Chevy Bolt EV: nationwide sales moved up to August for electric car

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, road test, California coastline, Sep 2016

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, road test, California coastline, Sep 2016

Enlarge Photo

A slow Chevrolet Bolt EV rollout across the U.S. has frustrated electric-car advocates in many states toward the end of the list.

While the first Bolt EVs were delivered in California last December, the last group wasn’t scheduled to receive their cars until September.

Now GM has moved that up by a month, opening orders nationwide as of June 1 and promising delivery across the country by August.

DON’T MISS: When can I buy a Chevy Bolt EV electric car? State-by-state schedule (Jan 2016)

That means even electric-car fans in GM’s home state of Michigan can now drive away in their 238-mile electric hatchbacks within six weeks or so.

The news comes courtesy of Steve Majoros, Chevy marketing director for cars and crossovers, as quoted Friday in industry trade journal Automotive News.

He revealed the new schedules at a Chevrolet marketing event in Nashville.

First 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV buyers, Fremont, California: Bobby Edmonds, Bill Mattos, Steve Henry

First 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV buyers, Fremont, California: Bobby Edmonds, Bill Mattos, Steve Henry

Enlarge Photo

GM opened ordering to dealers in the final group of states a month early, at the start of this month, he said.

That means that, depending on location and cars in the pipeline, they can take delivery of Bolt EVs sometime during August.

As it turned out, Majoros said, those dealers completed their training, tool deliveries, and installation of DC fast-charging stations slightly ahead of schedule.

ALSO SEE: First 2017 Chevy Bolt EV electric cars sold today, in California (Dec 2016)

While sales of the Bolt EV over the six months it’s been on the market have been respectable, they haven’t yet broken any records.

Chevrolet delivered 1,566 Bolt EVs last month, bringing the year’s five-month total to 5,950. Another 579 were sold in California and Oregon during December 2016.

The phased rollout, Majoros explained, was to ensure that Chevy didn’t disappoint buyers with shortages of the new car in specific, EV-friendly markets by launching in too many regions at once.

Image from 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric-car ad by Ourisman Chevrolet, Rockville, Maryland

Image from 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric-car ad by Ourisman Chevrolet, Rockville, Maryland

Enlarge Photo

That happened, he said, with the first Volt plug-in hybrid and the Spark EV, a compliance car only sold in a handful of states.

Once the car is available nationwide, Majoros suggested, Chevrolet will launch a “highly targeted” national advertising campaign for its electric car.

That targeting is likely to mean a strong presence in online sites and very specific media where Chevy’s buyer data shows electric-car fans, advocates, and likely shoppers are found.

CHECK OUT: How much is a replacement Chevy Bolt EV electric-car battery?

It remains unclear whether Chevrolet will market the Bolt EV to the far broader group of overall car buyers via national media like televised football games.

Instead, it is likely to rely on targeting very specific individuals, especially early on.

The Bolt EV is currently the sole mass-priced electric car with a rated range of 200 miles or more.

Limited deliveries of the Tesla Model 3 are expected to start during the second half of this year, and a new, second-generation Nissan Leaf should join the party in December or January.

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