Introduced last year, the Chevrolet Bolt instantly destroyed electric vehicle competition with great range, spacious interiors and fun driving characteristics. But this year its rivals are fighting back. The new Nissan Leaf with 151 miles of range, the Tesla Model 3 finally trickled into the customer’s driveway, the more sporty BMW i3 and the Kia Niro EV long-range promise. The question is: Is the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt still worth a try? Yes.
With more than 200 miles of range, spacious interior and cargo, a pleasant driving experience and affordable prices, the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the ultimate electric car that makes getting rid of gasoline seem possible. It can certainly meet the needs of most consumers, although its quality interior still disappointing.
The alternative you might consider is the new Model 3. It offers all the Tesla features and driving capabilities, along with the futuristic, minimalist interior and access to the Tesla Supercharger network. However, supply is still short, and keep in mind that Chevrolet has a nationwide dealer network that can easily and quickly provide services if things go wrong.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV is an all-electric four-door hatchback that available in two trim levels: LT and Premier.
Standard equipment for the LT includes keyless ignition and entry, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7.2-kWh onboard charger, LED daytime running lights, xenon headlights and a rearview camera. Inside, you’ll get a configurable gauge cluster display, automatic climate control, height-adjustable cloth seats, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a 10.2-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Bluetooth, OnStar communications with a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 4G LTE connection and a six-speaker sound system with two USB ports.
Options for the LT is the Comfort and Convenience package, which adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats. The Driver Confidence I package adds rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. Another option is a cargo area floor cover for extra storage capability.
The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier get all above features along with cargo roof rails, a center rear armrest, heated rear seats, ambient interior lighting, leather seats, an upgraded camera-based rearview mirror and a top-down parking camera system.
Options for the Premier is the Infotainment package, which adds wireless smartphone charging, a seven-speaker Bose audio system and two charge-only USB ports for rear passengers. The Driver Confidence II package adds automatic high-beam headlamp dimming, a lane departure warning and intervention system, a forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection and low-speed automatic emergency braking.
Optional for both trim is the DC fast-charging capability, which allows the car to use SAE Combo 400-volt Level 3 charge stations that can fill the battery to 80 percent in less than an hour. This option is important for long-range cars like the Bolt, as more stations are built, DC fast charging will open doors for interstate travel.
The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV gets a 200 horsepower electric motor fed by a 60-kWh battery, which is enough to drive the Bolt EV with its remarkable 238-mile EPA-rated range. Recharging the battery using a standard 240-volt Level 2 EV charger is 9.3 hours, which can easily be achieved overnight. Given the Bolt EV long-range and the low cost of home chargers, charging time will not be a problem. The optional DC fast-charging capability can replenish an empty battery to just over 80 percent in a little more than an hour.
With 200 hp directly sent from an electric motor, the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV is much more fun to drive. In performance testing, the Bolt EV accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is quick for family cars. Acceleration is not the Bolt’s only strength, the battery pack mounted below the floor lowers the center of gravity. Well-tuned suspension, responsive steering, and lack of weight on the nose also make it a great handler. The Bolt offers one-pedal driving mode, and when activated, lifting off the accelerator turns on the regenerative brake to slow the car. There is a button on the steering wheel that gives additional braking, and once you get used to it, you can drive the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV without ever touching the brake pedal.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.
Official pricing for the Bolt LT starts from $37,495 (including an $875 destination charge) with $7,500 federal tax credit drops this to $29,995. The range-topping Premier start at $41,780.