2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Testing the EV at Its Limits
by Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant
Electric cars and test tracks don't typically mix very well. That didn't stop us from bringing our new long-term 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV out to our test facility to see what it could do. Even if it doesn't generate impressive acceleration numbers, pushing it to the limit still provides some useful information.
Take the jump to see how it stacked up against other electric vehicles we've tested.
Vehicle: 2016 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Date: January 24, 2017
Driver: Jonathan Elfalan
Drive type: front-wheel drive
Transmission type: direct drive
Engine type: permanent magnetic drive motor
Horsepower: 200 hp (150 kW)
Torque: 266 lb-ft
Brake type (front): one-piece ventilated discs with sliding single-piston calipers
Brake type (rear): one-piece solid discs with sliding single-piston calipers
Suspension type (front): independent MacPherson strut-type with direct-acting solid stabilizer bar
Suspension type (rear): compound crank (torsion beam) with coil springs
Tire size (front): 215/50R17 91H
Tire size (rear): 215/50R17 91H
Tire brand: Michelin
Tire model: Green X Energy Saver A/S
Tire type: low-rolling resistance
0-30 mph: 3.0 seconds (with TC on: 2.9 seconds)
0-45 mph: 4.6 seconds (with TC on: 4.5 seconds)
0-60 mph: 6.9 seconds (with TC on: 6.8 seconds)
0-60 mph with 1-ft rollout: 6.6 seconds (with TC on: 6.5 seconds)
0-75 mph: 10.1 seconds (with TC on: 9.9 seconds)
1/4-mile: 15.2 seconds @ 90.7 mph (with TC on: 15.1 seconds @ 90.9 mph)
30-0 mph: 30 feet
60-0 mph: 116 feet
Skidpad lateral acceleration: 0.82g (0.77g with ESC on)
RPM @ 70 mph: N/A
Strong off the line. Feels quick. No wheelspin even with traction control off, unless you're on a slippery surface. Sport mode doesn't really feel all that different at full throttle, so it's likely just altering accelerator response. We shaved a tenth off on the third run (compared to the second run) using Sport, but the key-up run (first run) was the quickest with the batteries at their fullest. No power braking here; overlapping the brake and accelerator only slows the rate you'll leave the line. Just going quickly from brake to throttle with your right foot works best.
Under full antilock braking, the Bolt sometimes skews slightly to one side; other times it remains straight. This is essentially on the same stretch of pavement. There isn't a ton of noise from the ABS, but there is a lot of tire squeal. The brake pedal has a light effort but isn't overly soft. And under full pressure the pedal maintains a progressive feel. That's because, despite what we might expect, the brake pedal is entirely hydraulic, which means no regenerative braking. Braking distances are relatively constant, varying only as much as 3 feet. There's marginal nosedive as well, and the Bolt remains pretty flat under max braking.
Steering is pretty responsive. It is not super quick, but there's a fair amount of sensation coming through the steering wheel, at least enough to know when you're losing traction at the front wheels. Stability control can be turned off but only temporarily. As soon as you go over a certain speed, it comes back on automatically. However, keeping traction control off allows you to drive a little more freely. During skidpad runs with traction control on, the torque of the motor is heavily limited as the systems try to eliminate wheelspin as much as possible. We had better success with traction control off.
Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 953 miles