If Chevy are selling the Bolt at a loss that's rather stupid of them.... ?
It's one thing to run a company temporarily at a loss by investing in manufacturing capacity (as Tesla are doing with their Gigafactory etc) but you should not be selling an actual car at a loss, especially if you're not sure if the model will take off or not. Too risky. As far as I know individual Tesla's are sold at a healthy profit over manufacturing cost, the reason the company as a whole is still in the red is because they are investing so heavily in manufacturing capacity.
Bolt's are not selling well at all but as has been analysed elsewhere there are probably two main causes for that:
1) Rapid charging ability is not provided as standard, they nickle and dime you an extra $800 or so for rapid charging. So despite a 238 mile range per charge the base model without rapid charging is basically a 238 mile commuter car because if you were to attempt a road trip outside of a 238 mile round trip you're looking at 12 hours to recharge it on a Level 2 charger (at 25 miles per hour of charging) for the next leg of your journey. Unless you stop and charge overnight at a hotel, totally unusable for a road trip, in a country the size of the US.
Even if you do pay extra for the CCS rapid charging option the lack of CCS rapid chargers in large parts of the US means that the Bolt despite its huge range per charge is still useless for long distance trips in many states. Here is a picture of Rapid DC chargers in the US from plugshare.com:
There are entire states
like North and South Dakota, Wyoming that don't have a single
rapid charger installed. And large parts of sates like Montana and Texas without any rapid chargers.
Compare this coverage to Tesla's Supercharger network and the difference is clear:
(And keep in mind that Tesla's can also use the "standard" rapid charger network used by other cars as well as Superchargers using an optional adaptor cable)
Additionally many of the standard Rapid chargers will be a single charger unit (as is often the case here in the UK) while Tesla Superchargers are at minimum 2 stalls, and typically 6 to 8 stalls side by side. So when you do get to a Supercharger there is a very high probability that one of the stalls is available and you won't be waiting behind someone else, and that most if not all of the chargers will be working. Charging rate is also up to 125kW - more than twice as fast as CCS/Chademo at 50kW. At a standard Rapid charger you're likely to have to wait for someone else, and there is a reasonably high probability that the charger will be out of order! If you don't have to wait and the charger is working you'll still only charge at most at 50kW.
Most of the interstates are covered and with a reasonably even distribution, rather than just large clumps of chargers in heavily populated areas. A cross country trip in a Bolt is more or less impossible despite the same range per charge as a Model S 75, while it is quite feasible in a Tesla purely because of the Supercharger network, and savvy EV buyers know this.
Chevy should not be nickle and diming customers for a Rapid charging option. It should be standard in a car with a battery that large otherwise it just takes too long to charge it.
2) The Bolt sales numbers are very low partly because of the very limited release - it's only available for sale in the US at the moment and only in about 5 out of 50 states. Why ? Largely because there isn't the public charger infrastructure in many states as explained above. Why sell the car in Wyoming when the owner would realistically be limited to about a 100 mile radius of their house with no possibility to travel cross state or interstate ? It would never sell in areas like that.
If its true that they're selling it at a loss and therefore don't want to produce too many initially then this may well prove to be a self fulfilling prophecy, if the car is not available in most states and the public perception is that it isn't selling well that will hinder further sales and the whole thing may flop. One thing you can say about Tesla is that they're "all in", almost to the point where they put the company at risk their plans are so aggressive. Companies like GM on the other hand still seem to be toe dipping in a "well we tried but see! it didn't sell!" kind of way. You have to be in it to win it.
Tesla has spent a load of money installing their Supercharger network and started installing it about 5 years ago now, the other manufacturers do not have their own charging network and rely entirely on 3rd party chargers, which have spotty coverage of the country, poor reliability, are complicated and confusing to use, and only charge at a fraction of the speed of a supercharger. Given these circumstances who is going to succeed ?
The Bolt seems like a good car but I fear it might flop due to not being sold in enough states/countries to gain traction before the Model 3 is released, not having rapid charging as a standard feature, lack of suitable public charging infrastructure in the US and a complete lack of interest from manufacturers other than Tesla in paying to build out a decent charging infrastructure.
Here in the UK things are not quite as gloomy. I gripe about the reliability of the chargers over here but we do have pretty decent and pervasive coverage of the UK (apart from mid Wales!) with most of the main routes in Scotland having a rapid charger every 30-40 miles for example. So that is a good starting point and we are way ahead of the US in this regard.
What we lack is charging locations with multiple charger units, (to help avoid queuing and provide redundancy if a charger develops a fault) a faster response time when there are faults, and a simplified and unified authentication and payment mechanism so that people don't need to carry cards from multiple companies for access. (Only really a problem in England and Wales not Scotland where Charge Place Scotland kind of fulfils this role already) You can drive the length of the country in a petrol car using a single Debit card (or indeed cross over onto the continent) and the same needs to be true of EV charging.