Ever since my early days of watching Back To The Future 2, I have been waiting for that next phase when it comes to automobiles. Sure the year 2015 has come and gone, and we still don’t have flying cars and hover-boards (at least real TRUE hover-boards)…but at the very least we have taken some steps into the next wave of cars. While the spotlight for electric cars has been Tesla, Chevy now have their first all electric car in the new Bolt. It is a compact far, has a range of 238 miles on a charge, and has that Chevy flare to its look that easily identifiable. But the questions remains, will I enjoy my time behind the wheel of an all electric car. This Week In the Drive I looked to answer just that.
Upon First Look
The very first thing you notice about the Chevy Bolt is of course its look. Now this isn’t a look that everyone will like, but then it is hard to please everyone. I personally like the look. It has that signature Chevy flare, but at the same time it has a first future forward look to it. If you changed the wheels or even removed them, it could have this futuristic transportation pod feel to it. It especially looks cool to me in the front, before it returns to only okay once you get to the rear. But overall the exterior looks works and captures the essence of Chevy.
When we move on to the interior the cabin is roomy than I expect for a smaller car. I didn’t feel cramp or like I needed hunch down. I’m not the tallest either, so I would curious to see a Shaq size individual tried to get himself in (if not purely for comedic reasons! haha). The interior is very minimal in design and this is also the case when you get to the dashboard. Maybe not as much as that new Tesla Model 3, but this is Chevy it has to have a few buttons and dials. It all comes together very nice, very smooth in look and feel. The infotainment center was your command system for most functions and a great insight into your charging habits and current levels. I must say I really enjoyed messing around with this and look at the data of how much charge I used per trip, how using certain functions affected my miles capable. All really good stuff!
The Chevy Bolt Is Fun to Drive…With a Few Caveats
Throughout the week, the Chevy Bolt is a very fun car to drive. On the driving experience I truly enjoyed the acceleration it has when you give gas (or should I say give it power now..). There was also this great feature called one pedal driving. With it enabled I rarely needed to use the brake to stop if I timed it right. You would use the accelerator to get up to speed like normal, but when it became time to slow down you would just decrease the pressure on the accelerator and the car would slow down. If you timed it right with enough distance you could come to a stop at the light without ever touching the brake. This was both cool and a little jarring at first. Once you get the hang of it, you may never want to use the brake again.
Now the biggest cool feature of the Chevy Bolt, is the fact that it is all electric. The experience of passing by gas station after gas station all week and not needing to stop to fill up if great! But to truly enjoy the Chevy Bolt, you need to own a house and make a commitment to own a Level 2 charger at home or have easy/close access to one. You may notice in one of the pictures, that little orange cord in the background. That is a 100ft cable going from the driveway into my house so I could top up the Bolt. Not completely charge, just top up. Connected to my regular outlet, you can charge your Bolt, but it would probably take you 2 whole days or more to do it. To have a chance charging it overnight and having it ready in the morning, you’d need a Level 2 charger, which can charge the Bolt to full if you plugged it in overnight. Then there is a Level 3 charger (mostly in commercial spaces) which can charge you to about full in about an hour in my experience.
During my week, the Level 3 was my only option if I wanted to be ready by next morning. However the nearest one was about 20 minutes away. Each night I needed to speed an hour at night powering up for the next day. This was a low point of the experience, but only because I didn’t own it and invested in a Level 2 charger. This is something you’ll want to think about carefully when deciding on a Bolt or electric car in general.
How Does it Compare To That Other Guy?
When it comes to the Chevy Bolt, right now it is one of only a few other mainstream all electric cars. The most known is the Bolt, the Nissan Leaf, and of course the Tesla. When you break down all 3, the Chevy Bolt stands up quite well to the competition. The Leaf I’m not a fan of, and the coveted Tesla if by higher in price, and will take you much longer to get. The Chevy Bolt looks good (though I’m not going to lie and not say the Tesla models look better), has a very affordable price at $36,620 MSRP, and I’m pretty sure you can walk into a dealer and get one now. This can’t be said right now for the other guys.
Would I pick up a Bolt? Honestly yes! I had fun with the Bolt, enjoyed driving it and could see myself driving it more. The fuel savings alone is so enticing and you wrap that in a package like the Bolt and I’m all for it!