2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Long-Term Road Test - Introduction

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

What Did We Buy?
Last year at CES, General Motors debuted the production version of its Chevrolet Bolt EV with a large sign that read "200-Mile Range, Around $30,000." Two bold claims at a time when the only way to get an electric vehicle with that much range was to spend more than double that on a Tesla. GM said the Bolt would deliver on a promise of "a long-range electric vehicle attainable by the masses."

Here we are a year later and the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt is now a reality. Critically for GM, the Bolt arrived about a calendar year before we expect to see the Tesla Model 3, which also promises to be an affordable long-range EV.

Not only did the Bolt arrive on time, it came with an EPA-verified range of 238 miles. That's more than double what most of the EVs on the market currently offer, which makes it far more attractive to average car buyers.

With that in mind, we added our name to a few of the waiting lists at nearby dealers. As soon as one became available, we took the plunge and scored one of the most talked-about EVs of the year for our long-term fleet.

What Options Does It Have?
The Chevrolet Bolt offers two trim levels, LT and Premier. The LT has an impressive list of standard features that includes HID headlamps, a 10.2-inch infotainment screen, 17-inch wheels, and keyless entry and start. We typically buy higher-trim levels so we can have more features to test, so we opted for the Premier trim.

The Premier trim costs an additional $4,285 over the standard LT. It includes things such as leather seats, a surround-vision camera, heated seats and steering wheel, roof rails, rear cross-traffic alert and more.

You can add two packages to the Premier trim and we opted for both. The $485 Infotainment package includes premium audio, wireless device charging and rear dual USB ports. The $750 Driver Confidence II package includes forward collision alert, low-speed front automatic braking, lane keeping assist, front pedestrian braking and IntelliBeam headlights.

The final two options were the DC Fast charging provision ($750) to charge the battery to about 90 miles in about 30 minutes and a nice Cajun Red premium paint job ($395) to stand apart from the crowd of boring colors.

Our total MSRP was $43,905. We bought it from our go-to Chevy dealer, Selman Chevrolet, which offered it to us at invoice price, or $42,398. There are various rebates for electric vehicles available to bring this price down considerably, but to keep things simple we're just going to list our full purchase price.

Why We Bought It
If EVs are going to gain mass adoption, they'll need to offer range on par with that of any typical gas-powered car. Tesla's Model S and Model X have come the closest to that goal, but the price of those EVs are well out of reach of most buyers.

Several affordable EVs are on the market, but few of them go farther than 100 miles on a single charge. The Chevrolet Bolt manages to bridge the gap by offering well over 200 miles of range along with a price that's closer to what average consumers can afford.

It's an intriguing selling point and one that Chevrolet hopes will establish the Bolt as the poster child for practical electric cars. Of course, the real test is driving a car every day in a variety of situations. That's exactly what we plan to do with our Bolt over the next 12 months. And since it has more range than the average EV, we're looking to drive the Bolt in more than just an urban setting. Perhaps a few carefully planned road trips are in store.

Follow its progress on our long-term road test for our latest thoughts and impressions of this 2017 Chevrolet Bolt.

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.

Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 630 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests