30 Oct 2018

Bolt – Like You Mean It

Chevy Bolt – long on range – quick around the autocross course

The Chevy Bolt is quickly becoming the choice of electric vehicle consumers looking for a long-range small car that has all the comfort and technology elements that they require. But did you know that the new Bolt with Summer tires could beat a VW Golf GTi around an autocross? If stranger tests have happened, we’d love to hear about them.

In a test staged by our friends at Chevrolet, we did get to do a test with a VW Golf GTI and two types of Chevy Bolt EVs – one with the “summer” high traction tires and one with the All-Season tires at a local autocross course in southern California. Other than the choice of tires, the two cars were identical according to the Chevrolet engineers.

I can tell you from personal experience, it was amazing to drive the Bolt around a tight course noting the immediate power input from the Bolt – that instant on of an electric motor requiring the driver to be ready “right now” when the throttle was engaged. Combined with the low center of gravity exhibited by the Bolt due to its battery placement, low in the chassis, the Bolt exhibited very little body roll and crisp steering. Adding to the “unfair” advantages of the Bolt for its gasoline-powered competitor, the regenerative properties of the Bolt caused additional braking input for tight corners by simply taking your foot off the throttle.

In personal testing, I found my times with the Bolt with All-Season radial tires to be about one second slower around the course when compared to the Summer tire-equipped Bolt with the Golf GTi right in the middle time-wise. While the Golf is an excellent car, it took very different techniques behind the wheel to dart through the cones, the turbo lag exhibited by the VW engine bringing on great power off the line or from a slow-speed corner. In higher speed corners, where the engine power was already present, the turbo-lag was much less pronounced and the power was considerable.

The Bolt EV, with its 238-mile range, is extremely impressive as it can easily cover the mileage that most folks see in several days of driving meaning that the overnight charging procedure required to achieve the car’s full range is not an everyday thing. In addition, the 240-volt/7.2 kWonboardd, the quick charger that is provided with the Bolt will achieve 50 miles of charge range in just two hours.

The Bolt – and the Golf GTi are very quick cars that are fun to drive – I just had no idea how fun the little Chevy had become. Electricity: one of the newest trends in performance driving.

SPEC BOX

A 7.2 kW onboard charger for regular overnight charging from a 240-V wall box is standard. With it, a typical commute of 50 miles can be recharged in less than two hours.

BASE PRICE
$37,495 before benefits of federal or state tax incentives

NEW FOR 2018

  • Automatic heated steering wheel included with available Comfort and Convenience Package on LT trim; standard on Premier trim
  • Sliding sun visor, driver and front passenger

VEHICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • EPA-estimated 238 miles of range
  • Bolt EV’s drive system uses a single, high-capacity electric motor for propulsion
  • The motor is capable of producing up to 266 lb.-ft. (360 Nm) of torque and 200 hp (150 kW) of motoring power. Combined with a 7.05:1 final drive ratio, that helps propel the Bolt EV from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds
  • Power delivery is controlled by Electronic Precision Shift system – a shift and park-by-wire system that sends electronic signals to the Bolt EV’s drive.
  • A by-wire shifter requires less packaging space than a traditional mechanical shifter, resulting in more interior space and improved interior layout.
  • 60 kWh lithium ion battery pack, featuring five sections, 10 modules and 96 cell groups (three cells per group)
  • Flat battery pack spans the entire length of the vehicle’s floor
  • An available DC Fast Charging system using the industry standard SAE Combo connector, enabling the battery to be charged up to 90 miles of range in 30 minutes (outside temperatures may affect charging time)
  • Regenerative braking feature has the ability to provide one-pedal driving
  • Large 10.2-inch-diagonal color touch-screen display with “flip-board” operation
  • Rear camera mirror and Surround Vision standard on Premier trim
  • Large greenhouse provides panoramic visibility, with upright SUV-like seating
  • LED headlamps and taillamps
  • “Floating” instrument panel and multipurpose, connected center console – offers wireless phone charging and a compartment large enough to stow a tablet device
  • Comfort and Convenience Package is available on LT and included with Premier. Content includes heated front seats, automatic heated steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel and auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
  • Infotainment Package is available on Premier and includes Bose premium seven-speaker sound system, wireless device charging and two USB charging ports for rear passengers
  • Standard Remote Keyless Entry
  • Standard OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot (three-month/3GB data trial)
  • Standard Teen Driver system

SAFETY FEATURES

  • Ten standard air bags
  • Rear-vision camera standard
  • Surround Vision and Rear Camera Mirror are standard on Premier
  • Driver Confidence Package is available on LT and included on Premier. Content includes: Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Rear Parking Assist
  • Driver Confidence II Package is available on Premier and includes Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking and IntelliBeam headlamps

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