I’ll be the first to admit it, I suffer from range anxiety when behind the wheel of an electric vehicle (EV). In fact, to borrow a punch line from the late Rodney Dangerfield, if you were to look up range anxiety in the dictionary, my picture would be there. However, during the course of a week-long test drive, my range anxiety dissipated the more I drove the all-electric 2020 Chevrolet Bolt.
Starting with MY-2020, the Bolt EV increased its driving range on a full charge to an EPA-estimated 259 miles, which is up by 21 miles over the previous model-years. In addition, there is Regen on Demand, which allows you to convert kinetic energy into energy stored in the battery. Pulling and holding the Regen on Demand paddle on the steering wheel decelerates the Bolt and stores energy for future use.
Another regen feature is One Pedal Driving. While driving in Low mode at any speed, One Pedal Driving lets you speed up and slow down using only the accelerator pedal. When you want to slow down, just lift your foot off the accelerator, which will slow the vehicle to a complete stop. The One Pedal Driving captures some of the energy from the moving vehicle and turns it into electrical energy that is stored in the battery.
The Bolt EV is fun to drive with its electric motor providing almost-instant acceleration. The drive system uses a single, high-capacity electric motor. The motor is capable of producing up to 266 lb.-ft. of torque and 200 hp of motor powering, enabling 0-60 in 6.5 seconds; however, you may not want to tout this to your fleet drivers. On the other hand, from a safety perspective, this acceleration power provides effortless freeway ingress when merging into fast-moving traffic or to initiate rapid accident avoidance maneuvers in emergency situations.
The Bolt EV is available in two trim levels – the LT and Premier, which is the model that I test drove. The Premier is the top-of-the-line model, which features as standard equipment the Comfort and Convenience Package I, which includes heated front seats, automatic heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The Bolt EV has comfortable seating and a spacious interior. It also offers excellent visibility with a large front windshield, which provides a panoramic view of the road. The rear-view mirror can also function as a rear-view camera with the flip of a lever when rear seat passengers or cargo obscure your rear vision.
In fleet applications that requires carrying sales collateral or point of sale materials, as a hatchback, the Bolt EV offers 16.9 cubic feet of cargo volume, comparable to a crossover. When the second row seats are folded flat, cargo capacity increases to 56.6 cubic feet.
The Bolt EV is powered by an advanced 66 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack made up of 288 individual cells. The battery pack is covered by an 8-year/100,000-mile limited warranty. There is an available DC Fast Charging system, which enables the battery to be charged up to 100 miles of range in 30 minutes.
In addition to 10 standard airbags, the Bolt EV offers an impressive array of driver-assistance technologies. The Driver Confidence Package is standard on the Premier, which includes lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and rear park assist. In addition, the Driver Confidence II package is available on the Premier model, which includes automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, and IntelliBeam headlamps.