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."
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.
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