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?