Tech Report Test Drive: Chevy Bolt EV

Move over Tesla! Chevy is delivering an affordable all electric car before the end of the year.


Recently I got to get behind the wheel of the all electric Chevy Bolt EV. It’s confusing, I know — this is not the Chevy Volt. That car combines gas and electricity. The Bolt is a fully electric car.

It gets up to 238 miles on a charge, which might alleviate range anxiety for a lot of people hesitant to buy an electric car.

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My first impression of the Bolt: It's bigger than I expected. It also looks nicer than I expected. Sort of like a sedan but bigger — the roof kind of bubbles up so it doesn’t feel small inside.

The Bolt has a bunch of technology inside - there is a digital dashboard, plus a giant 10-inch touch screen front and center. This handles all of your entertainment, navigation and system settings. Chevy is doing a fantastic job with their in-car screens — they’re snappy, responsive and have just about everything you need including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

This one uses a totally new software program, which looks and feels fresh and light. It would be embarrassing if such a high tech car didn’t have an equally tech forward in-dash system.

Driving the Bolt is fun. It’s fast, accelerates quickly and overall doesn’t leave much to be desired. It doesn’t feel like yesterday’s EV.

The Bolt makes great use of cameras. There are cameras on all sides of the car which give you a 360-degree view around you. Plus, with the flip of a switch you can turn your rear view mirror into a digital one. It uses the rear cameras to give you a full look behind you with no pillars or windows blocking things.

I’m sure a lot of people will be comparing the Bolt against the Tesla 3, but that car doesn’t launch for an entire year — a lot can change.

It's tough to compare the two: Telsa seems to have the brand recognition and the cool factor. The 3 will also have more autonomous features.

I'm really torn on an all-electric car. I love it in theory. When you imagine charging your car at work and at home each day, 230 miles seems just fine.

But the reality is, I hate worrying about charging my cell phone. Having an EV seems like that times a million. Will turning on my air use up more battery? What about going up this giant hill? How about idling for an hour to go a mile in Westside traffic?

When it comes to charging, there are three options. The first is just your regular plug, which works with the Bolt, but it’s a slow trickle. Next up is 240 charging, which is also included — that will give you 25 miles of drive for an hour of charging.

But the one you really want  - if you can find it - is the DC fast charging. This gives you 90 miles in half an hour.

Chevy Bolt starts at $38,000 but fully loaded it will cost about $43,500. Of course, there are tax incentives of at least $7,500 you might be eligible for.

Bolt EV goes on sale in California and Oregon before the end of 2016. It should be available nationwide in 2017.