[Article pdated 9/19/16 to include base price information.]
The upcoming Chevrolet Bolt battery-electric car will carry an EPA range estimate of 238 miles when it goes on sale late this year, according to General Motors.
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From its introduction as a concept at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, GM has been promising that the compact Bolt would deliver more than 200 miles, making it the longest-range battery-electric vehicle outside of the Tesla family.
No More Range Anxiety?
At 238 miles the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt could be a primary car for many. That’s even if you figure a 10-15 percent range reduction in real-world driving that includes varying climate conditions, lengthy highway trips, the occasional hill to climb and all the other little things that can impact BEV range.
Nissan’s next-generation Leaf (expected sometime around late 2017-early 2018) also is expected to beat the 200-mile mark, as is the Tesla Model 3 and, we expect, most other new and revised BEV models introduced in the next year or two.
Chevy is equipping the Bolt with a 60 kWh-battery, a 200 horsepower motor with 266 lb-ft of torque, and a 7.2 kW charging that can add up to 50 miles of range per hour of charging on a Level 2 (240-volt) system.
Although its subcompact size makes it a smaller car than Tesla’s Model S sedan and Model X crossover (and is likely to be a bit smaller than the downsized Tesla Model 3 when that all-electric sedan finally makes its appearance in the market a year or so from now), the Chevrolet Bolt is roomy inside, with lots of cargo area thanks to its low-slung battery pack. It should have a lot of appeal to price-conscious BEV shoppers.
Its starting price of $37,495, before any local incentives and a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, is about one-third the price of the average Tesla.
With Tesla promising to bring its Model 3 in at $35,000 before incentives, many industry watchers are suggesting that the new price structure for EVs will be triple-tiered. Low-range city cars (less than 120 miles) could be selling for under $20,000 to be competitive, mid-range models are likely to be priced in $30,000-$50,000 territory while long-distance luxury models will continue to be priced at whatever the manufacturers think they can squeeze out of their customers.