Chevy Sonic EV Limited To Just 1,800 Units?



Earlier this month it was reported that GM is working on a Chevy Sonic EV with a 200-mile driving range and a price tag around $30,000. A follow-up report has revealed a few new details about the Chevy Sonic EV, including the likelihood of extremely limited production numbers.

Citing an unnamed source inside the industry, Green Car Reports learned that a supplier has received an initial production volume order of just 1,800 units over two years. That’s a pitifully low number, and while it may represent only the initial rollout, it sounds more like GM is building themselves yet another compliance car. That’s a shame, because with a similar range but lower price to the Tesla Model III, GM could have built themselves a legitimate contender for the EV crown.

The new electric car isn’t likely to debut until late 2015 or early 2016 at the soonest, with production beginning later that year. In the meantime, the Chevy Spark EV will continue in its role as a short-range stopgap against the rising tide of competitor’s electric cars. With the next Nissan LEAF said to offer optional battery sizes and up to 150 miles of driving range per charge, the Chevy Spark’s comparably paltry 82-mile range will leave it looking outdated almost overnight.

Why would GM build a competitive EV, only to limit sales so severely? Perhaps they don’t want to distract from the enthusiasm for the upcoming 2016 Chevy Volt, which will also offer a number of upgrades over the current model. Customers have let GM know that they want more room and more electric driving range, and rather than cannibalize Volt sales, the Sonic EV will serve to allow GM to skirt zero-emissions vehicle regulations in California.

Maybe the 200-mile electric driving range is exaggerated? Tesla seems to think that is the magic number for a mass market, affordable EV, and GM execs have already come out and admitted that the Cadillac ELR is no competitor for the mighty Model S. Is there another, secret electric vehicle in the works at GM?

Or maybe it isn’t a Sonic EV at all; maybe this new 200-mile electric car is going to be a Cadillac instead, a genuine electric car meant to compete head-to-head with Elon Musk’s Silicon Valley automaker. That would make a lot more sense given the low production volume, especially if it is designed to be a range-topping halo car.
This latest revelation really does create more questions than it answers

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • WeaponZero

    Now watch it be limited to California only. That is kind of the problem when your main business (ICE) conflicts with innovations.

  • Rich

    Will I buy a Tesla model 3 or a Chevy Sonic EV in the same price range?
    Well …
    Tesla = an American company and American built car
    GM = global company and who knows where the Sonic will be built.
    Tesla = a company trying to build the highest quality car they can
    GM = actively engaged in planned obsolescence
    Tesla = a push to free America from the enslavement of Oil
    GM = not that

    I’ll take 2 x Tesla Model 3’s.

    • Ha, indeed. Frankly, once the Model III hits, other manufacturers are going to be hard-pressed. Brand, baby, brand.

  • I thought GM wanted to sell 500,000 EV’s by 2017?

  • shecky vegas

    Why anyone would believe anything spewing out of GM’s pie hole anymore is beyond me. Those rat-bastards only want to sell gas-sucking trucks to the US and everything else to China.

  • Garry G. Ballard

    Here we go again. GM has never been a leader in design. They always seem to do what seems safe and never comes out with anything progressive in design.They just seen to be baiting us, but for what reason?

    • Offgridman

      To be fair this isn’t a case of GM baiting us, there have been no reveals or statements from GM. Just speculation and rumor coming from various blogs pulled into a fantasy of what the author hopes will happen.

      • Christopher DeMorro

        A fair point to be sure, but in the past GM has protected cars like the Corvette from being overshadowed by faster, more powerful vehicles (Buick GNX, anybody?) GM has invested a lot into the Volt, but it’s worked with outside companies like A123 Systems and LG Chem for their EVs. So yeah, it’s all just speculation right now, but when it comes to GM, I wouldn’t put anything past them…and I have two Chevy’s in my driveway these days.

    • danwat1234

      They were a leader in designing the Volt, but they’ve been horrible at marketing it