How do the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 compare?
07.05.2018 - by Dency Nelson
How do the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 compare?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since a handful of us early EV advocates founded Plug In America, coming off of our unsuccessful effort to save the last of the EV1s from the crusher and our somewhat more successful effort to save the remaining original Toyota RAV4 EVs from the same fate. As a 16-year-plus owner/driver of four fully electric vehicles, I was hardly the earliest of the EV warriors, but I am one of apparently very few PIA members who currently own both a 2017 Chevy Bolt and a 2018 Tesla Model 3, and so I’ve been asked to compare the two.

I’ve had my Bolt for 18 months and about 15,000 miles, and have taken it on four 800-mile-plus road trips. I’ve had my Model 3 for three months and just a couple of thousand miles, and will be taking it on its first 800-mile road trip adventure in about a month. My Bolt gets well over the estimated 238 miles of range per charge, even on road trips. I have yet to fully test the estimated 310 miles of range per charge of the Model 3. The Bolt’s price was about $46,000; the Model 3 was about $60,000. Here’s what I have to say about the two cars. I love them both, but there are many differences between them besides the higher price and range of the Model 3, and there are things about the Bolt that, for some drivers, might give it a bit of an edge.

To start with, the Bolt is the most driver-friendly car I have ever owned. It has cameras front and back and an amazing virtual overhead camera that make the Bolt the easiest car to park of any I’ve ever driven. The Model 3, in some situations, can autonomously park itself and that autonomy really tells the story of the differences between the two cars. While the Bolt has more visual tools, like those cameras and blind-spot warning lights, the Model 3 is loaded with state-of-the-art self-driving tools. This is why cameras for the eyes of the driver may have been deemed unnecessary in the Model 3 (although I’m hearing there might be an upgrade coming soon that will offer additional blind-spot warnings; I hope so!). Nor are controls and gauges within easy reach of the driver in the Model 3. Very few controls are located on the steering wheel or on the dash. Almost everything is controlled by the computer screen in the center of the dash, off to the right of the driver. Am I saying I don’t like the minimalist design and the assignment of just about every functional setting to that computer screen? No, but I do miss having certain things right at my fingertips and closer to my line of sight while driving. I also have a particular beef about the navigation details being off to the far upper-right corner of that computer screen, far away from my eyes.

Although both cars offer one-pedal driving, with regenerative braking when the driver eases back or releases the accelerator, I really love the additional regenerative braking offered by the Bolt through the paddle on the left side of the steering wheel yoke. Whenever I’m in the Model 3, I find myself reaching for that paddle, and I’m always disappointed it isn’t there. Finally, on a personal note, I find I miss the “Car Play” compatibility of my audio sources and smartphone navigation that the Bolt allows me to use and that are restricted or less convenient to use in the Model 3. (And, at least right now, there is no Internet hot-spot service for those tools in the Model 3 as there is via OnStar in the Bolt.)

But now let me heap some praise on the Model 3. Its styling and performance are second to none! Gorgeous and way fun! For someone like me, who loves to drive — to actually get my hands on the wheel and drive — the Model 3 is a hoot! I keep mine set in the Sport Steering option that, combined with the wicked Tesla acceleration, makes the Model 3 drive like the power sports car I’ve always longed for! Interior styling, comfort, leg room, and the very cool full-glass roof are all super-great pluses for the Model 3. (I’m one of the few who have no problem with the seat design in the Bolt, about which I have read many complaints. To be fair, I’m only 5’8 ½” tall and not so big, but I loved the Bolt’s seats from day one! They fit me like a glove!) Lots of extra gadgets and goodies in the Model 3 memorize the seat, mirror, and steering-wheel position settings for each driver, and the Model 3 has an amazing climate control system that is more advanced than the one in the Bolt. The sound from the audio systems is great in both cars, as are their Bluetooth and phone command.

I’m guessing that the game changer that will solidly put the Model 3 in the lead for me and all drivers looking for a road trip car will be the Tesla Supercharger network that I am about to experience on my first Model 3 road trip. As wonderful as it was to finally give away our last internal combustion vehicle — our 2005 Toyota Prius that we used solely for out-of-range trips that our 2011 Leaf or 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV couldn’t handle — it was still somewhat challenging to make the couple of 90-minute stops necessary for recharging during each of our 400-mile-one-way trips in the Bolt last year. Not impossible — not at all. And in fact lots of fun. But the longer range and the twice-as-fast charging speed of the Tesla Superchargers will make the one stop to charge on our first road trip in the Model 3 this summer something to really look forward to! Not to mention the thrill of Tesla’s extra performance and the adventure of trying some hands-still-on-the-wheel autonomous driving on Highway 5! In so many ways, the choice between the two cars is a toss-up (if we set aside the significantly lower price of the Bolt), as there are real pluses and minuses to each. I am very happy to have both of them, and I am certain that they will be our only two cars now and for a very long time.

46 comments on “How do the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 compare?”
  1. Mike Brady says:

    Denise (if you’re still watching this thread): a Premier trim level pushes the Bolt over $40K, and a few other packages can easily take it to $46K. MSRP. Until the 2022 Bolt came out, GM was offering huge incentives and rebates (apparently to more than make up for loss of the tax credit and entice people into the store); starting in 2022, they reduced the base MSRP about $4K to start with and rejiggered the equipment packages. Seats are improved slightly, and DC Fast Charging is now standard. Along the way, they increased the battery capacity and range slightly (in 2020). But it’s still no Model 3/Y; very different vehicles, aimed at different buyers. And range is not a huge deal – I normally charge at home, and long trips use the Prius.

  2. Mike Brady says:

    Most people who get a Tesla (any Tesla) love it. Most people who get a Bolt don’t talk about it, for some reason. They’re not really competitive. You have to load a Bolt up to the gills with options and Premier (or now LT2) trim to get a Bolt into the lower end of the Tesla (Model 3 or Y) price range. The Bolt is peppy and roomy enough, but looks like a standard micro-SUV (the 2022 EUV version is even more so). Then, Tesla has the Supercharger system, which blows everybody else’s charging network into the weeds (plus, the Bolt is a VERY slow charger at 50-55kw; most Teslas can accept 100kw or more so they charge, on the road, much faster). But then, if you’re an ordinary mortal, you can probably afford a Bolt, and enough of them are out there to support a modest used market.

    Not being rich, I got a used Bolt. No incentives other than discounted overnight electric rates for charging. Nice car, if you can accept the front seats (not very comfortable). 200ish mile range charging to 80%.

  3. Arnie says:

    I am serious about a Bolt Premier 2018 fully loaded. I am thinking about leasing for 24 months. However, I am concerned that the lessor (GM Finance) might not give me the $7,500 incentive that GM will be taking to the taxes. I am in Florida and it does not appear my current dealer is that interested in promoting and selling Bolt

  4. Ralph says:

    I have 2 volts one for myself and one for my wife we use them 90% for commuting every day . The other 10% is used when we go on vacation or visit the family out of state, but the cool thing is that when we do we don’t need to stop and charge because we have the gas generator on board so we have No range anxiety and if we trip over a charger will plug in. The volt is nasty quick and incorporating the re-gen system while driving is fun.

  5. John Donlon says:

    The 46k Bolt must have had most of the options. My Bolt listed for 39.8k the options were the D.C. fast charge port, heated front seats and the back cross traffic warning blind spot monitor. With the year end discount I got 4K off!

  6. Tim says:

    I’ve had my Bolt LT for two weeks shy of a year now. I think Chevy did a wonderful job on it.

    About the seats, yes they are narrower than usual. The Bolt is a narrow vehicle, so to fit the console in, they had to make the seats smaller, but it is not cramped by any means. There is a lot of room in the Bolt. I bought the LT primarily for the cloth seats, as I found the leather in the cars I sat in to be pretty stiff. The cloth seats are very comfortable, making long drives effortless.

    There are a few optional packages that I highly recommend anyone gets with the Bolt. The first is the DC Fast Charge. This cannot be added after the fact, so get it even if you don’t plan on using it, as it can improve resale value down the line should your needs change. You might surprise yourself and start planning out long trips with fast charge stops, and at that moment, you’ll be glad you got it. My Bolt also came with Comfort and Convenience and Driver Confidence packages. These add heated seats, heated mirrors, and heated steering wheel (C&C). In colder weather, these become valuable capabilities that can preserve 30-50 miles of range by preventing the need for cabin heat. Having been driving a Mitsubishi i-MiEV for the last 5 years, I’ve become accustomed to driving without heat (mostly for efficiency, occasionally for range), and I’ve carried that behavior over to the Bolt, but I’m not afraid of running the heat if I want/need it. Plenty of charge to cover it. As for the Driver Confidence package, I wasn’t a fan of it initially, but having blind-spot indicators and especially cross-traffic alerts has saved me from a couple collisions while backing out of parking spaces (I normally back-into spaces so I can see clearly when leaving, but one local lot disallows this). On the Premier models, the Confidence packages add a lot more sensors and cameras, but all Bolts have a backup camera standard. My only complaint there is I wish I could turn it off at times (backing up my driveway at night, not necessary and actually makes it hard to see the mirrors).

    As for driving, it handles really well and accelerates about as fast as it can while being front wheel drive. About the only car I encounter on a daily basis that could out-accelerate me is a Tesla, though I’d likely have the advantage in cornering. The regen is an absolute dream, with 3 default levels and the ability for true one-pedal driving. Regen in Drive mode will push around 14 kW back into the pack, Drive+paddle will push back 50 kW, as will L mode, but L mode and the paddle can stuff 70 kW into the battery, bringing you to a pretty quick but controlled stop, and then there are the 4 disc brakes which are almost never used with 1-pedal driving. L mode (with your seatbelt on) will allow no pedal input to bring the car to a complete stop and hold on level or mild inclines. The Bolt will automatically apply the parking brake if the car continues to creep forward on a downgrade after about 30 seconds, and if you push the brake pedal to stop when facing uphill at more than a few degrees incline, it will engage Hill Start Assist, which will hold the brakes on for you until you press the accelerator.

    My only true complaint about the Bolt is the design of the windshield wiper trough. In the winter, there is nothing to defrost the wipers when they are off. This has led to them freezing up mid-drive and required me to stop and break them free by hand a couple times. A heat trace, similar to the ones on the back window, running under the wipers would solve this issue.

    My bottom line answer to the question Bolt vs. Model 3, if you plan to haul people, the Bolt offers better rear seating (Model 3 seats are very close to the floor, kind of like sitting on a pillow). If you plan to haul stuff, Bolt hands-down. If you need range and a good charging network, Model 3 all day long. It’s sad to say that many CHAdeMO/CCS quick chargers are still unreliable. I’ve had good luck with Chargepoint and later revision Signet units. EVGo has also been pretty good. Early Signet software was really bad, and Blink was laughably unreliable. What this all comes down to is, check PlugShare for the stations you plan on using. Superchargers aren’t perfect, either.

  7. bryan tracy says:

    Please correct me if I make an error

    SFO to Lake Tahoe – you better plan to stop at Whole Foods in Sacramento to charge your Bolt
    Car interior – where you spend 90% of your time – Bolt run for the hills – M3 like a Swiss-designed minimalist palace

  8. Benjamin Schmid says:

    We own a 2012 Volt and 2017 Bolt. We love both cars. My summary of important points comparing the Bolt to the Model 3 is as follows: The Bolt has 3 advantages over the Model 3; 1. It is available now; you don’t have to wait months for it. 2. There are Chevrolet dealers in every town if you experience any needs. 3. It costs less. The Model 3 has one significant advantage; the Tesla supercharger network, although I believe new purchasers have to jump through some hoops to get access to it. We are very happy with our choice of the 2017 Bolt.

  9. Morgan Wesson says:

    Such a timely article! As a wave of short range EVs mature, the era of two car EV households dawns, as people add a Tesla Model 3 or a GM Bolt, if they can. Older Volts, Leafs, and BMW i3s become screaming used car deals. EVs are great college car buys. Is there a college campus without a car charger?

    We have a BMWi3 rex and now a new Model 3. Our Model 3 long range escaped the Fremont factory on March 31, 2018, exactly two years from its walk up order date, We got the Tesla this spring from the Mt. Kisco, NY Tesla dealer. The car’s nav automatically routed us north to the Tesla supercharger farm in Syracuse. We made it with 19 miles left on the battery, and blundered headlong into people who insisted that route was impossible. They were Model S and X owners gossiping together and charging their cars as the sun went down on a Saturday night. Our 280 mile diagonal run in the rain up NYS rts. 17 and 81 was just math to the Model 3 computer. But the older Teslas had plotted longer trips on the Thruway taking an extra charge stop at Tesla’s Albany superchargers. Once the the Tesla faithful believed this new model car had done this on its own, and we were judged innocent, and they helped us charge the car: Superchargers are wired in pairs. The car with the lowest indicated battery charge drawing on a pair gets the fastest charge rate; etc. It was great orientation. Finally tired of school they actually chanted in unison at us – RTFM; The Tesla Model 3 manual is not a fast read at around 175 pages single spaced. The manual in the car’s computer takes many screen touches, though it has a real index. Our 2014 BMW i3 (9 month wait to delivery) was easier to learn, though the car’s manual translation from German was labored. The 14′ i3 rex is a fine car, with a backup engine giving it around 150 miles range and easy to charge at home, To charge the Tesla Model 3 extra key swipes or phone/screen touches are needed by comparison. The i3 is skittish in a crosswind. The Model 3 runs on rails. In traffic both cars are great at legal speeds. But the Model 3 is transcendent, or as you put it, second to none. Folks will not like a conventional vehicle after driving a Model 3. This will be like comparing propeller aircraft to jets, sail to steam. Buggy whips.

    The only question left here is can our PVs handle two EVs plus a house. And once Model 3 is fully learned and second nature it will be tough to extract the family from that car’s drivers seat. Thank you again for the story!

  10. Jeremey Janzen says:

    @Gloria Geiser “Don’t superchargers degrade your battery’s capacity slightly, especially if used often? This could be important. I have also read that Tesla bodies are sometimes not quite put together seamlessly because Tesla is new at manufacturing.”
    Slightly? Perhaps. Unacceptably? I very much doubt it. I’ve owned a Model S since January 2014 and taken many supercharging trips, one for 3 months 11,500 miles. The 85kw battery at new gave 425km (265mi) at 100% charge; now 4.5 years later a 100% charge gives me 406km (253mi), or less than 5% degradation after 108,000km (67,500mi). Tesla put a lot of research effort into how to protect the battery life with fast charging.

    I’ve read a few anecdotal reports of Model 3 panel gaps etc as well. However I’ve read far more anecdotal reports of each new owner’s car being perfect with no defects. The funny (/tragic) thing is, the few “mistake” cars are the ones that the media plays up incessantly, making it sound like every car has that problem. My son, anecdotally, received his Model 3 two weeks ago and it was as perfect as we could tell.

  11. Benjamin Schmid says:

    I agree with the comments and comparisons, which seemed to be fair to both of these ground-breaking vehicles. My wife and I have both a Volt and Bolt and love both of them. The seat in the Bolt seems quite comfortable to us. The camera-assisted rear view mirror is fantastic, and I forsee the day when side rear view mirrors are abolished in favor of this better new technology. We have taken 600 mile trips in the Bolt, assisted by locating strategically placed superchargers and of course selecting inns that have level 2 charging available. It is too bad that Tesla has not offered to share their supercharger network; I would be willing to pay them a significant rent for access to it. Considering the lower price of the Bolt I am surprised their sales numbers are not higher. The JDapter sounds interesting; I will try to find out more about it.

  12. VoltOwner says:

    Jim Waid keeps saying ChaDeMo, ChaDeMo…

    ChaDeMo is from Japan. Installed on Leaf (and others?)

    The Bolt is SAE. BMW, VW and others use SAE DC charging stations, NOT ChaDeMo.

  13. Westcoastdeplorable says:

    Interesting piece but I’ll keep my Prius Plug-In! Enough EV driving for local consumer missions and no BS about charging on long trips with 60-75 mpg. 75k on the clock with no worries. Bought mine off-lease and got a $9,500 credit from SCAQM. Net was about $12K.

  14. Char Davies says:

    I’ve driven my Tesla Model S for nearly five years and our Tesla Model 3 for four months. The main difference between the two vehicles for me, is when driving the Model S I wear an ear-to-ear smile. With the Model 3 I’m giggling most of the time (very sporty drive and superb sound system). Important detail – both cars are red in color.

  15. Craig W. says:

    Many, many long-distance miles in Teslas.

    No, the superchargers do not degrade the Tesla batteries. Just don’t max charge the car, then leave it. Max charge is for travel, where you immediately drive after filling. Oh, and you don’t ever need to max charge a car on a trip, as the superchargers are normally 100-150 miles apart and the last 10%-20% of the max charge takes as long as the first 80%, so it is a poor use of your travel time.

    I do like the Bolt I have driven and feel the biggest problem is that GM isn’t really doing much to sell them. It is a darn good compliance car, but – having seen the EV1 – I don’t trust GM with compliance cars.

  16. Gary Duerr says:

    I have a 2016 Volt. My Wife has a Bolt. We have our bases covered in case of a long trip if we take the Volt. For most of our local driving we take the Bolt. In the case where both of us need to go on short trips to different places locally, we can both go electrically.
    We both share an L2 charger in the garage attached to our house. I will never own a strictly ICE car again, unless I have no choice.

  17. Tommy Hersant says:

    A bit of a clarification to Jim Ruh’s comments about the Tesla chargers being restricted to Teslas.

    A company in San Marcos, CA has developed a work-around. Quick Charge Power has their JDapter which “… allows a Tesla AC powering charging station to recharge any J1772 electric vehicle, including almost any non-Telsa electric car in the United States.” It does not allow use of the Super Chargers.

    I have a 2013 RAV4-EV and after 75,000 miles our love affair continues. If I behave myself I can get 120 miles of range. I added a CHAdeMo charging capability so longer trips are not too much longer. And now with the JDapter (just purchased) I have added Tesla charger stations as an option.

  18. Bruce says:

    Interesting article. I have owned my 2014 Model S since delivery from the factory. I would just correct one of the other comments. The Tesla CHADEMO charger is not, “Included” with each and every Tesla. Mine was a $450 purchase from a Tesla Store. I bought it when we went on our cross country and back again trip in 2015 when there were far fewer Supercharger sites than the 549 current US Superchargers. It has yet to be used.

  19. Laura says:

    I heard about an adaptor that allows other EV’s to charge on Tesla chargers. There are some caveats so read carefully and expect sticker shock as the thing costs up to 400$.;jsessionid=288F3A8EEFEDE5E971CA98A5DCA0F592.p3plqscsfapp003

  20. Dr Richard Pence says:

    I’ve been a Model S Tesla owner since 2013, and recently made a long trip to the Outer Banks of NC. Even with my 275 mile range, I couldn’t do the trip, but the real lifesaver was that Tesla gives their chargers to B&B’s, so I was able to have a nice stay and charge in an out of the way spot, with no public chargers available. Made for a wonderful trip up the OB to the Plymouth Supercharger.

  21. ROBERT DEE says:

    Thanks for the article, nice comparison.
    We love our Bolt, couldn’t be happier but we understand that since we’re retired we don’t take long trips, mostly under 250 miles.
    Someone said visors are too small, that’s one of my wife’s biggest complaints too! Not one problem so far in 10k miles. Ours is an LT in white.
    Clipper Creek Level 2 charger from our PV, haven’t paid a dime for gas.

  22. steve love says:

    Convenient and abundant fast charging locations will be the key to widespread EV adoption. Once that is established then the manufacturers will be free to concentrate on model variations to meet the specific desires of their customer base.

  23. Jim Ruh says:

    Bruce, in answer to your question about Tesla chargers being only available to Tesla, yes that is true. Apparently Tesla offered to partner with the other “Big 3” EV makers but were snubbed by them because of Tesla’s unique direct to customer sales method. They are very protective of the good old boy dealer network and decided to come up with the CHADEMO system which is pitiful in comparison to Tesla superchargers, The irony is that a Tesla can use the slow CHADEMO charger via an adapter included with every Tesla, but the other CHADEMO cars can not use Tesla’s. We have been Model S owners since 2013 and now have a 2016 as well. We live in Kentucky have taken numerous long range trips of over 1000 miles and have never experienced “range anxiety” because of the very available Tesla superchargers. The lack of convenient and fast CHADEMO chargers, at least in the middle of the country, would be a major deterrent to me buying any EV other than a Tesla.

  24. Harvey Payne says:

    Nice comparison and I agree on all points. We have a Bolt and a Model X. We have done a 2300+ mile road trip in the Bolt and have done that same road trip a couple times in our Model X. We’ve also road tripped in the X where the Bolt just can’t go due to lack of charging infrastructure. We pretty much default to the Bolt for our around town drivnig (which is a LARGE area) and the Tesla for road trips. Much more cargo space in the X and the dogs (74 lb Ridgeback and 47 lb Boxer) fit inside their crates inside the car along with all our luggage and pretty much anything else we want to bring along..

  25. Sally Nicholson says:

    I had a Leaf for 5 years and it was great as a “around the town car” and had a second car for road trips. I sold both cars when I bought my Bolt 10 months ago. I love everything about this car. I considered the Model 3 but needed more room – I can get 2 dog crates in the rear of the Bolt. I live in the Southeast and locating fast chargers on road trips is a bit of a challenge.. I drove from SC to VA without problem but recently tried, unsuccessfully, to find fast chargers between Greenville, SC and Fernandina, FL. I had to rent a car for the trip. More fast chargers along the interstates would be a game changer.

  26. John says:

    The base price of a 2017 Bolt was 36,620, destination charge 875. But there are options you need like 750 for the D.C. fast charge.

  27. Gloria Geiser says:

    Don’t superchargers degrade your battery’s capacity slightly, especially if used often? This could be important
    I have also read that Tesla bodies are sometimes not quite put together seamlessly because Tesla is new at manufacturing

  28. Gloria Geiser says:

    I meant superchargers not fast chargers could degrade a batteries life

  29. Gloria Geiser says:

    Don’t fast chargers degrade your battery slightly, especially if used often? This could be important
    I have also read that Tesla bodies are sometimes not quite put together seamlessly because Tesla is new at manufacturing

  30. Dency L Nelson says:

    Adressing all comments so far:
    Ralph & Lin – So right about the Bolt needing an additional garage door opener. Had an extra one, so no problem, but should have been an easy addition!
    Michael Lee – I use the CCS/SAE Fast Chargers that are pretty much available all over California. Fast, but only about half as fast as the Tesla Super Chargers. Very doable for all road trips in the Bolt!
    Michael Kelley – Both cars EXTREMELY reliable! Absolutely no complaints!
    Bruce – Yes, you are right. The Tesla Super Chargers are only for Teslas, but as I say above, the CCS/SAE chargers will keep you going on road trips in the Bolt.
    denise – As I described in my article, both my Bolt and my Tesla Model 3 are fully loaded, Premiere/Premium packaged vehicles. The base for both cars is $35,000, but that is for the lesser 200-mile range Model 3 and without a whole lot of goodies, and the same for the Bolt. The $35,00 Bolt is very bare bones! I direct you to both the Chevy & the Tesla websites for more information.

  31. John Wozniak says:

    I own a 2017 Bolt lt , I love it! I have a level 2 in the garage and it’s great! If your buying a level 2 make sure you get one that will throw 34 amps , I’m looking to buy a volt now , why not , I have the level 2!

  32. Alexandra Paul says:

    Wonderful article, Dency! I appreciate your candor in assessing these two cars which you love.

  33. Jim Waid says:

    Bruce, while you are correct that only Tesla’s can utilize the Tesla Supercharger network, Tesla offered their DC fast charging system and port design for free to all of the world’s car manufacturers. They declined because Tesla does not support the car dealership and distributor network which they live and die by. So they jointly created the CHADEMO specification. That’s all well and good, but they didn’t follow through and create a nationwide CHADEMO charging network like Tesla did with their Superchargers.

  34. Bill Hilton says:

    I’m another who likes the Bolt seats. They fit me (5′ 11″ and over 200lbs) well and support my aging back. They might benefit from a bit more cushion.

  35. David Berger says:

    As a Tesla S owner, i find that the super charging network is amazing. I have made 500 mile trips upstate, and there are aways a charging station available. Plug it in,, take a walk and grab a bite, and your Tesla is ready. And it texts you with a progress report too! But how does this com[are to the Bolt? where can you charge, and how long does it take?

  36. Gordon Howard says:

    I own the BMW i3 2014 with 49,892 miles on it only goes about 85 miles on a charge I love it but would love to get a Bolt or a Model 3 The Bolt would fit in my Garage not the Model 3 but I don’t like that the Bolt is front wheel drive with most of the weight on the rear wheels going to keep the BMW i3 for one more year and see what comes out in 2019.

  37. Jim Waid says:

    I appreciate your comparative review of the Bolt vs Model 3. However I felt compelled to chime in on one major point of your review, the EV road trip.

    I am very happy for you that you live in a state with a robust CHADEMO DC fast charging network which allows you to go beyond the halfway point of the Chevy Bolt’s range.

    However the majority of the country has to deal with an utter lack of CHADEMO charging stations, as opposed to a plethora of Tesla Superchargers. I live in Louisiana and drive a 2016 Leaf that has already lost 3-bars at 32K miles. I have a virgin CHADEMO port on my vehicle because there aren’t any DC fast chargers at all where I live. In fact, up until last year there wasn’t a single solitary CHADEMO charging station in the entire State! Supposedly there is a now a single mythical DC fast charger somewhere in New Orleans, a little over 100 miles from my home in the city of Baton Rouge and beyond the range of my Leaf.

    An 800 mile trip for me, and most of the rest of the country involves driving no more than 60-100 miles and then stopping for about 4 hours in the parking lot of a car dealership, Whole Foods, or some other L2 charging station we can find along the way. This requires not only massive planning just to ensure you can actually get from one L2 to the next, but the ability to devote 4 hours of charging time to every 1 hour of drive time on your trip. That’s a good 3-4 days of essentially living in my car just to go 800 miles!

    Until the rest of the EV manufacturers step up to the plate and jointly install their own CHADEMO charging network nationwide which can rival Tesla’s own Supercharger network, every last positive of the Chevy Bolt pales in comparison to the Tesla Supercharger network.

    It is this complete lack of a robust nationwide CHADEMO charging network which is ultimately holding back EV sales and adoption. Waiting on the State and National governments to create, or force the creation of a nationwide DC fast charging network is a pipe dream. If the EV manufacturers truly want to sell more EV’s, then they too need to invest in a nationwide charging network like Tesla did.

    It’s like the line from the movie A Field of Dreams…

    “If you build it, they will come.”

  38. Ralph & Lin Blaszkiewicz says:

    We have a 2013 Leaf & a 2017 Bolt. We like them both. The Leaf is a great city car. The Bolt has more accessories and range. We like the driving alerts and cameras a lot. Do not like the Bolt’s sun visors, way too small. One more complaint = no garage door opener

  39. Michael Lee says:

    Thanks for the honest review. I have had my Model 3 for 6 weeks now and absolutely love it. I’ve done 2 long (over 800 mile) trips and the super chargers are fantastic. Fast, so that a bite to eat and a short walk and, the car is ready to go. An additional plus is the cost vs gas! About 1/3 of cost vs my Audi A4 which requires premium fuel. I will never drive an ICE car again! Not sure how you charged the Bolt on long trips but level 3 charging is wonderful. Thanks again for the review!

  40. tracy fitz says:

    Every nice comparison . Thanks so much.
    If there were ev charging in brooklyn on every 3 or 4 street corners, I would have an ev.
    There are only about 3 public charging stations in Brooklyn, and since we are row houses……….my 2009 prius will have to do

  41. Michael Kelley says:

    Any comments on the reliability you’ve had with each car so far?
    Thanks for the review.

  42. Doug Smay says:

    Excellent article. Well written and very objective and fair.

  43. Bruce Ackerman says:

    Thanks. I’m an extremely satisfied Bolt driver (and a 2011 Volt also). Please correct me if I’m wrong on this, but is it true that Tesla’s network of fast chargers is (1) only available to Tesla users, and (2) a unique design that would only fit a Tesla in any case? This has been my one beef with Tesla — we need more chargers for ALL vehicles, not a balkanized/proprietary system.

  44. denise says:

    This is very helpful information. But I had a question, I was told the Bolt was quite a bit less than $46,000 – I seem to remember the salesman quoting me something like $35,000. May I ask what the extra features you paid for to bring the price up were? Thanks very much.

  45. Chriis says:

    Nice comparison. I am about to switch from a Bolt to a.model 3 and know I williss Android Auto, the blind spot detection in the side mirrors, the rear view mirror camera view, and the true one-pedal driving.

    The looks, performance, AWD, software updates and Supercharger network are my reasons for the switch.

  46. Oscar says:

    Great article Dency. Way to break down the pluses and minus that you experienced in both cars. I think there is a clear difference in approach by both makers but I agree with you…to really shift our culture the charging network will be the game changes. I am a Leaf fan but a long range charge in short amount of time is very appealing specially on 500 mile + road trips where you will need to charge once or twice. Looking forward to more competition as newer models come out from different makers…hope you have a big enough garage! 🙂

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