GM Engineers Reveal Top 11 Cool Chevrolet Bolt Facts To Motor Trend



Recently, Motor Trend spoke with a few of the engineers responsible for the Chevrolet Bolt and asked the team to reveal some cool, mostly unknown facts about the new electric car from Chevy.

Chevy Bolt Interior

Here’s a brief synopsis of some of those “cool” facts:

  1. Pedal to the floor range at top speed of 93 mph is 160 miles
  2. Bolt has asymmetric front seats. Outboard bolster is bigger to house airbag, while inside bolster is smaller.
  3. A push of the Start button on a Bolt EV sets in motion a diagnostics test of 1,400 items. This occurs in less than 0.5 seconds.
  4. Bolt EV uses a resistance heater that circulates coolant through a heater core
  5. Smart shifter – the Bolt EV’s has no creep in the highest regen settings, so it would be easy to leave the EV in gear and exit the car…but not so with the Chevy, as the car knows to shift into park if the seat belt is unlatched and the door opens
  6. Bolt’s body weighs 815 pounds, or 134 pounds less than the battery pack
  7. Pull a rear seat cushion to access the emergency battery disconnect
  8. Onboard fast-charger can only handle 60 kW
  9. There’s a charge setting that ends battery charge at 90%. Especially useful for those in hilly areas who wish to have regen available right away
  10. Rear camera has its own washer, which is activated every time you shift into reverse
  11. Bolt charge-indicator LED on center of the dash blinks while charging and glows solid green when full

Now you know…to learn more about each individual feature, check out the informative piece over at Motor Trend now!


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86 Comments on "GM Engineers Reveal Top 11 Cool Chevrolet Bolt Facts To Motor Trend"

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Heater core, really? I thought I was getting away from that service item by going to an EV with resistance heating for interior air conditioning…. They must share the coolant loop with the battery or something…. I’m sure it makes sense somehow but I was looking forward to not have to worry about that PITA repair down the road.

The Leaf started with resistive heating but found using the AC in reverse cycle as a heat pump was more effective and less power consuming so switched over.
The Bolt system might be more effective in harsh winter conditions though.

Don’t Teslas use a resistive heater? Apparently, they felt that for 60kWh and above batteries, the small increase in efficiency from using a heat pump (in certain circumstances) wasn’t worth it.

I’m glad there’s no heat pump, would be ineffective anywhere other than a cool day in California. (Exaggeration, to make a point) But I was looking forward to resistive heating elements = full output heat fast. I should be taking delivery this month so I guess we’ll see how well the heating system works then.

There is an heat pump anyway for cooling so the real question is “why is it not worth it to be able to make it work in reverse?”.
It seems quite strange not to.

Exactly right. Split air conditioners for home heating and cooling work like that; it is not new technology. With a COP (coefficient of performance) of 3, that would use only 1/3 as much power as resistance heating. If the effectiveness is too low in very cold weather, they could switch to resistance heating if necessary.

For electric cars, conserving battery energy is absolutely critical to get the greatest possible range and maximize battery life.

Resistive heaters still need to be “primed” before they produce good heat.

Use pre-conditioning to warm the car before you unplug it and the heat will be instant once you drive off.

While I do appreciate the heat pump in my Leaf it has 2 major drawbacks – it takes time for it to output heat, less than a minute but you can’t beat the restive heater here. Second point is noise that you can hear clearly outside and also inside at low speeds.

Sounds like max DCFC is 60kW then, if it’s not a typo?

I’m assuming they calculate that based on an 80kW CCS station and it’s max amperage, along with the max voltage the Bolt can take that amperage before it starts to taper?

Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the on-board charger for AC at 60 Kw while external 80 Kw charging is DC direct to the batteries?

60 kW would be a heck of an onboard charger. 🙂

They mean the battery can be DC fast charged at 60 kW. 60,000 watt + 400 volt = 150 amp…over 2C for 60 Ah batteries. What do you arm chair battery engineers expect, magic?

It’s a 60 kWh battery that charges at 60 kW. That makes it one C.

Where did you even find an Ah rating?

It is simply math. They say it can handle 60 kW of charging power. The battery is 96 “cells” at 4.2 volt max = 403.2 volts. So they will not be charging at higher voltage than that. 60 kW is 60,000 watts. Watts is volts times amps. If they can push 60 kW into the battery at 400 volts, that is at 150 amps. If you have ever messed with charging lithium ion batteries, you know they can’t push max amps from 0% charge to 100% charge. But at some point, for some time, they may push it to 150 amps. If the battery is very warm/very cold,near empty/near full, they will be pushing fewer amps.

Very simple calculation, but very stupidly done.

If the battery has 60kWh and it charges with 60kW, the C rate is 1C. If the cells were 60Ah cells in series the pack would need a nominal Voltage of 1000V to get to 60kWh. If some of those are parallel, the current is divided equally between each of those paths.

SparkEV has 54 Ah batteries at 400 V. Bolt should have about 160 Ah batteries.

Right you are are. Brain fade. Too much time spent fooling with Leaf cells. 🙁

150 amps is approximately 1C for the Bolt pack. Still a very reasonable number for today’s lithium ion cells. None of the cell chemistries in use today, will last 8 years with higher charge or discharge rates. When car companies talk about charging at huge power levels soon, they are blowing smoke. They aren’t telling you that they are talking about huge batteries in SUVs that still only amount to 1C, or they are hoping for solid electrolyte batteries to arrive in time to save them from looking like liars.

Actually not, the Bolt cells should have about 60Ah.

And its rather easily calculated.
We know:
V(nom): 350V
Energy capacity: around 63kWh (total)
Pack architecture: 96S 3P

That means:
Each group of three has about 180Ah, so each cell has about 60Ah. That of course depends on how much total, not just usable, capacity the pack really has, but around 60Ah sounds reasonable.

Yeah. That is why I put cells in quotes. Most OEM EVs use smaller cells in parallel.

The calculation isn’t as easy as we’d like. The claimed capacity of cells is whatever the company wants to call it. You can charge these cells to 4.4 volts, before the electrolyte blows, but nobody is going to do that. Most aren’t going to 4.2 even, because these aren’t throwaway cell phones. Same goes for depth of discharge. It isn’t like a gas tank. There are real consequences of “using the whole tank.”

So whats your conclusion to that? We will never know capacity down to the third number after the decimal point, so your 20 Ah guess is as accurate as my 60Ah guess?

Of course I am probably off by more than 1%, but I didn’t start those calculations with the sentence “It is simply math”.

Those are guesstimations, they are probably off by a certain degree, but the rest is just very simple math.

Yup. I made a mistake. Certainly a good reason not to be dismissive of what others say. It’s easy to look like fool. Thank goodness I’m not president. 🙂

onboard charger is probably 6 kW (six)
Google is somebody elses friend 😉

“For battery recharging, the Bolt EV’s onboard charger operates at up to 7.2 kilowatts.” .

I think so.

I charge my Bolt EV with my ClipperCreek HCS-40 240v 32amp charger – it shows 7Kw received in the Bolt when it is connected.

Yup, no onboard 60KW charger.. typo that the author probably will not fix despite messaging.

That’s a fair point actually… DCFC has the charger at the station, not in the car. It’s too easy to get sloppy with terms sometimes.

They could be referring to max regen, which if like the Volt, would indeed be 60kW

60 kW might be reference to regen. SparkEV tops out at about 60 kW regen, I thought Bolt might be more.

Good point.

70 kW max for regen

The fun fact one I was hoping for is:

12)Bolt can easily be upgraded to take up to 150KW of charge output once such infrastructure is available, meaning an 80% charge in 30 minutes rather than the current 70-90(?) minutes.

You know, a car that’s somewhat future proof. After all it’s not like a smartphone, these are expected to last 10-15 years right?

Once cars become fully electric, it absolutely is planned obsolescence. It is no more than a gadget that will become better with time.

I’m not praising gas cars for not being that way but it is a disappointing fact everyone should accept. It’s the reason the people who realize this fact “lease” so they don’t get stuck with something outdated in the near future.

Those names have unfortunately been badly chosen because planned obsolescence is actually not planned obsolescence but planned failure. Obsolescence is what comes out of continuous progress; it is the fact that a system from now is less able than one that will exist in the future. So obsolescence in itself doesn’t contain any bad intention. Planned failure, on the other hand, consists of programming an intended weakness into a product so that it fails at a predetermined moment in the future. So the term planed obsolescence is meaningless because obsolescence doesn’t need to be planned, it comes as a fact of progress. Planned failure needs to be planned because it comes from the bad intention of having a product failing after a certain time on purpose and intentionally. The most frequent reason is to make the customer pay again for a same product that he would normally not have to buy if the first product didn’t fail.

Even though we have different opinions of planned obsolescence and planned failure, we are both in agreement with your last point.

The part in the car that will “fail” will be the battery in EV’s. Range will also increase in future models, it’s just a habit of technology to get better.

The obsolescence argument is overused.

I’ve had my 2011 LEAF for 5 1/2 years now. Other than the i3, nothing has come along in Tennessee in the same vehicle class that challenges the car. The LEAF will be 6 years old before the Bolt makes it to Tennessee. So obsolete after 1/2 of an average cars expected lifetime isn’t all that bad.

The pace of change isn’t as fast as some make it out to be.


I know it is a bit of topic, although not completely, but I have developed a passion for durability science in the strict sense of it. How to make things last extremely long. Like often it all started with one of my theoretical thinking on one of several pet topics. In this case, it is extraterrestrial past machines but that would still be operational thousands or millions of years later. Think about the machinery in the movie Total recall to visualize what I mean. In that movie Arnold is activating an Oxygen generation machine build by aliens long gone but still operational. The same topic is also present in one of my favorite vintage SF movie The forbidden planet. So the question arise, what would it take to have a machine lasting that long? The answer is longevity technology or exactly the opposite of programmed failure. It consist of analyzing and preventing everything that can alter or break a systems and all of its individual pieces. It is actually a real research for specific fields like durable nuclear waste storage or very long term space probes. Some are also interested in it for ultra long term data storage. In the… Read more »

10-15 years from now you will still be able to charge your Bolt the same as today, so the car is still useful. You don’t have to throw it away. The reality is, every single EV built today including anything from Tesla will be obsolete in 10 years.

Look on the bright side, it’s good for the economy. Building new EVs might be considered part of that “green economy” that is supposed to save our jobs someday.

Point is: Bolt will be quite obsolete (if still quite useable obviously)less than a year from now when Model 3 arrives which I suspect will do 80% in less than 30 minutes.

Technological progress will make anything obsolete eventually but not fitting technology that’s quite feasible today, or at least adding upgrade potential means a product is basically obsolete on arrival which is bad for early adopters, especially since this is a big ticket item.

Obsolete in 10 years eh?

“The average lifespan of a vehicle is currently 13 -17 years while the average age is 11.5 years. ”

Obsolete doesn’t mean you can’t drive it, just you wouldn’t want to buy it.

I don’t see how 10 years obsolescence is a bad thing for the first crop of mainstream EV’s. Obsolescence will become less of a problem as EV technology matures.

It’s all downhill from here. And we know how EV’s love downhill.

The Bolt probably won’t be able to fast charge nearly as fast as the Model 3 but is decently quick, decent range and has a hatch.

People will probably love to buy this car for under $20K in 3 years or so used.

1,3,5 and 9 are “cool”.

4 is definitely not.

I hope 10 is configurable. I would not want fluid running down the back of may car every time I put it in reverse, but I can see it would be useful in the rainy months.

#10 is not correct. The rear camera sprayer will only activate if you turn the rear washer knob on the right stalk.

There are two fuses in the instrument panel fuse box, F10 and F29, that are labeled Trailer Interface Module 1& 2. The existence of these fuses brings up a whole slew of questions. I wish the engineers had discussed these fuses and how they are used.

For hooking wires up to a trailer?

I bet we’ll find out more when the Ampera-E full specs come out. I’ll be shocked if it isn’t rated for towing.

I’m fairly certain the Ampera-E will be able to tow SOMETHING, and if the Ampera-E can do it, the Bolt should be able to as well.

There are a lot of cars, like the Ford Focus, that are rated for towing in Europe but the exact same model is not rated for towing in the United States. I know that trailer towing is much more popular in Europe so manufacturers try to cater to that market. Regulations must also make it more difficult to get a tow rating in the United States.

Perhaps it is rated to be towed and the wiring is for that.

The owners manual states, “This vehicle is neither designed nor intended to tow a trailer” but it doesn’t say anything like your warranty will be void if you tow a trailer. The owners manual also states, “If your vehicle will be towing a trailer, load from your trailer will be transferred to your vehicle. Consult this manual to determine how this reduces the available
cargo and luggage load capacity of your vehicle.” Talk about conflicting information.

The trailer hitch makers have made a 2000/200 Class 1 hitch for the Bolt. It ought to handle a small trailer with ease with all that power.

I need a class 3 hitch to tow around my mother scooter. I hope they figure out to make a class 3 hitch for the Bolt.

My Think City had a resistive coolant heater originally. Took forever to heat up. Just like their ICE equivelent. Luckily they replaced them with ceramic heaters that heat up quikly.

How about an option to charge up to a specific %?? I know you can set the mountain setting to charge only up to 90% but I would like a 40% so that I could get to work and change up there 🙂

Kinda tired of having to screw around with the depart time to effectively do the same thing! Seems like it would be easy enough. Maybe a lot of people wouldn’t use it but seems like it would just take a few lines of code if you ask me.

For variable charging % get a Tesla Model 3.
For over 60 kW charging get a Tesla model 3.

For No CREEP and big REGEN you can get the Bolt or Tesla model 3.

The car itself doesn’t have this, unfortunately. However, Schneider Electric makes an EVSE with a delay timer that you can set for 1 to 8 hours (full hours only).

We have had one for several years and they work well. I didn’t really use the timer until we replaced our Leaf with a Spark EV. Now I use it regularly so the car will have about 60-70% charge before my wife leaves for work.

#11 Bolt Seats are too narro

err should be #12

#13, and not well padded.

Amercans are too wide….

Couldn’t agree more. People go ahead and supersise their purchases to fill the needs of themselves.

Sometimes slimming down is an answer to your problem too, especially from a health perspective.

Just because we don’t look like we’re a bunch of meth taking euro trash doesn’t mean that Americans are too fat. 🙂

I’m more slender than a bulk of Americans and even I have to say that the Bolt seats are a little too narrow. It was the first thing I noticed when I sat in it. Virtually no side support either. I can see myself slipping and sliding around in all the corners I take.

I really don’t get why car companies choose to skimp on the driver and/or passenger seats. It’s the one thing that people are going to notice most if you ask me. My Volt seats are soft on the bottom and then immediately turn hard around the mid back. How is that supposed to be comfortable? Almost got out of my lease because of it but I’ve stayed in it. No lumbar support either? I mean how much additional can that cost to put in and how much of a weight penalty really could there be!?!??!

“#11 Bolt front seats are too narrow for obese people”


The Buick Encore is the same width (70″) and has the same seat bottom. See here.

That car has been out for 4 years and there was no seat controversy. I have no idea why people are freaking out about the Bolt. Try the car I bet you find it’s fine.

Because fat people likes to blame others for their own problem, just like those Bolt critics who likes to blame GM for their own hidden jealousy…

More likely because only old people and Tiger Woods drive a Buick and neither know how to use the internet to complain about it…

There are dozens of midsize alternative mid-size SUVs/CUVs…Don’t like the seats? You move on to the next model with out giving the car a second thought…

In terms of dollar to range ratio, there aren’t any alternatives…

Does the Bolt have a pedestrian warning system? My 2011 LEAF has an outside speaker that plays a sound that is a combination of a scraping sound and water logged tea kettle. The whistle part of the sound changes pitch slightly with vehicle speed up to 11 MPH, at which point the pedestrian warning system shuts off.

The 2011 LEAF has a push button to disable the PWS noise, but the PWS must be disabled at each start. Newer LEAFs do not allow the PWS to be shut off.

One time I forgot to shut off fhe PWS, and I thought one of the bake calipers might be dragging until I realized the PWS was on!

Actually you can turn off the PWS in a 2012 LEAF (My car) as the wiring is there behind the glovebox, not sure on 2013+. You have to find a switch and wire it in yourself, but can be done. There is also a device that will simulate the button press every time you start the car that will disable the PWS every time for you.

Ehhh… you people should be behind bars. Why the heck would you ever WANT to disable it? Warning pedestrians is a good thing, and it is barely audible inside the car, certainly in my 2012 SL.

Cuz it’s F’ing annoying. Just unplug the external speaker and problem solved 🙂

Yup I would too, maybe. You might need a resistor in the plug so the car doesn’t complain.

Jag Samra I’m in sales for Chevrolet I’m very excited about the 17 Chevy Bolt today my customer came in for new car detail he drove from El Cerrito to CONCORD…So I jumped in to see what range he had remaining I was blown away by the range he had available…241!!! I was jumped out and ran into the dealership and sat next to him.. I asked Dean did you drive in from El Cerrito…? Yes I did I was like the range is at 241 he replied back Jag I LOVE this Chevy Bolt… Previously Leased 14 Chevy Spark Ev……My happy customer!!! Thank you Chevrolet!!!

Is #11 correct? This is the exact opposite of the Volt, which is solid when charging, flashing when full.

They finally got it figured out that was one of my biggest pet peeves on my volt that the light is on solid green while the car is charging. And started flashing once the battery charge capacity was reached that was exactly backwards in my mind. From birth I’ve been taught that solid green light is good to go. Flashing light indicates something is taking place

GEN 1 and GEN 2 Volts operate the green light in exactly the opposite fashion. Therefore the BOLT seems to operate much like the current Volt. These engineers apparently have too much time on their hands – or else are like little kids and cannot make up their minds on how defacto something is going to work. One very useful features that most Teslas have always had is to tell you the current charging rate and incoming voltage to the car. And to make the current rate semi-adjustable if for some reason you feel like lowering it. Instead, most of the time with GM products you get zero information at all, and then the car does stuff you never ask it to, such as ‘preheat’ the radiator coolant to 145 degrees when it is under 33 deg F (in my ELR) and then turn it on – first at 118 degrees, but then raising it to 130 degrees as the outside temperature gets colder – when it never dawns on these GREAT BRAIN engineers that perhaps the reason you bought an EV is you want it occassionally to work on ELECTRICITY, even in cold weather. If someone reading this wonders… Read more »

Early rechargeable tools made in China were totally screwed up. Fully charged was solid red, charging was flashing red. First I thought something was wrong but then, well, Chinese love red. Still, could not get used to it thinking the flashing red means it is about to explode.

I think many hoverboards, and Samsung Note 7s, still use these light conventions.

Red LED are much cheaper to Green and way Cheaper then Blue. I am sure it saves then 1/2 cent per unit to use the red LED and it adds up in the batch.

Gm was quite wise to say the battery may lose as much as 40% capacity under warranty. They know full well there are people who will try to charge their car at as close to 1C very day, assuming they can find chargers to do it, and run them out at 1/2c on the highway. These same people will then scream about the Bolt being junk when they ruin the battery. There is no point in charging, and discharging a 200 mile range EV at those rates most of the time, except to try to show that EVs can do what ICE can. Who cares?

And we’ll see if the seats, front seat bottoms in particular, were a good choice…If so not only will all other GM models gain these seats but all other automakers…Otherwise we may see an ICE Sonic front seats replace the current seats in the Bolt’s midcycle refresh…

> Onboard fast-charger can only handle 60 kW

And this is supposed to mean what?!?

The whole point with DC charging is that the charger is NOT onboard. It is DC because the battery is DC and only DC can be used to charge it…!

If the Bolt’s onboard charger could accept 60 kW I would be extremely impressed – but not in a good way, since it would be of extremely little use given that charging points supplying 60 kW AC don’t exist.

Hopefully the rest of the list has more merit, but one does begin to wonder about the competency of the engineers who provided MT with “inside info” here.

Besides which I believe there is a typo.

The Bolt can charge up to 80Kw DC Fast charge (in theory). The stations out there are typically 50kW tops.

Unless this Motor Trend writer is a newbie, perhaps they meant “OnBoard Fast-Charger CCS JACK”, (in other words, the Jack is ‘onboard’) – but I have to admit it sounds like they think it is in the car – but then this is getting a bit into the weeds since the ‘pedestal fast charger’ and the CCS option on the Bolt combined do comprise a $750 option ‘fast charging system’.

If thats 60 kw so be it –

Bro1999 or other early Bolt owners? Did you spring for the $750 option, and if so, could you test this for us at some 100 kw charger?

(I don’t have the option on the car I ordered here in NY State, – it won’t be here until march at the earliest anyway – and then I can only test for L1 and L2 performance- fast charging testing is up to you guys.)

I would if a 100 kW (or even 80 kW) station existed. I think the nearest 100 kW one is in Norway.

Correct. There are no CCS or CHAdeMO fast chargers above 50 kW in the U.S. yet.

1. Pedal to the floor range at top speed of 93 mph is 160 miles

This just sounds wrong. That would mean 24kWh/100km, too low to be true don’t you think ?

Surely it would be much more efficient, probably about 3 times as efficient, to use a heat pump for cabin heating and switch to resistance heating only if the outside temperature is too low for heat pump operation. The car already has air conditioning so the air conditioning could be reversed for heating. That is not new technology and would not require the discovery of a new law of physics.