DETROIT – General Motors rode strong first-quarter sales of the Chevrolet Bolt to bump crosstown rival Ford out of second place in the U.S. electric vehicle sales race.
But GM's EV sales of 20,670 were still far below those of industry leader Tesla, which delivered more than 161,000 vehicles in the U.S. from January to March, according to estimates from Motorintelligence.com.
Ford sold only 10,866 EVs during the quarter, but the company said that's largely because it had to stop making the top-selling Mustang Mach-E electric SUV while it retooled a factory in Mexico to increase production. Spokesman Said Deep said the company didn't build Mach-Es for seven weeks during the quarter, cutting into sales.
Also, Ford was forced to stop making the F-150 Lightning electric pickup in February after a battery caught fire during a pre-delivery quality check. The problem was fixed and production resumed March 13.
Still, Ford's EV sales rose 41% above last year's first quarter, the company said Tuesday.
During the first quarter, GM delivered 19,700 of its top-selling EV, the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback and utility vehicle. Last year the company sold only 358 Bolts because available batteries had to be diverted to a recall of 142,000 older Bolts due to battery fires.
GM also sold 968 Cadillac Lyriq electric SUVs and two GMC Hummer EV pickups during the first quarter. Its EV sales were 44 times larger than the same quarter a year ago.
Volkswagen, which is in fourth place in U.S. EV sales with 9,758 deliveries of the ID.4 hatchback, came close to knocking Ford down two notches.
U.S. electric vehicle sales rose 48% from January through March to just over 258,000, accounting for 7.2% of new vehicle sales. Last year the EV share of the market was 5.8%, according to data gathered by Motorintelligence.