by Mia Yamauchi
With 238 miles of range and a cost of under $30,000 (after federal tax credit), the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV is generating a lot of buzz. Anticipation heightened with GM’s announcement that Bolt EVs were to begin rolling off the assembly line this past October. GM was “totally Area 51” about exact delivery plans until the night before, according to one dealer sales representative. Now the Bolt is finally here! Check out pictures from the first-ever Chevy Bolt EV deliveries Tuesday morning in Fremont, CA.
The First Three Bolt EVs Picked Up by Three Lucky Customers at Fremont Chevrolet Tuesday
Three early Bolt EV customers took delivery of their electric vehicles at Fremont Chevrolet yesterday. Each local dealership also got a Bolt EV demo for test drives.
Bolt EV Presales Going Fast
Anyone interested in a Bolt EV might want to hurry. Momentum Chevrolet of San Jose has already presold 135 of the 189 Bolt EVs allocated to the dealership as of today. And that was without a demo car available for test drives. A representative from a dealership in Sacramento said they’d already pre-sold their entire Bolt EV allotment of 29 and were only just cleared to sell four more. He said he expects those to go quickly, too.
Fremont Delivery Location A Not-So-Subtle Nudge to Tesla
The Fremont dealership selected for deliveries of the first Bolt EVs lies a mere three miles from Tesla’s Fremont factory. It’s a bit of a victory dance for GM having beat Tesla to an affordable, long-range EV. The Bolt EV is, in many ways, Chevy’s response to Tesla’s upcoming Model 3. Both cars have similar ranges and price points, though the full Model 3 specs are yet to be confirmed.
First Batch of Bolt EVs to Be Demo Cars
Three customers took delivery of the vehicles they’d purchased. The rest of the dozen or so Bolt EVs delivered Tuesday are designated for demo duty at dealerships across the Bay Area.
How Tall Can You Be for a Bolt EV?
At John Thomas’ height of 6 foot 2 inches, the Momentum Chevy General Manager considers space a top priority in any vehicle. He was impressed by the roomy interior of the Bolt EV, pointing out that when he moved the seat back he couldn’t even reach the pedals. “It looks small from the outside,” he acknowledged, “but you sit down and there is just so much room in that thing.”
Even for a 6’2” tall driver, the Bolt EV has plenty of legroom and more than enough headroom.
“It looks small from the outside. But you sit down and there is just so much room in that thing.”
Two Trim Levels: Premier vs LT
Like its plug-in hybrid cousin Volt, the Bolt EV comes in two trim packages: LT and Premier. A Premier trim Bolt EV can be identified by dual tone wheels and roof racks. The biggest differences are not immediately visible. In addition to more leather and more heating, the premier also comes with more safety options and lots of cool cameras.
DC Fast-Charge Only with Premier Package for Bolt EV
The Bolt EV features Premier trim level features a dual charging port. It allows for both Level 2 charging and DC fast charging.
The circular port on top works for Level 1 or Level 2 charging. The oval port accommodates the expanded “combo” plugs for Level 3 DC fast charging on Premier trim models. It allows the Bolt EV battery to recoup 90 miles of range in just 30 minutes of charging.
Level 2 charging is still plenty fast. It delivers 25 miles of range per hour charged and is ideal for home charging. Level 3 DC fast charging is meant for public charging stations.
The Bolt EV is not yet supported by Plugless for autonomous charging. Sign up for updates to get notified when Plugless releases hands-free charging for new EV models.
Addictive Efficiency Stats on 10.2” Touch Screen
After a quick test drive in the Bolt EV I can say it is fun to drive. But fun driving is not exactly the most efficient driving. The Bolt EV efficiency monitor gave me a score of -0.2 for my spin around the block. From the sales rep’s chuckle I gathered that was not incredibly green.
Bolt EV efficiency tracking provides feedback on how drivers handle a range of metrics. Efficiency history provides a detailed history of miles per kWh.
What It’s Like to Drive The Chevy Bolt EV (As a Volt Driver)
The Bolt EV is incredibly smooth and quiet, even compared to a Gen 1 or Gen 2 Volt hybrid in all-electric mode. Acceleration off the line is so easy it’s almost scary. I found myself having to mind the speedometer even on a short, non-freeway test drive.
With battery packs lowering the center of gravity the handling is precise and responsive. Sharp turns feel smooth and easy. Cutouts in the side pillars and extra head clearance provide great visibility, even for tall drivers. All in all the Bolt EV a great drive and a wonderful addition to the growing lineup of electric vehicles available today.