Electrek’s vehicle of the 12 months is the svelte $25K Chevy Bolt

The bottom-priced EV within the US is one way or the other also probably the greatest. Now in its sixth 12 months, the Bolt EV can also be seasoned, having worked through a battery fiasco/recall and significant lapses by GM’s decision-makers while receiving modest but significant updates.

With a clean bill of health, the Bolt is now an enormous outlier in bang-for-buck. However the 2023 Bolt can also be quick, fun to drive, useful, and infrequently more so than cars twice its price. Actually, I believe we must be trying to the diminutive Bolt as the longer term of transportation.

2022 EV landscape

2022 was an interesting 12 months for EVs. The leader within the space, Tesla, still commands over 60% of the market share within the US and lots of developed countries. But as traditional automakers ramp up their EV output, that dominance will recede. The Austin-based company hasn’t really done an excessive amount of in the best way of upgrading its cars this 12 months, nonetheless. As a substitute it focused on production, opening latest plants in Austin and Berlin and ramping up its Shanghai plant while achieving record breaking quarters, one after one other.

There have been a ton of recent vehicles we loved, nonetheless, including E-GMP platform vehicles from the greater Hyundai including the short charging and beautifully equipped IONIQ 5, Kia EV6 and the Genesis GV60. The IONIQ 6 is coming along as are future vehicles (Ev9, etc) on this platform. If this award was for platforms, the E-GMP would probably take it.

There’s also the hot-selling Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150, the gorgeous Cadillac Lyriq, VW’s improved ID.4 that’s now made in Chattanooga with Plug and Charge and V2G coming. But there’s one thing that stands proud about all of those EV CUVs: The sticker price starts at around $50,000.

On the more mundane side, Hyundai/Kia offer the Kona/Niro for around $40,000 and the aging 40kW CHAdeMO-equipped Nissan LEAF is available in at $29,000, but to recover from 200 miles of range, you’ve got so as to add near $10,000.

The chip shortage, supply chain issues and just overall supply and demand issues for EVs let almost every EV maker jack up their prices in 2022. Some as much as $20,000 or more.

Then there’s the mighty Chevy Bolt EV which actually saw a $6000 decrease in price this 12 months to an outlier price starting at $25,600. That price is changing the sport and allowing more people get a full, non-compliance EV. The longer EUV is simply $1600 more and offers a few of one of the best Autonomy options on the road. But low price is simply a part of the equation. (We’re not the one ones seeing this)

Recent Electrek Vehicles of the Yr winners:

My history with the Bolt and background

I leased a 2017 Chevy Bolt EV from 2017 to 2020. Throughout the pandemic, I made a decision not to purchase out my lease partially because I wasn’t driving but in addition GMC raw dogged me on buyout price, offering greater than a brand new Bolt. Seems the joke’s on them because soon after I surrendered my beloved Bolt, the vehicles began catching on fire.

I’ve also reviewed nearly every other EV on the market, including every little thing from Minis to Mercedes and every little thing in-between. I’ve also owned every Tesla outside of the Roadster (and Semi, I assume) and currently own a Model Y and three.

I often compare all of those cars to my previous and future Bolts in my head and infrequently they arrive up short.

After the Bolt price drop and my mom’s Prius began faltering, I made a decision to purchase my mom a Bolt EV. I liked that automotive a lot, I again bought myself one. It was delivered yesterday, and it’s now my each day driver. I expect to sell my 2018 Tesla Model 3 RWD long range for greater than the $28,000 I paid for my Bolt EV. My family will still use the Model Y for long trips, and we’ll reassess if and when our Rivian R1S ever arrives (likely the Bolt will eventually go to the teenager).

Bolt EV vs. Bolt EUV

The EV and EUV are incredibly similar, starting with the very same battery pack, charging system, motor, and electronics. But, the EUV is 6.3 inches longer, translating to 3 more inches of rear legroom and a number of inches each within the rear compartment and front. The rear legroom within the EV vs. EUV goes from “passable” to “oddly good enough.” The EUV, having been introduced last 12 months, also has some additional options including the sunroof and SuperCruise, which works incredibly well. As a 6-footer, I actually have no problem sitting behind either vehicle unless there may be a fifth person in the midst of the rear seat. Then, you might be counting down the seconds until the trip ends.

The most important difference within the two models is the profile appearance with the EUV representing the extremely popular CUV trend and the Bolt looking more like a tall “hot hatch,” or as Chevy used to call it a, “Micro-Crossover.”

Strangely, nonetheless, the shorter Bolt EV has more cargo space than the EUV. Is there some form of wormhole in there? I’m told the form of the rear end of the EV greater than makes up for those extra length inches within the EUV. I don’t see it, but I’ll trust Chevy. My take is the EV is remarkably roomy inside for its footprint.

Bolt EUV cargo volume

  • 16.3 cubic feet behind the second row
  • 56.9 cubic feet with the second row folded down

Bolt EV cargo volume

  • 16.6 cubic feet behind the second row
  • 57.0 cubic feet with the second row folded down

The EV, due to its smaller size and weight, gets barely more range (247 to 259 miles), and due to this fact adds barely more efficiency and charge miles/minute. 60-0 braking can also be barely shorter for the Bolt EV. Possibly most significantly the EV hits 0-60 in 6.4 seconds which feels rather a lot faster than the .3 seconds slower EUV. Something to contemplate with EVs vs. ICE cars: You may absolutely gun it at every green light and never be ostracized like you’d in a down/gear shifting, loud, jerky internal combustion engine vehicle.

So the EV is quicker, smaller, more efficient, higher at braking, and yet has more cargo space than the EUV?

We’re awarding each cars our automotive of the 12 months, but when I needed to drill it right down to the EV vs. the EUV, I’d go along with the smaller EV.

Bonus charging offered by Chevy

On top of the Bolt’s low price, Chevy also offers as much as $1000 through Qmerit for Level 2 charger home installation, or $500 in EVGO credit. As I discussed in my post about getting my mom a Bolt, my Qmerit experience was awful; but after a ton of complaining, I did get a Nema 14-50 outlet.

Chevy also offers a free charging cable with the Bolt EV and EUV, though upgrading the EV to level 2 is a $295 option. With Volkswagen and Tesla removing the free charging cables from their cars, Chevy’s offer here is unbelievable and gets drivers off on the appropriate foot.

Time to think holistically – not nearly EV vs. ICE

After driving a HummerEV and Ford F-150 Lightning, I began to wonder if we’re higher off electrifying these behemoths of the road or simply eliminating them altogether. In a time where battery supply is the bottleneck to electrification, the HummerEV is carrying 4 EVs or 10 PHEVs price of batteries on its 9000lb. body. It also takes three efficient cars price of electricity to go the identical mile in an enormous truck. That’s to not even bring up the risks of being way up within the air and driving these huge heavy trucks at highway speeds. Not only is bicycle and pedestrian visibility limited, but they absolutely destroy anything they crash into including school busses. Sure, some small percentage of pickup drivers actually do work in them, but we one way or the other got by with Ford Maverick-sized trucks 20 years ago, and we must always probably strive to return to that.

Comparatively, the Bolt is refreshingly small, meaning parking is straightforward and there’s a ton of additional space in your garage. Yet, with its height and low floor entry points, it’s super easy to get into not only for aged and accessibility folks. The low side windows and sloping hood make it easy to see kids and bikers in front of and across the automotive. The Bolt got a 5-star-safety-rating from NHTSA, and though it may not fare well against a Hummer, it should keep occupants as protected as possible.

It also has tons of room and much more once you fold the seats down (see above).

Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto is a gamechanger

As a Tesla driver, I’m at all times pleasantly surprised once I get right into a CarPlay or Android Auto-based vehicle. I just don’t see anyone beating Apple and Google within the UX space, and it has change into quite standard within the automotive space. Responding to texts is way easier, and the voice recognition is an order of magnitude higher. Apps that I need are there and updated in a timely manner.

I used to be stunned recently once I reviewed the Genesis GV60. This luxury automotive with all the bells and whistles still required you to plug in your phone to make use of CarPlay. This review might need pushed me over the sting. CarPlay is great, but wouldn’t it’s cool if my phone could just be in my pocket?

And that’s the experience with the Bolt. You get within the automotive turn it on and go. It connects to the phone in your pocket (or you possibly can put it on the wireless charging pad and even plug into the USBA/USBC plugs like a caveman). You’ve got your favorite apps, music and are able to go. It Just Works™.

Downsides to the Bolt

Every vehicle has some downsides, but I’d argue that the Bolt has relatively few. Let me try to elucidate these away…

54kW DC fast charging limit. This one is especially painful since it was called out six years ago. GM decided, time and again, to not upgrade it citing cost and complexity concerns. Even just getting it over 100kW would have been a giant psychological boost, and the thing can re-gen at 70kW, so it’s pretty obviously able to updating.

That said, most folk don’t go over 260 miles on all but a number of days of the 12 months, and if that’s the case, there are a ton of CCS charging options now. Even higher, with Plug and Charge/Autocharge+ from EVGO it’s super easy – you only plug in to charge (after a fast setup). One thing to contemplate is that with the Bolt’s efficiency, it charges much faster on a miles-per-minute basis. As an illustration, it should get just as many miles as a Ford F-150 Lightning charging at over 100kW.

I’ve easily road tripped in a Bolt before and realistically, meaning I actually have to remain an additional 15-Half-hour per charging session and heck, people have driven their Bolts from Ohio to Alaska. At peak charging rate of 54kW, you’ll get 100 miles of range in a half hour of charging. Loosen up!

The overriding point is that if you happen to don’t do numerous road tripping and have a house charger where you’ll get up every morning with 260 miles of range, the DC charging speed limit isn’t a dealbreaker.

FWD vs. AWD Putting front wheel drive into an EV isn’t as simple a choice as an ICE vehicle with the load of the motor over the front wheels. EVs have equal weight between the tires and can see diminishing returns.

With the Bolt’s easy torque and low resistance wheels, I chirp out rather a lot greater than I mean to, especially on rainy or icy roads and on gravel. This will be mitigated somewhat by changing out for worse range, grippier tires. I used to be told once by a Bolt engineer that they were fixing that but they never did.

The flip side is that the front wheel drive allows for rather a lot more regeneration of power than a RWD would. The Bolt offers a few of one of the best and most complete one pedal driving available, especially with the always-on regen button and steering wheel paddle so as to add as much as 70kW of braking.

I still would have loved to see an AWD option on the Bolt even when it was just putting a light-weight sub-100hp motor on the back wheels for snow and just a little more pickup. Chevy is offering this type of small motor choice to get the Equinox to AWD.

Chevy is maybe seeing the sunshine here offering the upcoming Ultium Blazer SS in not only FWD and AWD options but, in a primary, offering RWD version as well. It will possibly do that because adding motors to EVs is an order of magnitude easier than ICE vehicles. Just challenging enough so as to add to the Bolt apparently.

Size and shape. I occur to like the look of the Bolt EV but I believe I’m within the minority, actually of Electrek writers. Most individuals see the EUV as the higher looking variant, but I just see it as one other CUV in a sea of CUVs on American roads. I, for one, appreciate the individuality of the Bolt EV’s form factor. It’s a HOT HATCH! I’m wondering if GM could have made something look more just like the Mini or GTi.

The inside quality is what I’d call middle of the road. Seats are comfortable and an upgrade from earlier Bolts, but nothing about this automotive says luxury; it’s designed well, but not excessive. Chevy inexplicably modified the shifter within the Bolt to push/pull buttons which I’m still getting used to.

Each Bolts are quite narrow, and the driving force finally ends up being pretty near the passenger – sharing that small armrest can sometimes feel like a movie show or a flight. And that back row middle seat? Small people only.

Bolt Fires. An issue was identified with LG’s manufacturing process in Bolt Batteries in 2020 that very rarely caused fires in previous years battery packs. A sting of Bolt fires and GMs refusal to comment got a ton of negative publicity. The reason behind the fires was discovered and stuck. Then GM, mostly funded by LG laboriously replaced all previous battery packs. The packs manufactured now are fixed and may function properly. GM did the appropriate thing here.

Dealers. I’ve needed to take care of two Chevy dealers within the last two months getting Bolts for myself and my mom. The experience with hers was typical of my past experience, which suggests, not great. They tried to trick her right into a maintenance package after we’d already paid for the automotive and didn’t handle the Qmerit mess thoroughly either.

Mine here in Recent York wasn’t bad (Mt. Kisco Chevy). Mike D. was pretty realistic once I told him my expectations and that I knew exactly what I wanted. Bravo to him. He was well prepared and paperwork took about quarter-hour. As a former Bolt owner himself, he just let me go along with a handshake. The one downside was I got a tough sell from a lying OnStar salesman on the phone who then abruptly hung up after I didn’t bite. Sheesh.

Vehicle to grid/load/etc.

It’s 2023, and all EVs should construct in an easy inverter that permits the automotive to supply AC power to a campsite, worksite, tailgate or most significantly to the house during an electrical outage. The Ford F-150 highlighted this untapped demand with 10kW of output, and the E-GMP platform cars recently added a smaller 2kW capability.

Unfortunately, the Chevy Bolt has nothing of the kind (we saw some plugs within the upcoming Chevy Equinox and Silverado), but thankfully it is absolutely easy to access the 12V subsystem that’s fed by a 1.6kW DC-DC converter from the foremost 400V battery. Meaning it is straightforward to plug in an inverter and take over a kilowatt of power out of the Bolt…. for days. And the Bolt (65kWh) has greater than 4 Tesla Powerwalls filled with power (4x14kWh) – and one way or the other costs much less and includes motors and wheels and a cabin.

DIY Solution. I’ve simply alligator-clipped a 1kW continuous/2kW peak inverter onto my Bolt’s 12V lead acid battery to run a refrigerator and web connectivity prior to now. Nevertheless, I like to recommend formalizing this setup with something just like the purpose-built and fused $180 EV Extend, which actually makes it rather a lot easier to hook up your inverter and get power out of your Bolt. Assuming a small house/cottage idles below 1kW and doesn’t go over 2kW, the Bolt can keep your own home/cottage/campsite powered for over two days. If nothing else, it should keep your fridge and a few lights and web going for upwards of per week.

In the longer term, all EVs could have a 240V generator port connected to the foremost battery by a giant 10kW inverter. For now, only the Ford F-150 Lightning has this. Tesla is strangely behind here considering they’ve Powerwalls, solar- and home-switching expertise. Let’s get there!

As we glance into 2023

I believe big themes of 2023 are going to be Tesla vs. the remaining of the market. The Model Y is approaching a 1M cars-per-year run rate which might make it a favourite for 2023 vehicle of the 12 months. That’s an order of magnitude more units than the Bolt will sell next 12 months and possibly all of GM, who seem fixated on beating Tesla’s numbers.

But in addition GM is launching 3 latest EVs: Silverado in Spring, Blazer EV in Summer, and Equinox in Fall, in order that lineup might be interesting.

There’s a ton more stuff coming as well. I’ve got my eyes on the Kia EV9 third row SUV, wondering in the event that they’ll deliver before Rivian’s R1S gets off the bottom.

But for now, let’s give the Chevy Bolt its glory. The economy is in some form of recession/economic downturn and at $25,600, the Chevy Bolt is allowing a wider swath of the population to get right into a latest EV – and simply get into an amazing one at that.

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