The most remarkable thing about the Tesla Model 3 may not be the car itself, but the madness it’s creating. Tesla racked up 198,000 deposits for the new electric car in just 24 hours, and is now estimated to have more than 300,000 reservations booked. Many people put down deposits without even seeing the car.
So where does that leave the other 200-mile mainstream electric car that’s due to appear soon? General Motors isn’t worried about Tesla Model 3 mania, and isn’t even taking pre-orders for the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, according to Autoblog Green. The company has reportedly received some inquiries from customers, but won’t take orders until Bolt EV production starts later this year.
“We haven’t taken any. We don’t need to begin building our products,” GM spokesman Fred Ligouri said to Autoblog on the subject of pre-orders at a recent media event. Separately, Chevy spokesman Kevin Kelly said enthusiasm for the Model 3 could benefit the Bolt. GM views any interest in the Model 3 as something that “helps everybody,” he said.
While they both have the key combination of a 200-mile range (Tesla actually claims 215 miles for the Model 3), and a sub-$40,000 price tag, the Model 3 and Bolt EV differ significantly. The Tesla is supposed to be somewhat sporty and luxurious, while the Chevy is more sensible.
The Bolt EV will start at $37,500, but Chevy assumes most buyers will get a $7,500 Federal tax credit, dropping the price down to $30,000. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 before any government incentives are applied. The lower price is important, because it is much closer to meeting its production cap for the Federal tax credit than GM, so more Model 3 customers may not qualify for it.
A key difference between the cars is when they will be available. Chevy plans to start Bolt EV production before the end of this year, and has already built a few pilot vehicles. Model 3 production won’t start until late 2017, but Tesla has missed every one of its vehicle-launch deadlines so far. The company is also giving current owners priority, and will deliver cars on the West Coast first. So if you’re new to Tesla and live in, say, New York, you’re in for a pretty long wait.
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