General Motors may have set a record this month for making a quick decision when they greenlighted production of the concept Chevrolet Bolt EV in advance of the Chicago Auto Show. In fact, precisely one month to the day after unveiling the concept at an auto show in Detroit, GM said that the subcompact Bolt will now head to production. Here’s what we know about the upcoming model and what it could mean for you.
The 2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept made its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January. It is a landmark vehicle for General Motors, taking the automaker deeper into the dominion of extended range electric vehicles.
Leveraging many years of EV research and manufacturing, first with the plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt, followed by the pure-electric Chevrolet Spark, the cutting-edge subcompact utility vehicle runs on electric power only and has a projected range of more than 200 miles. Indeed, it is a game changer for GM as well as for the Chevrolet brand.
The Bolt’s stellar numbers compare to the 2016 Volt with its 50 miles of electric-only range and an ancillary 1.4-liter generator that extends its full range to more than 400 miles. However, that added range requires the gasoline engine to supply energy to the electric propulsion system. Consequently, when gasoline is used, carbon dioxide emissions do follow.
Just like the Spark EV, the Chevrolet Bolt EV has no tailpipe and, therefore, will not pollute. That’s the kind of vehicle that is more appealing to environmentally conscious consumers.
Call it a Crossover Utility Vehicle
For the record, GM is calling the Chevrolet Bolt a crossover. Though it has the demeanor of a small utility vehicle, the Bolt will be available in front-wheel drive only, unlike all other crossovers that also have an all-wheel drive variant. Thus, with its single drivetrain layout and a standard ride height, it is more congruent to a hatchback.
From the exterior, the Bolt is marked by minimal overhang to maximize its interior space. Indeed, the wheels are as close to the front and back of this vehicle as engineering and safety feasible. The front fascia is characterized by the smallest of grilles with the trademark Chevrolet bow-tie insignia present. The fascia streams into the hood, which then meets the windshield at a crisp angle.
From the front to the rear pillars the graceful design seamlessly flows with copious amounts of glass providing an open and airy feel. And to the rear is an oversized hatch with a distinctive brake light design.
Inside, the seating is for four with a distinctively space age design present. Huge swaths of glass contribute to the open feeling, with a flat, flow-through floor enhancing that impression. Moreover, the Bolt’s designers chose slim, but supportive seats to maximize room and included a minimalist center console that seems to float just above the front seats.
A leather-wrapped electronic shifter comes with anodized orange accents to enhance the hi-tech aura of the cabin. Contrasting colors, an angular dashboard, and a glass roof coalesce to perfect the interior design. Further details about standard equipment and options will be provided prior to when production commences.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV and You
When a production-ready Chevrolet Bolt launches (we estimate a late 2016 arrival) it will address two significant concerns related to the EV segment:
First, the Bolt will mitigate range anxiety. Notably, few drivers travel more than 200 miles on any given day and the Bolt will have the majority of those motorists covered. Moreover, it will offer DC fast-charging capabilities, which should recharge this vehicle to at least 80 percent of its capacity in approximately 20 minutes. Just as you would take an extended break while on a long trip, you can plug in the Chevrolet Bolt while you rejuvenate.
Second, GM has stated an estimated $30,000 base price for the Bolt. That valuation is still well above the cost of a comparable gasoline-powered model, but most owners should also qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which effectively reduces their final cost to $22,500. In addition, some states and local jurisdictions may offer tax credits on top of federal credits, further reducing the final price tag. Yet other areas of savings will be realized as owners will pay no visits to fueling stations, with oil changes and tune ups also a thing of the past.
GM’s effort to develop the Chevrolet Bolt demonstrates the company’s commitment to green driving and sustainable living. This EV will arrive on the market well ahead of several competitors, including Tesla Motors and its proposed Model 3, itself a promised and lower cost mass appeal model, yet one without a concept presented.
Besides its lowered cost and green credentials, the Chevrolet Bolt will afford yet another benefit: it will be manufactured at an assembly plant located in Orion Township, Michigan, thereby providing additional automotive jobs for Americans.