South Korea: Chevrolet Bolt EV vs. Hyundai Kona EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV vs Hyundai KONA Electric

In South Korea last month, Chevrolet sold 1.621 units of its Bolt EV while Hyundai sold 1.076 units of the Kona EV.

Both automakers expressed pride in their achievements, as we can see in their press releases.


Chevrolet Korea:

“Electric car bolt EV sales totaled 1,621 units, an increase of 4,056% over the previous year. The Bolt EV, which sold 1,014 units in the domestic market in May, continued its sales record for more than 1,000 units for two consecutive months and occupied a solid position in the domestic electric vehicle market.”


Hyundai Korea:

“On the other hand, the Kona EV, which started selling in earnest from last month, sold 1,076 units, and its standby capacity exceeded 15,000 units, causing a stir in the electric car market.”


Note that last month in the USA, Chevrolet only soldย 1.083 units of the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

It’s obvious that a compact hatchback like the Chevrolet Bolt EV is much more suitable for Asian and European customers than it’s for the USA’s electric car market. It’s a shame thatย GM didn’t go through with the plan of transforming Opel into a pure electric brand – instead of selling it to the PSA Group. Without supply constraints the Opel Ampera-e could easily be the best selling electric car in Europe, at least until the Tesla Model 3 or the 2019 Nissan Leaf arrive.

Anyway, both the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Hyundai Kona EV are currently enjoying their golden days in South Korea. But will it last? Could the upcoming Kia Niro EV surpass them both?

I guess that at the moment – with very limited offer to choose from – it isn’t the best electric car model that sells the most, but the one which is more readily available to bring home.



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Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. Iโ€™m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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3 years ago

Why do you think the Kia Niro might surpass them? Same platform as H Kona (the i30) bit of Kia may be a bit larger?

3 years ago

Thanks. I was leaning toward the Kia rather than the Kona due to size and that Kias tend to get better ratings.
However both figures look miniscule for a world market – compliance vehicles only. So a small market will like Australia might not get any.
Of course the Model Y would be preferable, but it did look for a while like these Koreans would be available a lot sooner. The VW ‘kombi’ might be here first? We have no choice but to wait to see.

3 years ago

> Chevrolet expects to sell only 5.000 Bolt EV in South Korea this year.

I would say “plans” rather than “expects”. As you rightly point out, they sell basically what they make. Of course that would not be true however many they made, but it seems likely it would still hold if they made twice as many, and maybe five times as many.

Seems clear it still just isn’t all that profitable to make EVs. I would have liked to see markets that actually worked – where it paid to act so as to optimize the resource use of a society. If polluters had to pay the cost of their polluting, EVs would have taken over sooner and faster.

Thankfully it does not seem to be more than half a decade or so before EVs will be cheaper even disregarding injury to the environment, reliablilty, safety and maintenance – in pure sticker price terms. And then the market will seem to be doing its job again, although that is purely by luck…