Chevy Bolt Battery Fiasco Costs GM Its EV Sales Lead Over Ford


General Motors may have been the first of Detroit’s Big Three to dive headlong into electric vehicles, but its exuberance has come at a price. Problems with LG Chem batteries in the Chevy Bolt EV have given them a propensity to overheat, causing fires that have forced GM to warranty the battery of every Bolt sold since 2019. The cleanup has been a nightmare for GM—and an opportunity for Ford, which on the back of the Mustang Mach-E is reportedly surging toward the EV sales lead in Detroit this year.

Citing a note Morgan Stanley sent to clients Monday, Business Insider reports Ford is on track to sell more EVs than GM in 2021. The Blue Oval reportedly notched up 21,703 EV sales at the end of October to GM’s 24,810. As Bolt production will remain offline until early 2022, Ford’s momentum is estimated to carry to 27,399 sales, or almost 3,000 beyond what’s effectively GM’s stopping point for the year.

Though GMC Hummer EV production commenced in late November, it has no hope of saving GM’s lead. Its assembly lines will need time to build steam, and even when they do, the Hummer EV will remain a low-volume halo product, especially at the $100,000+ price tag GM demands for Edition 1 models. It’ll simply never sell in the same volume as the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, which starts around $40,000 and enters production next spring.

Between Bolt problems that will extend into 2022 and the launch of the Lightning, Morgan Stanley predicts Ford’ll maintain its EV lead through 2022, though it won’t be top dog forever. Come 2025, Morgan Stanley analysts expect GM to once again outstrip Ford and sell 600,000 EVs that year to 473,000 for Ford. The Lightning, after all, won’t have the electric work truck market to itself forever—not with the Chevy Silverado EV on the way.

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