Chevrolet Bolt First Drive Reports: Up To 290 Miles Of Range Within Reach

SEP 14 2016 BY MARK KANE 82

Chevrolet Bolt EV Offers 238 Real World/EPA Rated Miles Of Range

Chevrolet Bolt EV Offers 238 Real World/EPA Rated Miles Of Range

GM’s crucial electric car, the Chevrolet Bolt EV has been rated at 238 miles of range by EPA.

That’s a lot more than the previously anticipated low 200-ish miles, which of itself would already have been an achievement.

According to early test drive reports, economical driving could extend the range to even 290 miles.

Car and Driver reports that after 238 miles of normal driving (“we did not drive in an overly aggressive manner, nor did we hypermile“) 34 miles still remain (272 miles total).

At start of the journey, the Bolt EV estimated 225 miles (and then ranged from 184 to 265 miles during):

“For example, our fully charged car displayed a main range estimate of 225 miles at the start, with a maximum of 265 and a minimum of 184 miles; when we finished the route, the main number read 34 miles, with a maximum of 40 and a minimum of 27. “

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV easily eclipses published 238 mile EPA range ratings in early test drives

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV easily eclipses published 238 mile EPA range ratings in early test drives

A similar postive report comes via the Los Angeles Times, which also covered some 240.5 miles, with another 50 miles to spare – good for a possible 290 mile total.

“Leaving Monterey, I was told those numbers were 266 maximum, 174 minimum and 225 average — four miles short of the entire journey.”

“I finished the drive with 240.5 miles on the trip meter, just above the EPA number of 238.

But the onboard computer said I could continue driving, perhaps for another 50 miles, bringing my total to over 290 miles.”

Chevrolet Bolt EV Production-Intent Interior

Chevrolet Bolt EV Production-Intent Interior

Wired said that after 239.9 miles Bolt EV was still ready for another 23 miles (263 miles total).

“I put the car in park having added 239.9 miles to the odometer, and the range indicator said the battery had another 23 miles to go”

Opel Ampera-E/Chevrolet Bolt EV Cutaway

Opel Ampera-E/Chevrolet Bolt EV Cutaway

A fourth Chevrolet Bolt EV was tested by Green Car Reports, which also confirms that 240 miles is usable range of the car.

Chevrolet Bolt EV w/Optional CCS Combo

Chevrolet Bolt EV w/Optional CCS Combo

“We drove a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car 240 miles on a single charge last week.

And that was the lowest range achieved among four journalists driving four Bolt EVs along the California coast.

One driver covered essentially the same trip with fully 32 miles remaining, according to the car’s display.

In other words, the Bolt EV delivers on its EPA range rating of 238 miles combined—announced earlier today—in real-world use.”

The 60 kWh battery seem to more than do the job, and it’s great that it is offered in affordable package. The other factor that enables such a high range is the new higher efficiency (119 MPGe combined: 128 MPGe city, 110 MPGe) –  and of course regenerative braking (check out our report on the Bolt EV’s customizable one-pedal driving set up here).

Video (bonus):  Check out some driving footage, and B-Roll on the Bolt EV covering the exterior, interior and cargo capacity

Categories: Chevrolet, Test Drives

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82 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt First Drive Reports: Up To 290 Miles Of Range Within Reach"

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Great photos. The car looks almost sporty!

definitely not as polarizing looking as the i3 or Leaf!

That dark gray looks really nice. The monochrome look of the grill appears better in darker colors.

I agree. The faux grill disappears more. That’s why I got my Volt in silver so the silver grill didn’t contrast as much.

EV makers will eventually settle in to designing without the need for a vestigial grill. We will look back at the early EVs that had fake plastic grills as laughable.

So true about the faux grills. The new Model S is far more beautiful with it’s new nose cone but even Tesla were afraid to remove it on the first gen.

In my view the Bolt is something of a failure from a design standpoint. I saw one in person and it looks worse than in photos. It just screams “econobox!” and is not the least bit interesting or cool.

But I totaly get why GM had to go with the platform they used, because anything larger would demand a larger battery pack and then costs would skyrocket. The styling could still be better but when I’m driving mine I won’t see the outside of it anyways!

Absolutely looks better dark!

Now if only someone would only have the wherewithal to build a universal roof mounted generator, they would single handedly solve the electric car/infrastructure dilemma.

Might have to trade out the i3, this thing looks fantastic!

Very impressive numbers. It sounds like they’ve figured out how to under-promise on an EPA range number.

This is especially important for winter driving, when the number inevitably decreases. Sounds like even then it will stay close to 238. Great job GM!

Also, they have traditionally been conservative anyway, in that the Volt always exceeds its rating in spring/summer/fall temperatures, but winter is another story (somewhat as expected).

What I mean by they’ve figured it out, is that it seems they’ve been so conservative with the number that the Bolt EV may live up to its EPA rated range more often than not, even in the winter months. And THAT is impressive!

Also may confirm that the Tesla Model 3 will in fact use a smaller battery like has been rumored.

Tesla could easily get 215 miles with a 55 kWh battery or even less if the Bolt being of similar size can get 238 from 60 kWhs. They may stick to this plan to keep costs and initial MSRP down for base models.

It also may confirm that the Model 3 could fit within its wheelbase, which is no smaller than the Bolt, a bigger battery for a more expensive Model 3 option to give it more range.

If the Model 3 which will be more aerodynamic and may be built lighter drops in a 60 kWh battery for a more expensive option then they could get even better range than the Bolt.

This way they would have a base model that is cheaper than the base Bolt, has less range than the Bolt but better performance with a sub 6 seconds to 60.

Then they could have a more expensive option that costs more than the base Bolt, has similar or more range as the Bolt and better performance.

This way they would bookend the Bolt with cost/performance advantages.

GM’s EV range are typically conservative…

So, I am not surprised at all that this car is capable of 240+ miles.

But I will be waiting for the first severe winter test.

I am sure Consumer Report would love to bash the Bolt by testing it in the middle of the winter for its own testing for sure.

Winter is a good 30% drop, for most people. Some of us don’t use much heater so mileage may vary widely during winter. They test drove this in the “near perfect” California weather. Also, those in California should be happy with the range and HOV capability of the car and should sell in the 1600-units a month there, or more, for a while after it is introduced (if they make enough of them).

Reporting on the worst case scenario is hardly Bolt bashing if they do it to all cars. It’s letting us know what to expect in winter. Period.

Fine, as long as they acknowledge the harsh testing conditions they used are not typical.

No, they typically LEAD with worst case, and that equals bashing.

“Reporting on the worst case scenario is hardly Bolt bashing if they do it to all cars. It’s letting us know what to expect in winter. Period.”

They don’t do it in all cars, certainly not in Prius when they do it…

I hope it has heated seats and maybe even steering wheel. It really helps in winter conditions.

According to GM, the Premier trim comes with heated front/rear seats and steering wheel. It is not standard on the LT trim.

But is is optional on the LT

Maybe GM should have waited to release the first Bolt sales at the end of winter and into spring unlike the Volt.

The new Volt came out in the Fall of last year and we were all treated to a barrage of amateur reviews and media reviews that complained that the range numbers GM gave were too high.

Notice the Model S in the background in the 2nd video. Look out from behind, Tesla! 🙂

All EVs still have to recharge, and Tesla still has a tremendous lead with the Supercharger network.

The Tesla Superchargers are still very rare to come across in that there are still a lot of areas were the CSS chargers are a lot more common. In that a Tesla supercharger being 150 miles apart doesn’t work so well when you have to drive 130 miles but then go 90 miles to the left. While the Tesla supercharger is 50 miles to the right.

Doesn’t matter, Teslas can charge pretty much anywhere.

The idea with superchargers is that its for long range trips… Where it actually matters.

Destination chargers fill in the role of longer stop / rest chargers.

Tesla have enough superchargers to allow traveling from any place in USA to any other place in USA.

CCS? Not so much, and 50kWh chargers on highways are pain in the ass 😉

Tesla force You to take 30-45 minutes breaks every 300km.

Bolt? Double that number. No matter weather Bolt can charge faster then 50kWh when that is only option available.

However if Bolt DO can charge faster then that, better CCS chargers will be build (or old ones will be upgraded).

So if GM played it well supercharger network will be Tesla advantage only for few more years.

If a high percentage of your driving is long road trips, you would buy a Volt or a regular car. Not a Tesla or Bolt. That would be silly.

Except that they burn fossile fuel. If fossiles are ok, why bother with Bolt either? As for non-refuel trips, Spark EV will suffice 90% of the people, 99% of the time. Why bother with Bolt?

The biggest problem with the Spark EV is that most of us don’t live in SF… or CA… or OR… or MD now I think.

As the tires get some age into them and harden slightly, as the bearings start to seat and the seals wear a little bit and as the batteries balance out after a few charges – I suspect more range will be found. I’ve gotten better range every year with my Volt after 4 years. However, the tires are original and at 71,000 miles worn enough to weigh less than stock. However, the mph on the car speedometer matches radar stands on the sides of the road – drove through 4 or more of such signs driving 500+ miles on Monday.

In the video, it appears something is missing. A “max charge stop” percentage. Many of us would want to charge only to say 80% or so to keep the battery healthier. I didn’t see such as setting on the B-roll video. You could get creative with immediate charge to n% – but what i would want is “departure time charge to 80% by 7am”. Not “departure 7am” only.

One approach is to tell the car to charge for an 8am departure when you are planning to leave at 7am. I do this with my Volt to leave extra capacity for regen on the way down the large hill that I live on.

If it’s not there yet, it will probably be there soon. I recently participated in a GM survey that talked specifically about the charge to settings and presented different user interface options.

All the data so far on all the EVs in use today has shown that it doesn’t matter if you charge to 100% or 80%. Unless your EV is a taxi or some other extreme high-usage car (your wheel bearings and drivetrain are more likely to wear out first!), the things you need to look out for are heat, and chronological age, in that order.

The Leaf in particular has been susceptible to heat issues in America’s southwest, and some of those batteries have had to be replaced. But there are a few out there in cooler climates with over 150,000 miles on them, many quick charges, and no issues beyond age-related battery degradation.

The Volt and Bolt both have active thermal management of the battery, so I highly doubt that heat will ever be an issue. That just leaves old age.

I am sure some Bolt owner will drive it slowly in the parking lot at low speed to get it to pass 400 miles range just to show off… LOL.

But with 60kWh, that will take some serious patience and efforts… =)

That’s a lot of diaper change or empty Gatorade bottle.

Yes. And this had already been done to a Tesla S in Denmark. A test team drove it at 25 mph and got about 450 out of it.

I am not totally surprised by this. I get on average 25% more than the 38 my Volt is rated at. Equal that on the highway but we all know it depends on how you drive so I am sure I could eek out more if I really wanted to.

average speed 40mph lol

soooo funny

L M A O …., A Tesla model S TWO and a Half times the size of a Bolt ,Got almost 500 miles going that slow.. Crawl around all day.. lol

40 mph is not bad for an average speed with mixed driving. Even on a long road trip, with mixed driving at my destination, my trip odometer shows around 40 mph average..and I drive 80 mph on the freeway. Steady state 40 mph is VERY different than an average speed of 40 miles per hour.

I’d like to see a Model S60 do the same trip and see how it does. And you like to say it’s 2 times bigger, but the Bolt EV has more interior cabin space.

40 mph is magic.
The Honda Insight gets 52 mpg at 40 mph, instead of 42 mpg.

“Car and Driver reports that after 238 miles of normal driving (“we did not drive in an overly aggressive manner, nor did we hypermile“) 34 miles still remain (272 miles total).”

Car & Driver is not known among actual automobile enthusiasts for timid driving. I’m impressed.

All the cars in the test drive finished the route with a steep downhill. The remaining range reflects the low energy usage in the last miles and may be overestimates for driving at speed on the level.
I am still very impressed with the EPA range estimate. It is excellent. If I didn’t already own a Volt that is only 3 years old I would be heading to a chevy dealer very soon.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

That back cargo space is still a bit cramped. More than our Spark EV, but concerned if our large Golden Retriever will be happy back there or not. Hard to tell — gotta lose that hatch cover. The hide away is a nice cute touch.

Do you need all of the 2nd row seats up? If not, you can fold down part or all of it for a lot more space. Folding the entire rear gives you a pretty impressive ~57 cu.ft.

the challenge is now in embattled Teslas court….(+Space X disaster ,autopilot failures -sudden fires…in Europe,+ Solar City troubles…. how to respond to… it will be a crucial moment…..

Congrats to Chevrolet! The Bolt just seems to get more and more impressive. I hope they will be in all 50 states when my Leaf’s lease is up next year. It would be nice to have some affordable choices in a non-CARB state.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

With no Green Stickers available anymore, this is going to be the first relatively affordable distance car that’s white sticker HOV suitable to traverse the entire Bay Area/LA area/San Diego Area.

That alone will be a huge seller in CA.

Aren’t the green stickers unlimited to 2019 now?

I really hope GM has plans of making 50,000 to 200,000 of these cars in one year.

This is going to destroy Prius along with several other hybrids sales.

The Volt might do OK though with this.

I hope they sell at least 50k the first year since that probbly includes the Opel version too…
It would also be nice if they priced at to match Tesla at 35k which would put some serios downward pressure on the 100 mile 30k cars…
I suspect very few people would buy a Leaf SV or SL even with increased range at their current prices…

Standard hybrids make less aense every day with increasing mpgs from gas cars, there lost green label and two deive systems that could potentialy fail…

What’s the range when it’s 30 deg F outside? Does it pre-condition? How about with heaters running??

30F? You need to chill.. Summer just ended and It’s actually the coldest time of year in Northern California, not to mention the preproduction vehicles just rolled off the line. The bolt will be able to precondition and, when, there is cold weather, I’m confident we will see reviews.

Well, they did say one of the reporters driving ‘normally’ was on track to get 290 miles. And yesterday, someone mentioned that during testing some bolts got over 300 miles range.

Well done GM.

I did find out one thing from the video: apparently the level one 8 or 12 amp current selection from the first VOLT to the latest Volt will continue unchanged into the BOLT.

I wonder if a small spare tire can fit in the hidden space in the back.

I also like the front clearance. No more brush guard scraping like my Volt has.

They beat Teslas Model 3 by far. Just the interior looks 10 time better.

We don’t yet know how far the Model 3 will travel, averaging 50 mph. Since how the interiors look, tends to be a rather subjective matter, I’m going to say, the Bolt looks 6.4583 times worse.?

Another Euro point of view

It does not look sexy but interior is nice and it probably does the job very well. Where is Nissan new 200 miles leaf ? I hope it will at least be presented in final production status somewhere in 2017. It would be so refreshing to have at least 2 semi affordable long range EVs on the market by 2018.

It will be shown THIS year, available first half 2017. Just trust on insideevs…

I have to admit I am blown away by the torrent of news about the Bolt not just meeting, but significantly exceeding, expectations at every turn. Does GM have a “one more thing” moment when the price is to be announced? I think they seemed to be dropping hints when for the first time saying it will be LESS than $37,500 at launch, whereas they’ve previously just been mentioning the $30,000 after-incentives figure. I am now feeling nervous on behalf of Tesla. Its stock hasn’t reacted much to these last two days of Bolt announcements, indicating that investors haven’t lost their nerve – yet. But Tesla has several fund raising rounds coming up to finance the rapid ramp-up of Model 3 production. Teslas accumulated losses so far are $3 billion. That’s fine if those losses are really investments that return a big profit in the future. But clearly the competition is heating up. That must have *some* effect on investors confidence that the juicy future profits can materialize. So I for one am not sure Tesla will have the same access to cheap capital following this as they used to. Don’t get me wrong. The Model 3 is a very… Read more »

Once the Model3 is out, there will be no other manufacturer (except for BYD) that will be able to get even close to the number of EVs Tesla will produce a year.
GM will make a maximum of 50K Bolts a year (including the Ampera-e). I expect year-long waiting times on Bolt purchases for the next years. It is a great car but those limited numbers make it pointless. For example: Tesla will sell more Model S than GM Bolts a year, just because GMs limited battery supply.

“fine if those losses are really investments that return a big profit in the future”
You can get all the basic information in Tesla financial statements or summaries on third party websites. In accounting, investment expense do not create loss immediately. It is depreciated over many years, and only current quarter part of depreciation is subtracted when calculating profit/loss. What investment affects immediately is “cash flow”.

What was that sound? It was the second hand value of the other EVs dropping to the floor! 🙂

Except for the Tesla. Well, to some degree I think the lower range Teslas will be affected too. Lucky Tesla cancelled the resale value guarantee!

I see InsideEVs has posted multiple articles showing different sources covering the same story: Driving a Chevy Bolt along a scenic route chosen by Chevrolet itself. This is not good reporting, because it leaves out a very important factor. I posted the following in another comment thread here on the exact same subject: One very important number is missing from this article: The trip time. I see someone in a comment above said “five hours”; a report from Green Car Reports says “six hours” for what appears to be the same scenic route, which was selected by Chevrolet (link below). Let’s split the difference; call it 5.5 hours. A 238 mile trip in 5.5 hours would be an average speed of only 43.27 MPH! Or to put it more succinctly: Chevrolet chose a route which would force slow driving for most of the trip, thus driving up the range far beyond what most drivers would experience when driving such a long distance. When driving that far, most drivers choose a route that minimizes trip time by driving mostly on high-speed highways. This is just one more example of how car review magazines give mostly milquetoast reviews of cars, to avoid… Read more »

Oh how the Tesla fanbois are spinning around in shock, trying their best to find some evidence of conspiracy & deception ‘a la Donald Trump. It’s rigged! It’s rigged!

PP, your ‘trip time’ attempt to show how slow the average speed supposedly was does not take into account any stops taken during the drive, so your estimates are beyond meaningless.

As I stated above to somebody else: There is a HUGE difference between steady state speed and average speed. Which do you think is more efficient?

If you’re worried, take a look at the mpge numbers for the Tesla Model S (pick any model) and the Bolt beats it in City, Highway, and Combined efficiency. Yes, even HIGHWAY.

As a Tesla supporter, I will repeat what I replied to the anti-EV troll above.:

“Car and Driver reports that after 238 miles of normal driving (“we did not drive in an overly aggressive manner, nor did we hypermile“) 34 miles still remain (272 miles total).”

Car & Driver historically has the reputation of the least timid driving of all car magazines. It’s also not the most enthusiastic about EVs. Going 40 mph on the highway would not be “normal” for C&D.

I want the New York Times reporter that drove around in circles in a Tesla to test drive it.

Well…LG did a great job on this one.

Now if only someone would have the wherewithal to build a universal roof mounted generator, they would single handedly solve the electric car/infrastructure dilemma.

I’ll bite. Huh?

Since you bit first, I’ll jump in too 🙂
HUH??? (pictures of roof mounted windmills dance in my head 🙂

Chevy is very good at being conservative on range. I’m impressed by that after owning a Leaf and being constantly disappointed, and angry. If the Model 3 weren’t so sexy, I’d get a Bolt, but I know what range I need, and anything over 140 miles is just icing. Plus Chevy still won’t have a solid long-range charging infrastructure.

GM is such a schizophrenic company; they make the best PHEV drive train in the business (better than the i3 REX IMO), but they refuse to spread it across their model range, even the 2-3 most popular ones.
Now, they make what may be the best EV this side of Tesla, but have no plans to produce it in high numbers, nor do I expect any other pure BEV models from GM any time soon.
I do think that dealers will want to sell the Bolt… if demand exceeds supply, they will happily add $5000 “dealer markups” on them, which kills any price advantage GM may give the car.
GM’s bilious history will take many years more to reverse itself, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

Rick, that’s a bit unfair.

GM is spreading the voltec drive train into 100% gasoline vehicles such as the Malibu to amortize development costs – probably many more essentially VOLT drivetrains will end up in Malibu’s than Volts..

I basically will not buy a car without a plug on it, but I’m in an extreme minority. Even the Editor here has said he just bought a 100% gasoline vehicle because he needs it. Plus EV’s in general are a hard sell because gasoline is about the cheapest it has ever been, inflation adjusted.

Unlike some other companies, the new drasticly reduced size GM must continually show a profit. They are selling enough high markup vehicles to still allow for several real EV products – and the VOLT and BOLT are the BEST in their classes.

To me, and most people, that is a REAL accomplishment.

Some people will never be satisfied with anything GM.

Bill, thank you for the civil reply. Over 30 years ago, I swore I would never buy a GM car again. The Volt is the first car they have made in all that time that has moved the needle in the “would buy” direction. Like you, I would not buy a car without a plug, and that’s why I don’t count the neutered, plugless hybrid Malibu. That’s also why the Malibu needs the full Monty Voltec drive train, with plug and AER. The more cars with plugs, the more normal cars with plugs will become. All other PHEVs are pitiful compared to the Voltec, no argument from me there. I also won’t buy a FWD car, and sadly, both the Volt and Bolt are guilty there. We can only wonder how successful the Voltec system would have been if they had put it in a RWD ELR first, made it really desirable, charged more for it (though maybe not $75,000) then filtered it down to even a FWD Volt. In years past, I have talked many people out of buying GN cars; I have now actually recommended the Volt to several people. That is a remarkable turnaround for me. But… Read more »
You are welcome. RE: the Malibu hybrid, it seems it is rated at 48/45 mpg. For such a large car that is truly amazing. Someone asked one of the engineers why it doesn’t have an ECO mode and the response was, the normal mode is plenty efficient enough already!! A volt would be a very hard sell to a high-mileage driver considering the Malibu hybrid, since unless he had an innate interest in electrics, he wouldn’t care if it had a plug on not, and the car presumably drives like a volt with the battery dead, which in my opinion is far nicer than GM’s other non-ev products. Example: I went to my dealer today at their suggestion to repair a less than trivial problem with the seat belt alarm. A module that they changed out affected something else and now the car wont start!! They loaned me free of charge a Cadillac ATS, and while slightly larger than the ELR, and just as expensive, I don’t care for the car at all – it rides like a big boat, even though the racyness of the engine is mitigated by the 8 – speed transmission. I’ve had it a day,… Read more »

I want an EV that can travel across the mid-section of Pennsylvania. The Bolt can’t do that, since CCS chargers are only located around inconvenient cities.

Waiting impatiently for my Model 3.

According to PlugShare, there are two CCS stations in York that should make it possible.