In early February, Tesla announced that reservers waiting patiently for their base Model 3 sedan won’t receive their car until 2019, which represents a full-year delay. Now, they’re beginning to defect to the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV, Reuters reported last Friday.
Would-be owners have posted online detailing their frustration with the Model 3 delay and many are afraid they won’t receive their cars before the federal tax credit of $7,500 is depleted. Every automaker is eligible for the tax credits up to 200,000 vehicles sold. After the 200,000 mark, the credits enter a sunset period until they’re reduced to $0.
Many analysts expect Tesla to hit the 200,000 cap by this fall, which would leave thousands of Model 3 reservers without the government incentive. The $7,500 brings the Model 3’s $35,000 price under $30,000.
Chevrolet dealer Yev Kaplinskiy said his dealership in San Francisco sold 15 Bolt EVs in one weekend following the Tesla announcement.
“We ask them, ‘What other cars are you interested in?’ They’re mostly Tesla. But they want the car now. They don’t want to wait,” he told Reuters.
The brand also fired off a direct email to prospective customers following the Model 3 delay, which simply read: “Bolt EV: Now Available.”
Chevrolet sold 23,297 Bolt EVs in 2017. In comparison, Tesla assembled and delivered only 2,400 Model 3s in the fourth quarter of 2017. It built just 260 Model 3s in Q3 of 2017.
General Motors has two new electric cars less than 13 months away, and one will likely arrive as a more upscale alternative to the Bolt EV for the Buick brand. Meanwhile, Tesla set new production goals for itself in 2018. It hopes to build 2,500 of the sedans per week by the end of Q1 2018, and then increase production to 5,000 cars per week at the end of Q2 2018.