Chevrolet Bolt First Drive Notes: 5 Seats, Designed With Lyft In Mind

JAN 6 2016 BY MARK KANE 50

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

General Motors and Lyft Inc. today announced a long-term strategic alliance to create an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S.

General Motors and Lyft Inc. today announced a long-term strategic alliance to create an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S.

We now learn that the recent long-term strategic alliance between General Motors and Lyft with $500 million investment is related to the all new Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Turns out that Bolt EV has been designed with Lyft ride-sharing in mind. There are two important bits of news here:

  • Bolt EV was purposely built for ride sharing
  • Bolt EV is a five seater

Pamela Fletcher, GM’s chief engineer for electric vehicles, said to USA Today:

This really is the first car purposely built for ride sharing,” says Fletcher. She highlights an exterior “that seems shrink-wrapped around the interior,” which provides rear-seat passengers with ample room for three; large door openings and flat floors, which make entering and exiting the car easier; and on-board cameras that on command project an image of a wide field behind the car onto the car’s rearview mirror, which helps with safety when dropping off or picking up passengers in city traffic.”

Rear Designed Special? Ample Room For Three?  Looking Mighty "Sonic-Compact" Back There - Still Nice To See Three Actual/Normal Spots In The Rear (via CNET)

Rear Designed Special? Ample Room For Three? Looking Mighty “Sonic-Compact” Fabulous Back There – Although It Is Still Nice To See Three Actual/Normal Spots In The Rear (via CNET)

Aside from the Lyft connection, USA Today made a few comments after spending a brief time behind the wheel of the Bolt:

“USA TODAY test drove one of the Bolts that GM brought to the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, where the company set up a small test track in the shadow of the Westgate Hotel. The Bolt’s dash and door panels were covered in fabric, suggesting that more design work was being done on those parts of the vehicle.”

“The test drive was at relatively slow speeds, but it conveyed the typically responsive acceleration provided by torque-filled EVs. One interesting feature Fletcher called “one-foot driving” took place when the automatic car was shifted from Drive to Low gear. In this setting, the regenerative braking force is stepped up significantly so that when the foot lifts off the accelerator the car immediately starts braking, a boon in stop-and-go traffic.”

We’ll have more info on the Chevrolet Bolt later today when General Motors officially present the car at CES 2016.


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50 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt First Drive Notes: 5 Seats, Designed With Lyft In Mind"

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I’m eager to hear what kWh rating the battery pack will have. That will give us a big hint about what the real-world range will be.

I see several posts commenting on other Bolt-related articles, here on InsideEVs, which strongly assert that the Bolt will definitely, absolutely, unquestionably have an EPA range rating of 200 miles.

Personally, I expect it to have an EPA range between 150 and 160 miles, and I’ll be very surprised indeed if it’s more than 170 miles.

Yes, it did turn out that GM was not exaggerating — perhaps even being slightly conservative — in its claims for the range of the Volt 2.0. But that’s far from the norm; it’s an outlier. EV makers consistently overstate their EVs’ ranges, including GM’s early claims about the Volt 1.0, which they originally claimed had “an all-electric range of up to 50 miles (80 km)”… before the EPA rated it at 35 miles.

Don’t believe GM ever claimed 50 miles? See, for example, “Chevy Volt Has a 50 Miles Max Electric Range”:

These days, GM has been conservative with their estimates. Especially after the Ford/Hyundai fuel economy fiascos. If the CEO says the Bolt will have 200 miles of range, and other officials being quoted it will have OVER 200 miles of range, you can feel pretty confident the actual EPA rating will be at least 200.

bro1999 said:

“…you can feel pretty confident the actual EPA rating will be at least 200.”

I made it quite clear I “feel”, or rather think, exactly the opposite.

You’re entitled to your opinion… and I’m entitled to mine. We’ll see who is right, very likely within less than a year.

I’m not a gambling man, but I will bet you cold hard cash that the Bolt will have well over 170 miles of range (EPA). I would be willing to bet that it will have 20X miles of range. And likewise, you are entitled to your own opinion. Like you said, we will find out within a year.

I have own a 2014 volt. GM says volt range only 38 miles, with ideal condition weather I can drive up to 48miles per charge ( CA weather). so watch out on your colt cash.

I agree. Considering both the Volt and SparkEV easily best official MPC numbers, the Bolt being over 200 MPC, is a non-issue. I’ll expect P-P’s profuse apologies by Q4.

Its a 40kWh car. I base this on the idea that GM chalks up a lot of the cars “mileage” to their being “more efficient”. Plus the 40kWh is double the Spark.

We should start a pool. Based on kWh battery capacity NOT mileage. I get a bit tired of the constant stream of lies… er. mileage claims.

PuPu wrote:

“Chevy Volt Has a 50 Miles Max Electric Range”:”

Actually, it was stated that it will have “up to 50 miles of electric range”.

Up to implies max range capable. That is true in the real world as well. But that doesn’t mean average range, EPA range. Just it is possible. Even the Gen 1.0 Volt was capable of up to 50 miles of EV range. I did it few time in local driving and stop/go bumper to bumper hwy driving. But they aren’t EPA ranges.

In the case of Bolt. I believe GM said “at least 200 miles”. That is way better than “up to 200 miles”.

One thing we agree is that we will see in few months for sure when EPA certification is issued.

Pushmi, you must not have read your own link from your ‘Autoevolution’ source.

It did not say GM said the EPA rating would be 50 AER. It said up to 50 and as low as 25 miles (40 km), depending on “terrain, driving technique, temperature. That statement is accurate, as 50 AER has been exceeded by early owners.

The article clearly said, “On average, the Volt will likely be capable of in between 30 and 40 miles of clean motoring.”

Considering the EPA’s rating was 35, this is spot on.

The Chevrolet Bolt is the best bit of news from CES 2016.

As far as the vehicles are concerned, yes.

Yeah, for overall news the Samsung smartfridge that has a gigantic ipad-esque touchscreen that can tell you what food is running out might take the cake. :p

Yeah, like the prior Samsung fridge that showed your Google Calendar…Until Google changed the API.

Samsung’s answer: Oops! Buy a new fridge. Classic Samsung!

Well yeah. Competition was not so impressive.

1) Faraday’s 1-person batmobile? That was a really stupid idea.

2) VW’s rolling brick concept van? Aerodynamics!

Anything else?


Omg i’m so excited for the stats. Gimmeee!

One fourth the cost for energy per mile makes it a Lyft Mobile.

One fourth the cost for energy makes it a Lyft Mobile.

GO GM GO…don’t screw this up

This is a little disconcerting to me. I want something like a Bolt for my personal driver. How many compromises did they have to make to create a “car purposely built for car sharing”? I suspect it will be less appealing to own as a result.

+1 I was just thinking the same thing. I just posted that very worry below.

When they say “car built for ride sharing”, I think they are talking about passenger convenience (spacious rear seat, ample headroom, large door openings, USB ports front and rear, etc..)

I don’t think you have to worry about the Bolt being just an electrified taxi with boring Prius-style driving mechanics with 200 miles of range.
Afterall, how many taxis do you know of that can do 0-60 in less than 7 seconds?

Right, I think people are confusing the fact the car was built for ride-sharing with the Bolt offering. There were no compromises, merely the ability to include options like side-facing cameras that support autonomy.

The ride-sharing design elements should not represent any “compromise” of the Bolt’s design for the mass market.

Many of those things are things that I hate about modern cars. I don’t want a car with ample headroom, large door openings and USB ports everywhere. I want a compact car to be compact, and not tall. I want a car to be a car and not a computer. I know I’m in the minority here. But don’t tell me there are no compromises. As an engineer, you should know that there are ALWAYS compromises.

So the first compromise is that the driver / passengers will have an upright seating position. I’m already disappointed.

The next compromise is that the car is tall. This means that there is more unnecessary aero drag and lots of wasted space so that some claustrophobic / extra-tall people can “feel more comfortable”.

As for USB ports everywhere, that’s just one more thing that will break in time. It will also be outdated before the car is done with its useful life.

Bottom line, they made compromises to appeal to a larger audience. As a result, I don’t get what I want in a car, although maybe GM sells more of them. JMHO.

Whelp, unfortunately manufacturers tend to cater to the majority, not the minority, as they are in the business of making money.

Sounds like a 16/17 Volt would be more up your alley.

I get the issue with tall cars. What’s up with the fear of USBs? 4 broken USBs will get you basically to the same place you would be with no USBs at all.

He was saying the USB ports cause aerodynamic drag….

Geez, pay attention will ya.


Yes, I have resigned to the fact that nobody makes the car that I want. But that doesn’t mean I won’t whine about it some more 😉 But on a serious note, there are some tradeoffs involved in this car, or any car. And some I like while others I don’t.

And a 16/17 Volt is off the list. I don’t need two cars with a gas engine.


It’s not a fear of USBs. It’s just that it’s one more thing that GM spent their time/money on which is of little to no use to me. It’s minor, and in the end doesn’t really matter. If that helps them sell a few more copies of the car, then so be it.

But the bigger issue is turning cars into mobile computers. I want my car to be a car, not a computer on wheels. All of these things tend to distract from the driving experience. So I guess along that vein, autonomous driving can’t come soon enough! Since my generation seems more interested in distracting themselves from reality than actually being present in the world…

“But the bigger issue is turning cars into mobile computers. I want my car to be a car, not a computer on wheels.”

For the last decade cars have been computers on wheels (with all the autobraking, cruise control, etc stuff) they just didn’t show as much information as they do nowadays… Unless I didn’t quite understood what you meant by that.

That’s absolutely true. That’s the trend, and it drives me crazy. Not because I’m a luddite, because I want a car that begs to be driven, not one that is out to entertain me.

I also want control of the car without some computer interfering. I’ve gotten into more jams than I’ve avoided thanks to “helpful” features like ABS and traction control.

Its a natural consequence of the take over of the machines, afterall they are better than we are…at some things… most.. things.. I mean all things. The keyboard seems to have…arghh!

For 1/2 the price of the Bolt I’d have built an all composite 63 Vette with Miata suspension, 2 Leaf battery packs, 250 miles worth and the only electronics is the controller, BMS. No internet connections, I have my cellphone for that.
At 1800lbs you need no power steering, brakes, just a pure driving machine with a CG 4” lower than a Vette’s.
Though I’d love to have a Bolt.

I like what you describe you can build there, put me in for 1 order if you can come with 25% of the quoted price.

Strange sequence of replies, considering the article doesn’t mention USB ports.

The features (actually mentioned) built for ride sharing seem like great features that are important for many people. Large door openings are good for anyone that hauls young kids, elderly, or people with temporary or permanent injuries. Having an image of a wide field view behind you helps with anyone who may back out of a driveway in an area kids could be playing, or anyone leaving a grocery store parking lot.

I commented this morning before any info was released on performance. In light of a 0-60 of 7 seconds with 300 lb. ft. of torque, if true, I recant my comment.

“This really is the first car purposely built for ride sharing,” says Fletcher.”

I hope this doesn’t indicate that the Bolt’s performance will be tuned to reflect this as well. How many taxis do you know of that are known for their driving performance and fun driving dynamics rather than maximum efficiency?

Unlike the Volt which seems to have moved more in the direction of sportiness I worry that the Bolt will go more toward the Leaf 1.0, Prius end of the performance spectrum.

Will it be a maximum efficient people mover that has no soul? Of course this may be the future for all when autonomous driving becomes mainstream.

How many cars used as taxis can do 0-60 in less than 7 seconds?

Plenty. I take it you have never ridden a taxi around Manhattan 😉 (not that they get anywhere near 60MPH, but they are certainly driven fast and hard)

I commented this morning before any info was released on performance. In light of a 0-60 of 7 seconds with 300 lb. ft. of torque, if true, I recant my comment.

There were Crown Vics that could do 0-60 in 6 seconds. There is a reason that police departments used the same car as taxis.

Pushmi-pullyu – Things are changing so fast in the EV world that we can no longer make accurate EV EPA range estimates for new EV’s based solely on “kWh” rating of the battery pack. Look at how much better the Gen 2 Volt did for range then the 2011 Gen 1 with just 2 kWh more in the battery pack! (48% more range with 15% more battery. And the Bolt will be even more advanced…

Lighter body + drive train + battery pack, more efficient motor + power inverter, more efficient accessories (heater, AC, etc), new LLR tire tech, great aero, better cell chemistries that allow deeper charge/discharge, all will drive the miles/kWh rating up and up. I’m betting the Bolt will be EPA rated at least 5 miles/kWh, which would allow a 50 kWh battery with a 10%-90% usable charge window to drive it at least 200 miles.

The Volt is different in that there used to be a narrow SOC window that they changed. The actual increase in efficiency wasn’t that much. It went from 98 MPGe to 106 MPGe, an 8% improvement (which includes charging efficiency improvements).

The best EV right now is the i3 at 124 MPGe. It gets 81 miles EPA on 18.8kWh usable (22 kWh capacity).
That scales to 46.4 kWh usable (54.3 kWh capacity) for 200 miles EPA.

Seats five! Big surprise. Well that’s good but it still lacks supercharger, trunk and 3 series look.
It will sure start to please way more people though.

I do think that it’s a given that the car will be compatible with DC fast chargers… A good alternative to Tesla’s superchargers I think (even if not quite as fast) but still less developed than CHAdeMo 🙁

Designed with Lyft in mind is a good idea! Having a long-range EV can allow someone to be a cab driver with near zero fuel costs. And a quick charge while you take a break allows you to keep going.

I bet you in 10 years, we’ll see a bunch of yellow Bolt EV taxis running around NYC…replacing those gas guzzling Prii. :p

Yes resulting in cleaner air

Are there really a lot of Prius liftbacks in taxi service in NYC ? I haven’t been back to the City in four years.

The Escape/Prius hybrid initiatives never really overtook the Crow Vic, and now the “Taxi of Tomorrow” is a Nissan NV200 variant.

Where I’d love to see an EV take over taxi service is in Japan, to replace those ancient Toyota Crown models. Sure, the white lace seat covers are super clean, but that engine may as well have somebody shoveling coal and whale oil into it.

Speaking for Northern California, the Prius has almost entirely took over the taxi market.

200 Miles great stats.

Going to be a great year for more EV’s & Hybrids….

Test drove a 2016 Toyota Prius.
My what a major change in the way the car rides and drives!
The look is Transformers so before people start = yes it has a Japanese future look.

Just like possibly the Japanese wonder why Americans need 7 cup holders for 2 people up front in a TUNDRA.