When Tesla announced the Model 3, an electric car with 200-plus miles of range, people literally lined up for hours to put down a deposit even though the Model 3 was still being designed. The Bolt EV was already in Chevrolet showrooms. The all-electric Bolt EV — not to be confused with the similarly named Volt, Chevy's plug-in hybrid — delivers 238 miles of range and a price tag just under $37,500, which drops to $30,000 with federal tax incentives.
But there's more to the Bolt EV than range and price. It's good fun to drive, with instant power delivery and fantastic handling, and its cavernous interior offers more space than you might expect given the Bolt EV's small exterior. We don't love all the strange materials on the inside, but the Bolt EV is an affordable electric car with enough usable range to make range anxiety a nonissue.
Current Chevrolet Bolt EV
Chevrolet sells the Bolt in two trim levels, LT and Premier. We wouldn't call the LT model spartan, but it is more basic than the Premier, which has features such as leather seats, a nifty video-screen rearview mirror, heated rear seats and ambient interior lighting. It's also the only way to get your Bolt EV with advanced safety features such as collision warning, automatic braking and lane departure intervention (at extra cost, of course).
Whichever trim level you choose, the Bolt EV gets a 200-horsepower electric motor fed by a 60-kWh battery, which is big enough to provide the Bolt EV with its phenomenal 238-mile EPA-rated range. Recharge time using a standard, 240-volt Level 2 EV charger is 9.3 hours, which can easily be accomplished overnight. But given the Bolt EV's long range and the inexpensive cost of home chargers, we doubt charge times will be much of an issue. DC fast-charging capability is offered as an option; it can replenish an empty battery to just over 80 percent in a little more than an hour.
With 200 hp and the immediate power delivery typical of electric motors, the Bolt EV is a lot more fun to drive than you might expect. We timed it to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is quick for any family car. And acceleration isn't the Bolt's only strong suit: The battery pack is located in a box under the floor, which lowers the center of gravity. Responsive steering, a well-tuned suspension and lack of weight in the nose (where most cars have their engines) make it a surprisingly good handler. The Bolt offers a one-pedal driving mode, and when it's engaged, lifting off the accelerator turns on the regenerative brake to slow the car. There's a button on the steering wheel that provides additional braking, and once you get the hang of it, you can drive the Bolt EV without ever touching the brake pedal.
There are some aspects of the Bolt EV that we don't like. The interior shows clear signs of cost-cutting, with thin carpets and hard plastics. The front seats feel small; you sit on them rather than in them. We know the Bolt EV's price tag is low by electric car standards, but we still expect better at this price point. That said, we are fans of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Its combination of range and price point make it unique, but it's also fun to drive and easy to live with. Its 238 miles of range is enough to make electric vehicle ownership more palatable to a wider audience.
Used Chevrolet Bolt EV Models
The Chevrolet Bolt was introduced as an all-new model in 2017.
Read the most recent 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Bolt EV page.