On Wednesday, General Motors announced, as expected, that it became the second automaker to pass the federal government’s 200,000-vehicle threshold, kicking off a three-month countdown to a chopped tax incentive. The Bolt will no longer be eligible for a tax credit come April. The Volt will be discontinued in March and won’t live long enough to see the incentive cut.
The momentous moment came near the end of 2018, Automotive News reports, meaning a full quarter must pass before buyers stand to lose the $7,500 incentive offered on the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt and Volt. Come April, Bolt and remaining Volt buyers stand to receive just $3,750. Six months after that, the credit halves again then vanishes.
Of course, General Motors execs probably aren’t toasting this green car milestone, as, much like Tesla (and Mitsubishi in Ontario), it will now have to resort to sweetening the MSRP pot on the manufacturer side. Then again, depending on the Bolt’s profitability, maybe a customer disincentive is a good thing for GM finances.
After passing the 200,000-eligible-vehicle mark in July, Tesla saw its full tax credit disappear on New Year’s Day, forcing the company to slash stickers by $2,000 across the board. Next in line to start the countdown is Nissan.
In base LT guise, the Bolt uses federal generosity to lower its MSRP five bucks below the $30k barrier. A halved credit puts the Bolt LT’s base price at $33,745. The improved 2019 Volt, condemned to death via falling sales (an affliction shared with its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly factory mates) retails for $34,395 after delivery but before the $7,500 credit. It’s because of the Volt’s generous, 53-mile range that the car, which still packs a 1.5-liter four-cylinder for longer trips, qualifies for the full kitty.
Despite claiming its future lies in electric propulsion and computer control, GM’s short-term worries must lie with competitors who fall well below the tax credit threshold — most notably Hyundai, whose Kona EV crossover goes 258 miles between turns at the plug. The entry price for that vehicle, after incentives? An attractive $28,950.
A version of this article first appeared on TTAC