Originally published on CleanTechnica.
While folks are anticipating the Tesla Model 3, it is time to note that the first electric car promising a range of 200+ miles and priced from the mid-$30,000s will be in production by the end of 2016 — that’s the 2017 Chevy Bolt, of course. A year or more ahead of Tesla’s Model 3, the Chevy Bolt will be on the road.
The news in California of the long lines of folks collectively camping outside with a common purpose brought back some memories. Tesla lovers grew in number rapidly to create the largest campouts since ’70s rock concert sales. The lines climbed quickly to supply ~200,000 paid reservations in ~1 day. They continue to pile in and may well have surpassed 400,000 by now.
Jeff Cobb for GM-Volt.com points out that there are no pre-orders for GM’s 2017 Bolt EV. General Motors advances with a more subdued sharing of the merits of the Chevy Bolt’s powertrain. The company has focused on the Bolt’s strengths without drawing too much comparison to the Tesla Model 3, Cobb notes, but there’s clearly a relationship between GM’s fast-tracked launch of the Bolt and the looming Model 3. “Be that as it may be, it is long a matter of record that GM did build the Bolt at least in partial response to Tesla’s proposed $35,000 EV now known to have at least 215 miles range,” Cobb adds.
Most involved in the transition to all-electric vehicles support each other even with natural competition. In 2013, GM CEO Dan Akerson spoke of the building of a 200-mile EV and Elon Musk sent an approving tweet. More EVs on the road help everyone. All EVs improve everyone’s quality of life. EVs are not only about technology and finesse — they are about cleaner air. More EVs from other brands also bring broader EV awareness and infrastructure.
Continuing, Cobb reports that the Bolt’s design and specs stemmed from research it had conducted or seen on the desires/needs of potential EV buyers.
“GM said independent market research had shown that 70 percent of would-be EV buyers indicated they would be sufficiently content with 200-miles range to the point that they could live with it in their one and only car.”
On the range front, the Bolt was a big step up from GM’s previous all-electric car, the Chevy Spark EV. “Volumetrically, the Bolt battery is nearly double the size (2.05 times the size) as the Spark EV’s but has more than triple the capacity (60 kilowatt-hours versus 18.4 kWh for the Spark). Packing energy density is 60-percent more.”
Perhaps equally exciting, the battery warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles but GM says that it has designed the battery pack to last as long as the car!
Nonetheless, the Bolt is still on the small side of things, which will keep low-priced EV shoppers in the small-car market.
“The Bolt EV at 164 inches long, 70 inches wide, and 63 inches high is still smallish, but larger than the tiny Spark EV and boasts outsized interior space utilization.”
I like small EVs that are taller because of the sense of space one enjoys. I am curious to sit inside the Bolt, as highlights from Cobb are that the Chevy Bolt has notable space for practical uses and, of course, humans: “flat floor, good ingress and egress, and room for five people plus cargo.”
One of my favorite things about driving electric is regenerative braking. It is much stronger in the BMW i3 and Teslas than in our Nissan LEAF, and it looks like GM has recognized the desire for such strong regen, as the Bolt will reportedly be able to come to a dead stop with regenerative braking alone.
For more details and discussion, check out some illustrations and photos from Chevrolet below and the full story from Cobb here. And keep up with news from GM and Chevrolet here on CleanTechnica as the 2017 Chevy Bolt begins sales. We also aim to get one for long-term review, to complement our long-term reviews of the Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X (starting soon), and Chevy Volt (starting soon).