You probably know that the 2017 Chevy Bolt is an all electric vehicle (EV). You may have also heard that it is rated at 238 miles of total driving range per charge. However, you probably have not heard about all the following details!
First off, the Bolt EV’s electric motor is rated at 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. It has a single speed transmission that feeds power to the front wheels. The lithium-ion battery has a 60 kWh capacity, which is actually enough to take you over 238 miles, depending on the environment and your driving style. Chevrolet says some owners of the Bolt EV recorded close to 290 miles on a full charge.
The Bolt EV starts at $37,495 for the base model before destination charges, federal and state tax credits. If you have enough tax liability, you can effectively get the Bolt for under $30,000. The federal tax credit is $7,500. States, such as Colorado, offer a $5,000 tax credit for electric vehicles.
Chevrolet invited and flew me out to Detroit to have another test drive in the Bolt EV, this time it was on an autocross course that they set up.
Why autocross a Bolt electric? Chevy is proud of the car’s handling characteristics, and it is a fun hatchback to drive around. Although, the floor-mounted batteries bring the center of gravity down, the Bolt EV is a fairly heavy (around 3,600 lbs of curb weight). The car can be quick around a tight driving course, but it still exhibits a body lean, although predictable. The power is plentiful and the brakes are linear and powerful.
The Bolt EV has something that Chevy (and some other electric car manufacturers) calls “one foot driving”. This is due to the regenerative braking. As soon as you decrease the amount of throttle input, the car starts to slow down due to energy conversion to charge the batteries. There are actually four separate regenerative braking modes: regular D-drive setting, more noticeable mode that is activated with a steering wheel pedal, L-low transmission mode with more aggressive regeneration, and L-low mode with the steering wheel pedal. As complicated as this sounds, the system works smoothly an in linear fashion. Still, you need some time to get used to this. Once you get the hang of it, the driving style feels natural.
This electric five-person hatchback is now available for sale nationwide. Check out the video for the other “things” you may not know about the new Bolt EV.