The Chevy Bolt is present process a development spurt. Basic 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 — basically 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 “electric utility vehicle”) will even be inexpensive, costing $33,995. A limited-edition “Launch” model, with distinctive wheels, particular badging, and an illuminated cost port, will likely be out there for $43,495. The Bolt EV and EUV had been anticipated to enter manufacturing on the finish of 2020 however had been delayed until this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
First introduced in 2016, the Chevy Bolt was supposed to be Basic Motors’ first stab at a mass-market, purely battery-electric car with 200-plus miles of vary and an inexpensive price ticket. But sales have been anemic because the launch of the Tesla Mannequin Three in 2018, which has come to dominate the EV market within the US and overseas. The Bolt’s compact hatchback dimension isn’t what most American automobile patrons are in search of as of late. 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 elevate the Bolt’s fortunes with these two new variations, however which may be troublesome on condition that the know-how that powers the Bolt is rapidly changing into out of date. Each the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will likely be constructed on GM’s BEV2 platform, which is distinct from the brand new “Ultium” battery pack introduced in early 2020. The just lately unveiled Cadillac Lyriq and the GMC Hummer EV would be the first autos to be constructed on this new structure. GM has mentioned that Ultium’s superior battery chemistry will allow its future electrical autos to journey additional on a single cost and re-charge at a quicker fee. 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 out there in Cadillac autos. The Bolt EV and EUV are the first non-Cadillac vehicles and first electrical autos to have Tremendous Cruise.
The value 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 car. However in 2019, GM bought 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 diminished value 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 — mainly the identical as the present yr mannequin. The unique 2018 Bolt had 238 miles of vary, however sometimes obtained much less as a result of chilly climate or different exterior elements. Neither autos’ vary has but been licensed by US or European regulators.
Chevy can be together with an lively thermal administration system that makes use of coolant to take care of the battery’s temperature. Late final yr, Basic Motors was compelled to recall over 68,000 Chevy Bolts manufactured between 2017-2019 after a number of battery fires had been reported. Federal regulators are investigating and a class action lawsuit was filed alleging that the Bolt’s battery is “prone to burst into flames.”
In keeping with Jesse Ortega, chief engineer at Chevy, the brand new Bolts make the most of a unique battery chemistry that can assist stop 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 widespread amongst EVs in the present day.
The Bolt EUV and redesigned Bolt EV share an structure, however their designs are distinctive. No exterior sheet metallic components are shared between the 2 autos, after some house owners complained about lackluster sheet metallic in earlier variations. The EUV is roughly 6 inches longer and can have about Three 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 conserving small air flow panel moderately than embrace the fully flat front-end of different EVs just like the Tesla Mannequin 3.
The Bolt’s inside has all the time 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 characteristic a triangular geometric sample and contrasting coloration stitching, which the automaker claims is a “premium design that gives a consistent and upscale atmosphere.” Not phrases you sometimes see used to explain a $30,000 car.
The principle 10.2-inch infotainment display remains 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 collection of digital buttons to unencumber extra inside area. There’s additionally a brand new one-pedal driving button that retains the system lively between drive cycles.
Different new additions embrace the sunshine bar within the prime of the steering wheel and the infrared sensor on the steering column. These are parts 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 isn’t 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 multitude, and whereas Chevy can’t resolve a number of the extra intractable issues, it’s doing what it will possibly to make charging rather less of a headache. A dual-level cost twine is included with the Bolt, which Chevy mentioned will get rid of the necessity for many individuals to buy a separate charger for his or her house. The changeable plug permits prospects to plug into an ordinary 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 gear 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 house 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 facility ranges of every particular person charger. When plugged into a traditional 120-volt system (ie, most house 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 30 minutes for each autos.
Affordability has all the time been the Bolt’s strongest promoting level, providing an honest dimension battery and enough vary for underneath $35,000. Chevy needed to make sure the Bolt stayed inexpensive even because it added new options, like Tremendous Cruise, or leveled as much as crossover standing, mentioned Steve Majoros, vp of Chevy advertising and marketing. Preserving the value low will assist spur EV adoption from its present standing of solely 2 p.c of US gross sales to upwards of 15-20 p.c of the general automobile market, he mentioned.
“ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles will be around a long time,” Majoros mentioned. “But the EV movement is real.”