Will the new Chevy Bolt revolutionize electric vehicles?

General Motor's new electric car boasts an impressive 200-mile range at a price that's affordable to most people. If the car delivers, the Bolt could revolutionize electric cars, auto industry observers say.

Gregory Bull/AP
GM CEO Mary Barra stands next to the Chevrolet Bolt electric car at CES International in Las Vegas.

General Motors unveiled its new plug-in electric vehicle, one of the first on the market that’s affordable for its purported and impressive range – by far the highest of all other US models except Tesla’s electric cars.

The company introduced its Chevrolet Bolt on Wednesday at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The “first electric car for the masses,” as some media reports are calling it, will be available for sale later this year for about $30,000, a price that takes into account the maximum $7,500 of federal rebate money available to incentivize electric vehicle (EV) sales.

In contrast, Tesla’s models, the biggest sellers in the United States, start at about $70,000 without the rebate, with an electric charge that lasts for 240 to 286 miles.

The Bolt, a small crossover SUV, is big enough for five passengers and has enough power to drive about 200 miles on one charge, says GM, which would take nine hours to complete with a 240-volt charging unit.

If the Bolt proves reliable and popular, EV enthusiasts hope it will provide a much-needed boost to EV adoption and sales, which are sluggish for various reasons that include consumer anxiety about limited driving ranges, lackluster performance and design, and maybe most importantly: cheap gas.

“The Chevrolet Bolt represents the first serious electric vehicle available to mainstream consumers,” Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book told Wired. “It will be an interesting test to see how the market embraces the Bolt in this era of cheap gas; But from a value and function standpoint, it sets a new benchmark in alternative-fuel options.”

Car reviewers so far are giving the Bolt high marks for performance and for its roomy interior.

“It’s peppy and responsive as you’d expect an electric car to be, and handles corners like a little rally car,” describes Forbes’ Joann Muller.

Ms. Muller reports that the car has one-pedal driving, which means that when the foot lifts off the accelerator, the car automatically stops until the accelerator is activated again by the foot.

The Bolt also boasts sophisticated technology, which is not surprising given that smart-car features such as blind spot warnings, parallel parking and lane-keeping assistance will be critical in the advancement of car-sharing services and self-driving cars, areas that GM recently invested in with a $500 million stake in the car-sharing service Lyft.

GM’s new EV model has a 10.2-inch screen at the center of its dashboard, with a fast 4G LTE Internet connection and navigation mapping that notifies drivers about nearby charging stations when they need to power up, as Wired reports.

The car also can pair a phone with its Bluetooth system as the phone approaches the car, and it recognizes who is driving it, based on the keys used, tuning the radio accordingly.

Despite these innovative technology features that will make the car fun to drive, EV enthusiasts say the car’s commercial success hinges on whether it can deliver the promised electric range at a price that is affordable to most people.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Will the new Chevy Bolt revolutionize electric vehicles?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today