General Motors didn’t invent the Model T.
But the venerable American automaker is the first mass-production manufacturer to create an all-electric vehicle with a range of more than 200 miles – 238, to be exact.
I give you the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV Premier.
It joins good company, namely the Tesla Model S, but at a selling price about $25,000 lower. The Bolt packages the passenger volume of a mid-size car, but places it into the footprint of a subcompact.
Bolt seats up to four adults, with a rear hatchback large enough to be considered functional for groceries, cooler, luggage and the like. Not golf clubs, unless one of the split-fold rear seats is dropped, which my brother and I did, allowing us to stow two full-size golf bags (and a cooler) on a recent golf and picnic outing to Snohomish Golf Course and Lake Roesiger.
I have been a skeptic, when it comes to my previous electric vehicle experiences. The Chevy Bolt, after a week behind the wheel, made me a believer that the electric vehicle will eventually be a market force to be reckoned with.
The Bolt is the product of a partnership between Detroit and South Korea. The car itself, is built in Orion Township, Michigan. The batteries are manufactured by LG Chem, which not only developed the 60-kilowatt-hr lithium-ion cells and battery pack, but also other powertrain parts and the electronic dash panel.
The motor is capable of producing 200 horsepower and up to 266 lb.-ft. of torque that propels the Bolt from 0-to-60 in less than seven seconds. Power delivery is controlled by Chevy’s first electronic precision shift system – a shift and park-by-wire system that sends electronic signals to the Bolt’s EV drive.
A 7.2kW onboard charger allowed me to plug into my standard 240v wall outlet. A 36-mile commute can be recharged in less than two hours. Simply leave the Bolt plugged in overnight to receive a complete charge.
The Bolt’s interior was surprisingly roomy as well. With a high roofline, even my son (6-foot-4) was able to fit without feeling claustrophobic. And GM engineers managed to push the tires to the extreme corners and place the 960-lb. battery under the cabin’s floorboard (from the front footwell to the back of the rear seats) to create extra space.
One cool feature I hadn’t seen in any previous test drive was a rear-camera placed inside the rear-view mirror. With the push of a button, an 80-degree view (behind the vehicle) is revealed – even when the car is moving forward.
Standard safety equipment includes stability and traction control, rear-view camera, blind-spot warning, rear park assist and rear cross-traffic alert. An optional driver-confidence package ($495) adds forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist, automatic low-speed braking, and pedestrian detection and braking.
Connectivity includes Bluetooth, wireless device charging, Wi-Fi hot spot and USB port.
The Bolt also benefits from a Bose sound system with six speakers.
Base Price: $42,635
Price As Driven: $43,510
Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.