Enhanced range comes with caveats. The Chevrolet Bolt has remained mostly the same since its 2017 debut, but the new model gets a few enhancements. The most important 2020 Chevy Bolt EV update is its 21 extra miles of range, bringing it to 259 miles on a full charge, according to the EPA.
While this range boost is excellent and puts it in the mix with the Tesla Model 3, it still falls behind many competitors in overall efficiency. Despite this lack of efficiency, the Bolt EV remains one of the best electric cars on the market.
Big range boost, but inefficient charging. The Chevy Bolt EV got a revamped battery that pushes its range to an impressive 259 miles. In the compact class, this puts it behind only the 310-mile long-range Model 3. At 259 miles, the Bolt EV can cover any daily commuter, even if there’s no charger at work, and it can handle road trips with a little preplanning.
Range is only a part of the EV equation, though. There's also the rate it consumes electricity, which the EPA uses to determine its miles per gallon equivalent. The 2020 Bolt EV delivers a respectable 118 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe), but it falls way behind some competitors, including the Hyundai Ioniq Electric (133 MPGe) and the Model 3 standard range (131 MPGe).
Also dragging the Bolt EV down is its 55-kW onboard charger, which charges significantly slower than the 100-kW charger in the Kia Niro EV.
Though it falls a bit low on the MPGe scale, the Bolt EV makes up for this with un-EV-like performance. It whirrs its way to 60 mph in under seven seconds, beating every competitor not bearing the Tesla name.
All the utility, but your backside may suffer The Bolt broke many EV design trends by offering a traditional high-roofed hatchback design when it debuted. This not only gives it the traditional appearance some buyers crave, but it also gives it plenty of space.
Inside, this EV boasts 16.9 cubes of cargo room with the rear seats upright and a relatively cavernous 56.6 cubes with the rear seats lowered. The Model 3 tops out at 15 cubic feet and the Nissan LEAF maxes out at 30 cubic feet.
As for passenger room, the Bolt EV does just fine with 41.6 inches of front legroom and 37.9 inches of rear legroom. Despite ample room, you likely won’t be too comfy on longer hauls, as its thinly padded seats leave a lot of room for improvement.
Good tech features, but you must spend up for safety. The Bolt EV leaves little to desire in the standard tech department with its LED headlights, keyless ignition, automatic climate control, 8-inch driver information center, 10.2-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are common in traditional cars, the EV realm seems to be slipping, as the LEAF offers them as an option and the Model 3 doesn’t offer them at all. The Tesla does make up for its shortcoming with a standard 15-inch touchscreen.
Where the Bolt EV lacks is in safety, as this advanced EV is behind in standard stay-safe tech. It offers automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and front parking sensors, but they are options. The LEAF, Model 3, and Ioniq Electric all offer standard automatic emergency braking.
Final thoughts. With its huge driving range, quick acceleration, and roomy cabin, the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV is about as close as an EV can get to a traditional car. Those seeking the pinnacle of efficiency, though, maybe deceived by its 259-mile range.
Buyers looking for an EV that’s cheapest to drive shouldn’t focus solely on range. They should look to MPGe, and here the Hyundai Ioniq and Tesla Model 3 standard range are superior. Sure, you may charge more often in these rigs, but they use the power you put in them more efficiently.
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