New 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback New 2018
Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

Tesla may have made the long-range electric car sexy, but GM is the first company to make one affordable. The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV features a big 60-kWh battery pack giving the Bolt an impressive 238-mile range on a single charge. As most people only commute between 30 and 50 miles a day, the Bolt could easily replace a gasoline-powered car in every area save long-distance travel. The Bolt’s on-board 7.2 kW charger allows for quick overnight charging from a 240-volt outlet, and can store up enough juice to drive about 50 miles in just two hours. The Bolt’s versatile size is on par with the new Nissan Leaf, and a bit more versatile than the more expensive BMW i3.

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You'll Like This Car If...

If you’ve been considering an electric vehicle, but thought both price and range were negating factors, the 2018 Chevy Bolt solves both issues. Electric advantage aside, the Bolt comes nicely equipped, is fun to drive and will likely earn heaps of praise from your eco-friendly friends.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Bolt’s range is impressive, if you need to travel further than 230 miles in a day, a gasoline hybrid is a better choice. The Chevy Volt is one option, as is the Toyota Prius, both costing less and offering more interior room than the Bolt.

What's New for 2018

The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV gets an automatic-heating steering wheel added to the LT’s Comfort and Convenience package and it’s made standard on the Premier trim.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

If you’ve never driven an electric car before, make sure your first time is behind the wheel of the 2018 Chevy Bolt. Beyond its spectacular 238-mile range, the Bolt is a joy to drive. Power flows through the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission with sufficient intensity to send the Bolt EV sprinting from 0-60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 91 mph. The Bolt’s heavy battery pack sits beneath the floor helping to lower the car’s center of gravity, which in turn helps improves cornering and reduce lean. Once in motion the driver can move the Bolt’s shift lever from Drive to Low, thus engaging the One Pedal Driving feature that uses regenerative braking to slow the vehicle. The system is far less intrusive than systems we’ve tested in other makes. Further energy savings can be recognized via the Bolt’s Regen-on-Demand system. Operated by a steering-wheel-mounted paddle, the 4-mode system allows the driver to slow the vehicle at varying rates, all while recapturing energy that is fed back to the car’s battery pack.

Favorite Features

60-KWH BATTERY PACK
The Bolt’s highly efficient battery pack, co-developed with LG Chem, features a 60-kWh capacity enabling the car to travel up to 238 miles in optimal driving conditions. With the DC Fast Charging system, the Bolt can be charged up to about 90 miles of range in just 30 minutes.

ONE-PEDAL DRIVING
With its two speed settings (Drive and Low) the Bolt offers varying degrees of regenerative braking. Under the right conditions, the driver can bring the car to a stop without even touching the brake pedal just by lifting off the accelerator.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Quiet, comfortable and spacious, the Bolt EV’s cabin has a contemporary design flair that helps offset its abundance of hard plastic and dearth of soft-touch surfaces. The “floating” dash is dominated by a configurable Driver Information Center and a large, 10.2-inch color touch screen, each serving up EV-specific operational data on demand. While a bit light on lumbar support, the slim-line front buckets are comfortable and team with a 60/40-split rear bench seat that will accommodate full-size adults in its outboard spots and a kid in the middle. Folding the seatbacks increases cargo capacity from 16.9 to a huge 56.6 cubic feet.

Exterior

Cleanly styled, the Bolt EV reflects a blend of current Chevrolet design cues and more adventurous flourishes that impart greater visual distinction. A semi-wedge profile accented by both bright and black trim endows it with a quasi-crossover-SUV character. The Bolt EV’s sweeping, steeply raked windshield coupled with its large greenhouse helps give the car’s cabin a more open feel and improves sightlines, while its 102.4-inch wheelbase, relatively wide track and short overhangs add substance to its stance. Both LT and Premier variants boast full LED front/rear lighting, with the latter also adding integrated turn signals to its side-mirror caps.

Notable Standard Equipment

Both Bolt EV models boast numerous power assists, a tilt/telescoping multifunction steering wheel, Keyless Open and Start, a programmable Charge Control system, Chevy MyLink Radio with OnStar 4G LTE/Wi-Fi, SiriusXM satellite radio, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay support, dual USB ports, rear heater ducts, GM’s Teen Driver technology and 10 airbags. The Premier swaps premium cloth for leather and gains a heated steering wheel and front seats, auto-dimming Rear Camera Mirror, Side Blind Zone Alert/Lane Change Alert, Rear Park Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems -- all optional on the LT -- as well as Surround Vision, Rear Park Assist and heated folding mirrors.

Notable Optional Equipment

The Bolt EV’s extras list is modest, with LT up-fits largely limited to the Premier-spec standards available in the Comfort and Convenience and Driver Confidence Packages. The Premier variant also offers a Driver Confidence II Package (Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Collision Alert and Lane-Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking plus Front Pedestrian Braking, IntelliBeam auto high-beam assist) as well as an Infotainment Package (Bose premium audio, wireless charging, dual-charging-only rear USB ports). While both Bolt EV models offer DC Fast Charging capability, built-in navigation is limited to the Turn-by-Turn variety included in the OnStar Guidance Plan.

Under the Hood

Motivation for the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV comes from an advanced electric drivetrain that pairs a potent, extremely efficient 200-horsepower AC synchronous motor developing 266 lb-ft of instant torque with a huge 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that carries an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty. In addition to its standard but time-consuming 110V charging system, Bolt EV owners can opt for a 240V home-charging setup that cuts battery replenishment time to roughly nine hours or available DC Fast Charging capability that can add 90 miles of range in 30 minutes.

AC synchronous electric motor
60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
200 horsepower
266 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 128/110 MPGe
EPA-estimated range per full charge: 238 miles

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Pricing Notes

The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV LT has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $37,495 including destination, while the Premier opens at $41,780, both reflecting pricing before factoring in federal tax credits and state or local incentives. By comparison, the most affordable “S” version of the Nissan Leaf stickers at a considerably lower $31,000 but lacks the equipment level and has just over half of the Bolt’s per-charge range. The same holds true for the Leaf SV and top-line SL at $33,365 and $37,075, respectively, which have the same 150-MPGe mileage ratings. To find out what folks are paying for the new Bolt, check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price. Kelley Blue Book has not yet established a residual value for the new Bolt EV, but its fundamental affordability and phenomenal range likely will endow this groundbreaking electric entry with a resale-value percentage that goes beyond most other comparative EVs.

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