The Chevrolet Bolt EV is an electric vehicle from the same manufacturer that brought us the EV1 two decades ago. This time, GM is committed to the market, delivering a mainstream model with an EPA-estimated 238-mile range. The front-wheel drive Bolt EV seats five. National availability will increase as production builds and more regions are covered.
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2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Overview
What's New for 2017
The Chevrolet Bolt is an all-new vehicle. Despite sounding like the Chevrolet Volt, this is an entirely new vehicle and is typically referenced as the Bolt EV to help avoid confusion.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Bolt EV
Our editors laud the Bolt EV for its huge interior and small footprint. It is the first mass-market all-electric car and comes in two trims: LT and Premier.
The 2017 Bolt EV starts at $37,495 for the LT and $41,870 for the Premier. Both prices include the destination fee.
Chevrolet is banking on federal tax credits to help the average consumer afford one. That credit is $7,500, funds that reduce the owner’s tax burden. State and local incentives may apply, further reducing the cost of this vehicle. With a DC fast charging unit, owners should gain 90 miles of range in as little as 30 minutes.
All models are equipped with 10 airbags, Bluetooth connectivity, and are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible. A six-speaker audio system is standard across the model line.
The base model offers a pair of packages. A Comfort and Convenience package ($555) adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. A Driver Confidence package ($495) is comprised of rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning.
The Premier trim also offers a pair of packages. An Infotainment package ($485) brings in a Bose audio system with seven speakers, including a subwoofer. This package also adds wireless device charging and a pair of USB ports for rear passengers.
A Driver Confidence II package ($980) incorporates the Infotainment package and adds intelligent high beams, lane keeping assist, forward collision alert, a following distance indicator, and front pedestrian braking.
You may need to special order your Bolt EV to obtain one this model year. California and Oregon dealers are getting this EV first, with subsequent waves satisfying demand throughout 2017. Contact your local Chevrolet dealer for availability in your area.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review
With 238 miles of range and a reasonable price tag, the all-new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt is the best attempt yet to bring pure electric vehicles into the mainstream.
Pricing and Equipment
The Chevrolet Bolt hatchback starts at $37,495 (including destination) for the popularly equipped LT model. Most buyers will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, and several states offer rebates up to $2,500.
The LT comes standard with:
- Keyless and remote start
- A 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
- A six-speaker sound system with satellite radio
Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are part of the $555 Comfort and Convenience package. The Driver Confidence I package adds a bundle of useful safety alerts for a reasonable $495. The Premiere model ($41,780) has all that, plus an upgraded interior with leather seats and a surround-view camera system. The available Driver Confidence II package fills out the Bolt with a suite of active safety technology for $495.
A lithium-ion battery pack, mounted on the front-drive Bolt's underside, stores juice for a 200-horsepower electric motor.
- We found no performance drawbacks to the Bolt's electric setup, only benefits. It's significantly quicker than the average gas-powered hatchback.
- Like all EVs, the Bolt uses a single-speed transmission, but the available Drive mode makes it behave just like a car with a conventional automatic.
- To conserve battery charge, the Bolt's top speed is limited to 91 mph. Given enough room, just about any gas-powered car can outrun it.
- Although the Chevrolet Bolt looks a lot like a small crosser, all-wheel drive isn't available.
- There's nothing small about the Bolt on the inside. Abundant head room and a virtually flat floor make it easy to get comfortable.
- The Bolt offers 56.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded. It's positively cavernous.
- There's too much hard plastic for a car in this price class, electric or not.
- The Bolt isn't quite wide enough to seat three in the back without one of them feeling squished. It's really a four-passenger car in our view.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The Chevrolet Bolt offers a Low driving mode that increases the amount of regenerative braking at work. That translates into longer range and less wear on the friction brakes.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
A full recharge takes a leisurely 9 hours on a 240-volt charger. That makes the available $750 fast-charging port (which gives drivers 90 miles in 30 minutes) almost mandatory.
The Bottom Line
The Chevrolet Bolt EV's combination of range, price, and performance seemed too good to be true just a few years ago. It's now within reach of the typical new car buyer.
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