The first of a new generation: Chevrolet unveils the 2017 Bolt EV

Chevrolet Unveils 2017 Bolt

GM CEO Mary Barra introduced the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV in a dazzling sound-and-light show at CES in Las Vegas. The company has earned the right to a little pomp: the Bolt is the first EV to offer a 200-mile range at a price tag “around $30,000” after tax incentives, and it will be a historic moment when it goes on sale later this year.

The sleek five-door hatchback is built on its own dedicated platform (though it shares some suspension components with the Sonic), so GM’s designers were finally able to dispense with the compromises inherent in adapting a gas burner.

Like other native EVs (Tesla Model S, BMW i3), the Bolt has a flat battery pack located under the floor, so its interior space is “two segments larger” than its exterior size suggests, quipped Pam Fletcher, GM’s Executive Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles.

Chevrolet Unveils 2017 Bolt

The passenger cabin measures 94.4 cubic feet – would you believe that’s a fraction more than that of the much larger Model S? GM says there’s room for 5 passengers, but some reviewers found that to be a bit of a squeeze. Cargo volume is 17 cubic feet with the rear seats up, which compares favorably to the Nissan LEAF and Kia Soul EV.

The Bolt features DC fast charging, something that buyers are increasingly demanding. There are several new high-tech features, including self-sealing Michelin tires that are designed to ignore minor punctures.

A digital rear-view mirror linked to a rear-facing camera gives an expansive 80-degree view (almost four times that of a conventional mirror), and Surround Vision provides a bird’s-eye view of what’s around the car – handy for low-speed driving and parking. The new MyChevrolet mobile app provides info such as charge status, and allows remote start and cabin pre-conditioning. OnStar 4G LTE turns the Bolt into a WiFi hotspot.

Reporters were able to take development versions of the Bolt for a short test drive, and were pleased with the peppy acceleration (0-to-60 in 7 seconds), crisp cornering and steering, smooth regenerative braking and of course, an electric specialty: amazingly silent ride.

During her star turn, Ms. Barra praised the Chevy dealers who will be the gatekeepers to electric bliss for US consumers. Saying that GM believes strongly in the dealer model, she took a little dig at Tesla: Bolt buyers will “never have to travel to another state” to buy or service their EVs. Barra surely wasn’t speaking ironically, but even the New York Times has noticed how little interest most GM dealers have in selling the company’s current plug-in models.

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Source: GM, Green Car Reports

  • Michael Patrick Sant

    Looks like a Honda Fit did it with a Volt! I like it ok, but I really wish car makers would get over the piano black plastic, just looks cheap and dated!

    • Electric Bill

      Be careful for what you wish for. There is a very good reason to use lots of black and dark colors in specific areas, especially the dashboard and anywhere close to the side view mirrors.

      Try putting a sheet of plain white paper or something aluminized on your dashboard directly above the instrument panel on a bright sunny day. Sit in the driver’s seat, and look forward through the windshield (WITHOUT polarized sunglasses!). The reflection of the paper off of the inside area of the windshield will make it nearly impossible to see anything outside. They don’t like to use glossy surfaces in such areas for a similar reason.

      But they don’t like to use black surfaces since black absorbs the sunlight making it hot enough to burn your skin even on brief contact. They use special foam-covered plastics since low-density surfaces conduct heat less than solid plastics and metal. So it is basically a compromise: the darker the dashboard, the higher the internal temps, and the harder the A/C needs to work to cool off your car. That is why nearly all car interiors look the same in that area.

      There is a similar problem re: side view mirrors. I drove a late-model Infiniti that had lots of chrome over vents near the outside edges of the dash, and when the sun was at certain angles, it was impossible to see anything in the side view mirrors due to reflections.

      The center console and radio also had lots of shiny and chromed surfaces that made driving that car a true headache, especially if you did not wear polarized sunglasses, which largely minimize the problem. The designer did not do his job well, and no one bothered to check for such problems before putting thousands of very expensive new cars in their showrooms.

      I doubt you would want whatever it is you think you want, once you got to drive it on a sunny day.