The Chevy Bolt EV Is Just A Normal Everyday Car And That’s Pretty Cool

Red Chevy Bolt EV outdoors

SEP 23 2018 BY WADE MALONE 102

Jalopnik reviews the 2018 Chevy Bolt EV and marvels at how familiar it all feels

For Jalopnik writer Patrick George, what stood out most about the Chevy Bolt EV was that very little stands out. The electronic gear shifter is similar or identical to many other GM vehicles. The car is fun to drive without even trying to be. The exterior is a “quasi-crossover hatchback” that doesn’t look large but is surprisingly roomy.

The electric Chevrolet can also be driven like any other car. The range of 238 miles EPA is far above most direct competitors. After a week of typical city driving, George “barely made a dent” in the battery.

In fact, even the cost of the car is pretty normal. The Bolt starts at $37,495 after freight charges are applied. For a buyer that can take advantage of the $7,500 federal tax credit, the price of the vehicle can fall below $30,000. That’s before even considering state rebates or dealer discounts. This places the car well below the average new car purchase price of ~$32,000.

Jalopnik also appreciated the unlimited 4G LTE WiFi, making use of the strong connection to check up on e-mail and edit some blog posts.

One feature of the Bolt that is not at all “normal” is the regenerative braking. Driving in L “enables full regenerative braking and true one-pedal driving.” The reviewer also made good use of the regen on demand pedal, calling it “a great little benefit.”

Chevy Bolt Interior

The Chevy Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 both doing the same thing in different ways

Jalopnik recently raved about the Tesla Model 3 Performance, calling it “the best Tesla yet.” Most of the risks that car takes are wildly successful. Yet George seems to prefer the layout and UI of the Bolt to that of the Tesla Model 3. The reviewer felt Tesla is trying too hard “with its phone-app door unlocking, buttons to unlock doors, ultra-minimalist interior and many key functions relegated to a touch screen.”

The Bolt takes the opposite approach. Anyone could get into this EV and figure it out.

I loved the Bolt’s big, bright digital dashboard and the huge touch screen inserted tastefully into the dash. The latter looks really nice, with classy fonts, eye-pleasing graphics, quick responsiveness and menus that are easy to navigate.

But the Bolt interior does not impress, with the reviewer calling it “a cut-rate knockoff of the BMW i3, without any of the coolness.” The seats aren’t very comfortable, and there are too many hard plastics.

The Model 3 may be ultra bare-bones, but at least it’s a premium-feeling place to spend time. The Bolt’s economy car roots really come through on the inside.

Finding a working public charger near him was also difficult. While this was a frustrating experience, George notes that it will be a short term issue for buyers. Most owners will be able to “charge at home, at their office if they’re lucky, or they’ll have spots near either they trust for charging.”

The reviewer recommends GM lowers the price or improves the interior once the EV credit expires. But overall “the Bolt is a win” for EV adoption in the same way as the Model 3.

Even if the Model 3 does some radical things with its design and interior, at the end of the day it’s trying to drive like a normal, range-anxiety-free car would, and the Bolt is attempting the exact same thing. I think that normal-ness is what the EV market needs most right now.

This is just a short overview of an excellent extensive review. Check out the link below for more.

Source: Jalopnik

Categories: Chevrolet, Tesla, Test Drives

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102 Comments on "The Chevy Bolt EV Is Just A Normal Everyday Car And That’s Pretty Cool"

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Will never understand the snarking against the Bolt, it’s a decent affordable practical car that’s supported by a leading USA manufacturer.

I thought the whole point of EV’s is to get every manufacturer and everybody into one.

If you have $ 50,000 buy a Tesla, if you’ve got $30,000 buy a Bolt!

Then you haven’t spent much time around the Tesla bots. They aren’t here to lift up EVs, they’re here to tear every non-Tesla EV down.

Anyone who has been at an EV meet-up knows that it’s all about camaraderie and shared enthusiasm among the participants. I have never heard any intentionally degrading or factually inaccurate drivel from any real-life EV owner.

But the Internet can be quite different from the real life.


The whole point is to eliminate the narative that EVs are little body golf carts. GM has produced just that.

Apparently you haven’t ridden in a Bolt. It’s anything but a “golf cart”.

True, it’s more of a putt-putt one 😉
I’m kidding, I’m kidding! The Bolt EV is massively underappreciated for a variety of reasons.

The fact that you feel Chevy has failed is more due to your own snobbery and less to do with Chevy’s design choices. The point is to actually get people to trade to BEVs from their ICE cars and that is what the Bolt has done for many. It was and still is the only BEV that works for me. It is my first electric car. Had their been no Bolt, I would still be burning gas.

and an extra $15,000 for that used fossil car so you can go make longer out of town trips , so Bolt will need that extra backup if you often need 300 mile Rd trips.

Bullocks. After 200 miles everyone needs a bio break. Bolt will refuel after that time.

Unless you live in a very remote area, or are an outdoorsperson constantly hounding the backcountry where no chargers are found, there’s zero need for a “backup”.

Once in 3 years you may come across a road trip your Bolt won’t handle, but avoiding the need to rent in that scenariol not a rational risk factor when buying a car.

Where and how are you going to refuel it?
Have you actually tried it with your family?
Was it fun to:
1) Look for that CCS station at Raleys while driving on the freeway?
2) Pray that the 2 bays are not hogged by Leafs maxing out their free charge cards?

This aricle has already mentioned the interior so I’ll drop it.

“After 200 miles everyone needs a bio break. Bolt will refuel after that time.”
And just how long is this “bio break”?

Agreed, but it is a shame that it can’t charge more quickly. I’d happily sacrifice 15 kWh for a heat pump and 100 kW charging!

But then I could just get an Ioniq, which comes fairly close to all that…

Actually you really can’t get an Ioniq unless you live in L.A. or go to L.A. to buy one and unless you want to be one of only about 300 people buying one this year. I can’t imagine that the dealer support in the 98% of the country where it is not sold is much good.

Or unless I live in Germany…

If you want an EV that you can refuel quickly, then get a PHEV. There are now plenty of different models on the market.

Let us please not denigrate the Bolt EV for not being perfect, or for not being fully competitive with gasmobiles in every possible way. No EV, BEV or PHEV, can compete with gasmobiles in every possible characteristic. It will be several or perhaps many more years before we see that. But then, you won’t find any gasmobile which is entirely perfect in every possible way, either.

The Bolt EV is fine for what it attempted to be. In that respect, it’s a success. No car, regardless of who makes it or how it’s designed, is going to suit everyone or suit every need. If some people think the Bolt EV ought to be a bigger success, if they think it ought to appeal to a larger market segment… well, they are entitled to their opinion. (And Mea culpa for making that argument in the past.) But if you look at what GM actually meant to accomplish, in making a BEV which will reliably sell ~30,000 units per year, then arguably they did a pretty good job of it.

Agreed. But I can dream 🙂

And for the record, I do have a PHEV. But I see it as a short term solution.

I disagree.

Charging our Bolt is easy at home, but charging stations are not as plentiful in the San Diego Diego area as I thought before were leased it.

It also takes time. There is a Whole Foods charger, but it is now always busy, and it’s hard to count on an available charger. They’re is no convenient charger in the 23 miles between work and home.

Fortunately, we’re can do 300 mi. On a charge if we go 60-65 mph.

And the majority of households have two cars anyway. So no big deal.

The force is not with this one.

You can argue to the effect that the Bolt is affordable, but by most people’s standards it’s rather expensive.

Competing sporty compact hatchbacks have a base retail price about $25k, (i.e. VW Golf GTI $26k) with negotiating and incentives you might get significantly below that number I think. The Bolt at $37,500 is WAY pricier, $12,500 to be exact … the price of a nice used car.

When you are talking ‘affordable’ cars you cannot assume that buyers can use the full $7500 tax credit, but even after full credit the base Bolt is still $4k more expensive than the base GTI.

Yes, electricity and operating expenses on the Bolt will be cheaper than the GTI, but it takes a long time to make up even the lower $4k gap on sales price.

If you can afford a $37k car you should be able to get the full tax rebate. Otherwise just lease it and you still get the benefit.

But with Tax incentives and local or state incentives, and considering the lower cost per mile of driving the Bolt and anticipated lower maintenance, the TCO of the Bolt is on par or better than the Golf GTI.

My $50k MSRP BMW i3 cost me the same to own per year as my $25k GTI, so I’m sure the Bolt could do the same.

Are you including depreciation in that cost of ownership? The i3 will murder you there, it seems.

(1) A mid-grade Golf GTI is definitely above $30K, and
(2) The Bolt is almost 6″ taller, and
(3) The same hp and ft*lbf figures will give a thrill-seeking driver more exciting driving experience in an EV than in a gas car of similar spec, and
(4) There has got to be come value in silence that EV’s have instead of the engine noise 🙂

A mid-grade Golf GTI that is above 30k is a hell of lot nicer car than the base Bolt, from everything I’ve ever read about both cars, and outperforms it in virtually every way.

Agree on the value of silence, though some seem to like the engine noise when it comes to sporty cars.

My only beef with it is its exterior design. I thought it’s just me but everyone I asked in my friends group say the same thing. I hate GM for putting such of a great engineering package in such ugly shell. Were they afraid that it would have sell and stole $ from ICE lineup? You bet!
Looking froward for their next ev model.

It’s not like Bolt gets singled out for snark… Tesla, Leaf, i3, anything — they all get their share. Some people just love disparaging everything but their chosen favourite.

bro1999- here’s your softball pitch.

M3 Owned- Niro EV TBD - Former 500e and Spark EV,

Bolt certainly can fit the car for today mode and works well.

Model 3 really does push the ‘car of tomorrow’ envelope. The phone app is neat, but simply too inconsistent to be the primary all the time and the FOB is coming back just to make sure life works 100% of the time. But the app key is the future — when it works.

Same for the rest of the critiques of the Model 3 interior. It forces ahead of the curve thinking and I believe with the amount and utility of shared driving ongoing with perhaps automated shared driving — Model 3 already has that platform ready to go.

The simplified ‘future’ look also is key in cost of manufacturing. They went through the pains of reducing all the knobs/levers/dials and that all adds to the bottom line. 4km wiring typical vs 1.5km for the Model 3 based on reports.

Reminds me of Apple fanboys swearing that mouse with no buttons is the best mouse ever 😉 .cause Steve said so!

More like the people who swore a phone without a keyboard will never sell lol.

Apple Mouse actually is better than a regular 🐁 mouse.

So Steve was correct afterall.

Mice are awesome, but not when you find them in your car 🙂

Slightly OT, I know, but in what way is one button better? I have five fingers on my hand, so why not use them? Limiting the functionality of the mouse to one button is selling the capabilities of the human hand seriously short and a pretty big handicap, especially if it means that you have to bring in a second hand to press the command button for simple things that a normal mouse can do one-handed. Steve Jobs wanted to simplify things and that’s fine, but the single button mouse is just ideological extremism at the cost of functionality. I’d submit, for the record, that the TM3 interior is venturing pretty far down that road itself. Reducing the number of buttons has become a goal in and of itself and has become completely divorced from actual usability or improvement of the customer experience. The TM3 has fewer buttons than the S and X and that’s hailed as an advancement, even though I doubt there was a single person that was really bothered by the two buttons in the older models. I’m not suggesting that some simplification isn’t good; God knows no one needs a number pad on the dashboard, but… Read more »

Apple Mouse Has Two Buttons.

Welcome to 2018!

We talking about 80s

Huh. Learn something every day! Thanks!

But if I used a mouse with only a single button, how in the world would I ever again play my Apple version of Colonial Conquest? 😉

Or the small iPhones and they never going to make bigger iPhones. Or you got to hold the phone a certain way to get reception

This is a generally sensible way of looking at it. You are correct: _IF_ the phone app worked flawlessly, with a simple smart card as a backup, that would be both easier and cost less. The minimalism in the inside also should cost less, although having a few dedicated buttons… even if they’re user-programmable (e.g. one person it opens the glove box, another person it does a seat adjustment), would make sense.

Both cars are great. It’s awesome to live in a world where we can nitpick the little things on EVs. Those of us pining for EVs all the way back in ’06 feel like we’re living in a Jetsons’ world. Cripes, the fact that we can buy ANY EV is a godsend.

YES! “Normal Everyday Car” ….Compliance Car C00L ? Well…. The Only COOL part is that it’s Electric.

Is your sole purpose here to troll everything non Tesla? I suspect you are here just to create divide…

My Sole Purpose is, “To Tell The Truth” GM is building these Compliance Cars for Carbon Credits Only So that they can accumulate Points to Build more Gas Guzzling ICE vehicles.. A Proper EV Has the Motor & Batteries Placed At The Lowest Point of The Chassis with a Frunk* in the Front* , Not a Motor* in the Frunk* ..

Not buy your narrative…

Bottom Line., “You Can’t Handle the Truth” ……lmao

In your post, only “truth” should be in quotations.

GM had plenty of credits with Volt. An no need to sell the Bolt outside of CARB ZEV states, but did anyway.

Keeping a shorter hood and shorter overhangs means smaller footprint and easier to park. Also better packaging for more interior room.

No he’s a troll. Already called him out. Don’t bring any info

I dunno, he seems to like trolling Tesla, too. I think he’s just an EV-basher in general.

I admire the Bolt, and think I would love to own one. But, while GM and LG built a good car, a worthy step forward in the state of the EV when it was released, the car, so far, has only been designed/sold as a niche vehicle. The Gen 1 Bolt has been a more of a test run for GM than a true pass at a mass-market car. It’s evident in the pricing and production numbers. The Bolt’s natural competition is other sporty hatch-backs, which typically start around $25,000 retail and might be negotiated down from there. If GM really wanted to sell the Bolt the base price would be no more than $32,500, so that buyers who could use the full federal tax credit would be at price parity with the gasoline powered competition. If they really wanted to compete, then a base price of in the mid-upper $20s would make for a compelling value proposition after federal tax credit. Model 3 pricing and production numbers are a whole different ball-park. Tesla priced the Model 3 competitively even before any tax credit, so after-tax credit the car is a big value winner vs. similarly priced sport-luxury sedans, hence… Read more »

Actually other hatches with the same performance as the Bolt cost about the same price as the Bolt EV.

A base 2018 VW Golf GTI retails at $26k, outperforms the Bolt, and I’d wager that most people would say the GTI wins on looks, comfort, driver experience, etc …

GM is dropping the ball by not at least making incremental improvements to the Bolt’s performance in its 3rd year on the market. What was a competitive ‘hot hatch’ in 2017 is falling behind in 2019, and then you’ve got the price gap as well.

Hence it’s a niche vehicle in terms of production and sales.

But … not to rag on the Bolt, just commenting on GM’s ambitions for the car. Like I said in my first post to this thread: it’s a very good EV that significantly advanced the state of art when it was released. I’m sure I’d love to own one, and I suppose I’ll be looking at used Bolts some point in the future.

You think the Bolt is overpriced and hard to get, you should try to buy an Ampera-E in Europe :-/

On one hand I agree; on the other hand you have to acknowledge that the Bolt is in a much tougher market segment for EVs to be price-competitive in, than currently available variants of the Model 3… Though that will change of course when the base Model 3 finally becomes available. The problem with the Bolt is that it *only* has the low-end configurations — so they can’t use high-margin options to offset a low price of the entry variant…

The model cheapest available Model 3 is about $15K more expensive than the Bolt.
And when the real “cheap” Model 3 is finally available, mid-2019, a lot of people will have a reality check with the reduced range.

Cheap electric cars with long-range battery do not exist yet.

The Bolt is a nice City car , but if you need a real car that will replace your fossil car you have to get the car with the least compromises and that leaves you with the TeslaMod3 LR,it’s “The real Thing”as the Coke commercial says.

True, the fast-charge network for the Bolt is inadequate to make it a full replacement at present, but that should be changing with the Electrify America campaign funded by VW as part of their penance for DieselGate.

If you could count on availability of fast-charging the Bolt could function as a full replacement of a ICE-mobile. Though some trips would be significantly slower in the Bolt, you could cover long distances with time.

A Leaf has been our only car for the past 3.5 years (first an 84-mile, now a 107-mile).

With the 84-mile one we needed to rent ICE twice in 2.5 years. With the 107-mile, thus far in >1 year zero such need.
We use fast-charge several times a year.

I can assume that with a 240-mile BEV we’ll need to use fast-charge even less.

So it all depends on one’s needs. For >95% of people, even in America, the Bolt can function as their only car, range-wise. So please don’t generalize based on imagining that a small minority is the majority. The pro-ICE auto media already does that “for us” enough. Ad nauseum in fact.

Also, no one in EV circles said about the 207-mile Model S that its range is insufficient when it came out. What has changed?

The 207-mile range Model S was deemed ‘insufficient’ by the market-place in that not many Model S 60s were sold. 250 mile range of the 85 was more like what the marketplace wanted at the time apparently.

As the Supercharger network has been built out much more extensively, the 207 mile range of the 60 would be more functional for travel around the country now than it was 5 years ago, assuming you had Supercharger access.

Ah you have a Leaf!!!
Go get a Bolt, try to fast-charge it. You’ll find the few stations all packed with Leafs (like you) maxing out their free-to-charge cards. So annoying.

Actually it’s the Uber, Lyft, and Maven drivers clogging up the “No Charge to Charge” EVgo DC fast chargers. The Bolt starts to Taper badly after 55% SOC adding another 30-40 minutes to get up to 90-100% SOC.

Good thing GM is building out dedicated Maven DCFC charging stations.

FYI, “Maxing Out” means a 1 hour free charge on a J1772 connection. That’s 6.6kWh max. or ≈ 26 miles.
Not much difference between a Leaf and a Bolt. Not so much to get “annoyed’ about.
Yes, I believe one can start a new session and continue but not everyone knows that.

Complainers might want to lighten up a bit.

The range of the Bolt is OK, and the CCS network is getting better; the major limitation for longer trips seems to be the poor charging speed, according to various people…

Software update can fix that

I don’t think so. They would have done it by now.

A 240-mile (or nearly 400km in human terms) car is not a “city car”. I don’t know what kind of “city” you are dreaming about when making that statement.

Its external dimensions are compact, that’s all. But it has 5 reasonably spacious seats, and its cargo space is actually larger than the Model 3. Check it out.

Yeah, the label “city car” gets seriously overused. The Bolt (and many of its contemporaries) are perfectly fine for almost any kind of commute (not only in cities), as well as for occasional expeditions to the countryside — it’s only on longer trips where it’s becoming inconvenient.

*Shrug* Okay, call it a “commuter car”. But I think that means the same as a “city car”. The point is that it’s not designed for long-distance driving.

And that’s not to denigrate the Bolt EV. If we look at what it was actually designed for, I think it’s designed pretty well. It’s just not designed for long distance driving. No car is good at everything.

A classic Volkswagen Beetle makes a lousy moving van, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad car. Similarly, the Bolt EV isn’t a bad car just because it’s not convenient for long-distance driving. If you want a car which will do that on a regular basis, then buy something else.

Unfortunately it’s still fairly heavily compromised. The Y when released will be less so, but there’s still a lot of compromises for a lot of people

We are going to be waiting a few more years for the Much Anticipated Tesla Model Y!

Until then, The Bolt in N.A. is the must have, long range (200+ mi.) affordable EV “Hatch”.

Agreed. I’m also not suggesting it’s a Bolt replacement, more that the Y will be less compromised than the 3 (I.e. it’ll be in a segment more people are interested in).

The Y will be significantly more expensive than the Bolt.

I don’t think so.

TM3LR is about $12K more. And soon to be about $16k more when the Tesla tax incentives reduce.

GM has sold ~190,000 EVs in the US as of August, so they’re about to join Tesla in the penalty box.

Not everyone can afford a Tesla car. I think we should embrace all well designed EVs, and that includes the Bolt EV. Sure, it’s not perfect… but then, neither is the Model 3.

Isn’t the EV market better off with the Bolt EV than without it? I think so!

Since the Bolt lacks Adaptive Cruise Control, GM’s version of TSS-P, I have no interest. Safety sells and that means the car helps avoid accidents. It isn’t even an option.

Why is Chevy advertising the 2018 MY price including the destination fee and the 2019 one without it? Looks like the price went down when it didn’t.

That photo is interesting. Has anyone loaded kayaks on the top and if so what is the range loss of having them there? Presumably less than towing (which is around a 60% drop), but still fairly significant I assume? Same with a roof top box or pair of bikes.

Figure a range loss of between approximately 10-20%, when keeping freeway/highway speeds at or near the posted maximum of 55-60 mph. 65 + mph will significantly reduce range further.

Who does 55 on the highway? What sort of range reduction at 70mph/110 I’m more interested in. 🙂

Exactly. No one does 55mph on the interstates 😒

Why do you imply this person has to go several hundred miles away?

I agree, it’s a good city runabout. Better than an ice or phev and it ticks all the boxes.
I give it a “B” for Bolt.

I would argue more than just a city runabout. Regional car for sure. 240 miles would get me to just about everywhere I would want to drive in a day and back, mountains, ocean, next big town, islands, hiking, camping, going into the big city, etc. Or for overnight trips where I can use destination L2 chargers or DCFC.

Will it actually do 240 miles when most of the distance is on the freeway, if driven at freeway speeds? I would expect the real-world highway range at ~70 MPH to be somewhat less than that.

I got mine for net $30,500 ($38,000 – $7500). We don’t use ours for long trips, we have a Tesla M3 for that. Its just an all around nice car, very happy with it.

Do you have a gasser too or 100% ev now?

Congratulations on both of your BEVs! 🙂

Worldwide Global sales of the GM Bolt are not so good.
GM could do better.

Global sales could be better if they made more of them… But it’s not really profitable, except where strong incentives/mandates are present; so GM is tarrying about ramping up production.

All EVs are a win

Perfectly reasonable review. If you want skull F’ing 0-60 times and ego inflating “badge prestige”, get a Tesla. If you want a practical,
economical (relatively speaking) car that functions just as well as (or better than) a regular gas car for 95% of use situations without all the glimmering sequins of a Tesla, get a Bolt.

What I don’t understand is this obsession with comparing EVs to other market leader EVs, in every review. If you read a review of a Ford gasmobile, does it mention Chevys or Toyotas or Hondas? Sometimes, yes; but I think it’s usually the case that automobile reviewers talk about the car’s virtues and shortcomings on its own merits, without feeling the need to directly compare it to other cars in the same market segment.

I’m glad that Jalopnik writer Patrick George likes the Bolt EV. I’m sure that many thousands of people are enjoying driving their own Bolt EVs. Why is it necessary to mention “Tesla, Tesla, Tesla” in every review of the Bolt EV? Isn’t the car good enough to stand on its own?

Just once, I’d love to see a review of an EV that has absolutely no reference at all to any other EV!

The EV market is much too large to be served by just one company. Not any one company, whether it’s Chevy or some other auto maker. The more the merrier, and the more companies that make popular EVs in significant numbers, the faster the EV revolution is going to progress!

(End rant.)

The only problem with the Chevy Bolt EV is it is a Chevy.

The only problem with Craig is, he’s a Craig.

Wow. This really is your argumentation?

I’ve been driving Subaru cars for the last 22 years, almost all of them turbo-charged.
I just recently bought a 2019 Bolt EV and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the construction quality and drivability of this car.

And the problem with today’s Germany is Hitler.
Seriously, stop living in the past.

GM said they would increase production this winter so I’m hoping to see some discounts and good lease pricing, that would sell me. I think it’s a great commuter car, perfect for mine, and enough for my weekend trips as well. Volt is a great car but I don’t want any ICE now.

We love our 2018 Bolt. It’s a rocket ship and drives very smoothly. Don’t have to worry about GM staying in business over the life of the car. Drove it 300 miles from OC to Big Sur with only one stop at an EVGo Fast Charger in Goleta.