Chevrolet Bolt Becomes Best-Selling EV in California

Author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

Tesla's electric vehicles — the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 — are some of the most recognizable EVs on the road, but when it comes to California, the machines aren't as popular as one would expect. 

Bolt Comes Out On Top

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chevrolet Bolt was the most popular vehicle in California last year. The outlet claims that a total of 13,487 Bolts were either sold or leased in the state in 2017. In comparison, only 11,813 Model S sedans were sold or leased. 

The popularity of General Motor's electric vehicle isn't all that surprising, as the Bolt's price tag is a lot more attractive. The entry-level Model S starts at $74,500 (without any incentives), while the Bolt costs a much more reasonable $37,495. That's almost half as much as the Model S. And while some may think that the Model S would be more popular because of its range, the two vehicles aren't that far off — the Model S has a range of 259 on a single charge, while the Bolt boasts a range of 238 miles. 

Where the Model S handedly beats the Bolt, though, is when it comes to its self-driving capabilities. In 2016, Tesla introduced the second generation of Autopilot — Autopilot 2.0 — that features 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors, a forward radar, and an electric assist braking system. Unfortunately, that kind of technology isn't cheap, and is another contributing factor to how expensive Tesla's vehicles are. 

Tesla, though, did have the third-most popular vehicle, as well, with the Model X SUV that accounted for 6,910 sales or leases. 

Other popular electric vehicles in California included the Fiat 500, Nissan Leaf, and Volkswagen Golf. Those vehicles accounted for 4,943, 4,418, and 3,202 new sales or leases last year respectively. 

Tesla may kick the Bolt out of its number one spot with the Model 3, which costs $35,000 and has a range of roughly 220 miles. Quality issues and a slow-down in production could be large roadblocks for the electric automaker. 

Electrified Vehicles Are On The Rise

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, new EV registrations rose by 30.4 percent over 2016, hitting a high of 51,225. Sales and leases of plug-in hybrids, rose, as well, by 29.5 percent, hitting 44,962. Regular hybrids, though, weren't as popular. New registrations for those vehicles fell by 4.9 percent. 

The outlet states that electric vehicles account for approximately 2.5 percent of new car registrations in California. Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, account for approximately 2.2 percent. Standard hybrids account for 4.6 percent. 

"While an increase in green vehicle sales is positive for California and our environmental goals, the reality is consumers still largely prefer gasoline powered vehicles," said California New Car Dealers Association 

Chairperson, Taz Harvey. "Issues like convenience, affordability, range and choice are all significant factors."

Automakers continue to improve electric vehicles by expanding range and making them more affordable, which should help make battery-powered machines more popular year after year. 

via: San Francisco Chronicle

Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
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