Bookmark and Share


June 29, 2017
By Mario Cywinski


“Game changer” is a term that is thrown around in the automotive industry almost on a daily basis to describe vehicles and technologies that are considered to be revolutionary. It has become a term that is used so often that in many ways it loses its impact. However, every now and then the term is used to describe a vehicle that truly changes the game. The Chevrolet Bolt may be one of those.

General Motors hosted a media drive for the Bolt recently to let journalists experience it firsthand. GM states the range of a Bolt is 383 kilometres; this was put to the test on the drive from GM’s Canadian Technical in Markham to downtown Collingwood, Ontario. Routes were not assigned, as drivers were encouraged, to quote Chevy’s motto, Find New Roads, to reach the destination.

Range anxiety is a major issue for EV users and to get the most out of the battery, systems that pull power from it like air conditioning, radio, etc, generally need to be turned off. To test out the Bolt’s range claim, on the drive all options were used as they would be in an internal combustion engine powered vehicle.

The Result? Bolt can best be described as being car-like. When left in the standard drive mode, it drives just like any vehicle on the road, albeit with power coming instantly, the result of no engine or transmission needed to propel it.

“The Bolt EV fulfills Chevrolet’s promise to offer an affordable, long-range electric,” said Mark Reuss, Executive Vice-President, GM Global Product Development. “It is a game-changer that is not only a great electric vehicle; it’s a great vehicle — period.”

Bolt is powered by a single-motor propulsion system with 266 foot/pounds of torque and 200 horsepower; available from the moment the accelerator pedal is pressed. The 60 kWh lithium ion battery pack is located under the vehicle and comes with an eight-year/160,000 kilometre warranty. Charging is done using a 7.2 kW onboard charging module which can be done with Level 1, Level 2, or DC Fast Charging. Charge times vary: Level 1 – approximately 6 EV KMs per hour of charge, Level 2 – approx. 40 EV KMs per hour, and DC Fast Charge – is up to 145 EV KMs in 30 minutes.

Bolt comes with an electronic precision shift, offering driving in D, or in low mode which allows for one-pedal driving as it offers greater deceleration and more regenerative braking than drive mode. Regen-on-demand is also offered.

Instrument cluster is an eight-inch LCD colour display that features three themes and colours. It displays battery charge level, speed, range estimate, and can display efficiency, audio, phone, power gauge, and other vehicle information.

Infotainment system is a 10.2” colour touchscreen with MyLink radio and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi with OnStar, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Flipboard style interface home screen, and ability to view energy information (history, detail, and usage score).

The Bolt’s tires employ an interesting technology. Michelin Selfseal tires instantaneously seal punctures by having a lining that is made of viscous material. GM offers a standard tire inflation kit for those who swap out the stock tires for winter tires. Other advanced technologies available on the Bolt include: rear camera mirror (allows for a view behind the vehicle in the rearview mirror at all times, when enabled), surround vision (360-degree view around vehicle), lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking assist.

Cargo capacity is an important factor for many fleets, and the Bolt offers 1,602.7 litres of cargo space with the rear seats folded, 479L of rear cargo is available which seats up, a false cargo floor is available that allows for hidden storage.

General Motors expects to sell the majority of Bolt’s in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, where attractive provincial government subsidies up to $14,000 have driven over 95 per cent of Canadian electric vehicle sales.

EVs are a very small part of the fleet market in Canada. With great range, ample storage, enjoyable driving dynamics, impeccable green credentials and generous government subsidies, the Chevrolet Bolt might jolt some businesses to change their perspectives.

© 2018 First XV. All rights reserved.