After introducing the Bolt EV concept last year, in all its orange-palette glory, GM has now unveiled the production version of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, which will go into commercial production at the end of 2016. The big selling points are the “more than 200 miles of range” at a price “around $30,000” (after tax credits). This puts it very close to the sweet spot that EV makers have been trying to hit for a while; enough range for most people to stop worrying, at a price that a large chunk of the population can afford (especially after fuel savings are taken into account).
GM says that a lot of features in the Bolt are based on things that they’ve learned from the Volt and their owners. For example, driving range projections will be based on the time-of-day, topography, weather and the owner’s driving habits for maximum accuracy and reliability. It must make a difference for peace of mind when you can really trust remaining range estimates, rather than know that they are fairly crude and could be misleading.
A lot of EV drivers end up “one-pedal drivers” after a while, since lifting your foot off the accelerator engages the regenerative braking which slows down the car without the need for brakes (while also charging the battery). The Bolt is optimized for this type of driving: “When operating the Bolt EV in “Low” mode, or by holding the Regen on Demand paddle located on the back of the steering wheel, the driver can bring the vehicle to a complete stop under most circumstances by simply lifting their foot off the accelerator, although the system does not relieve the need to use the brake pedal altogether. “
Despite its relatively non-sporty look, the Bolt has a single electric motor is capable of producing up to 266 lb.-ft. (360 Nm) of torque and 200 hp (150 kW) of motoring power. Combined with a 7.05:1 final drive ratio, it helps accelerate the Bolt from 0-60 mph in less than 7 seconds.
The battery is made with nickel-rich lithium-ion, holding 60 kWh of energy in 288 cells split in five sections of 10 modules. It weights 960 lbs. (435 kg).
“You usually have a battery cell that delivers either the desired levels of energy or power, but not traditionally both. With this cell design and chemistry we were able to deliver a battery system with 160 kilowatts of peak power and 60 kilowatts hours of energy,” said Gregory Smith, Bolt EV battery pack engineering group manager.
The battery system is mated to a standard equipment 7.2 kW onboard charger for regular overnight charging from a 240-V wall box. A typical commute of 50 miles can be recharged in less than two hours. Bolt EV also features an optional DC Fast Charging system using the industry standard SAE Combo connector. Using DC Fast Charging, the Bolt EV battery can be charged up to 90 miles of range in 30 minutes. Outside temperatures may affect charging times.
The Bolt EV battery uses active thermal conditioning, similar to the Chevrolet Volt, and will be covered by an 8-year/ 100,000 mile (whichever comes first) limited warranty.
The Bolt electric car will be built in GM’s Orion Assembly facility, near Detroit, Michigan.