By on January 11, 2016

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After last week’s unveiling at CES, we were left with plenty of questions about the new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. Answers came today, at least about its drivetrain.

Notably, GM mentions a low-speed driving mode that allows for single-pedal operation. This “Low” mode allows the driver to control regenerative braking with a paddle behind the steering wheel. This could be a game changer in stop-and-go traffic.

The standard drive mode allows for 0-60 mph times of seven seconds flat.

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The 60-kWh battery pack, warranted for eight years or a hundred thousand miles, is mounted flat below the passenger floor, with 288 cells measuring less than four inches tall each. GM claims overnight charging will result in 200 miles of range, with 50 miles available after two hours on a 240V charger.

While the Bolt will manufactured at GM’s Orion Township plant near Detroit, the battery, motor, and drive system will be built in Incheon, South Korea, using technology from LG.

LG’s product placement team must have been sleeping on this release, however, as a Samsung phone is pictured behind the drive selection lever.

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38 Comments on “NAIAS 2016: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt – Seven Seconds to Sixty...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As reported last week:
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/01/2017-chevrolet-bolt-whatever/#comment-7081769

    Good call on the Samsung phone, though.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Anyone else enjoy looking at those ghost renditions?

    I’m curious about the differential being concentric with the motor.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    While interesting for several reasons, the Bolt is not one I would choose for myself. Its biggest drawback is going to be the slow rate of recharge even on a high-speed recharger. I could live with the 7-second acceleration but honestly the shape and overall design of the rig is questionable at best.

    Worse, we have no idea of what kind of battery maintenance LG has designed into the pack. Will it really include built-in battery conditioning–heating and cooling–as well as charge controls to help extend battery life?

    As a city car this will be the best so far but as a true all-purpose car it still falls short in so many ways.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The charge time for a near empty battery is long, but for everyday use you typically won’t recharge from empty. I have a 100+ mile Leaf and a long commute, but I still rarely go beyond maybe 39% left in the battery and most of the time about 50%. Once, when I had to cover 100 miles in a bit of a hurry, I only zapped it for only 12 minutes or so at a CHAdeMO charge to give me a little padding for the range. You could do that with the Bolt provided its battery is as good as the current Leaf battery technology – which seems to withstand what I put it through.

      I wouldn’t call it a city car. For me, it would cover all of my driving without public charging. It could easily make the trip from Boston to Vermont without charging. Even my Leaf does it with a long stop in Concord NH. Any further than Vermont and I just fly.

      I think the biggest flaw is its reliance on CCS charging. Practically no chargers anywhere. Can’t beat the 24hr non-dealer supercharger network.

      • 0 avatar
        mfennell

        It’s changing pretty quickly though. On the east coast, you can already travel from Maine to Miami with CCS chargers if you really want too.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatist

          and you stay on I95 (yuck)

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I just checked plugshare and the DCFC/CCS chargers are proliferating faster than I expected. Still, it’s no SuperCharger network yet.

            The downside is that many of them are EvGo stations, so if you’re on the flex plan it could cost you $16.50 to put 180 miles on a Bolt. If you go for the On-The-Go Plan for $180 per year it would cost $6. I have the flex plan, but haven’t used an EVGO L3 station since July, so it’s not exactly breaking the bank for me. With a 200-mile range EV, I’m not sure I’d ever need a public charger of any kind.

            I think you might be able to squeak west of the i95 corridor on the East Coast. You might need to get a little Level 2 boost between some stations, but a Bolt could do it.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The Leaf, for me, comes far too close to my typical driving distance for comfort. I live between six relatively major cities (four of them state capitols) and honestly I couldn’t drive to any one of them and back in a Leaf without worrying about the return trip. The Bolt at least would cover me on all of them. However, I do tend to go outside of even that range about once a month with at least two trips exceeding 600 miles one-way. So for my driving–admittedly not average by any means–even the Bolt has questionable practicality. If my Ranger had 4×4 and an extended cab, I could possibly trade my Wrangler and Fiat 500 for one and eliminate the one with the worst fuel mileage and the highest mileage on it. As it is, it appears I’ll have two different vehicles to consider within the next couple years to which I may trade the Wrangler and simply sell the Ranger (far too low-mileage for a ’97 to sacrifice to the auction block, as it were.)

        As for CCS, I’ve learned of a truck stop on I-80 in Pennsylvania that has a small bank of these chargers… fee based at about $10 for 40kWh approximate. Your home charger is half that or less in most US locales.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      So far, GM is among the best, if not the best when it comes to battery conditioning and durability. All of their electrified cars feature active liquid cooling (to below 100 degrees f) and heating (to 49 degrees f) along with conservative tuning and stable chemistries.

      The batteries or drivetrain would be the last thing I worry about in this car. I would be more concerned with the quality and durability of everything else.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        Yeah, this car has the same liquid cooling system as the Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “So far, GM is among the best, if not the best when it comes to battery conditioning and durability. All of their electrified cars feature active liquid cooling (to below 100 degrees f) and heating (to 49 degrees f) along with conservative tuning and stable chemistries.”
        ————————-

        Are you sure you’re referencing the Chevy and not the Tesla? I haven’t seen a word about any kind of battery conditioning from Chevy or LG so far and those numbers come pretty close to what Tesla has been reporting for the Model S for three years.

        • 0 avatar
          silverw126

          GM has done very well with battery longevity and durability with the Voltec system. While I’m sure the LG Chem batteries do degrade over time, the perceived capacity loss is not noticeable. GM had engineered conservative “buffers” at the low end and the high end of the battery pack for battery longevity on the Gen 1 Volt. As they found that the estimate was a bit too conservative, they started opening up the buffers in following years, which led to incremental range increases (from 35 to 38 EV miles on Gen 1).

          Many Volt owners have already crossed 100K miles with no reported range loss. Erick Belmer’s ’12 Volt is perhaps the highest mile Volt–at 280K+ miles. He has no perceived battery capacity loss, and aside from a worn wheel bearing, his Volt has held up well too:

          http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1099112_2012-chevrolet-volt-racks-up-250000-miles-one-third-electric-rest-at-39-mpg

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That’s good to hear overall, Silver, but I’m still curious about real vs perceived battery endurance. Considering how the Volt starts its engine before the battery drops below 25%, would he even notice if the real battery capacity is the same as original? Additionally, over how many years has he attained that mileage? There are still questions but by the sound of it whatever problems at least appear minimal so far.

            On the other hand, the Bolt is going for a much larger capacity where any loss would probably be exaggerated by 6x or so and become much more visible as a result.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Many Volt owners have already crossed 100K miles with no reported range loss. Erick Belmer’s ’12 Volt is perhaps the highest mile Volt–at 280K+ miles. He has no perceived battery capacity loss, and aside from a worn wheel bearing, his Volt has held up well too:”

            That’s amazing. The battery pack in the 1st Gen Volt is engineered so well. One of the reasons I have no problems with buying a lease returned Volt and running it another 10 years. Should have one in my garage in the next 2-4 months.

  • avatar
    mcs

    >> This “Low” mode allows the driver to control regenerative braking with a paddle behind the steering wheel.

    It’s already in most EVs. I have “B” mode aggressive regen in my Leaf and while I’d like the paddle to adjust it, you can basically do the same thing through the brake pedal – which is probably more intuitive.

    It does make stop and go a bit easier. Once I get into the rhythm, I can do one pedal operation without an extremely huge gap between me the car in front of me. You still need to use the friction brake to stop vehicle creep when at a standstill. I’d like to see adjustable creep over a regen adjustment lever.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Did you know that the Tesla does NOT have that ‘vehicle creep’ when it stops?

      Oh, it is adjustable if you just have to have that ‘creep’.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I drive my 2015 Volt in “L” almost all of the time; one-pedal driving has spoiled me for sure. Imagine driving a 6-speed automatic car around in 2nd gear; that’s the kind of “engine braking” that it offers, but you can drive it to max speed that way.

      In 40mph driving, going downhill, the regen can reach 25kW; I’d bet that the battery chemistry can’t use all of that. Supercapacitors definitely could.

      My one wish would be a decel sensor that would turn on the brake lights; if I’m followed too closely, I still have to tap the brake occasionally.

      I hope gas prices don’t screw up EV development too much – so many improvements are on the horizon!

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        As a hardcore manual driver for many years, to me, an EV with regen is the closest in feel to a manual of any no-shift transmission. The difference from a 6-speed in second gear is that when you take it up to 90 there is no straining. Just the quiet rush of wind. I still think that most electrics are sold just because of the driving experience. They’re definitely not saving money on gas and saving the environment isn’t really high on the list either.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    So the Bolt battery is 3 times larger than the BMW i3, but the Bolt is not made of lightweight carbon-fiber as is the i3, yet they both run from 0-60 in 7 seconds? The battery in the i3 is supposed to weigh 230 kilos, so 3 times larger in the Bolt means an extra 460 kilos? Carbon-fiber in the i3 is also supposed to save about 250 kilos versus steel, so together with the big battery that would make the Bolt at about 750 kilos (1650 lbs) heavier than the i3. The i3 has 170 hp motor, what is the Bolt going to have to equal or better the 0-60 time – 350hp?

  • avatar
    mcs

    >> The battery in the i3 is supposed to weigh 230 kilos, so 3 times larger in the Bolt means an extra 460 kilos?

    The number I’ve seen on the Bolt battery is a total of 435 kg or 960 lbs. You can’t gauge the weight of one cars battery based on the weight of another. Battery technology is moving faster than most people realize and they’re getting lighter for a given capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      435 kilos is not that far below his estimated 460 kilos. The Bolt battery is effectively, though not literally, 3x the weight of the BMW i3’s battery. I will give the Bolt the benefit of the fact that it is somewhat larger than the i3, but I think the i3 offers far more efficient use of interior space. The Bolt simply looks cramped with almost no usable storage behind the back seat.

      • 0 avatar
        silverw126

        Looks like the Bolt’s battery and technology is already slightly ahead of even the Gen 2 Volt (but for different reasons), and definitely further ahead than its immediate predecessor: the Spark EV:

        http://www.autoblog.com/2016/01/11/chevy-bolt-volt-batteries-similar-different/

        This is LG Chem’s 4th (Volt Gen 1 and Gen 2, Spark EV) automotive application, and it seems to have evolved with each step (in chemistry and density). Yes, the Bolt may weigh substantially more than the i3, but other drivetrain factors (efficiencies, software controls, etc) can also do much to make the car a lot more agile and accelerate faster than expected.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          This is LG Chem’s 4th (Volt Gen 1 and Gen 2, Spark EV) automotive application, and it seems to have evolved with each step (in chemistry and density). Yes, the Bolt may weigh substantially more than the i3, but other drivetrain factors (efficiencies, software controls, etc) can also do much to make the car a lot more agile and accelerate faster than expected.
          ——————-

          I’ll grant you all of that, Silver. But that motor is still decidedly oversized, all things considered. I’ll wait before I make any definitive statements about the Tesla Model 3, but for now I’m expecting even that will have some sort of “frunk” under that hood. I’m betting the Model 3 will also see sub-4 second acceleration, too.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            The Bolt’s battery pack weighs almost exactly twice as much as the one in my 2015 Volt, yet has 3.6 times the capacity.

            I’d call that *progress*.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    In related news,

    “A brutal new year selloff in oil markets deepened on Monday, with prices plunging more than 6 percent to new 12-year lows as further ructions in the Chinese stock market threatened to knock crude into the $20s.”
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      silverw126

      Yes, the price of oil continues to drop, but after owning an EREV (Gen 1 and Gen 2 Volt), it’s not just the price of oil anymore. For me, it’s the drive experience. Smooth and quiet. Can’t beat the maintenance (oil change is every 2 years or 40K miles from our driving). Only other real fluids to change is coolant and brake fluid at 150K. $45 of electricity gets us 1400 miles at TOU rates (PG&E EV-A rate). Haven’t bought gas in 3 months; many public chargers are also free. A pure EV like a Bolt will be even better–no oil changes at all. Tire rotations, filters, and brake/coolant fluids at likely over 100K. Probably no need to replace brake pads/rotors, as the car “regens” to brake.

      It will take time for people to get used to this idea. And yes, there are still a lot of haters out there (for both GM and EVs). But just 2 years ago I never thought I’d ever own a GM product either. Now I have both Gen 1 and Gen 2 Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Amen to that. I’m a lifelong motorhead, but the wife and I replaced our luxobarge wagon with a Ford C-Max hybrid and our sports coupe with a full-electric Fiat 500e. The Fiat has made raving fans of us: cannonballing into any traffic opening with instant torque, dumping zero tailpipe pollution into our neighborhood, handling better than its ICE cousin, and never requiring us to touch a grimy-ass gas pump. It’s a gleeful, tire-spinning little hooligan and we look for any excuse to drive it. Frankly we don’t give a damn what the price of oil is: we’d like our next vehicles to be electric regardless.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “The Fiat has made raving fans of us: cannonballing into any traffic opening with instant torque, dumping zero tailpipe pollution into our neighborhood, handling better than its ICE cousin,…”

          The lower CofG probably does it, but I’ve had no squawks about the handling of my ICE version. Now if the 500e only had more range… I think Fiat is ignoring an opportunity if they don’t at least consider Tesla as a partner in their future electrification. As it is, FCA is refusing to even consider anything non-hybrid except for compliance purposes and I think that’s a big mistake now that so many more states have adopted California’s CARB rules.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Yep: lower center of gravity, plus nearly even front-rear weight distribution, longer-travel springs, and frankly more weight, which greatly reduces bobbing on the highway. To ensure it still understeers a bit for safety, the 500e has staggered wheel sizes — wider in the rear.

            To stay competitive in the next couple of years, the 500e needs DC Fast Charging capability, and triple-digit range *without* an acceleration penalty. The 87 mile EPA rating is quite conservative, but a 100-120 mile EPA rating plus DCFC would greatly expand the uses of the car, especially now that DCFC stations are popping up. I correspond occasionally with a key engineer from the 500e project, and he says the 500e was originally designed with DCFC capability, but it was dropped in part because the SAE connector wouldn’t fit in the stock gas filler neck opening!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Guess you could always use an adaptor, but I understand what you mean.

            Of course, that’s one reason why I’m interested in what the Tesla Model 3 is going to look like. Then again, by the time they’re ubiquitous, I’ll probably not be driving any more. (I dread that time because I still enjoy driving.)

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    A foot-wide engineered blind spot at each rear corner?

    At least do the Cube’s wrap-around window opposite the driver’s side.

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