Chevrolet Bolt EV: The Future of Personal Transportation

A long-range EV that costs about the same as the average new car

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Vehicle layout: Subcompact 4-door hatchback, electric motor (200 hp), 1-speed automatic, FWD 

MSRP, range (before incentives): $37,500 (base), $44,300 (well equipped)

MPGe, city/ hwy/combined: 128/110/119

Full recharge time: 9.5 hours (240 volts)

Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall. IIHS: good (all ratings)

Spare tire: None (self-sealing tires) 

Final assembly: United States 

Chevrolet Bolt

The Chevy Bolt EV just might be the future of personal transportation: an affordable electric car that can carry four people comfortably and travel nearly 240 miles on a single charge. An achievement like that was pretty much wishful thinking just a few years ago.

The Bolt’s styling is attractive but conventional—just your typical subcompact hatchback. Inside, though, there’s a surprising amount of room, including 57 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row seat backs folded down. The front and rear seats are comfortable, with plenty of headroom.

But the Bolt’s strong suit is how it rides and handles. It’s quick off the line (0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds) and has plenty of power, the steering is sharp and weighted just right, and the ride is supple. What’s more, the Bolt is really quiet, and it’s not just the absence of engine noise. Chevy has also taken pains to eliminate road and tire noise. 

Downsides? It’s a bit pricey—with options, our test car topped $43,000, though federal and state incentives can lower that by about $10,000. Although the interior is stylish, with eye-catching, useful instrumentation and a large touch screen, the seats are flat and there’s too much hard plastic for even a $30,000 car. Also, some important advanced safety features, such as forward-collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking, are available only as extra-cost options.

The Bolt has more competition than when it first came out in late 2016. Today, EVs such as the redesigned Nissan Leaf and Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona EV have (or will have) ranges exceeding 200 miles and MSRPs under $40,000. Nonetheless, the Bolt remains one of the best affordable EVs, a true milestone in the automotive landscape. No significant changes are planned for the Bolt in 2019.

Photos courtesy of Chevrolet

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