Car and Driver magazine tested the Chevrolet Bolt EV with cruise control set at 75 mph (121 km/h) and climate system at 72º F (22º C). They drove it for 190 miles (306 km) until the battery was depleted. Considering an usable battery capacity of 60 kWh, we get 19,61 kWh/100 km, very impressive for a car that isn’t exactly aerodynamic.

What’s more impressive is the fact that the Chevrolet Bolt EV has 17-inch wheels. The range could be even better with smaller wheels.

Now let’s use online range calculators and compare it to Tesla Model S and Renault Zoe R90.

First the Tesla Model S.

Neither TMS 60 nor 60D beat the Chevrolt Bolt EV’s range, even at 120 km/h where the TMS’s great aerodynamics shine. But at least who bought the 60/60D version can unleash more range with a paid upgrade to 75/75D.

This is not a surprise since we already had the EPA figures.

Now let’s see what we get with the Renault Zoe.

The Renault Zoe R90 with the ZE 40 battery only gets 175 km range with the smallest wheels. If the wheels are 17-inch the range is even less and drops to 162 km. Considering an usable battery capacity of 41 kWh, we get 23,43 kWh/100 km for the 15-inch wheels and 25,31 kWh/100 km for the 17-inch wheels.

It’s clear that the Chevrolet Bolt EV sets the bar high regarding range and efficiency. This electric car proves that electric cars weren’t created equal and there is still a lot of room for improvement. GM and LG Chem did a great job in building an extremely efficient powertrain. The next step is to make mirrorless electric cars and adopting more aerodynamic wheels, which are cheap ways to increase range and efficiency.

The great reviews the Chevrolet Bolt EV is getting pressure Nissan even more to deliver a facelifted Leaf as good as they can. Since the battery capacity won’t be as big, Nissan should make the 2017 Leaf not only cheaper, but also more efficient than the Bolt EV. There are cheap and easy tweaks Nissan can do, that I mentioned before.

I think that some Tesla Model 3’s reservations will convert to Chevrolet Bolt EV purchases, if this electric car isn’t production constrained. Specially in Europe, where most of us prefer the practicality of a smaller hatchback instead of a large sedan.

What do you think? Does the Chevrolet Bolt EV pressure other electric cars to get better? Did GM caught Nissan off guard?

More info:

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-chevrolet-bolt-ev-test-review

It only be successful if it is available. Unfortunately, there are already some rumors that it only be available in Portugal at September next year (after initial previsions fro April)….

This text is very inaccurate!..

“The Renault Zoe R90 with the ZE 40 battery only gets 175 km range with the smallest wheels. If the wheels are 17-inch the range is even less and drops to 162 km. Considering an usable battery capacity of 41 kWh, we get 23,43 kWh/100 km for the 15-inch wheels and 25,31 kWh/100 km for the 17-inch wheels.”

Yesterday I drove a R90 and I’ve got 12,4kwh/100km

Yes and yes and kudos to GM…

This size car should also probably have 15 inch wheels as the bigger wheels are nothing more than a fashion statement…

I am skeptical that they will be able to meet demand and hopefuly demand is much larger than they anticipate…

The problem with real life tests is that real life is not always the same. One day you have the wind in you back and the next day the blows right in your face. According to my calculations it is not possible to get a range of 300 km with a car that has the frontal area of Bolt and a Cv of 0.32 at a speed of 120 km/h and no wind present. If you have 4m/s of tailwind however it should be possible. Then you will have a practical wind resistance matching a speed of 105 km/h.

In my simulation the range of Bolt at 120km/h is 247km. With 4 m/s tailwind it is increased to 299 km. However 4 m/s headwind will reduce the range to 207 km.

At speeds of 120km/h the wind resistanse will be 4 times higher that the rolling resistance, which means that the choise of tires is not that important. At 50km/h it will be oposite, in this case the rolling resistance will be almost twice as high as the wind resistance.

The NEDC range of 500 km is possible when you keep the avarage speed below 70 km/h.

Very interesting insight as always 🙂

But don’t forget that larger wheels have wider diameter that increase drag (wind) resistance and turbulence. Bigger wheels benefit the most with moon discs. The trims GM is using in the Bolt EV have lousy aerodynamics.

In true range tests, you drive A->B->A (a round-trip) and then state the overall consumption. This would reduce the influences of wind and elevation changes. If Car and Driver did not follow this very simple rule in this case (Monterey to Santa Barbara), their article is not worth mentioning and they should repeat their test.

Extremely good looking car but when is it going to be available in UK?

I’m certainly one model 3 reservation holder who’s tempted by the Ampera-e. But it remains to be seen whether, or rather when, it can actually be bought. I fear Opel Norway will get far fewer cars than needed to meet demand. Unlike Renault, Opel does not take reservations/preorders, at least not in an orderly fashion through their web site (although I hear some people have reserved at their dealership).

Perhaps best to just wait and see.

My wife has been using Bolt for a couple of weeks now. Her daily commute is ~170 miles/roundtrip on 90% highway (mostly flat with a few rolling hills) and 10% town roads. According to her observations, the Bolt energy specific range is close to ~3.4 mile/kWhr at an average speed of 72 miles/hr. That gives the average range of 204 miles/charge. Outside temperature range in the given period of time was between 40-55F. She used the heater option for most of the time.