2017 Chevrolet Bolt's 238-Mile Range is a Shot Across Tesla's Bow

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2017 chevrolet bolt s 238 mile range is a shot across tesla s bow

After promising to surpass the storied 200-mile mark with its upcoming “affordable” electric car, General Motors has revealed that the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt will boast an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles.

The space-maximized EV’s long electric legs gives GM bragging rights over its chief rival, the Tesla Model 3.

Neither vehicle has hit driveways yet, though GM North America president Alan Batey claims the Bolt should “start to become available at Chevrolet dealerships later this year.” Batey’s wording lends credence to a much-debated report that claims substantial Bolt deliveries won’t begin until January of next year.

Regardless, the Bolt’s arrival comes nearly a year before the first Model 3 deliveries, anticipated in late 2017. Deliveries of Tesla’s mega-hyped $30,000 EV will go to the roughly 373,000 reservation holders first, meaning a new EV buyer with cash in hand would face a long wait. GM wants that buyer to hop in a cab and head to a Chevy dealer.

Tesla claims the Model 3’s range will be an estimated 215 miles, meaning the Bolt surpasses its independent rival by 23 miles. The least-expensive Tesla currently on the market — the Model S 60 — sports 210 miles of range. In the EV game, every extra mile of range is akin to horsepower figures during the 1960s muscle car wars.

While a 60 kWh battery pack provides plenty of juice, some of the Bolt’s range prowess comes via aggressive regenerative braking. Chevy has announced a “regen paddle” for the model, which allows drivers to brake using just a steering column-mounted lever, while at the same time sending as much captured power back to the battery as possible.

Tesla’s sedan models might have sex appeal, but the Bolt promises space appeal. The model’s designers aimed to provide compact-sized hatchback space on a subcompact footprint. Some aerodynamic slipperiness was sacrificed in the interest of boosting interior volume, but the impact on driving range doesn’t seem that great.

The automaker hasn’t released pricing, though it does maintain that the Bolt’s MRSP will come in just below $37,500, before a $7,500 federal tax credit.

[Image: General Motors]

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6 of 95 comments
  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Sep 14, 2016

    I wonder if the owners manual suggests the regen paddle not be used on slippery or gravel roads. Firm braking with just the front wheels is like asking to swap ends.

    • See 3 previous
    • JimZ JimZ on Sep 15, 2016

      @shaker when I had the Volt for a weekend, I think I did 60-70% of my braking with the paddle.

  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Sep 14, 2016

    How long will this take to charge on regularly available publich chargers? I frequently drive about a 170 mile trip so this car will comfortably be able to make the trip one way. However, I won't be able to charge it at either destination, so I would need to find a convenient not excessively time consuming way to charge it along the way (similar to Tesla's superchargers).

  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.