Electric cars have been touted as the next great step in the automotive industry. The Chevy Bolt, Chevy’s first step into the relatively new market, seems to be following the trend of innovation. Ever since the Bolt was first unveiled as a concept car at the 2015 Detroit auto show, critics and fans alike have been waiting for a chance to drive and fully experience the car.
Chevy has not been quiet about the cars many amazing features, specifically its incredible mileage. Chevy has claimed that with just one charge, The Bolt can travel 200 miles. To prove this, Chevy made out a route from Monterey to Santa Barbara, California, a distance of about 240 miles on mostly coastal highways. This included elevation changes and overall higher cruising speeds. Cars like the Bolt perform at their best in stop-and-go situations that make us of their regenerative-braking capability, so this route would not have been favorable.
Having driven the car for a day, the people at Car and Driver reported, “After driving 238 miles, we arrived at our destination with the range estimator displaying 34 miles remaining.” It turns out, then, that Chevy’s claims had been true.
The Bolt’s “futuristic” features do not end with the impressive mileage capabilities. The car’s interior has been decked out with impressive display systems to communicate to the driver any necessary information they may need when it comes to driving an electric car. One 8-inch digital screen keeps track of the range, among other things. A number in the middle of the screen indicates an estimate by the car’s computers as to how long it will keep going before running out of charge. Along with this number are two other numbers, showcasing the maximum and minimum estimate for range. Driving more efficiently is met with a green bar rising from the middle number to the maximum range number, telling the driver that they are trending towards the maximum range.
On the other hand, more wasteful driving involves a yellow bar moving down toward the minimum range number, portraying a downward trend. When almost all of the charge is used, a slightly concerning orange color will indicate that the driver needs to find a charging station, but test drivers have reported that, even at this point, you still have in between 30 to 40 miles until there is a real problem.
In terms of charging times, Chevy is claiming that the 240-volt charger will add 50 miles of range in around two hours, while the 480-volt quick charger brings 90 miles of range in an impressive 30 minutes. Also notable is the 10.2 infotainment screen. This offers useful metrics, such as displaying how much energy is being used by different parts of the vehicle. This includes Driving and Accessories, Climate Settings, and Battery Conditioning, while another screen rates the driver’s technique in climate-control usage and terrain. Both screens, engineered by LG, are responsive and include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.
This car is filled to the brim with technology and practicality, but is it the car you want? Some were disappointed with the interior of the Bolt, claiming it didn’t hold up to the standard of its technology. For a $30,000 car, plastic trim doesn’t scream quality. Although, forward visibility, leg room in the back, and a deep rear cargo prove that the Bolt is, if nothing else, practical.
In terms of its driving, the Bolt can get from zero to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds, a quick time as far as electric cars go. Its 200 horsepower motor delivers immediate power, and its top speed is 90 miles an hour. GM is claiming that the Bolt will go on sale in late 2016. Overall, the Bolt seems like a step in the right direction for electric cars, offering the utility most gas powered cars cannot match. The Bolt’s forward thinking, along with most other new electric vehicles, will, and have already, propelled us into the future of the automotive industry.