Chevy Bolt Is Chevrolet’s Most Reliable Vehicle

copper-orange Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchback

OCT 22 2017 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 83

Electric Cars

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Most electric cars are indeed more reliable than their gas or diesel counterparts. That’s true when it comes to the Chevy Bolt, says Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports adds that most ICE vehicles have become slightly less reliable over recent years (mostly due to the addition of high-tech infotainment and other safety-related systems that are prone to failure), while electric car reliability continues to improve.

Among the findings just released by Consumer Reports in its annual vehicle reliability study is that the Chevy Bolt is Chevrolet’s most reliable offering. That’s quite the achievement considering that Chevrolet had more listed models (15) than any other brand in the rankings.

Here’s the chart showing each ranked brand (Chevrolet at #18), as well as the highest and lowest rated vehicle within each brand:

In the chart above you’ll see that the i3 is somehow BMW’s least reliable ranked car. It’s individual reliability ranking isn’t bad, but BMW as a whole performs extremely well in this category. The Model X, on the other hand, has a very poor reliability rating. The lowest of any vehicle included in the rankings.

Consumer reports explains the rankings as follows:

Our Predicted Reliability Score is set on a 0-to-100 point scale, with the average rating falling between 41 and 60 points. Better-than-average ratings or worse-than-average ratings fall on either side of that range.

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Chevrolet

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83 Comments on "Chevy Bolt Is Chevrolet’s Most Reliable Vehicle"

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GM did the Bolt no favors. Their engineers built a long ranged BEV with tons of interior space and a slightly sporty ride. Then they lamed it with modest charge speeds and a clownish exterior that evokes the cr***y small cars Chevy is famous for selling.

But the Bolt deserves better. From the side it looks kind of similar in some ways to the Buick Encore, which is kind of cute. I see fairly wealthy soccer moms driving Encores all the time. Change a few design cues and the Bolt could have looked a lot better. Maybe not great, but better.

Finding out the Consumer Reports (admittedly not my favorite report, but still) found it to be the most reliable Chevy is another point in the Bolt engineering teams favor.

As indicated by Barra, the Bolt will advance battery wise with the next edition, along with all of their other EVs that have been announced. The CCS charge protocol, which will be used by all automakers except Tesla, is already way ahead in terms of max power – 350 & 500KW. The reasons for the Bolt’s lowish charge speed is not clear economics, technical, or what. Therefore criticism of it is nothing more than uneducated speculation, negative in this case. It
has a greater driving range than the base Model 3, which counts for something. It is also far more practical than the snout-nosed Model 3. And I suspect, based on history, that it will be far cheaper to maintain and repair than a Tesla vehicle.

What? Not even worth a response. Oh well.

Not surprising it’s the most reliable since most of it is made by LG. Check what is actually made by GM in detail, well there are the crappy seats and ugly body. CCS has few high power locations and few practical locations for travel at alll. Saying it is ahead in any way is really misinformed.

I was thinking the same thing. Their battery company {LG Chem} is largely responsible for this victory.

It isn’t like Chevorlet wants too much praise hung on the vehicle the want to sell the least. I’m sure you won’t see a national ad campaign touting the most reliable vehicle is a Chevrolet Bolt in place of the hundreds of Chevrolet Silverado award winner commercials. Most {all?} of their national advertising leaves the Volt and Bolt out in the dark. Oh, but we plan to build 30k Bolts.

Pay More, get Much Less,Buy A Bolt f00L …….

2 years of Spark EV and Volt ownership were pretty much flawless.

It has washed away the bad memories of GM I had following my Pontiac Grand Am GT from high school. That car was a blast to drive… but had lots of issues and terrible gas mileage.

So far, 5000 miles in our Bolt has been great!

Give it 5 to 10 yrs , then we can really see how good & reliable this car shall be. Some of the most shoddily built cars are usually Problem Free for at least the first 3 yrs ..It’s too soon to tell , in my view.

Agreed. IIRC Tesla had decent reliability ratings the first couple of years now they are near the bottom according to the above chart.

I

Modest charge speeds? You’re confusing limitations from DCFC infrastructure with limitations of the car. If you understand current DCFC station ratings and how they’re nameplated it becomes clear that they limit current charging rates.

When more 100kW stations get deployed this will not be the case.

Tesla has set the bar pretty high. The Bolt chargers fairly quickly but compared to a Tesla it is a relatively modest rate of charge. 90 in 30 is ok but it needs to improve.

Tesla’s bar is much higher for maximum power, but if you look closer at charge curves it’s really not that much faster.

Though I want to see faster charge speeds as well, but it’s more of an infrastructure issue at this point. Chicken and egg, and all that.

Tesla Bjorn said the same thing about the supercharger network . It is not always faster than chademo . He likes the charging network they have in Norway . Fortum charge and drive.

Teslas taper rate is kind of disappointing considering where it starts, but they still can get 100 miles of additional AER into the 100 kWh pack in a hurry.
I really want to see a Bolt on a 150 kW charge rate DCFC’er. Maybe by the end of next year? I doubt the Bolt will charge at 70 kW all that frequently or for long on a 75 kW DCFC’er. It sounds like with the 50 kW chargers the Bolt charges at a range from 42 to 47 kW charge rates from 1% up to around 53% if memory serves, which isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either.

To clarify my own muddy thinking, I want to see if the Bolt can charge at 75 or 80 kW on a 150 kW charger. I don’t expect it to go much higher than that. This year or next any way.

I’m sure it’ll be better, but it’s still limited by the fact that the Bolt’s battery voltage is less than 400V at 80% charge, compared to the 500V used to arrive at a nameplate rating of 150kW.

Still, to your point, it should charge faster at first, and then begin tapering when the voltage limit is reached. I agree it’ll be great to see how it behaves.

Someone over on a Bolt EV forum has posted the charging curves for DCFC from 25kW up to 100kW or so, factoring in the Bolt’s own limitations. I can’t seem to find it at the moment but suspect that will be fairly accurate.

That graph is modeled, not measured. All the data above 125A is just guessing.

We still await someone connecting a Bolt to a greater than 125A (62.5kW, assuming 500V max) charger.

These curves are not just modeled any longer. They are based off real charges as well, including the highest one, which was done overseas with an Opel Ampera-e.

Wow. There is a LOT of info at that link. I need to spend some time looking at it. Thanks, Clarkson!

You’re welcome ziv!

We own a Bolt and get compliments on it all the time and rightfully so.
We had a level 2 charger installed in our garage and it charges up in five hours so if there is a problem with the car we are not aware of any. It’s comfortable, peppy, has regenerate braking and we think it looks fine for a commuter car.

Woot!

Congratulations on owning an awesome car!

You’re doing your part to safe guard the planet for our kids. 🙂

I drive a Bolt. 24,000 miles and no maintenence except tire rotations so far. I like the looks and love the spacious design of this small car.

Wow. Are you a rural postal carrier or something? That is a lot of miles so far!

I don’t have as many miles, possibly since I haven’t owned tha car as long, but I just passed 15,000 miles. I agree the reliability seems good, seeing as opening and reseating the touch screen cord connectors has totally solved its initial ‘freezing’ problem Also, the design of the powertrain and battery system seem on the conservative side, what with the careful attention to temperature. The very large reduction gears off the drive motor indicate few will have any trouble with them, even those drivers with lead feet. I’ll agree the car does have a “Koreanesque” style, but the car was never planned as a fashion plate. It is however, what it purports to be: A quiet, reliable, highly-efficient practical daily carrier. My friend Brian tells me the BOLT ev, when fast-charging, quickly throttles down, which he accepts as being very very conservative with the strain on the battery. It is interesting that the only mention of battery life extension made in the owner’s manual is that of plugging the car in during extremely hot or cold weather, so that HVAC functions can commence. There is no mention as to frequency of fast-charging, nor whether charging to 90 or 100%… Read more »

Throttling down quickly isn’t actually that quick.

It’s over half full when it throttles down. It’s drawn more juice into its pack than any other non-Tesla drivetrain on the market (until the 40kWh LEAF comes along) before it even throttles down the first notch.

The issue more is that the pack is very large and even high charge rates take quite some time to fill it up. If you use a 50/62.5kW charger (125A charger, would peak at 46kW given the voltage of the Bolt pack) and it didn’t throttle down it still would take over an hour to get to full. And it throttling down means the last 45% of charge takes about 85 minutes instead of another 45.

Larger batteries will mean we’ll need higher power charging to keep DCFC times from growing. Less taper could certainly contribute to that.

We also own a Bolt and have similar experience, though less miles so far. Very reliable.

Anyone know where the lift/jack points are for tire rotations? I could not find any info on this in the manual.

The car is built like a brick house on the bottom. There is is a stiffener bar on the pack with an attachment bolt running transversely below the front door handles. I jacked the car from there raising the entire side of the car then swapped the tires from to rear in one go. Then I did it on the other side.

These are not official points. Use them at your own risk.

Can’t wait to see if the upcoming Buick version of the Bolt cures some of interior issues. I thought I read that this version was supposed to have a legroom stretch as well.

What does the Bolt need a legroom increase for?

It has a ton of legroom front and back.

I think they should make the Bolt EV a bit wider, when it goes to Buick form.

And of course more plush to fit w/the Buick brand.

Agreed. And more comfortable, wider seats please.

+1

They just need to build more of them, there are orders in Europe unfulfilled & sales for GM EV Bolts being turned away. In Australia there is non for sale as GM decided RHD was not worth it for them.
GM historically tend to have a dummy spit and run away unlike other brands that keep at it until they achieve success. I have the feeling GM will become just another EV car maker in China and SUV / Truck company in North America. GM basically could care less sadly for the rest of the world. But it will cost them later… just wait and see.

Biased much? Sheesh, GM is doing far more with electrification than any other traditional car maker.

More than Nissan?

In term of offering an affordable 200+ miles BEV? Yes. =)

So far, I have had 6 pure EVs. A 2012 Nissan LEAF SL, 2014 Focus, 4 BMW i3 BEVs. Absolutely had no service work or repairs needed on any of them EXCEPT for the Focus EV. The Focus had a new steering rack, and 3 visits for stalling and stop safely now warnings. I think the i3 BEV is extremely reliable, with absolutely no problems with the four that I owned. Most reported problems are with the range extender version, and mostly minor emission related sensor problems. Nevertheless, I am enthralled by the precision, unique design, and fun to drive aspect of the i3. After seriously considering the Bolt for the GF. Besides the range, I felt the i3 was a much more sporty drive with its rear wheel drive configuration. And the i3 is probably roomier than the Bolt in other meaningful ways. I previously demonstrated that unlike the bolt, the i3 could fit a larger 375lb driver, water heater, etc. I even fit a recycling bin in the rear seat without it being folded down. etc. So this weekend I ended up getting my GF a Protonic Blue i3 rex this weekend. The 180 mile combined range (people… Read more »

Interesting graph.
BMW has a much higher Average Reliability than GM.
But, the i3 is their low point.
Is the i3 More Reliable than the Bolt?
What are the actual numbers?

Consumer Reports rates the BMW i3 @ 66 points (higher than all-vehicle average), while the Chevy Bolt scores 77 (recommended).

Hadn’t it been for the Volt, Chevy’s score would have crated.

Your driveway is starting to look like a BMW dealer lot. You have made a somewhat compelling case for an I3 REX over a Bolt – but I worry about driving in snow with RWD. Do you have any experience in snow that you can share?

RWD with the motor weight over the rear wheels handles much better in slick conditions than RWD with the engine weight over the front wheels. In fact, RWD rear engine cars can handle better than FWD front engine cars because the steering and propulsion aren’t both on the same axle.

It’s all about the tires. Get good winter tires and the i3 does very well in the snow. I’ve lived through new england blizzards without issues.

I have tried to sit in many EV including the i3. In the case of the i3 it seems if you are more then 6 feet tall you are pretty much laying down attempting to drive it. I wouldn’t call it comfortable at all. If you are tall and overweight the best EV that is in production even though it isn’t on the market yet is the Leaf 2. Followed by the Bolt EV. If they were to adjust the design just a bit to give it a bit better of a set the Bolt EV would win hands down.

Find that hard to believe if you are just barely over 6ft tall. Perhaps the seat wasn’t all they way down. Have never heard someone say they felt like they were laying down driving an i3.

Other than a leaky refrigerant hose on my 2017 I’ve never had any warranty visits with either of my Focus Electrics. I don’t think your experience with the Focus Electric is typical and I seriously doubt the Focus Electric is less reliable than either the Bolt EV or the i3.

Love my Bolt. Best commuter car. Most legroom (I’m 6’2″). 9800 miles.

I would love an Eclass wagon size crossover with room for 7.

However long range EVs are relatively pricey. I wish for cheaper and lighter but dont think it will happen.

I’m curious where Bolt stands among all cars, not just among Chevy.

M3 - reserved -- Niro/Leaf 2.0/Outlander - TBD

Engine isn’t everything — look at BMV’s worst model — i3. Fit and Finish is important as exampled by all BEV lineup #21 Tesla.

What’s interesting and exciting — #3 Kia — has Niro as leading model, AND the BEV is yet to come and will further boost that rating.

Well I’m still happy with my 2017 Ford Focus Electric. It may not have quite the range or cargo capacity of the Bolt EV but it’s still a very nice car and it cost me a LOT less than I would have paid for a Bolt EV. Even though I get tempted by the longer range of the Bolt EV sometimes, the lack of all-wheel-drive and real towing capacity will probably keep now me from ever buying a Bolt EV.

I’ve got my sites set on the upcoming Ford BEV SUV for my next vehicle purchase. I realize that I may get disappointed by the upcoming Ford offering but hopefully by the time it comes out there will be BEV SUV offerings in a price I’m willing to pay from multiple manufacturers. Until then I guess I’ll just have to be content with using the money I didn’t spend on the Bolt EV preparing to buy my BEV SUV.

I drove a 2013 Ford Focus Electric before I got my Volt and it was a solid car, fun to drive, well built. And short ranged.
It is too bad that Ford hasn’t made real increases in the AER over the years. If it was around 150 miles it would be a nice BEV even at the current price.

The lack of improvement in the FORD CMAX and Focus EV made me sell their stock.

I actually turned in the FFE lease when it was still in the shop for the remaining 2wks. Great amenities including power drivers seat, xenon, comfort access, leather, NAV, camera, and a very advanced Sync system. But too much torque steer, slow 0-30mph, short range without DCQC, and the reliability issues. On a side note, none of these aforementioned cars have a high quality back up camera as the BMW. The sky and clouds in the evening even look beautiful, lol.

You must have had an older FFE. The 2017 has CCS charging up to 50 kW and Torque Vectoring that which pretty much eliminates torque steer.

Torque vectoring is a joke. It applies the brakes to work.

The point is that it works. Torque Vector isn’t unique to Ford. A lot of high end cars have Torque Vectoring.

It’s a joke on high end cars too. It doesn’t eliminate torque steer, it counters the effects when it gets significant at the expense of your brake pads.

VW was ripped for it so bad on the GTI that they eventually offered an optional center diff which actually does something better about torque steer than dragging your brakes.

You are fighting a losing battle here Texas FFE – This blog hates Ford Focus Electrics no matter what the real facts are. I have a 2014 FFE that I love and have never had any real problems with. I have driven it for about 30K miles. I will probably sell it when it is payed off and buy a Tesla model 3 but I have no regrets – I love the car. Its only real limitation is range and I have gotten spoiled by the range of our model S,

I have had my CHEVY BOLT for about a month and a half. I love it every time I go past a gas station. But, there are only a few minor details that I think need to be changed. For example, the window shades are much too small. The driver side seat is comfortable, but the passenger seat needs more back support. This is the first American car I have gotten in decades due to reliability issues and I am quite happy with it. It drives very well, although you feel the road more. I leased it because I think in the next three years the EV market will expand tremendously as people learn how much fun they are to drive. Plus, the federal and state incentives bring the price down quite a bit. With China being the largest purchaser of automobiles and their announcement that they will no longer accept any fossil fuel cars after a certain date, they will have a big jump on the US manufacturers.

I’m glad you love your Bolt, Barbara!

I’ve had mine since June and it’s my favorite EV… since my last EV! 🙂 So far all GM (soon to add a Tesla). You will probably have no issues with reliability. We have never needed to take our Spark, Volt or Bolt in… except a broken key fob on the Volt and some software updates.

You might want to check the inside EVs forum or any Bolt EV forum for ideas on how to improve the seat so that it is more comfortable for you.

“…ideas on how to improve the seat so that it is more comfortable for you.”

A link to the InsideEVs forum would be of assistance here.

http://www.insideevsforum.com/community/index.php?threads/a-new-ev-forum-the-inevitable-bolt-ev-seat-complaint-thread.100/#post-733

guess if you leave it to koreans they make the best chevy? wondering if you should wait for kia to make its bolt.

I wish people would stop with this totally ignorant “Made in Korea” rubbish. LG DID NOT MAKE THE BOLT FOR GM. LG is just a parts supplier and sub contractor. Every component they make for the Bolt are GM’s proprietary design and made to their specs, not LG’s. The design studio in Korea that did the design work belongs to GM, is a part of GM and is supervised and managed by GM headquarters in Detroit. The lead mechanical engineer and battery engineer were both Americans working in Detroit. The lead designer on the Bolt was English, working in Korea.

Still, believe what you want. Yes, wait for your Kia someday.

I wish people would stop with this totally ignorant “Made in Korea” rubbish. LG DID NOT MAKE THE BOLT FOR GM.” LG Electronics and LG Chem certainly did make the entire EV powertrain, including the battery pack, for GM. “LG is just a parts supplier and sub contractor. Every component they make for the Bolt are GM’s proprietary design and made to their specs, not LG’s.” ROTFL!! 😆 😆 😆 WOW dude, what is up with you? That goes beyond just being a GM fanboi; perhaps a touch of xenophobia there? Or perhaps even more than xenophobia; do you have a “problem” with “furriners”? “Still, believe what you want.” I believe I’ll stick to the Truth, and not a view of reality so distorted it’s entirely one-sided. From Green Car Reports: “Bolt EV Powertrain: How Did GM And LG Collaborate On Design, Production?” A couple of excerpts: GM designed the electric traction motor and the battery-control system, was responsible for all integration of the powertrain into the vehicle itself, and validated all systems. LG Chem–which supplies lithium-ion cells from Holland, Michigan, for the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, and the Cadillac ELR and CT6 Plug-In Hybrid–designed, engineered, and tested the… Read more »

Your links do not indicate that GM didn’t design the drivetrain and LG is the supplier who makes it.

The other poster included information that you just skip right over. If LG designed all this themselves why did GM send people over to do it?

No question LG supplies a lot of parts for the Bolt. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a GM car and wasn’t designed by GM. Car companies have suppliers.

GM has their own pack chemistry. Their own motor design. Their own inverter design.

(link for chemistry http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/general-motors/2017/05/11/profitable-evs/101531172/ )

Sure seems like the other poster’s comments that these are GM’s designs holds a lot of weight.

Well, Unlucky, you get an “F” for reading comprehension for the day.

My primary issue in my comment was with the following very false assertion:

“Every component they make for the Bolt are GM’s proprietary design and made to their specs, not LG’s.”

Very clearly that’s untrue.

But hey, Unlucky, you certainly earned disingenuous argument “points”, by specifying “drivetrain” when I said “powertrain”. The latter includes the battery pack, which was entirely designed and built by LG. The term “drivetrain” does not include the battery pack. I’m sure you know that; it’s why you specified “drivetrain,” moving the goal posts.

I didn’t mean to swap up powertrain and drivetrain. And I meant to include the battery pack, because unlike what you just said and what I just linked, the battery pack is designed by GM.

GM of course designed the physical layout. They designed how it attaches to the inverter. And it is their own proprietary chemistry in the cells. I don’t know who designed the physical layout of the cells but I don’t really care. Having designed all the other aspects of the pack it is safe to say GM designed the pack too even if they didn’t select the cell form factor.

Where’s bro1999?

How come this list doesn’t include Smart, Mini, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Fiat?

They don’t make enough cars. Fiat is part of Chrystler.

Well, that’s one wild ass guess, but I think you are wrong. They all make plenty of cars. You are correct, Fiat is part of Chrysler, or more precisely, Chrysler is part of Fiat, but riddle me this- why is Dodge and Ram broken out separately then? Aren’t they all part of Chrysler?

This is is one of the expected long-term benefits of pure BEV’s over cars with ICE motors. Due to the newness of EV’s in general compared to ICE cars, it will probably take a number of years, but eventually I expect BEV’s to top the reliability list for all the car makers.

Huh? How is there already any relevant data on a car model <1yr old? Well, going to COnsumer Reports' site, it's implied (not stated explicitly, of course) that this is "new car reliability".
That's much less significant than data 4-5 years after the model is on the road, esp. given the small (relative to ICE) numbers the Bolt sells.

I'd appreciate the article clarifying that this isn't "reliability" it's "expected reliability based on first-year data".

wavelet said:

“I’d appreciate the article clarifying that this isn’t ‘reliability’ it’s ‘expected reliability based on first-year data’.”

Thank you! I was wondering if anyone else would notice that.

Anybody remember the high marks for reliability that CR gave Tesla in the early years of the Model S? And remember how CR successively lowered its reliability ratings as the years progressed, once they actually had enough data to make a meaningful analysis?

With the Bolt EV less than a year old, CR can’t possibly have sufficient feedback from owner surveys to form a meaningful opinion of the Bolt EV’s reliability.

Sadly, this appears to be another case of CR attempting to ride the coat-tails of the popularity of a new car, prematurely reporting on reliability before the facts are in.

I used to have a very high opinion of Consumer Reports, but these days I’m far more skeptical of their reports when it comes to high-profile products.

The problem with 4-5 years of data is once you have that much data the car is about to be replaced anyway.

This kind of data is the best you can have at this point.

0 problems in over 10 months/11k miles. Only problem was when a metal pole in a garage smashed into the Bolt’s rear corner when the wife was driving…

Haven’t had my coffee yet so *obligatory Tesla slam about reliability* 😀

Their most reliable vehicle?
I’m sure the service departments aren’t too pleased with it. Having to take additional training for servicing it, then it doesn’t need to be serviced.
They’re going to have to recoup those costs somehow.

When it comes to the Chevy Bolt. . . I want one.

I don’t understand how the Dodge Journey could be Dodges least reliable vehicle. We’ve owned one for almost 3 years now and the only issue we’ve had has been a dead battery. I also see them everywhere considering they’ve only been produced for about 7 yrs. Consumer reports has been dead to me for a long time….

We’ve owned Hondas for the last 20 years (Accords, Civic, CRV, Odyssey). For the last 4 years, had a Ford Energi, VW egolf, and now Bolt. It’s not perfect but very good compared to the previous cars. No more range anxiety, drives well, fits our family of 4.

Liked it so much, we leased a 2nd Bolt. With my solar (paid off), I pay about $50 a year in electricity for the house and cars!

People will say not enough time has elapsed, but I in general like the philosophy behind the BOLT ev. There is no undue heating from ANY source, (unlike other makes), and the parts are up to the task required of them. The extreme quietness of the car at high speeds shows me that NOTHING is being strained excessively when under maximum duress. The styrofoam trunk floor on the base model, the inverter hash making its way to the AM radio, and the lousy utilization of what could be great dashboard displays do definitely detract from the car – however, the BASIC car – the stuff people rarely see, is pretty substantial. The 12 volt battery terminals could have been a bit more substantial, but this is admittedly a knit pick. I would be very surprised THIS TIME if CR reliability was in error. It may be a case that they are more right than they know, but I see no reason why the car should not be highly reliable. LG does make several subsystems it is true, but they are a very mature company in the way they ALSO conservatively rate construction – so as far as I’m concerned, having… Read more »

“Bolt EV the most reliable Chevy”.

Seeing as Chevys apparently are very unreliable compared to the competition, its not saying much.