Chevy Bolt – A Game Changer
10.04.2016 - by Plug In America
Chevy Bolt – A Game Changer

The Chevrolet Bolt officially has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 238 miles.  Wow.

That’s far enough to drive from from Dallas to Houston on a single charge. Or from Los Angeles to Palm Springs and back without charging.

But the range itself is not what makes the Chevy Bolt a game changer. We’ve seen longer ranges from the Tesla Model S and Model X.  What makes the Bolt a game changer is the price: $37,500 before incentives. Taking full advantage of the $7500 federal tax credit, the price of the Bolt drops to just $30,000. The average price of a new car in the United States in 2015 was $33,560. And that is without considering the savings in gasoline and maintenance.

The Bolt drops into the market as an affordably-price long-range electric car that shatters the myth of range anxiety. When equipped with a DC fast charging port, the Bolt can add up to 90 miles in 30 minutes. GM looks to decrease that charge time substantially by further increasing the kilowatt charge rate of SAE fast chargers, possibly up to 150kW. At this level, the Bolt could theoretically add one hundred miles in as little as ten or fifteen minutes. With the ability to quickly add nearly one hundred miles of range, and a total range (up to a possible 290 miles) that allows true road-trip capability, the Bolt could very well prove to be the Model T of electric cars.

The Bolt isn’t just good to drive for an electric car, it’s good to drive, period.

Joseph Capparella, Car & Driver
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Bolt’s 238-mile range makes it a true road-trip car.

That being said, the Bolt is not without its apparent flaws. Most glaring is the fact that DC fast charging is a $750 option on the Bolt, meaning consumers who do not opt for that accessory will be stuck recharging their Bolt on level two chargers, which can take up to eight hours. This could create potential problems, where less EV-savvy consumers don’t opt for the DC fast charger but are then upset to find that their Bolt can’t charge as fast as their neighbor’s Bolt. Then there is the ever-present issue of dealerships. Many dealerships have been cautious in promoting the Volt. It remains to be seen how well they will embrace mass sales of the Bolt.

At a recent technology symposium hosted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, GM Director of Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy Britta Gross discussed their new “Test Drive My Way” feature that allows potential Bolt (and Volt) buyers to have a Bolt/Volt delivered to their house along with a GM Consumer Advocate for a thirty-minute test drive. While buyers will still have to purchase these vehicles from a licensed Chevrolet dealership, Test Drive My Way provides a direct avenue for consumer education from General Motors to the individual.

Despite these hiccups, the Bolt is a major milestone towards the mass adoption of electric vehicles. The Bolt proves that a long-range electric vehicle can be made and sold for a reasonable price, and that an electric car can compete with and in fact entirely replace a gas car with no trade offs.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

15 comments on “Chevy Bolt – A Game Changer”
  1. Arnie Welber says:

    d mcinnes, I also found link not ok. However when I typed in words ‘chevy test drive my way’ in google I found it. Don’t know if Chevy will actually bring vehicle to your residence vs. your having to show up at dealership that is going to call you. Hope this helps

  2. Arnie Welber says:

    Chip, I was not aware of Whole Foods offering free charging. Is that ALL Whole Foods. I am in Southeast Florida and going to check that out. Thanks for bring our attention to that!

  3. Arnie Welber says:

    Yeah Rusty. Bolt is not as pricey as Tesla. However, not a comfortable ride as Impala. And I have concern with Tesla’s future stability as a corporation. Then again, if I had 100 Grand I would definitely do Tesla and take the risk. Not withstanding GM is a bit rocky recent lay offs and Tariff Trade War triggering difficulty with price increases. Good Luck with your Tesla 3.

  4. Arnie Welber says:

    This article warrants updating. We are in year 2019. Current article is in year 2016.

  5. Chip says:

    I bought a Bolt about 2 months ago and love it. For the first few weeks I only used the portable 120V level 1 charger that came with the car and overnight it would usually get the batteries to full charge. I installed a level 2 charger from Clipper Creek in my garage and within a few hours my batteries are always topped off. Not many charging stations near me but I go to Whole Foods to get some free juice while shopping. I live in Cleveland Ohio and the weather has been getting colder. The preconditioning function on my mobile app allows the car to be toasty warm while still plugged in as I’m drinking my morning coffee. It has lots of cool standard features. The wipers, heat, and lights do eat up some of my mileage but not significantly. Everyone that I take for a ride tells me they now want an EV.

  6. Steve Pollak says:

    Does anyone know where one can go to get on a wait list for Southern California? I just totaled my 2013 Volt and I would like to apply the insurance money towards a Bolt!

    1. John U'ren says:

      Hi Steve,

      As far as I’m aware, the waiting lists are dealer-specific. I’d recommend contacting your nearest Chevrolet dealer for more info.



  7. Jeff U'Ren says:

    There is no down side. GM just raised the bar for all automakers. We are now in the plus 200 mile battery car paradigm. Soon we will be in the 300 – 400 mile battery car world.
    And then everyone will notice that gas cars are done. The the world will change for the better big time. It will be yugh!

  8. d mcinnes says:

    Ugly? No more than a Honda Fit.
    Where is the Chevy Test Drive My Way program active? I put in a couple of zip codes, and both generated “not available on your area” messages.

  9. Dr. Jeff says:

    This is definitely a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the first year Bolt does not have ELECTRIC seats or automatic collision prevention. I am sure GM is planning that for the second year version….planned obsolesence. Also can somebody please tell me why GM had to make their first go at an electric car the ugliest car on the road… it stands out?

  10. Chris wilcox says:

    “They only reason all the other auto manufacturers started making EV’s is because they are losing sales to Tesla.” Wrong. The car companies are mandated to sell ZEVs to keep their fleet fuel economy low.

  11. Kent says:

    I’m not sure what ‘losing sales to tesla’ is about, as ev sales are such a small percent of the market. But it is great to see top auto manufacturers entering the market with competitive vehicles even in a period of cheap gasoline prices. I believe the future is electric, for the excellent driving experience, reliability, lower cost of ownership, and clean fuel over hydrocarbon fueled vehicles. Once you drive electric there is no going back.

  12. Dennis Whitlock says:

    The only problem with the ‘Bolt’ is … “it a GM product”. Therefore i’m sticking with Tesla. GM [and others] are followers, not leaders. They only reason all the other auto manufacturers started making EV’s is because they are losing sales to Tesla.

  13. Joe says:

    So far the Nevada dealers will not be getting any. What a shame – Tesla battery plant?

  14. Rusty West says:

    Hooray for the Bolt! And especially good to hear about the reduction in time for fast charging stations soon! (I’m still waiting for my Tesla Model 3, but this Bolt sure is tempting!)

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