Chevy Bolt vs Tesla Model S: Which is the better EV pick?

Car magazine Motor Trend lays out a comparison between and upcoming model of the Chevy Bolt EV and a discontinued, but much pricier, iteration of the Tesla Model S. 

Steve Marcus/Reuters/File
Journalists look over the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV after it is unveiled during a General Motors keynote address at the 2016 CES trade show in Las Vegas.

Sometimes reporters and editors will see an article or a section in another outlet and think, "Darn, why didn't we think of that?"

This is one of those times.

Enthusiast publication Motor Trend had the very clever idea of comparing two electric cars with 60-kilowatt-hour battery packs and more than 200 miles of EPA-rated range.

They are the 2016 Tesla Model S 60 sedan and the upcoming 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchback.

The magazine notes that the Model S 60 is an odd duck; it was the lower of two battery capacities that went into production in 2012, and was discontinued last year.

Then it was brought back temporarily this year, in hopes some holders of reservations for the Model 3 (intended to go into production before the end of 2017) could be persuaded to buy a less-pricey Model S in the interim.

Nonetheless, Motor Trend got its hands on a Model S 60 and covered the comparison from a couple of different angles.

First, it did a straight comparison of the Bolt EV and the Model S.

The article covers the usual road-test checklist items, plus a number of factors specific to battery-electric cars.

But it also showed the Bolt EV to Model S owners to get their reactions to the new electric Chevy—which costs little more than half as much as their electric luxury sedans.

The writers took a Bolt EV to the Tesla Design Studios, where they were mobbed by dozens of Tesla employees eager to see the new long-range electric car.

They were even welcomed by chief Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen, who invited them back "any time."

Remember that the first Tesla Model S production cars finally came off the assembly line in mid-2012.

Less than five years later, the Bolt EV will sell for half the price and deliver similar range.

It will not, however, provide the sleek design, street cred, or nationwide fast-charging network that a Model S owner gets as part of the purchase.

Motor Trend has put together a great package, worth reading, that in some ways reinforces just how much of an advance the Bolt EV is.

Now why didn't we think of that?

[hat tips: SRanger, George Betak]

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