Chevrolet Bolt Declared Car Of The Year By Detroit Free Press


The Chevrolet Bolt adds to its list of accolades, earning “Car of the Year” from the Detroit Free Press. The publication said:

Chevrolet Bolt EV rear hatch with seats down

Chevrolet Bolt EV rear hatch with seats down

“‘Game-changer’ is an overused term, but sometimes the game does change … If the Bolt isn’t the vehicle that makes electric power and autonomy part of mainstream American transportation, it’s hard to imagine what will.”

Now that’s definitely a quote that we like to hear. With all of the awards and positive press, more of the general public is already well aware of the Bolt, and that’s just exactly what needs to happen. Let’s just hope that the momentum keeps spiraling forward.

The Freep believes that the Bolt can change the way people think about today’s transportation. Being that it is the first affordable electric vehicle to have enough range to appeal to the masses, and it is versatile and roomy, it has all the right tools to make an impact. The crossover segment is booming, and people today are all about space, utility, and safety. The “fun to drive” part, and the part about “being a part of something really cool” are an added bonus.

Inside the Chevrolet Bolt EV

Inside the Chevrolet Bolt EV

Autonomous Chevy Bolt EV out testing (via Glenn L)

Autonomous Chevy Bolt EV out testing (via Glenn L)

This all comes shortly after it was unveiled that autonomous Bolts will be tested on Michigan roads. Yet another way to get them in the public eye, and to “sell” the self-driving concept to the masses.

The Bolt removes consumers’ biggest obstacles from the EV equation. No longer can a buyer say that the car costs too much or doesn’t have enough range. This was General Motor’s goal with the new vehicle, and it has opened the door for more automakers to follow suit.

Before long, you will be able to get a Chevrolet Bolt EV throughout the U.S.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Categories: Chevrolet

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98 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt Declared Car Of The Year By Detroit Free Press"

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Meaningless, since everyone knows TDFP is essentially the public mouthpiece for GM. They’ve authored a number of anti-Tesla hit pieces over the years…

Yes, anything that doesn’t align with your beliefs must clearly be a conspiracy.

By that logic, GM must love Bolt and making it the centerpiece of their product line. Either way, great news for EV!

Why am I not surprised to find that Anon will always post some nonsense in every GM related article?

Geez, give it a rest. You are making yourself looks like a Paid anti-GM troll at this point.

It’s true that the DFP is actually a misnomer when it comes to automobiles, but I think in this case they have made a fair assessment of the Bolt.

It is pretty nice except for the fact that your $40k investment will cook it’s batteries into oblivion when it is parked and unplugged. It seems a little ironic that while someone is at their job trying to pay for the thing, it is programming to do itself in. It seems like they should have allowed you to set aside some portion of the battery to condition itself while parked for all that money.


I am guessing the Bolt doesn’t have a “charge to 80%” setting??

It would be nice if people with in inherent rants would give a bit more info I have to admit.

The Bolt EV has a Hill Reserve option which effectively is a “charge to 90%”. Nominally it is meant for people who charge at the top of a hill and then want fully capable regenerative braking on the drive down the hill but anyone can use it.

The Bolt EV will use its thermal pack management to cool the battery under some conditions like high temperatures and a very high battery charge even when the car is unplugged so it will not “cook its batteries into oblivion” like the Nissan LEAF did.

Hopefully so. The Bolt is the best car for $40k. I agree on that. I was thinking it might be possible to trick the car into conditioning the batteries while it is off and unplugged. Something that you could plug into the charger port. A HackADay project. 🙂

Well the Volt with a high %SOC will cool the battries in high heat un-plugged. So I would imagine similar logic will follow the Bolt EV.

I’d like my Batteries on my Bolt “over easy, and slightly cooked to oblivion, without your usual plug of course”! The Bolt is going to have a Roasty Toasty (sourdough, please) New Year! Get the Bolt, while their still HOT!



Um… no.

Brett, that’s Good to know , I had No Idea..There’s a Car to avoid!

Well, it might be an okay car. I think you need to have a home charger to cool it at night. If you have a charger at work, perhaps pkug it in during the hot part of the day to charge and cool it during that period. Maybe it isn’t the end of the world. Plus as someone mentioned, it has an 8 year warranty. I do not know if that covers capacity or just defects in workmanship. If I were not still paying off my Leaf I would be tempted to get a Bolt. I certainly would not buy another ICE’r at this point. Backing up through a plume each morning is not something I’m looking forward to more of.

I’m not aware of any battery pack temperature management system other than Tesla’s that operates when an EV is off or not charging. Tesla’s battery cell chemistry is the most unstable, so Tesla is being cautious at the expense of reduced efficiency. EV’s that use more stable battery cell chemistries don’t need to control temperatures so closely and are more efficient as a result. If one parks most EV’s on a hot asphalt parking lot in the hot Phoenix summer sun, their low-mounted battery packs would almost certainly absorb heat from the hot asphalt causing the temperature of the battery cells to increase. However, other than the Nissan Leaf with no battery pack temperature management system, I’m not aware of any EV whose battery packs have suffered noticeable degradation as a result of parking in hot conditions. As soon as an EV is turned on, its battery pack temperature management system will activate to control the temperature, but if the battery pack temperature is dangerously high, the battery pack management system of most EV’s would limit power until temperatures drop. Until evidence is shown that parking in hot conditions causes considerable battery pack degradation, this is not a significant issue.

It may just be the Leaf, or the 2011 that seems to get creamed so bad by temperature. I have a friend with a two year old Spark EV that parks in the same lot as me but has not noticed any range loss. So, hehe, it may just be my good fortune with the old Leaf.

Let me get this straight. You made this claim without any knowledge if it was true or false about the Bolt, but assumed it was the same as the early LEAF batteries without any cooling ability?

Don’t say something as fact, when you are guessing, qualify you statement with something like “if it is the same as 2011 LEAF”

Yes, it does appear he assumed the Bolt’s battery cooling system works a lot more like the Leaf’s… which doesn’t even have one… than the Volt, whose battery pack has been shown to be surprisingly problem-free, and clearly a product of superior engineering by GM.

Well, hopefully he’ll take the responses here to his post as a learning experience.

Page 254 of the Bolt EV user manual talks about when the car does and does not maintain battery temperatures. It is in the Vehicle Care – High Voltage Battery section. I can sort of understand the choice. Maybe more conditioning options would have confused customers. Maybe it would cause undo concern in cool climates. It is nice that it cools the battery when it is plugged in or driving. For some parking scenarios in certain climates, it might be not so good. Hopefully the warranty covers those scenarios.

I think the main reason for cooling while plugged-in is because that is when the car is charging, which heats up the pack. I’ve never heard of ambient temperature being so hot it can damage the battery. I think that ought to be a minimal concern.

Correct. The Bolt EV is supposed to have a higher heat tolerant chemistry over the Volt.

The Volt with the battery above 70% SOC will actively cool the battery at very high temperatures un-plugged.

That’s cool. I hope it does. I don’t want the early Leaf temp fiasco to be the Bolt’s.

Cook? What? GM’s EVs have long been admired for the longevity of their battery packs, which most certainly utilize thermal management. Would you care to qualify your specific concerns?

I don’t think we are in ‘game changer’ territory yet. The pricing needs to drop by about $10K per vehicle before we see wide adoption of electric vehicles like this. It’s a commendable effort by Chevy, and certainly it represents a quantum leap forward compared to Tesla pricing (to date) for a 200+mile EV, but we are not quite there yet. The game will change when the competition begins offering 200+ mile EVs.

Correct…I just hope Trump doesn’t blow it up and support gas guzzlers over EVS.

I agree, the Bolt isn’t the “Model T Ford” of PEVs (Plug-in EVs), and it won’t usher in a market shift to primarily PEVs instead of gasmobiles. (And neither will a certain other upcoming PEV from a well-known auto maker in Fremont, California.) But compared to all other PEVs, it’s a very large step in that direction!

Is the Bolt perfect? No, but then neither is any other PEV. As EV advocates, I say we should concentrate more on the “glass is half full” case than the “glass is half empty” one.

So kudos to GM, and certainly the Bolt does deserve its multiple “Car of the Year” accolades.

Perfect should not be the enemy of good. Agreed. 😉

That is why though I am frustrated by my Leaf in the summer, I would not trade it back for my ’04 Civic. I think the Bolt and other next gen EV ought to get the same pass. The stuff that I mention seems like it could be addressed in a mere firmware update anyway. The car already has the equipment.

The game will change extremely rapidly once gas prices start climbing.

In order for gas prices to rise, oil demand has to surpass supply. I don’t see that happening unless war, sanctions, etc..spread in oil producing countries.

Ironically, Trump could help demand outstrip supply and effectively give gas prices he boost they need.

I don’t see how. The “drill, baby, drill” policy will be promoted by his “oiligarchy” cabinet, regardless the erratic, weathervane-like shifts in what passes for policy in Trump’s mind.

Prices are often driven by sentiment. Optimistic oil investors can start to increase the price of oil if they feel market conditions improve for it. You never know. 😉

Oil and gas companies have recently said they are trimming production to reduce the current surplus. Combine that with a barrel that is supposed to exceed $100 again by the summer, and you have some pricey gas.

Up here, gas is already selling as high as it was when the barrel was beyond $100, so I hate to see where it may go once prices are up again.

I spend about $2500 on gas a year.. Over 10 years that equals $25,000. Now electricity is not free but much cheaper then gas, so depending where you live it can be a quarter of the cost of gas for the mileage driven. So a #30,000 EV after incentives plus savings on gas and maintenance as the car gets older start to pile up! A regular cheap ICE that’s $20,000 really costs over $50,000+ after 10 years of regular usage.

Where I live electricity can be more expensive than gas. Well unless you install solar and then it is cheaper 🙂

Yea Dee, But who Pays to repair & keep the roads in good shape ?? This FREE RIDE will not go on forever.sooner than later there will be some sort of tax/charge or road toll on EV’s for Road Use.

North Carolina charges $130.00 a year for EVs when you renew your vehicle registration. It used to be $100.00. This is to make up for all of the taxes we are missing out on by not buying gas.

That needs to change. A Toyota Prius traveling 15,000 miles a year does not pay that much in gas taxes. I’m all for EVs paying their fair share once they meet critical mass, but that is an excessive amount.

It sucks even more when you have a two wheeled EV. Only put about 12k miles a year on my Zero SR. And NC only requires a state inspection every other year. Not sure if that is all EVs or just electric motorcycles though.

With regards to whether $130 is excessive, a fair comparison would have to include the federal gas tax in addition to the state gas tax that the average Prius has to pay. Since BEVs don’t pay federal tax, a state gets short changed when the federal government allocates federal highway funds to states, since the allocation is based on the amount federal gas tax collected in the state.

How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? Health? Global warming? Energy independence? These things all cost societies money.

In my case (Michigan), in 2017 I’ll end up paying $50 more in state fees, than if I had just bought a 25mpg gas hog and paid the state sales tax. How is this good for us?

Keep in mind that electricity is taxed just like gas is taxed. So the real issue is how does government spend electric vehicle tax revenues. Saying that EV drivers are getting a free ride is not true.

This battery and powertrain should’ve went into the ELR as a RWD car; and into the XT5 body/platform.
Missed opportunities ..

I take that back.
I wasn’t aware of the battery pack performance before I wrote that message.
I was judging it by the GM fanboys comments, but this guy ( is getting lower numbers in the real world on his own Bolt EV.

The charging rate he is seeing with his Bolt EV is limited by the DC chargers he is using, not by the car itself. The Bolt will charge somewhat faster when next-generation DC chargers begin being installed later this year. We won’t know exactly how fast the Bolt can really charge until it gets plugged into one of those future chargers.

evGO really has to remove that charge time limit from their chargers. Having to stand by your car and reactivate it every 30 mins is bunk. Also evGO charges a per-session fee if you are a flex member, having to restart means paying more fees.

This is bunk.

Can someone, Brett or anyone else, explain this statement? “… [the Bolt] will cook it’s batteries into oblivion when it is parked and unplugged. It seems a little ironic that while someone is at their job trying to pay for the thing, it is programming to do itself in.” Thanks.

There is no merit to the unplugged Bolt cooking its LG Chem batteries (60 kWh), beyond their specified warranty in the 8 year/100k mi. (Whichever comes first). Any depletion above 40% of capacity, is covered under the limited warranty. “Oblivion”, is Used by IEV Trolls to spread FUD!

The 8 year part is a plus. Hopefully the conditioning that occurs when it is plugged in or turned on will compensate for the unlucky times when it is not. The Bolt has a good advantage of the Leaf in that yeah, it can cook when the conditioner criteria are not met. However, unlike the Leaf, it does not continue to fry itself all night in the garage and into the next morning. With a Bolt, I am guessing the cooler kicks on during the home commute and in the garage when it is plugged in. So that should be a big win. I just think they ought to toss in the option to cool the battery when it is unplugged. That would give people with short daily commutes a way to preserve their clean air vehicle, and help the resell value.

I don’t know where Brett gets that, but I don’t believe there is even much of a choice in the BOLT. Environmental requirements are much like, if not identical to the VOLT in that after 2 days in EXTREME temperatures you are required to plug the car in, to at least 110 volts, at 8 amps (in other words, any recepticle anywhere you can fine it).

I don’t see why it is necessary to ‘pick on’ the BOLT for this, after all, Tesla’s requirements for all their vehicles are at least as rigorous.

Fair enough. I actually loved sitting in the Bolt. I probably should’ve noted that in the first post. It is better than my Leaf. Though the last time I said the Bolt was better than the Leaf, somebody noted that the Leaf was cheaper than the Bolt. So, yeah. I hope. I write this as I am walking to my Leaf of all things.

Lol at the game changer quote. It’s like they are purposefully ignoring the model 3

Have we even seen a final production intent version of the Model 3?? Nope, pretty easy to ignore it for now…

They are also purposefully ignoring the 2nd-gen Leaf, the BMW i5, and many other cars that do not exist.

Well, I’m purposely ignoring the Model 3, I have no interest in the Model 3 at all. By the time the model 3 goes into production the game will already be changed by the Bolt. The Bolt and the Model 3 will compete in completely different market segments so maybe they will both be winners.

Not sure what you are saying. The Bolt is here, the Model 3 isn’t.

Hard to be the game changer when someone already changed it before you got the chance.

Zach said:

“It’s like they are purposefully ignoring the model 3”

It would be pretty remarkable if a “Car of the Year” competition did not ignore any car that wasn’t available to buy at any time during the specified year.

It’s also very hard to give an award to a car that doesn’t even exist. Tesla has not shown the final version, the specs or the price yet.

How can you give an award to a car with unknown capabilities and unknown price?

“[the Bolt] will cook it’s batteries into oblivion when it is parked and unplugged.”

Based on the Volt’s active battery management, this person is at best ill informed and at worst carrying out an anti electric car agenda.

The back seat leg room on the Bolt is great. Does that help?

Wow, new year, same FUD by the anti-Chevy posters.

Bunch of losers.

How shortsightedly clueless of the Detroit Free Press to award a car which isn’t even available for sale in Michigan.

Biased much? It will be available there soon enough. Much sooner than the Model 3.

Yes, I am biased. As are you, and as is everyone else. In this case, I loathe this shoddy brand of “journalism” and couldn’t care less about anyone’s silly Bolt vs. Model 3 debate. I will own neither.

Declaring the Model 3 the “Car of the Year” would have been equally shortsighted, as it – like the Bolt – isn’t a car which is available for sale in Michigan.

Does the Detroit Free Press also write reviews of restaurants in Washington D.C. or Los Angeles? How about a section in their paper offering items for sale in Oklahoma City or New Orleans?

The thing is, it will be available for sale on Michigan soon enough. Like in a couple months. Which is vastly different than it not arriving until 2018.

Yeah, the DFP is just routing for the Hometown Favorite, even though the car is manufactured in Orion. If this is the biggest complaint they can find against the Bolt, that the hometown paper is in Favor of it, then it must be pretty good.

I don’t see how people can say the battery is going to ruin itself.

GM might be dumb sometimes but they’re not stupid.

So then, given that Tesla is currently unable to sell cars in:


…it is your position that no publication in any of those states should give an award to any Tesla product, right? After all, Tesla cars are not available for sale in their area.

Perhaps you believe there should be an exception for states where Tesla does have a store or gallery, but is legally prohibited from selling. If we are only counting the states in which Tesla has been unwilling to open a store or gallery, the list is slightly different:


You have a very harsh standard, sir.

+1. Well stated.

While you have made an excellent point, I think you’ve overstated your case. I think you’re conflating States where you can’t get delivery of a Tesla car at all, with States where you can’t buy one through a State retail store.

I think in at least some of the States you list, you can get delivery if you order online.

Unfortunately, this being a national holiday, I can’t call up my local Kansas City, Missouri Tesla store, to see if they’ll deliver across the State line here in Kansas.

There are Chevy dealers in SoCal that will happily ship a Bolt to any state in the Union.

To clarify what I meant by that statement: if being able to have a car shipped to your location counts as availability, then the Bolt is already available across the country and this entire line of argument is null and void.

I beg to differ, sir. Tesla Motors is set up to deliver a car directly to you, at home or at work, as you prefer. That is SOP — Standard Operating Procedure — for Tesla.

Contrariwise, from numerous posts we have already seen here on InsideEVs about people trying (and mostly failing) to get an out-of-State delivery of a Bolt from a California dealer, you’ll have to hunt high and low to find one that is willing to arrange that, and even then it’s unlikely you’ll succeed. However, to be fair, that may be partially or mostly due to the fact that it’s still very early in Bolt sales, so availability is quite limited.

I think you have a point there. Lets all go on a hunt for the Snark!

You’ll have to explain how Tesla can deliver a car to a resident of MI, when they are prohibited by law from direct sales to that customer. If the customer has to leave the state to place the order, that doesn’t count.

But that’s really beside the point. There are Chevy dealers willing to ship Bolts out of state. Case in point:

Obviously, finding a dealer willing to ship a Bolt is not the same thing as finding a dealer with a Bolt available to ship, but waiting on inventory is something that you may have to deal with even in CA.

As far as I know you can order a Tesla online in Michigan. The Interstate Commerce Act doesn’t allow the state to prohibit that.

I know they can’t open showrooms or even pseudo-showrooms in Michigan. I don’t know if they can deliver cars to Michigan either. I rather expect they could but it’s not like I’ve checked.

Hey, thanks for the shout-out! 😉

My Bolt was delivered to the dealer yesterday….trying to get her shipped out to MD ASAP now!

Bob said:

“How shortsightedly clueless of the Detroit Free Press to award a car which isn’t even available for sale in Michigan.”

Hmmm… I was going to disagree, but I see that there is a point in favor of your argument. Googling “Chevy 2016 Bolt”, I see a distinct lack of hits, and it looks like GM has labeled the Bolt as a 2017 model year car. So choosing a 2017 model as the 2016 Car of the Year does appear a bit iffy.

‘Chevrolet Bolt is the 2017 Free Press Car of the Year’

They chose a MY2017 car as a 2017 car of the year. I don’t get how this is strange at all.

I can’t even keep track of the arguments here anymore. This is just another form of “I’m upset I can’t get one yet”, right?

I am upset that I cannot get one yet, that is correct. Hehe

Why should Wozniac already get one? Besides the most obvious reason, like the Apple IIe.

By all accounts he ordered his ahead of time. So he’s getting one because his order came in. Same as all the other people who got them so far (including me some time soon).

Yep. He got a good spot in the queue. Hopefully the early owners will take to youtube with owner reviews. I have been waiting for some good leñgthy reviews made by real owners. Congrats on your order. My Leaf is down to 10.9kw at 80% or 61% SOH. Though I think it is just the ambient temperatures. She started December with 66%. So you should be 200 miles ahead of my car.

Doesn’t Nissan have a warranty that when you are down 25% you get a new pack? Isn’t 61% much lower than 75%?

When I had a LEAF it was leased because word was already in that those early packs were so poor. Turns out the later ones didn’t suffer as badly though.

NOPE! He didn’t pre-order. He DID try and snag an incoming Bolt meeting his specs once he found out a local dealer had some inbound, but got denied by the sales manager at that dealership because someone else (a regular Joe like us) reserved it first. LOL

The guy that reserved Woz’s would-be Bolt posted that in one of the Bolt owner forums.

Odds are the Woz tracked down another incoming, unclaimed Bolt, and bought that one. Should be delivered to him today, according to his FB account!

“They chose a MY2017 car as a 2017 car of the year. I don’t get how this is strange at all.”

Okay, I confess that I’ve always found the convention of dating the model year of a car a year ahead to be confusing, and indeed I became confused here. Mea culpa.

In the photo, why is the rear cargo floor so ‘crooked’ when compared to the folded down seats?

Because the car was built by GM?

I noticed this too. Hopefully this is just a quality control issue that will be resolved quickly.

That’s a false floor. It is removable and there is about 6 inches more space down there.

Someone removed it and didn’t put it back flush. This isn’t any kind of quality control issue all it takes is the person who didn’t put it back correctly to put it back correctly.

Here is an image with the false floor removed.

Thanks for the explanation and photo. I notice there is a plastic-looking tab along the left side but none visible on the right side. Is there only one tab (on the left) for holding the floor down? Or is the tab on the right hidden by the floor?

To clarify: I’m referring to the photo in the article.

Why are so many people on this site who simply what to critize EV’s and don’t want or like EV’s. They simply like there gas gussling ICE. EV’s are the future and they will continue getting better and gaining market share.

A lot of Bolt/Volt angst comes from the anti-GM people. Then you get the Tesla fanboys who bash anything that isn’t Tesla. Then you get the backlash of the people annoyed w/the Tesla people.

Fun stuff.

Chevy Volt owners question a crooked floor in a new model that was fast-tracked into production to meet Barra’s 2016 year-end deadline, and that is now anti-GM Bolt/Volt angst???

Ron… Although there are some anti-EV trolls that add comments on this site, I seriously doubt that ‘2013VOLT’ hates EVs, and I certainly do not. I love my two Volts.