2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Affordable Electricity

Posted by Wheels On Edge about 6 months ago
2017 Chevrolet Bolt

For many consumers, when they think of electric cars, a Tesla is the first thing to pop into their minds. For good reason – Tesla is dominating the electric car market with a vehicle that’s easy to use, powerful and gets you over 400 kilometres of range on a single charge, eliminating the dreaded feel of range anxiety. But with a price starting at $90,000 in Canada, the cost of going electric is just too high. Chevrolet wants to change that with their new all electric vehicle, the Bolt.

Chevy’s new Bolt is rated for over 380 kilometres of range on a full charge. That’s a number that almost rivals the range values you get out of a Tesla, and offers you more than existing competitors like the Nissan LEAF and Volkswagen eGolf. It’s important to note the range  you see vs. the range you’ll actually get depends on factors like how aggressively  you drive, use of heating and air and use of regenerative braking, among others. The 384km range is under the most ideal perfect conditions – something you’ll never encounter on roads in the real world.
The Bolt’s design is a little polarizing

The Bolt’s design is a little polarizing. It’s not as “sci-fi” as some other electric cars like Mitsubishi’s iMiev, but its proportions don’t really seem to put it in any existing segment. It sits low like a hatchback but the physical height of the vehicle makes it seem more like a crossover. Inside, things start to look a little more space aged. Bright two-tone accents on the seats and dashboard give the Bolt a futuristic look. An all-digital gauge cluster and centre console touchscreen shares information including remaining charge, driving efficiency and Apple Carplay/Android Auto information. Inside you do start to see some of the cost cutting measures Chevrolet had to implement to keep Bolt costs down. Uneven gaps and cheaper feeling plastics adorn the interior. However, the inside is roomy enough to comfortably seat four adults and hold all of their cargo. The Bolt’s sometimes awkwardly tall exterior directly translates to excellent visibility for the driver with so much glass all around.

The Bolt isn’t meant to kick you back into your seat the way a Tesla Model S on Ludicrous Mode would. But despite its almost civilian appearance, the little EV is surprisingly fun to drive. Its weighty battery packs help keep the car planted with a low centre of gravity. The instant torque of its electric motor makes the Bolt feel far more powerful than its 200 horsepower rating. With minimal body roll and skinny, eco-friendly tires, the Bolt actually takes on corners better than you might think. All you’ll hear is a slight hint of tire squeal and a spaceship-like hum as the electric motors do their work. As a daily commuter, the Bolt is very easy to live with. Standard features like an onboard 4G LTE connection and compatibility with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay mean you’ve got a traveling WiFi hotspot and navigation without using up your own cellular data. The ride is quiet and comfortable. All you’ll hear is road noise, but the Bolt does a good job of dampening it to a level that isn’t unbearable.
Dashboard give the Bolt a futuristic look

Charging the Bolt can be done in three ways: using a standard power outlet, a ‘Stage 2’ 240v outlet or a ‘DC Fast Charge’ outlet. The standard 120v power socket takes about 50 hours to fully replenish range. Most charging stations around Canada will offer a 240v charge that gets the job done in about 9.5 hours. Chevrolet will also offer a 240v home charging station with the car, at a cost. The DC Fast Charge stations are few in numbers across Canada, but if you can find one, you can replenish 80 percent of your battery in about 45 minutes. It’s important to note that these figures are for replenishing a nearly empty battery. Chances are your daily commute in the Bolt wouldn’t put a heavy dent in the total range of a charged battery. You could certainly go a few days without plugging in if need be.

So, is Chevrolet’s new Bolt a Tesla Killer? Well, the Bolt starts at just under $43,000 in Canada, which doesn’t sound all that affordable. But factor in government rebates and the price tag starts to look a lot more attractive. In Ontario, buyers can knock $14,000 off the total cost. Until Tesla brings their Model 3 to Canada, there’s currently nothing else on the market that offers that kind of range at a similar cost.

Written by Shane Kalicharan
Tags:
2017 Chevrolet Bolt, Electric, Tesla, EV

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