At Duke University <em>(shown in black because Duke knows black EVs are what the " draggable="false">

At Duke University (shown in black because Duke knows black EVs are what the "cool kids" want)

Duke Energy Week Event

Duke Energy Week Event

The Duke University Energy Conference started on October 30th and continues all week. Last week I got notice of the public opening event and since I live only 45 minutes away, it seemed like a no-brainer to attend.

Unseasonably warm weather combined with Fall colors made it the perfect setting for a Drive and Ride event. I took advantage of this by driving a 2017 Volt Premier and enjoyed the drive that consisted of a couple mile circuit. As a generation one Volt owner, I appreciated the improved interior, seemingly smoother drive, and substantially longer electric mile range.

The main reason (okay, the catered NC BBQ lunch was great too) I showed up today was the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.   Unfortunately, this Bolt EV was not available for driving during the event.  It was, however, open to explore and poke around.  Interestingly, this Bolt EV was a base model as opposed to the magazine reviews that featured loaded premiers.

Under the hood of the Chevrolet Bolt EV

Under the hood of the Chevrolet Bolt EV

When I opened the hood, I was amazed how small the opening is to access the electronic drive components. A lot of stuff is packed in a small area – no room for a frunk compartment.

Under the hood!

Under the hood!

Chevrolet Bolt EV Front Grille

Chevrolet Bolt EV Front Grille

The front fake upper and lower grill is very glossy and slippery, as opposed to the Volt’s embossed surface.

Chevy Bolt EV Tires

Chevy Bolt EV Tires

The tires are Michelin Energy Saver 215/50R17.

Inside the Chevrolet Bolt EV

Inside the Chevrolet Bolt EV

In the driver’s seat, the front cabin is airy and is a big departure from the Volt’s “cozy” cabin.

Look it's carpet!

Look it's carpet!

Looking at the floor in the front, it is mostly flat allowing a passenger to switch between driver seat easily (and vice versa). The dash has a mixture of large touch screen and old fashioned buttons in a fairly ergonomic pattern similar to most other current Chevy models.

Chevrolet Bolt EV up top

Chevrolet Bolt EV up top

Overhead is the rearview mirror, cabin light, and button cluster.

Finally, here is your new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV desktop screensaver!

Finally, here is your new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV desktop screensaver!

Behold the inside of the glove box, which seems like it will hold a sufficient number of gloves.

Some other details include two USB ports inside the center arm rest.

Some other details include two USB ports inside the center arm rest.

As a base model, this is one of the first views of the fabric texture of the seats.

As a base model, this is one of the first views of the fabric texture of the seats.

 At 5’11”, I’m a little above average height and sitting in the rear seats was very comfortable. I first sat in the middle seat, as in most cars, this offers the least amount of space.

Ok, maybe THIS will be your new Chevy Bolt EV screensaver! /choices

Ok, maybe THIS will be your new Chevy Bolt EV screensaver! /choices

I had roughly 1 to 1.5 inches of clearance above my head. While sitting fully upright, the rear glass is nowhere close, as would be the case in the Volt.  I then sat in the rear right seat and had about 2 to 2.5 inches of headroom. 

Chevrolet Bolt EV Legroom - seat forward

Chevrolet Bolt EV Legroom - seat forward

Next I tested the leg room in that seat, first with the front moved to the forward limit at 12 inches and then with the rear limit as 2.5 inches. That is a pretty impressive amount of legroom available.

Chevrolet Bolt EV - legroom seat back

Chevrolet Bolt EV - legroom seat back

For short trips, three adults will probably work. For longer trips, two would be very comfortable.

Chevrolet Bolt EV rear hatch in all its glory

Chevrolet Bolt EV rear hatch in all its glory

Another look at the Chevy Bolt EV's rear cargo space

Another look at the Chevy Bolt EV's rear cargo space

Photo update (below):  As requested here is a shot of the rear hatch of the Chevrolet Bolt EV with seats folded down

Chevrolet Bolt EV rear hatch with seats down

Chevrolet Bolt EV rear hatch with seats down

The rear hatch is an area seldom seen in Bolt EV previews. When I opened the hatch door, there is a soft fabric privacy screen that attaches via loop to the hatch and rear seats.

Closeup photo of privacy screen in hatch

Closeup photo of privacy screen in hatch

Ye Olde Privacy Screen

Ye Olde Privacy Screen

Unhooking the loops on the hatch lets the screen fall flat against the seats.  The false floor can be positioned flat, at an angle or removed altogether. 

Chevrolet Bolt EV - rear hatch/false floor

Chevrolet Bolt EV - rear hatch/false floor

Snap! So many good Bolt EV screensaver pics...how will you choose?

Snap! So many good Bolt EV screensaver pics...how will you choose?

Underneath the trunk mat is a box for storing the 120V EVSE and other tools.  I tried to remove this tray, but unfortunately it was held in place by some bolts.

All in all, for my first sit and non-drive of a 2017 Bolt EV, this was a great experience.  I look forward to test driving one early next year.

Full disclosure: I also have a reservation for a Tesla Model 3.  I also don’t have any affiliation with Duke University

Energy Week at Duke