I have said many times if I win the Powerball the first thing I’m doing is buying a Tesla Model S, for one reason: I would love an electric car but I need decent range for my daily commute. GM has a much better plan than Powerball, though, with the new Chevy Bolt EV, which has a 200 mile range!
The idea of an affordable electric vehicle with a 200-mile range is a really big deal. Currently, if you want a car that can make it more than 75ish miles on one charge, your best bet is a Tesla, but even a Certified Pre Owned Tesla is over $50,000 [brand new a Model S will run a minimum of $75,000 before any tax credits.] Meanwhile, the Bolt has a retail price of $37,500, and GM says that drops down to $30,000 if you qualify for all available state and federal tax credits. That’s far more affordable, even if you don’t get to drive around knowing your car is backed by a man who thinks robots are coming to get us.
All jokes aside, the Bolt honestly looks like a great car in it’s own right. It’s a hatchback design that looks a bit like someone sportified a Prius; Chevrolet says it was designed to minimize wind drag, so it’s not super shocking that the Bolt has design cues in line with other hybrids and electric vehicles. The seats fold down, so it has a fair bit of cargo room, and there’s a tablet-sized screen in the console so you can check out all sorts of driving stats as you go. We’ll have to see how it performs on NHTSA tests, but Chevy is also touting all kinds of safety features like a rearview camera, rear and cross-traffic sensors, a steel frame, and more. Basically, even if you stripped the Bolt of the electric engine, it’s a well-equipped car that looks reasonably attractive and fun to own. That’s key to getting electric vehicles into the mainstream and appealing to more than just hardcore electric vehicle enthusiasts, because no one bought, say, a Leaf for its looks.
I am immensely curious if the Bolt can meet the stated range, but Chevrolet must feel reasonably confident, because they have a range/charge estimator on the Bolt site. I plugged in my address at home and work, and according to Chevy I could make three round trips before needing a charge (and still have 35 miles to spare!). For reference, my commute is approximately 50 miles round trip, though it can creep up towards 60 miles if I need to take back roads to avoid traffic. However, I mostly drive highways, and the vast majority of the time we solely use my car for commuting, so a reasonably priced electric vehicle with good range would be perfect (and at the right price would probably save us a lot of money!)
The Chevrolet Bolt isn’t coming until the end of 2016, so I have plenty of time to save my pennies; will you be giving a test drive when it hits the road?