Chevrolet Blows Away Tesla With the Bolt EV

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onJanuary 12th, 2016

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While Chevrolet unveiled the 2017 Bolt EV at CES last week, it wasn’t until today at the Detroit NAIAS that Chevy revealed the juicy details for their affordable electric vehicle. Recapping the Vegas unveil, the Bolt EV is slated for production by the end of the year, and will be a 320km range EV, setting its sights squarely on the unreleased Tesla Model 3. The Bolt is packed with lots of passenger space thanks to using the chassis floor for battery packaging (much like Tesla’s Model S), and electronic gadgets such as a rear view camera mirror which offers unobstructed widescreen view of the rear to enhance driving experience.

What we learned here in Detroit is that Chevy is targeting a $30,000 price target (after Federal rebates in the US), and even more impressive is the drivetrain details. This EV, the size of a Fiesta, is powered by a single motor drive unit good for 200hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, setting the bar very high in this segment. The dash to 60mph clocks in at a very respectable 6.8 seconds. Controlling the power is Chevy’s Electronic Precision Shift system, delivering feel and delivery of power based on drive mode selection and throttle inputs to closely mimic a typical driving experience. Aggressive regenerative braking allows the Bolt to drive using the brakeless 1 pedal method, but for those inexperienced with such a driving style, a less efficient standard drive mode is available.


Powering the Bolt EV is the 60kWh battery system, and at 960lbs, is responsible for most of the weight of the car. Similar to Tesla’s EV drivetrain, the batteries are distributed flat throughout the chassis floor to lower center of gravity for improved handling, and open up the cabin for passenger space. Coupled to the battery system is a 7.2kW onboard charger, which replenishes the Bolt’s range by 80km every 2 hours. Plug the Bolt into the DC fast charger, and 150kms of range is replenished only 30 minutes. For most typical users who will plug the Bolt in at home to their 240V outlet, a full charge takes 9 hours.

Chevrolet has set the bar quite high with the Bolt EV, and while Tesla has struck up the conversation in the EV space, it’s Chevy that is ultimately delivering an EV that’s usable and affordable to the average family. With Elon Musk stating that the Model 3 is still over 2 years away, Chevrolet has won this first battle.



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