It seems Chevrolet’s modest entry-level electric vehicle was too good for this world.
If you’ve shopped for an EV in the last couple of years, you’ve probably encountered a bit of sticker shock. There’s no getting around the problem: the majority of electric vehicles on the market today, the ones that people actually want to buy because they have comfortable space and long enough range, are Dear. Despite recent cuts from Tesla, whose car prices skyrocketed for months before falling demand forced the company to cut prices across its lineup, the average selling price of an electric vehicle was still $58,940 in March, according to Kelley Blue Book data. That’s nearly $15,000 more than the average selling price of a new non-luxury gas car.
That’s enough of a price difference to keep many potential buyers from considering an electric vehicle, before even getting into the conversation about charging and range. But Chevrolet’s Bolt EV and Bolt EUV were proof that the EV market didn’t have to be that way, at least until GM announced it would end production later this year so it could make a bunch of giant electric trucks.
There is no getting around the problem: the majority of electric vehicles on the market today are expensive
The Bolt was (and is, as long as you can still find it) the best value EV you can buy today. The smaller Bolt EV started at $27,495 (including destination); the slightly larger EUV model was $28,795 (including destination). This gave you a modern electric vehicle with over 200 miles of usable real-world range, enough space for five people and all the modern conveniences and safety features you expect from a new car in 2023. On top of that, the Bolts are among the few electric vehicles you can buy today that qualify for the federal government’s full $7,500 tax credit, which, among other requirements, has a price cap. .
It was an all-new electric vehicle for a total cost of well under $30,000. There’s literally nothing like it on the road, and it’s a shame GM decided it had no future.
I had the opportunity to test a Bolt EUV earlier this year to see what a more affordable and accessible electric vehicle looks like to drive in 2023. My test unit was the fully loaded Premier Redline model which came with a price $39,480 sticker with destination. But a lot of that cost is due to unnecessary trim and features, which most people shouldn’t pay extra for. A similar and more attractive option is a lower trim level, which still offered niceties such as ventilated and heated leather front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, surround-view cameras, Wireless CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charging, and more for about $6,000 less. Factor in the federal tax credit and you pay just under $26,000, less than half the average selling price of electric vehicles. Some states additionally offer additional incentives to reduce costs even further.
Too bad GM decided the Bolt had no future
At the risk of beating this dead spot, there simply isn’t another practical EV option at this price. The Nissan Leaf starts at around $28,000 and the Hyundai Kona costs less than $34,000, but since they’re not built in the United States, they don’t qualify for the tax credit, making the Bolt a best deal. (The Bolt has a longer nominal range than the Leaf and about the same as the Kona as well.)
Volkswagen’s future ID. 2all should be priced around $20 and offer nearly 300 miles of range in a Golf-like hatchback design, but it’s a long way from there yet. Maybe Tesla will continue to slash the prices of the Model 3 and bring it back to the $35,000 price point promised so many years ago, but I wouldn’t keep my hopes up for that to happen.
Even at its bargain price, the Bolt EUV didn’t look like a stripped-down basement car. The car I drove had a 10.2-inch center display, an eight-inch digital gauge cluster with some customization, ambient lighting, remote start and control from a phone or the key fob. The black leather-trimmed interior of my test unit was inoffensive, and there are still plenty of physical buttons and controls for things like the climate, which is always a blessing to see in this two thousand and twenty-third year. of our touch screen. Perhaps the only real complaint I had was with the glossy piano black finish of the center stack, which, as usual, gets greasy after just a few minutes in the car.
Like all electric cars, the Bolt is quiet and planted on the road, although it never provided a particularly sporty experience. It’s just a car that gets you from point A to point B with minimal hassle. There’s a Sport mode you can activate, but it just made the accelerator pedal a bit more aggressive – there was no apparent change in steering or suspension when I pressed the Sport button. GM’s EVs to follow are sure to have more aggressive acceleration numbers and performance that looks great in commercials but isn’t exactly practical for everyday use.
At the risk of beating this dead spot, there’s simply no other practical EV option at this price.
The Bolt EUV has room for five, but – and that was perhaps a big reason for its downfall – it’s definitely one of the smallest cars on the road today. (The difference between it and the Bolt EV is about six inches longer in length, almost all of which goes towards more rear passenger room.) I fit my family of five, including a seat of toddler car, and it was good for short trips or errands. The kids had plenty of room in the backseat and it was easy to get the toddler in and out of his car seat. Also, due to the hatchback shape, there was plenty of cargo space.
But Americans don’t like to buy compact sedans (RIP, BMW i3, another small electric vehicle that is no longer available). Other parts of the world will already or soon have many compact and affordable electric vehicles to choose from, including those made by GM itself. Instead, we’ll have cars and trucks with obscene amounts of power and oversized batteries that cost more to produce and charge and aren’t practical for the kind of driving most Americans actually do.
Another thing I’ll miss from the Bolt? The ability to use my phone with the infotainment system. GM recently made the stupid announcement that it planned to eliminate CarPlay and Android Auto in its future EVs, but both were available in the Bolt.
The Bolt EUV comes with an EPA rating of 247 miles of range, which isn’t quite as much as you’ll get on a Tesla Model 3 or some of the other most expensive EVs on the market, but there’s still plenty more. autonomy to avoid. anxiety. During my week of driving (with outside temperatures in the mid-40s most of the time), the in-car range estimate hit around 213 miles.
Its maximum fast-charging speed of 55kW DC isn’t quite as fast as something like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the Kia EV6, both of which can charge at rates of up to 350kW (and cost around $20). $000 more). The best the Bolt can do when hooked up to a DC fast charger is get around 100 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging. GM’s new Ultium EV platform, which the Bolt was never migrated to, will offer faster charging options.
The Bolt EUV has room for five, but – and this may be a major reason for its downfall – it’s definitely one of the smallest cars on the road today.
But here’s a little secret I’m going to let you in on: for the vast majority of drivers, neither range nor charging speed matter that much. During my time with the Bolt, I used it for my typical riding needs: taking the kids to school and other activities, running errands, visiting local friends, and going out. The most I drove in a single day was about 40 miles, well within the range of the Bolt. And I’m not particularly unique: According to data from the US Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives about 37 miles a day.
I don’t have a 240v charging outlet in my garage, so I was forced to use a standard 120v wall outlet to charge the car, which provides about four miles of range per hour. Even then, I was able to recharge or get close to full charge each night. I rode the Bolt during the day, came home at night, plugged it in, then started the next day with a range of 200 miles. I never even had to look for a faster option on a public charger because it just wasn’t necessary.
Before testing the Bolt and using it as I usually drive, I was convinced that you necessary a 240 V charging option for an EV; now I’m of the opinion that it’s a nice luxury to have, but a lot of people can certainly get by with slower charging. (And anecdotally, many EV owners I’ve spoken to already do – Alex Dykes of the EV Buyers Guide YouTube channel has a good breakdown of EV charging here.)
Unfortunately, the bigger EVs aren’t as efficient as the Bolt, and they come with much bigger batteries that take a lot longer to charge. The ability to rely on a standard wall outlet to charge your EV overnight might not be long for this world, replaced by the ability for oversized electric trucks to be mobile power generators in the rare event of breakdown.
Chevrolet’s track record with the Bolt lineup over the past few years has been a bumpy one – it had to recall 150,000 vehicles in 2021 to replace faulty batteries responsible for more than a dozen fires. It’s also never been able to compete with the buzzier, more attractive and fun-to-drive Tesla Model 3, despite being two model years ahead of the market and lower price.
But the Bolt remained an affordable and practical EV option. That GM is killing it off in favor of bigger, more expensive vehicles that are easier to market and show off at dealerships is a grim preview of what’s to come. Yes, we should have electric vehicles that meet the needs of Americans who demand bigger, flashier, faster cars. But we’re also going to need a lot more cars like the Bolt if we want people to adopt electric vehicles faster than they are now.