Chevy Bolt

How the Chevy Bolt stacks up against Tesla’s production capabilities

With Tesla Model 3 production ahead of schedule, it’s not hard for the mind to wander into how it stacks up against other EVs.

Right now, the Chevy Bolt has been marked as the Model 3’s biggest competition and, with the Bolt in Musk’s crosshairs and new details emerging about Model 3 production, Musk may be hoping that increased volume will act as the trigger-pull needed to beat out the Bolt.  

Production volume 

As announced early Monday, the Model 3 initial exponential production could result in 10,000 Model 3s produced per week by 2018. This projection could result in 500,000 Model 3s produced in 2018 alone.

The Chevy Bolt, which is being produced at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan, is on pace to produce around 90,000 vehicles per year, according to Reuters. This production number is significantly more cautious compared to the Model 3’s, which is aiming to be one of the highest produced electric vehicles in the nation. 

In addition to to a high production goal, it’s widely reported that nearly 400,000 pre-orders have already been received for the Model 3, a number that dwarfs the Bolt’s deliveries for April at 1,929.

Production style

What makes the high-volume production of the Model 3 possible is Musk’s idea for vertically integrating both vehicle and battery production. This has resulted in both aspects of production increasing in tandem. As more Model 3s are produced, Gigafactories will continue to output lithium batteries to meet demand.

Musk thinks that that could mean over 500,000 batteries produced in 2018.

In comparison, LG Chem, the supplier of batteries for the Chevy Bolt, estimates that it will produce 30,000 batteries for the vehicle in 2017. So far it seems that the Bolt, while a sustainable and reliable option for a hatchback EV, is on a different playing field in terms of production.

Elon Musk estimates that 500,000 batteries will be produced for vehicles in 2018. Source: Tesla


The main challenge for Tesla’s production is clearly meeting the robust goals set by founder Elon Musk. Despite initial speculation pegging 2018 as the company’s roll out for half a million Model 3s, as vehicles are made and logistics tested, the truth will emerge on whether Musk’s vision will be successful.

If you asked Musk (or even Tesla fans), it would seem as though the possibility of reaching the Model 3 production goal is inevitable.

The Bolt’s challenges are almost directly opposite to Tesla’s. While initial sales of the vehicle have been strong, GM has struggled with inventory issues in the past. 

As Bolts continue to be sold, GM will have to meet the demand with increased production, something that could be difficult for a company that hasn’t prioritized high-volume logistics as much as Tesla.

Overall, it will be entertaining to watch the Model 3 and Chevy Bolt go toe-to-toe in the coming months. At the very least, it will certainly test Musk’s vertical production ideas. Based on Musk’s track record, he’s not one to shy away from the challenge.

How the Chevy Bolt stacks up against Tesla’s production capabilities
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