Wards On Why Chevrolet Bolt Won “2018 Wards 10 Best Engines”

Chevrolet Bolt


Chevrolet Bolt

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

WardsAuto didn’t have an opportunity to test out the Chevrolet Bolt‘s “engine” last year because it wasn’t available in time, but this year their real-world tests confirm its prowess.

Though the Bolt doesn’t have an engine at all, its 200-horsepower electric motor and 60 kWh lithium-ion battery pack impressed the critics. The biggest kudos for the Bolt, according to Wards, are attributed to its long range. The Bolt can travel 238 miles on a charge, although testing proved it easily exceeds this. Wards judge Dave Zoia said:

Chevrolet Bolt

GM Official Chevrolet Bolt Autocross 2017

“The Bolt is a good performer with plenty of range. It’s the new benchmark for EVs.”

Jim Irwin, another judge for Wards 10 Best Engines shared:

“What range anxiety? The Bolt truly is a game changer.”

Sure, there are electric cars with more range (Tesla), however, not at this price point. The Bolt is now available in all 50 U.S. states with an MSRP of $37,495 prior to the federal EV tax credit.

Wards notes that the Bolt’s instant torque and peppy performance also helped it make this year’s list. The EV cranks out 266 pound-feet (360-Nm) of torque and can launch you from zero-to-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. Spinning the Bolt’s tires is surely an easy task as we learned at this year’s GM Autocross event.

The publication points out that it’s not always easy to measure a pure EV’s “relative green-ness,” though the Chevrolet Bolt’s 119 mpg-e is a great number.

Other notable takeaways include the Bolt’s ability to perform well on the highway, climb steep grades, and allow for one-foot driving, due to strong regenerative braking. Wards also appreciated the car’s clear instrument cluster and informative driver information display. Judge James Amend added, in reference to the Bolt:

“The future is here – today.”

Wards reported:

“The Bolt’s official range is 238 miles (383 km), with a 9-hour recharging time from a Level 2, 240V, 32-amp outlet. A two-hour, 240V recharge is good for about 50 miles (80 km), enough for most commutes. For those with access to a Level 3 DC Fast Charger, the Bolt’s 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack recharges from empty in two hours.

As we discovered in long-distance drives during the past year, the Bolt exceeds its EPA-official range if driven with even minimal attention to conservation and we hear that it can exceed 300 miles (483 km).”

Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Source: WardsAuto

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40 Comments on "Wards On Why Chevrolet Bolt Won “2018 Wards 10 Best Engines”"

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Front seats are uncomfortable and a dealbreaker for me. Which is funny because the seats in my Gen 1 Volt are fantastic. GM, fix the seas and I may trade up my car for one.

I like the Bolt as a city commuter. Can’t sit in it for long drives.

Plus there’s nowhere to charge it during long trips. Not gonna fight with the Leafs for a crummy sub-50kW CCS station that charges > $10.

Still, gotta rehash – it’s a great city commuter. Can work for some longer trips too if folks don’t mind the pain.

Back to this article, the Bolt won “Best Engine” because of its long range????? Totally doesn’t make sense. So if my ICE has a large gas tank, it may win? Or Mr eSamba puts 200kWh in his junky van he has a chance too?

Back to this article, the Bolt won “Best Engine” because of its long range????? Totally doesn’t make sense. So if my ICE has a large gas tank, it may win?

No, because range on gas is not a competitive feature.

I’m sure you don’t have a problem understanding why previous “Best Engine” winners may have had impressive fuel economy or performance. That doesn’t mean that a motorcycle (which has better fuel economy AND performance than most cars) should win “Best Engine” every year.

> No, because range on gas is not a competitive feature.

I distinctly remember recent VW television commercials emphasizing “xxx miles between fill-ups”.

You can’t afford a pair of after-market seats? Recaro, or … which prevents you buying the best affordable EV currently available??

Not the point! Why sell a car with poorly designed seats? While this award seems obsequious and full of flaws, it’s main focus is range. The author must not own an EV. Range is one component. Remarks about the “engine” reels of gasoline! This car, irregardless of issues, is selling well but so did the AMC Pacer, at first. We need to wait a year or two.

GM in many cases puts crappy seats in a new or newly redesigned cars, because (1) they are cheap, and (2) because people often buy it before they notice the seats are awful. Our Buick Century has very soft, no lower back support seats. When the Chevrolet Colorado came out the first time, its flat bench seats was even worse. Give it a couple years to get a really terrible reputation for the seats and GM will put something that’s comfortable for more than 15 minutes in it.

I’m not going to buy a Top Safety Pick car and then put aftermarket seats in there to throw off the airbag timing.

Not to mention the side airbags are integrated into the seats, as well as passenger seat occupancy detection. It isn’t as simple as tossing in pair of Recaro seats as the poster above stated.

Thanks, I hadn’t thought of those complications.

Looks like I may have to add padding to the driver’s seat when I finally get a Bolt this summer. Hopefully my body type is one of the ones that fits the seats well.

One thing nobody mentions is the cutaway many have viewed of the motor/gearbox assembly.

Those gears are nice and beefy- should easily handle the 200 hp motor reliably.

In my own BOLT the car seems to get much quieter the faster you go, tending to confirm the gear box is not under much strain at all.

Nobody ever mentions it, but conservative designs like this SHOULD be award-winning. Yes the gearbox is not the motor, but if teeth shear off the gears the motor ain’t gonna push the car very far, so its of big importance to me.

It has the best engine of any car I have owned, which is NO engine, but rather a motor. 🙂

When was the last time anybody ever heard of an electric motor referred to as an engine? “The engine in my drill press is 40 years old.”

The engine is a prime-mover, that’s true – but many people call the engine in the ICE a ‘Motor’,

Like when a guy says to his girlfriend – “Get your motor running, honey!”

The problem with the Bolt EV.

No heat pump.
No adaptive cruise control.
Crippled DCFC rate and tapering.
Bad front seat.
Display tilted at a odd angle.
Unnecessary big motor on Eco tires.
Small storage space with the seats up.
Bad aerodynamics.

“Crippled DCFC rate and tapering.”

The only mass market vehicle that charges faster is Tesla, and they have accelerated battery degradation if it’s used too much.

Still, a SW update may later increase the Bolt’s charging capabilities, we just don’t know what gauge wire they used from the port to the batteries just yet.

I agree and would go further.

The Tesla remains the only mass market EV of any kind which can be reasonably road tripped.

I would agree with that as well, but still caveat it with the fact that, if used too much, accelerated battery degradation occurs.

GM takes the approach to limit rates in such a way that those kinds of issues don’t come up.

Physics are what they are, so you just need to “Pick your poison” so to speak. 🙂

Ioniq = 100kW
Soul EV = 100kW

We don’t know what the long term affect of Hyundai’s high charge rate. We do know GM’s packs have lasted well.

80% lease. How about letting grownups decide? You want to prolong your battery, then just don’t fast charge. Just put it in writing, DCFC may reduce battery life.

How many times are we going to fast charge? 10 times a year.

>The only mass market vehicle that charges faster is Tesla

Is that because you don’t consider the Ioniq or RAv mass market? I guess I’d have to agree though the Bolt is only marginally mass market.

I meant Soul instead of Rav.

Hyundai sold 20,000 Ioniq and GM sold 24,000.

Mass market = only in America to people here.

Well said!

When the REAL mass market is CHINA!

I have yet to see a Hyundai Ionic BEV on the road. Even more scarce than the Model 3. I have seen 4 Model 3s now and zero Ionic BEVs. The TWO Ionics I have seen have been standard hybrids, not even plug in. I would not by any stretch of the imagination consider the Hyundai a “mass market” car.

Who complains about having a powerful motor? If you can’t handle a little wheel slippage and torque-steer, then don’t floor it grandma!

As for the heat pump; they are cheap to implement because it’s just a reversing valve and some sensors to detect frost buildup on the evaporator. But, they’re only really useful in a narrow temperature range down to about freezing. And, the heat rise they generate is usually not enough to exceed skin temperature, so the blowing air feels cool. Finally, frost build-up needs to be cleared by putting the system in cooling mode for short periods to melt the frost, which wastes heat/energy. In short, they’re more trouble than they’re worth in an automotive application.

Tell that to Bolt owners in cold weather. The Bolt gets 140-160 miles in cold weather. That’s a lot of money out of people’s pocket.

I hate people like you, who don’t tell the truth. Stop sugarcoating!

The Bolt’s heater kicks the crap out of the Gen 1 Volt’s heater, that’s for sure.

I get warm toasty air in my Bolt within 1 minute of turning the heater on…..even in severely Sub-freezing weather.

That’s good news. The only BEV I recommend used is the Bolt EV.

My Spark EV is my daily driver, so I know about winter heat use and range loss. I also know about having insane torque and small LRR tires.

I’m not sugar-coating anything. Aside from pre-conditioning while plugged-in, I can’t use heat on my daily commute. No big deal even when it’s under 10F, that’s what a coat, gloves, and seat heaters are for.

I stand by my statement that heat pumps don’t work well in automotive applications. I already listed the reasons why. There is no free lunch when it comes to heat in EVs.

Volkswagen e-up (18,7 kwh)

79 km

23.7 kwh/100 km

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (17,6 kwh)

84 km

21.0 kwh/100 km

Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (24kwh)

101 km

23.8 kwh/100 km

Kia Soul EV (30 kwh)

167 km

18.0 kwh/100 km

Hyundai Ioniq Electric (28 kwh usable)

192 km

14.6 kwh/100 km

Volkswagen e-Golf (35,8 kwh)

208 km

17.2 kwh/100 km

Renault Zoe (41 kwh)

244 km

16.8 kwh/100 km

Opel Ampera-e (60 kwh)

273 km

22.0 kwh/100 km


The Ioniq went 192km (120 miles, 124 EPA)
The Bolt went 273km (160 miles, 237 EPA)

And don’t bring up the temperature because we have real world data, at different temperature, from each forum.

Great Numbers!

Jychevyvolt Yeah the BOLT ev is a cheap car built down to a price. They sell nice performance Teslas for $130-140,000. If the BOLT isn’t good enough for you, perhaps there is a Tesla in your future. I found the leather seats horrible, but am quite satisfied with the plain cloth ones. But it is a cheap car.. My Nephew keeps saying I should trade in the BOLT for a loaded Volt. At least that should have a good radio in it… I liked the early Gen 1 Volts (2011) since everything entertainment wise was there and I didn’t have to think about it. As it is, when I move the thumb drive between my 2 GM cars the system corrupts the music on it. I have a few pet peeves that I dislike about the car – but its mostly GM in general. Not really being able to change any of the displays nor getting any useful information out of them – Super Crappy shift mechanism which is particularly galling since there isn’t any and they COULD have done anything like they have in the relatively good GMC Terrain – in any event the BOLT has absolutely THE WORST… Read more »

Those are all problems for you. They’re not problems at all for me.

Americans seems to want their cars to be “Swiss Army Knives”. They have to do everything we can imagine or they are sub par. This is why most Americans now buy four door crew cab pickup trucks. This is the only vehicle they believe will take care of every possible want, or need… except gas mileage. So in typical American fashion, people will spend tens of thousands more to get the diesel in their crew cab just to get 8-9 mpg better. LOL!

Take the Bolt for what it is. It’s a beautiful thing. There is no need to wait for perceived perfection. I’m loving my Bolt every day.

Indeed- EVen the enlightened crowd here comes across as spoiled, whiny ‘mericans. I found the Bolt seats to be firm but sculpted, supportive and appropriate for a sporty ride. Perhaps those with greater girth find themselves constrained…
Sure, GM and most OEMs won’t provide the driver with real data, but an app like LEAFSpy or CANion must be available or coming soon for GM EVs?

Yep, here’s a scientific survey of Bolt seating issues. Softer foam in the leather version and tall plastic side trim seem to be the main culprits… EVen some slim people find some of the seats uncomfortable and get skuffed by the side piece during egress. http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Chevy_Bolt_seat_and_seat_frame_discomfort

-“Indeed- EVen the enlightened crowd here comes across as spoiled, whiny ‘americans.”-

No kidding! Remember a few years back here on this very blog when people were routinely saying stuff like- “As soon as somebody comes out with a 200 mile + car you can get for under $30,000, that’s when the revolution will be on and things will change!!”? Well that was mostly just a bunch of internet blah, blah, blah. The car is here and there is no revolution.

The people that regularly post stuff like “GO TESLA!! CRUSH ALL THE GASSERS!!!”, likely still drive a car that burns gas as they wait for their idyllic Tesla. It’s nonsense. The seats in the Bolt are a legitimate concern for a small, but vocal minority. The rest is nonsense. The car works great, it exceeds most people’s expectations and the overwhelming majority of people that actually own one, not just went on a test drive one time, or sat in one at a car show, absolutely love their Bolts.

Well, I’m on my Fifth EV, and I was the first person in Western NY state to purchase a Bolt ev. So I don’t know precisely who you are criticizing – I put my $$$ where my mouth is.

The fact that I critique the car doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy it again.

I’m not a GM-hater as both my cars currently are GM’s.

I’m just warning others that, like all GM cars, it is not a panacea, not even my very nice 2014 ELR. There, the basic car is great, but similarly to the BOLT ev, its little GM arrogance issues that tend to ruin an otherwise perfected car. Pretty good for a first try.