What Is It?
The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the American automaker’s electric-only passenger car offering. A compact 5-passenger hatchback, the Bolt EV is rated at 127 MPGe city / 108 MPGe hwy / 118 MPGe combined. The EPA lists the Bolt EV’s range at 259 miles. During our drive, a full charge showed a range of 225 miles; however, that figure is determined by how the vehicle had been driven by other journalists prior to the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV’s arrival with us.
What We Drove
Our test vehicle was the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier in Slate Gray Metallic. This Bolt EV included optional extras such as the Infotainment Package, Driver Confidence II Package and DC Fast Charging Provisions for a total MSRP of $43,735. Unfortunately — now that GM has sold more than 200,000 electric vehicles — the Bolt EV is no longer eligible for a federal tax credit; however, it may be eligible for state tax credits — depending on where it gets registered.
What We Like
The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV is great fun to drive thanks to its high-torque electric powertrain. It feels quick off the line — especially in Sport mode — and, surprisingly, full throttle at 55 mph will still pin occupants back in their seats. Although it has great throttle response, Bolt EV also is incredibly efficient. We averaged about 4 miles per kW-hour. Based on the price of electricity in the state of Washington, this equates to traveling approximately 127 miles for the price of a gallon of gasoline — or 127 MPGe. Ultimately, the Bolt EV is a very satisfying car to drive.
What We Don’t Like
The downside of having a battery large enough for a 250-mile range is that it can take a long time to charge when using a standard household outlet. A full charge from empty can take a few days at this level. We highly recommend installing a higher-output charger for anyone thinking about purchasing the Bolt EV — or any fully electric vehicle, for that matter.
The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV boasts one of the largest ranges of any electric vehicle on the market, making it much more usable as a daily driver for a single-vehicle household. With great performance as well as plenty of utility and comfort, this fun-to-drive compact is certainly worth checking out — especially by those who would have never considered purchasing an electric vehicle.
Under the hood is a permanent magnetic drive motor connected to the front wheels. Output is rated at 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, which is available immediately. The motor draws power from a 288-cell 66 kWh lithium-ion battery pack warranted for 8 years or 100,000 miles.
With a DC fast charger, the Bolt EV can accumulate range at a rate of 100 miles for every 30 minutes of charge — thus a full charge would take a bit over an hour. With a more common 240-volt charger the time to a full charge is about 10 hours from empty. Keep in mind that with a range as high as 250 miles, the Bolt EV won’t be charging from empty for the typical driver.
With the gear selector set to Low, the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV activates regenerative braking whenever the driver lifts a foot off the accelerator. It does take a while to adapt, but we quickly learned how to modulate the throttle to smoothly slow to a stop without activating the brakes, which maximizes regenerative power.
The Bolt EV’s interior has a high-tech feel with a large 10.2-inch bright display screen in the center as well as a digital screen in front of the driver. The two-tone treatment for dashboard and seats adds a premium feeling to the compact EV.
Wireless Phone Charging
Chevrolet created an innovative wireless charging system for mobile devices — a slot in the center console holds a phone securely while charging it.
The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV has decent space in the rear seat for a compact car. Two additional USB ports are a plus.
Despite being a small car, the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV possesses a surprising amount of storage in back. A few small suitcases or several grocery bags will fit with little difficulty. Rear seats can be folded to create a spacious, flat cargo compartment.