

It might have been easy to miss, but global demand for the humble Chevrolet Bolt EV is growing quickly and quietly. Because of this growing demand for the electric compact, GM is ramping up production by 20 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018 to keep up. 

We heard back in March that Bolt production would be going up this year, but this is the first time we're hearing details.

According to GM's quarterly results, global sales for the Chevy Bolt are up more than 35 percent in the second quarter of 2018 and up more than 40 percent in the first half of the year compared to last year.

“Demand for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, especially in the United States, Canada, and South Korea, has outstripped production,” said GM U.S. vice president of sales operations Kurt McNeil in a press release. “The extra production coming on line should be enough to help us keep growing global Bolt EV sales, rebuild our U.S. dealer inventory and bring us another step closer to our vision of a world with zero emissions.”

The keyword here is “global” demand. U.S. demand for the Bolt hasn’t been so hot. Sales of the Chevy Bolt on its home turf are down 22.6 percent in Q2 compared with the year-ago period, but up a modest 3.5 percent in the first half of 2018.

One of the reasons for the increased demand of the Bolt EV is simply greater availability in more markets. The folks who have been wanting an affordable EV with a 238-mile range since the Bolt first launched in California in late 2016 might just now have their first opportunity to buy one.

Sadly, good news for the Bolt spells bad news for the Volt. The plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, which is in its second generation, is not having a good year so far in terms of sales. In the past quarter, Volt sales were down 19.2 percent from a year earlier and down 28.5 percent in the first six months of 2018 compared with the same period a year ago. The Bolt has steadily been outselling the Volt since summer of 2017 and the gap is getting even wider.