Well, what are we waiting for?

VTrux grilleI’ve told many clients that if GM offered a Volt-like plug-in hybrid (or fully electric) pickup truck, I’d be a rich man. The rich part, of course, is in jest, but it would mean a serious uptick in plug-in vehicle adoption, in my humble opinion. Imagine a fully electric Chevy Colorado…

The dealership I work for, Classic Chevrolet, is the North Texas service center for Via Motors‘ extended range pickup truck. I’ve been waiting, since Spring of 2014, for the ability to sell one of their trucks. I’ve ridden in one. It was a full-sized Chevy Silverado, crew cab and it was wonderful. Still, I wait…VTrux

Now, several electric trucks have been announced, by various manufacturers. Here are a few:

It is obvious that there are manufacturers that want to pursue this market. For the 2018 model year, Chevy is rumored to be introducing the eAssist Silverado, a V8-powered “mild hybrid” (think Malibu Hybrid, not Volt). It is estimated to get an estimated 13% increase in fuel economy, compared to a non-hybrid Silverado.

When will this market take shape???VTrux solar

May 2017 Sales Numbers

May 2017 plug-in vehicle sales were up, for the vehicles I track, with one exception, and that exception was only very slightly down. In the three previous years, my May sales were great, qualifying me for bonuses from GM. This May, I struggled to sell only two vehicles, making this the worst first five months of the year I’ve had, since my first full year in this business, 2014. Traffic, both phone and on site, are markedly down.

The silver lining to the disaster of May 2017 was Bolt EV orders. Electric Avenue has received deposits for fifteen Bolt EVs. Two of those clients have asked me to hang onto their deposits, while they wait for better timing and one cancelled, in favor of the Volt. Then decided to not get the Volt.

The new month has started off so well, that I have already beaten last month’s crappy performance, with two Volt sales. One of the Bolt EV orders, mentioned above, occurred on the 1st of June. That particular order was interesting. The client had been to two other Chevy dealerships, looking to get an inbound Bolt EV reserved for himself. One dealership seemed completely disinterested and said they weren’t sure they were going to carry Bolt EV. One said they’d have one, that matched his criteria within six weeks (I doubt that’s possible).The client stated, from the very beginning of our discussion, “Whoever gets it in first wins.

Then he walked into Electric Avenue. We have a Bolt EV here, which is on loan to us from an owner. We cannot sell it, but we can show it off and test drive it. I checked our incoming inventory (35 Bolt EVs, including 12 ordered for clients) and did not find one that matched his criteria. After the test drive, we discussed the reasons why the one dealership said they probably would not carry Bolt EV, and I pointed out to him that not only were we going to have them in large (for Texas) quantities, but that we had designated a building specifically for EV & hybrid sales. I explained that we spent tens of thousands of dollars to make an environment for buyers of these vehicles, that is completely different than any other sales building on the premises, and was modeled after my experience working at Apple Retail. I closed with, “When it comes time to get your Bolt EV, support the dealership that is supporting you.” He immediately decided to place a deposit and order his Bolt EV from me.

Here are the May 2017 sales figures, compared to the previous month:

  • Chevy Volt: UP 1% (1,817 vs. 1,807)
  • Chevy Bolt EV: UP 21% (1,566 vs. 1,292)
  • Nissan Leaf: UP 31% (1,392 vs. 1,063)
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 5% (1,908 vs. 1,819)
  • Tesla Model S: UP 44% (1,620 vs. 1,125) **estimated
  • Tesla Model X: UP 142% (1,730 vs. 715) **estimated
  • BMW i3: DOWN 2% (506 vs. 516)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: UP 10% (1,000 vs. 905)
  • Ford C-Max Energy: UP 27% (950 vs. 749)
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric: UP 295% (75 vs. 19) ** My figures in last month’s summary mistakenly were for all Ioniqs, not just the electric that I intended to focus on…

In May, the average price of gasoline was down 2% compared with the previous month, dropping sharply, until the 14th of the month. Then, the price rose steadily, with one sharp dip, until the end of the month, finishing at $2.38.

May 2017 Sales NumbersAs I mentioned earlier, in May I only had two sales for the month. To show exactly what kind of disaster 2017 has been for me so far, take a look at the graph below. The red bars are the months of 2017. Notice how thin they are, compared to the other colors? It has become obvious that we should not have moved into the new building (which gets very low traffic) until Bolt EVs started to arrive.Buzz's Sales By Month

My May sales were comprised of one Z06 Stingray one Silverado 1500. I did not sell a single Volt, so although the Volt continues to be my most popular vehicle, it lost ground to my 2nd- and 3rd-best selling vehicles.Buzz's Vehicle Sales By Model

Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were up with only two exceptions, the Tesla Model S and the Ford Fusion Energi.

  • Chevy Volt: DOWN 4% (1,817 vs. 1,901)
  • Chevy Bolt EV: (was not available in May 2016)
  • Nissan Leaf: UP 42% (1,392 vs. 979)
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 47,500% (1,904 vs. 4) **previous generation Prius plug-in, dying out last May
  • Tesla Model S: UP 35% (1,620 vs. 1,200)
  • Tesla Model X: UP 8% (1,730 vs.1,600)
  • BMW i3: DOWN 27% (506 vs. 696)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 31% (1,000 vs. 1,453)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: UP 77% (950 vs. 538)
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric: (was not available in May 2016)

We’ll always have Paris…well, no. We won’t.

Paris vs. Big OilThe Trump administration today backed out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which had all but two countries of the entire planet as signatories. This action starts a process that will take until 2020 to complete. During his campaign, Trump had claimed that climate change was a non-issue, created by the Chinese to make American manufacturing less competitive in world markets.

Of course, today’s news comes as no surprise. Trump’s selection of the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, benefitted from campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry. Lobbyists, from the fossil fuel industry, drafted letters that Pruitt sent out on state stationery, when he was Oklahoma Attorney General. He sued the EPA, repeatedly to stop implementation of environmental protection rules. On the campaign trail, Trump said he wanted to get rid of the EPA and/or slash its number of employees, making it ineffective. The EPA, under Pruitt, has removed all mention of global climate change from the agency’s website.

On Trump’s first foreign trip, during his stop at the Vatican, the Pope gave Trump a copy of his encyclical on climate change, as a gift. I have to wonder if that embarrassing incident caused Trump to dig in his heels, even more, with regards to the Paris accord…

Now, it’s up to each of us, to save the planet. At the state and local level, we must push for changes to reduce carbon emissions. Local governments need vehicles. They should be looking at hybrids and EVs, where they are appropriate. Government buildings should be topped with solar panels or wind turbines.

We, as consumers, have the power to drive or accelerate change to reduce greenhouse gases. Your wallet is a powerful weapon. If you have the ability to shop for your electricity provider, select one who uses renewable energy, instead of coal or natural gas. I did this over 16 years ago, by switching to Green Mountain Energy. In the beginning, I paid a little more for this. Now, they are very competitive with other, non-renewable energy providers.

If you’re a homeowner, consider adding solar panels to your home. Generate your own, pollution-free electricity from the sun. Lately, I’ve seen companies advertise that they are building solar farms and will provide electricity at a flat, monthly rate to those who cannot put solar panels on their residence (apartment dwellers, those who don’t have good southern exposure, renters, etc.).

When you’re out shopping, select vendors who are making changes to be environmentally responsible. If they have chargers for electric vehicles, hybrid delivery vehicles, solar panels on the business, frequent their establishment and make sure the manager/owner knows that their behavior is what made you their customer.

Recycle as much of your trash as possible. The more we can recycle materials, rather than make them from scratch, the less pollution we generate and the less room we’ll take up in landfills.

Drive a vehicle that is appropriate. If your daily commute is you, alone in a vehicle, do you really need that large SUV? Wouldn’t a hybrid, electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle work? There are tax incentives (for now, at least). Take advantage of them! Ask your friends, who have these cars, what the pros and cons are. If you have a large family, that requires a large vehicle, use that room to carpool, reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Take mass transit, if possible. Is this convenient? Maybe not. Suffering from lung disease isn’t either.

Most importantly, make sure your elected officials know that environmental stewardship is important to you. Call, write, email them. Let them know this is a primary way you’ll determine who you’ll vote for, and then VOTE! There are many hot-button issues that the politicians use to keep us divided. The pro-life/women’s rights argument has swayed many an election. Ask yourself, “How many babies will struggle to breathe, if we abandon effective environmental stewardship?” One of my daughters struggled every time there was an ozone alert in our area. It sounded like she had whooping cough. It was agonizing for us. “How many babies will starve to death, if we create a new dust bowl?” If you are really concerned about the fate of the unborn, this should be an important issue for you, as well.

Nothing can change a politician’s actions quite as quickly as the threat of impending unemployment. Organize and push for term limits for Congress. Most elected officials today have one, most important issue, with which they’re concerned. It’s keeping that cushy job, in Washington. It takes a lot of money to get elected. They can spend all their time trying to get small, individual donations, or they can have a few dinners for their wealthy contributors and rake in the cash. Then they have become a minion of these donors. Someone like Bernie Sanders only comes around rarely. Most politicians take the easy way out and sell their influence for campaign donations.

But, you already knew this.

Start to act on it.

This behavior only exists because we allow it to exist. We are part of the problem. Instead of complaining about our elected officials’ corruption and short-sightedness, look in the mirror. Change starts with you.

Memorial Day in the car biz

Memorial Day Ad with Bolt EVMany of you like to get your new vehicle, during a holiday. You have plenty of time to shop and bringing a new car home is a great way to celebrate. In the car sales business, most dealers are open their usual hours and all hands are on deck, anticipating crowds. This is true of Classic Chevrolet, as well.

One thing is different in our ad, this weekend: The Chevrolet Bolt EV is featured in the ad’s banner! We began officially taking orders and have fifteen on order now. Eight of those already have deposits on them, as they were custom-ordered for clients. Based on normal order turn-around, I am hopeful our Bolt EV orders will arrive before the 4th of July.

If you’re in the DFW area, come on by and visit the “EVangelists” of Electric Avenue.2 Bolts at EA

P.S. An owner dropped the Bolt EV here so people can check it out and test drive it, before they’ll be common, in Texas!

Bolt EV orders go live with GM!

Electric Avenue EV & Hybrid Sales Center: (817) 310-1025

Electric Avenue at Classic ChevroletBolt EV enthusiasts:

As you may have read, Classic Chevrolet, in Grapevine, Texas has invested tens of thousands of dollars to create a building for EV & Hybrid enthusiasts. We call it Electric Avenue and it’s the first building, dedicated to EVs & hybrids, at any Chevy dealership of which I am aware. It’s a place you can go to get your questions answered, test drive the Chevy Volt, Bolt EV and Malibu Hybrid, while talking with salespeople well-versed in these fantastic vehicles.

The biggest complaint in EV/hybrid forums, is that you (the customer) know more about these vehicles than the salesperson. We are the cure to that ailment! Our “EVangelists” live, eat and breathe EVs & hybrids.

Need answers about the Federal Income Tax Credit? We can help.

How about electric drivetrain warranty coverage? Got it covered.

Want to talk to someone who has been driving Chevy Volts for five years? Come on down!

Wondering how much it costs or how long it takes to charge a plug-in vehicle? Just ask us!

We did this for you.

Now, I have a big favor to ask: Come check out our inventory. Test drive the Volt, Bolt EV or Malibu Hybrid. I mean really test drive, so we can really discuss performance and features. Spread the word to your friends. If anyone says they are considering an EV or hybrid PLEASE, send them our way! We’ll take good care of them.

We sell everything Chevrolet makes. We have to make a living! But our hearts are in the electric side of things. Help us move the revolution in transportation forward!

Bolt EV orders are going in!

Bolt BadgeAs I mentioned in my previous post, Texans may now order the Bolt EV. Several of the Bolt EV fans, around here, have placed orders with us and all these first orders have gone active, in the GM ordering system. They are all in “preliminary” status, awaiting their slot in production.

Chevy Bolt and BuzzWhat we do not know yet, is if the earlier-than-planned order acceptance means we’ll receive the first Bolt EVs a month early. I am now very optimistic that the first will arrive in July (oh, please. oh, please. oh, please.).

Our two CCS fast chargers have arrived, but are not yet installed.

and now the wait begins…

Magenta Bolt

I can dream of wilder colors, can’t I???

At long last, the Bolt EV & Texas

Chevy Bolt EVIt had to happen sooner or later. I’m just grateful it happened ahead of schedule. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is now available to order, at dealers in the great state of Texas!

Yes, Texas is my home state.

We’ve been making a list and checking it…often. Now that the day has come, we are receiving deposits from those interested in getting the Bolt EV as soon as possible…or at least as quickly as you can in Texas.

If you’d like to get a spot on the list or want to test drive a Bolt EV, as soon as possible, call one of Classic Chevrolet’s EVangelists at (817) 310-1025.