The Chevy Bolt is present process a progress spurt. Common Motors unveiled two new variations of the Bolt on Sunday: an up to date Bolt EV hatchback with longer vary and new high-tech options, and the model new Bolt EUV — primarily a compact SUV — with extra legroom room and fewer vary than the Bolt EV.
Due out this summer season, the refreshed Bolt EV will promote for $31,995 — or about $5,000 lower than the present mannequin yr Bolt EV. The Bolt EUV (which stands for “electrical utility automobile”) can even be cheaper, costing $33,995. A limited-edition “Launch” model, with distinctive wheels, particular badging, and an illuminated cost port, might be obtainable for $43,495. The Bolt EV and EUV have been anticipated to enter manufacturing on the finish of 2020 however have been delayed until this year as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
First introduced in 2016, the Chevy Bolt was meant to be Common Motors’ first stab at a mass-market, purely battery-electric automobile with 200-plus miles of vary and an reasonably priced price ticket. But sales have been anemic for the reason that launch of the Tesla Mannequin 3 in 2018, which has come to dominate the EV market within the US and overseas. The Bolt’s compact hatchback measurement will not be what most American automobile consumers are searching for nowadays. And a recent recall of 2017-2019 model year Bolts associated to a flawed battery actually hasn’t helped GM’s picture issues with the EV.
The automaker hopes to carry the Bolt’s fortunes with these two new variations, however that could be tough provided that the know-how that powers the Bolt is rapidly changing into out of date. Each the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV might be constructed on GM’s BEV2 platform, which is distinct from the brand new “Ultium” battery pack introduced in early 2020. The lately unveiled Cadillac Lyriq and the GMC Hummer EV would be the first autos to be constructed on this new structure. GM has stated that Ultium’s superior battery chemistry will allow its future electrical autos to journey additional on a single cost and re-charge at a sooner charge. However the automaker has no plans to maneuver the Bolt over to the Ultium platform, in accordance with Chevy’s lead engineer.
As a comfort for its approaching irrelevance, each variations of the Bolt will include Tremendous Cruise, the “hands-free” superior driver help system that beforehand has solely been obtainable in Cadillac autos. The Bolt EV and EUV are the first non-Cadillac vehicles and first electrical autos to have Tremendous Cruise.
The worth helps make up for the Bolt’s shortcomings. When it was first launched 5 years in the past, the automaker was nonetheless eligible for the federal authorities’s $7,500 tax credit score, which successfully made the Bolt a $30,000 automobile. However in 2019, GM offered its 200,000th EV within the US, triggering a phase out of the tax credit. Now not eligible for that incentive, GM determined to stay with the lowered worth for these newest variations, which is encouraging.
GM claims that the Bolt EV’s 65 kWh battery pack will allow 259 miles of vary on a single cost, whereas the marginally heavier Bolt EUV can have 250 miles of vary — principally the identical as the present yr mannequin. The unique 2018 Bolt had 238 miles of vary, however usually acquired much less because of chilly climate or different exterior components. Neither autos’ vary has but been licensed by US or European regulators.
Chevy can also be together with an energetic thermal administration system that makes use of coolant to keep up the battery’s temperature. Late final yr, Common Motors was pressured to recall over 68,000 Chevy Bolts manufactured between 2017-2019 after a number of battery fires have been reported. Federal regulators are investigating and a class action lawsuit was filed alleging that the Bolt’s battery is “susceptible to burst into flames.”
In accordance with Jesse Ortega, chief engineer at Chevy, the brand new Bolts make the most of a special battery chemistry that can assist forestall future incidents, the identical chemistry that allowed the automaker to extend the vary from 238 miles to 250 miles.
Each variations of the Bolt include a single-motor drive unit that may ship 200 horsepower due to 150 kW of energy, and 266 pound-feet (360 Newton meters) of torque. Like earlier fashions, the brand new Bolts can have regenerative braking and a one-pedal driving mode that’s pretty frequent amongst EVs right now.
The Bolt EUV and redesigned Bolt EV share an structure, however their designs are distinctive. No exterior sheet steel components are shared between the 2 autos, after some house owners complained about lackluster sheet steel in earlier variations. The EUV is roughly 6 inches longer and can have about 3 inches of additional rear legroom than the Bolt EV.
The grille has been tweaked, swapping the dual-tone look of the earlier Bolt with a extra monochromatic fascia. Chevy is retaining small air flow panel relatively than embrace the utterly flat front-end of different EVs just like the Tesla Mannequin 3.
The Bolt’s inside has at all times been extra sensible than inspiring, with onerous plastic abound. Now the Bolt EV and EUV’s inside has been redesigned to incorporate extra screens and sensors, principally to assist energy Tremendous Cruise’s promise of “hands-free” driving. Chevy has even ripped out the Bolt’s oft-criticized seats and changed them with seats that function a triangular geometric sample and contrasting shade stitching, which the automaker claims is a “premium design that offers a constant and upscale environment.” Not phrases you usually see used to explain a $30,000 automobile.
The principle 10.2-inch infotainment display continues to be embedded within the dashboard, however is built-in extra seamlessly into the middle console than the unique Bolt’s design. The bodily buttons are smoother and fewer chunky. And Chevy swapped out the gear shifter for a sequence of digital buttons to release extra inside house. There’s additionally a brand new one-pedal driving button that retains the system energetic between drive cycles.
Different new additions embody the sunshine bar within the high of the steering wheel and the infrared sensor on the steering column. These are elements of GM’s Tremendous Cruise assisted driving system, which makes use of cameras, radar, and mapping knowledge to permit customers to drive hands-free on divided highways. Tremendous Cruise will not be a self-driving system, in that it nonetheless requires drivers to maintain their eyes on the street and engaged sufficient to have the ability to take over at a second’s discover. Notably, the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will solely include the usual model of Tremendous Cruise, not the improved model that features computerized lane-changing.
EV charging within the US is a little bit of a large number, and whereas Chevy can’t resolve a number of the extra intractable issues, it’s doing what it will probably to make charging rather less of a headache. A dual-level cost twine is included with the Bolt, which Chevy stated will get rid of the necessity for many individuals to buy a separate charger for his or her residence. The changeable plug permits clients to plug into a normal 120-volt three-prong outlet for Stage 1 charging and a 240-volt outlet for Stage 2 charging as much as 7.2 kilowatts. Each autos are additionally able to 11 kW Stage 2 charging, however separate charging tools is required.
As an added perk, anybody who buys or leases a Bolt EUV or Bolt EV will get free set up of a Stage 2 charger of their residence via GM’s partnership with Qmerit, a house charger installer. For charging on the go, GM is partnering with public charging station operator EVgo to incorporate over 80,000 public chargers within the My Chevrolet app.
However charging instances will nonetheless be topic to the ability ranges of every particular person charger. When plugged into a traditional 120-volt system (ie, most residence retailers), the Bolt EV and EUV will solely get 4 miles of vary for each hour of charging. Plugged right into a 240-volt outlet will get the Bolt to a full cost in seven hours. And a DC quick charger will add as much as 100 miles in half-hour for each autos.
Affordability has at all times been the Bolt’s strongest promoting level, providing an honest measurement battery and sufficient vary for below $35,000. Chevy needed to make sure the Bolt stayed reasonably priced even because it added new options, like Tremendous Cruise, or leveled as much as crossover standing, stated Steve Majoros, vp of Chevy advertising. Maintaining the worth low will assist spur EV adoption from its present standing of solely 2 % of US gross sales to upwards of 15-20 % of the general automobile market, he stated.
“ICE [internal combustion engine] autos might be round a very long time,” Majoros stated. “However the EV motion is actual.”