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Tesla isn’t the only one struggling to manufacture cheap electric cars

Published May 3rd, 2018 11:34PM EDT
Chevy Bolt vs Tesla Model 3 2018: delivery date, details

Unless you have studiously avoided the internet for the last 12 months, you’ve probably run into the dispute over Tesla’s production of the cheap-and-cheerful Model 3 at some point. Although demand for the Model 3 isn’t a problem for Tesla, its well-documented struggles to produce enough vehicles (and do so cheaply) has Tesla running out of cash at an alarming rate.

But as it turns out, making cheap electric cars isn’t just a Tesla problem. Bloomberg reports that sales of the Chevy Bolt, General Motors’ rival to the Model 3, are down 19 percent in the last month, and inventory problems are to blame.

“We were extremely tight on inventory” GM spokesperson Jim Cain told Bloomberg,citing rising sales as the reason why supply is low. “That’s why we’re increasing production,” he said. Battery constraints were unsurprisingly blamed for the slow production ramp-up, something that analysts have long suggested will be a problem with electric car production. Tesla is trying to solve that particular issue with scale, with its new Gigafactory dedicated to producing battery cells for the company’s cars.

GM averaged sales of almost 1,500 Bolts per month in the first quarter, according to Guggenheim Securities analyst Emmanuel Rosner, but have since dropped to 1,000. Rosner blamed some of the slowdown on the availability of the Model 3 at the same price point, although new customers for the Model 3 will be waiting over a year for delivery at this stage.