What kind of people buy a Bolt and what kind a Model 3.

What kind of people buy a Bolt and what kind a Model 3.

It should be clear people who buy the Bolt are mostly previous Leaf, Volt and Prius PHEV owners. OK maybe throw in one or two previous Model S or i3 owners. On the other hand for Model 3 it may have some buyers from that group but majority of new owners will be coming from BMW, Audi or Acura. BMW 3 series is tremendously popular among young people here in the Silicon Valley. Everyone except one of the half dozen BMW owners in my office has a M3 reservation. None of them even care what the Bolt is. They want a cool car not just an electric car. That's just the way it is. Any Bolt and Model 3 comparison without taking note of this fact is pointless.

topher | 7 februari 2017

Nope. Totally disagree. A lot of previous Tesla owners and a lot of 'green car' owners are what I see in the Model 3 line. Not so many 'prestige cars'.

Assuming that your guess is a fact, and comparison is pointless without it, just demonstrates closed thinking.

Thank you kindly.

SamO | 7 februari 2017

Astroturfer mating call . . .

KP in NPT | 7 februari 2017

LMAO seriously, SamO.

CarlK, do. we really need another platform for our resident troll?

carlk | 7 februari 2017

Well how many "prestige car" owners have you talked to? Not saying green car owners are not among the buyers but there are just so many of them out there that's hardly enough to make up even the 400K reservation Tesla already got. Like I said I personally know many "prestige car" owners who have Model 3 reservation but they will not be interested in the Bolt.

Oh other than those BMW guys my sister who drives a Porsche Macan, and a Boxter before that, has one reserved through me too.

carlk | 7 februari 2017

Sorry guys I don't come here that often but you should also know I never shy away from a troll.

Coastal Cruiser. | 7 februari 2017
Red Sage ca us | 7 februari 2017

Cool car, sure. Prestige car, not so much for me. Lots of things can make a car 'cool', though.

akgolf | 7 februari 2017

We currently have a Leaf and a Prius in the family and need a car that you can take on long trips without taking a month off, that would be a Tesla.

Jcastillo18 | 7 februari 2017

I have a Prius and a Ford Edge I'm getting a model 3 but as previous owners say I need a vehicle for long distance so Model 3 will be one car the other one will be an SUV hybrid

Jcastillo18 | 7 februari 2017

I have a Prius and a Ford Edge I'm getting a model 3 but as previous owners say I need a vehicle for long distance so Model 3 will be one car the other one will be an SUV hybrid

swingshiftworker | 7 februari 2017

LOL! What nonsense.

I just leased a Bolt and don't plan to cancel my M3 reservation yet.

I also own a BMW 335i. It's as faster than almost every other car on the road. My other car is a Toyota MR2 - a true 2 seat convertible sports car. On the other hand,. I have previously leased/owned 2 different Priuses, a Porsche and a Mercedes.

I'm also 66 years old and am long past being in the "young" demographic that the OP claims would be most interested in the BWM Series 3 car that I already own or the M3.

So much for tying to differentiate between people who "buy" a Bolt vs an M3.

carlk | 7 februari 2017

I came from Porsche but I own no ICE at this moment and likely will never own another one. We have an S and an X also two 3 reservations but have not decided if we will keep one for ourselves. I don't know where you are located but Model S/X and BMW are dime a dozen in this area. Almost every BMW 3/5 series owners I know want a Tesla, no kidding. 335i or M3 is slow compares to a Tesla and they all know that too. @swings you probably don't know what a quick car Tesla is from the statement you made

carlk | 7 februari 2017

Missed to mention they all want a Model S if they could afford one. The M3 is like god sent for them.

Frank99 | 7 februari 2017

I think the Model 3 has a very broad demographic - from those who aren't sure how they're going to pay for it, to those for whom it may be half the cost of any car they've bought in the last decade. There are people like me who've never had a car with an electric motor bigger than a starter motor, and those who've had almost every EV/HEV since the EV-1. That's what's remarkable about it.

carlk | 7 februari 2017

Wosniak is a Prius owner too.

EaglesPDX | 7 februari 2017

Was a Prius owner. He's got the Bolt for every day and the Tesla S for their road trips.

carlk | 7 februari 2017

Should say was.

carlk | 7 februari 2017

You beat me to it.

Frank99 | 7 februari 2017

E -
Can you quantify what "a lot of Tesla owners" means? You read two or three threads? How about a listing of all the Tesla owners who've traded in for Bolts - I'll even let you count Woz. That's one.

carlk | 7 februari 2017

Add one more observation none of those BMW owners is interested in i3 either.

No offense to @swingshiftworker but 66 years old BMW 3 series driver is just not very typical. Those people usually either drive a Mercedes, Lexus or 7 series if not transitioned to Tesla.

mntlvr23 | 7 februari 2017

Here is some relevant, but non-scientific data:

A very quick scroll through my old "Cars You Have Owned" thread - reveals that the M3 reservers who responded are about: half upscale car owners versus half hybrid/Volt and lower/mid end owners.

Coastal Cruiser. | 7 februari 2017

I think I'm going to buy a Bolt and a Model 3. I'll use the 3 for long trips and to pick up chicks, and the Bolt as a local runabout. (The Deep Space 9 business model).

In fact, I think I'm going to run for President in the next election.

My campaign motto will be: "A Thorium reactor in every neighborhood... and two electric cars in every garage."

Efontana | 7 februari 2017

I don't understand prestige.

I do understand utility.

I do understand greatness.

People who buy a Bolt care about utility.
People who buy a Model 3 care about great design (and a charging network).

sbeggs | 7 februari 2017

@Coastal Cruiser,

Deep Space Nine, good one!

Red Sage ca us | 7 februari 2017

Well, if we are talking about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, then the Model ≡ is the DEFIANT, no doubt!

bj | 7 februari 2017

I'm a Leaf owner and will keep it when I get my Model 3, which will replace my ICE family car. Model 3 will easily be the most expensive car I have ever purchased. In fact, the amount of money I will spend on Model 3 I would never spend on an ICE.

I don't think the generalisations in the OP are particularly insightful or helpful.

carlk | 7 februari 2017

Read my op carefully. I did not say Leaf owners do not buy Model 3. I only said in addition to current EV owners many BMW, Audi or Acura owners are interested in buying the Model 3.

slasher0016 | 8 februari 2017

I think the OP has some truth to it, I just don't know how much. But I can only speak for myself. Here's my story: I have only interest in a Tesla as an electric car. My current cars are 2005 Honda S2000 (summer/sports car), and 2013 Audi S4. None of my cars are even remotely "green". They are both very performance oriented, with the Audi also luxury oriented. I have less than zero interest in a Leaf, Volt, Bolt, Prius, etc. They aren't compelling to me as just "green/electric" vehicles.

The Model 3 appeals because it is going to be technology-focused, performance-oriented, luxury-oriented, and with a bonus no more gas stations and much less maintenance. There's literally no way I'd ever buy a bolt (or an electric car that isn't compelling.) The upcoming Audi electrics have me intrigued but without a doubt my first electric will be a Tesla.

dd.micsol | 8 februari 2017

Prius 28k
model 3 - 35k - 7500 if you got the order in on time and completely green car.
hmmm... seems simple to me.
Or 113,000m is the break even point between the 2 if you don't get an incentive at all.
I plan on keeping mdl 3 for 20yrs. At the rate I drive that'll be appox 689k miles.
Might be my last car ever if the steel frame doesn't rust out.

efodix | 8 februari 2017

I own an Alfa Romeo 156 V6, so I guess I'm close to the BMW 3 category. Also a Renault Clio (wife's car) and Citroen Ami 8.

I chose Model 3 over Bolt because..well..I actually want a cool car. Being electric is a plus, but it's not like I'd ever buy a Leaf or Prius.

andy.connor.e | 8 februari 2017

Its quite unwise to try to categorize people.

carlk | 8 februari 2017

People don't be so sensitive I'm not saying any one individual can or can not buy the 3. Along with @efodix's line taking out source of power as a factor it's an upgrade for BMW (or Audi, Acura, Lexus, Mercedes,...) owners to go to a Model 3 and a downgrade for them to go to a Bolt. It's just simple as that.

Jrcapache | 8 februari 2017

I am 68 and drive an Explorer Sport. 365 hp, twin turbo, adaptive cruise, all wheel drive etc. My next car must have all wheel drive, good power, sleek looks and technical sophistication. I want a BEV because I like the idea of trying to save the planet. I am tired of checking gas prices and am really tired of car dealers. My only option was to order a Model 3. I did sit in a Bolt at the local auto show but managed to get out before becoming nauseated.

bmalloy0 | 8 februari 2017

I'm driving a Mazda3, and counting the days until I can change those four middle letters.

mntlvr23 | 8 februari 2017

If you got rid of all of the middle letters, you would get - B.O. drives a M3

carlk | 8 februari 2017

A similar story. A coworker has been wanting a Model X for years buy his wife kept saying no. He ended up settled on a MDX. We all joke that he spent half the money and got half of a MoDel X.

Wimpy ti | 8 februari 2017

I've owned 6 BMW's over the past 10 years, and plan to replace my current 3 series daily driver with a model 3. I've also got a new Denali pickup that I'll consider replacing with Tesla's pickup when it is released.

Reason for switching from BMW to tesla? Performance, cost, & convenience. I drive ~120 miles/day, and the M3 will likely suit my needs perfectly. Many coworkers of mine are of similar mindsets. The lure of eventual full autonomy is also irresistible.

andy.connor.e | 9 februari 2017

I've owned a Toyota Yaris for 2 years. First car.

Reason for switching? I've only owned a car for 2 years, and im sick of the maintenance. Every 2-3 months im spending well over 200$ on junk for this engine, not even factoring in gasoline cost, which will only continue to go up and up and up over time. The only thing i'll need to constantly purchase for my Model 3 will be windshield washing fluid, and cabin air filter.

So if you want a boiled down version, the COST OF OWNERSHIP of an electric car is practically nothing compared to any gasoline car. So for my first car im going to purchase myself, i think its a great investment. And its a Tesla

swingshiftworker | 9 februari 2017


Sorry to hear about your bad experience w/the Yaris. Did you ever try to return it as a "lemon"? Probably too late now but it's quite an unusual story for a Toyota.

FWIW, I've owned 10 of them in my lifetime. 2 Camry's, 2 Priuses, 2 FJ Cruisers, a Matrix, a 4Runner and a Corolla plus an MR2 that I still own. Hardly ever had to repair or replace anything on any of them. Just normal maintenance every 6 months which is generally typical of Toyotas.

If you're expecting a better service experience w/a Tesla, you may be in for a rude awakening. Tesla's reliability has definitely improved in the last few years but it's initial reliability record was abysmal, especially w/the Model X and those fancy gullwing doors. Just consult Consumer Reports.

As with any "new" model, there will be bugs to work out. Hopefully, that won't be as much of the issue w/the M3, which won't have those "doors" and has the Model S experience to fall back on but don't be surprised if there are problems reported by early adopters when the car finally hits the showroom floor.

andy.connor.e | 9 februari 2017


As long as the "bugs" with the M3 are subject to Tesla working them out, thats fine. As long as i dont have to worry about the maintenance that goes with an ICE. Not pumping gas will be a good feeling.

Bluesday Afternoon | 9 februari 2017

By June, 2018, we'll have a pretty good idea of the impact the Model 3 makes based on sales. BMW 3 and Audi 4 sales/leases will decline but the question remains as to the level of the decline. Tesla has clearly stated their intent to compete against both.

"In fact, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has apparently cited the A4 and 3-Series as competition, according to The Street." Per Green Car Reports - March 29, 2016

Red Sage ca us | 9 februari 2017

swingshiftworker: I have consulted Consumer Reports for over 25 years. They place the same weight on misaligned stitching and curling floor mats as they do on engine failures or a door panel falling off in their reliability ratings. I would not.

carlk | 9 februari 2017

Simply Red You are right Elon has always been saying since day one that he's not making an EV, he's making the best car which happens to be an EV. His target audience has always been ICE owners.

Red Sage Consumer Reports to this day still does not, of does not want to, recognize how meaningless its rating system is. How could you come up with a not recommended rating from your (flawed) methodology when 98% of actual owners who you're trying to make a recommendation to say they would buy the car again?

carlk | 9 februari 2017

of does not want to=> or does not want to

jdanielp_uk | 9 februari 2017

My current transport is a bicycle (and buses and trains). If I follow my reservation through, I will become less green...

Haggy | 9 februari 2017

It used to be that an EV buyer was willing to get something odd looking, and accept the fact that performance and wouldn't be great, the trunk would be full of batteries and it would be overpriced compared to a similar sedan. The trade off was that it was an EV. Tesla changed the EV market in fundamental ways. They make cars that appeal to car enthusiasts and environmentalists, as opposed to ones shunned by the first group and accepted begrudgingly by the second.

The Bolt is somewhere in between. It adds the practicality of range. It has an accepted appearance and there are other cars on the market with that general shape. Compared to those, it's expensive. But those others lack the technology that a Bolt has. With a Bolt, you are getting a high tech version of something that looks like a cheaper car. There's nothing wrong with that. The traditional EV buyer might like it even better that way. It shows a commitment to putting their money where their mouth is rather than spending it on a sporty design. It also has a degree of practicality with a hatch and more headroom.

The Model 3 will be more about aesthetics and accompanying performance and features. It will be about being able to take long trips rather than being relegated to second car status. It will handle better, appear less quirky and have optional features that the Bolt will not have, but for a price. It won't be from what many see as a more mainstream company with a much more established set of dealerships and authorized repair facilities. It will be from a company that makes cars that haven't been seen in person by most people in a given area, while the Bolt will be from a company that has many cars on the road in the same given area.

There are also some people who are used to driving a compact crossover who will feel more comfortable with it for that reason. Others who never had anything like it might find the design too quirky.

Red Sage ca us | 9 februari 2017

carlk: It is Consumer Reports' methodology that resulted in poor results for Chevrolet Corvette and Hyundai Sonata for years, even though they were vastly better vehicles than the Chevette and Excel, respectively. They will score cars from a company in a punitive fashion for years after an offending vehicle has ceased manufacture. That strong influence of historical issues tends to bias perception somewhat. I'd prefer a particular vehicle were rated on its own merit. Historical views of overall quality for a manufacturer should be noted separately.

carlk | 9 februari 2017

Red Sage One problem with CR's auto review is it treats testing a car the same way as it is testing an appliance. Most people don't buy a car with the same mindset as buying a blender or toaster oven. There is a big emotional factor in buying a car above just for practicality. For people who are looking for a pure transportation they could still read the CR review. For the rest who are looking for a "car" they are better off to read those car magazines to learn about a car.

In the case of Model S review CR initially did put the emotional factor in there when they praised the car. I remember in their first video one of the test engineers said he would buy the car if he could afford it. However that was not accepted by its subscriber base and it backfired (you can read comments in there) so CR over-corrected in later reviews. They forgot, intentionally or unintentionally, to address why almost all owners loved their cars when their system produced a not recommended rating.

Efontana | 9 februari 2017

EVs are said to be greener than bicycles.

Coastal Cruiser. | 9 februari 2017

Since Consumer Reports is being mentioned quite a bit in this thread I wanted to pass on this CR anecdote. Most often when we read read something other than fiction its because we don't know everything about the topic. We're looking to further enlighten ourselves with new information, whatever the subject matter. We rely on the publication to provide accurate, fact checked, information.

But every once in a while you are reading about a subject that you happen to know a LOT about. What happens when the publisher prints something that you *know* to be inaccurate? For me, the trust bond is broken. Pretty much permanently. I had that happen with Mother Jones Magazine once, and I have never read a story from them again.

I also had it happen with CR. Years ago, back in the 90s, they published a special edition on how to buy a computer. A PC. As it happens I owned a business manufacturing IBM clone computers and therefore knew a few things (and actually had written a book on how to buy a PC). The CR report on how to buy a PC was the most laughable piece of trash I had ever seen.

Wildly inaccurate. Miserably articulated. Example: Everyone has heard of plug-and-Play (PnP)? It's a term, like "transistorized" that's died off from the lexicon because the technology became ubiquitous. Back then the term was still in use. CR bastardized the term, representing it as "Plug". I'm not kidding. They actually went to print with the article full of the term "Plug" in lieu of "Plug and Play".

"PCs use a method know as Plug to automatically installing new peripherals"

Like that.

I have never fully trusted CR since then.