By on July 26, 2017

Chevrolet Bolt glare reflection, Image: Steve M.]

Last week, TTAC’s Bozi Tatarevic *cough* shed light on an issue facing owners of certain high-end Chevrolet Bolt EVs. In top-shelf Premier trim, the little hatchback offers airy Light Ash Gray and Ceramic White interiors, complete with an equally light-colored dash.

Unfortunately for buyers living in areas not perpetually enshrouded in fog, rain clouds, or 24-hour shadows, the reflection of sunlight off the palest dash is best described as retina-searing. A whiter shade of pale. The Trinity Test at 0.00001 seconds. In sunny climes, it’s nothing short of a serious safety issue, which explains complaints sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Short of wearing 1950s welder’s goggles bought at a Defence Department yard sale, a practice fraught with its own safety issues, owners are left figuring out a solution on their own. After we published the story, one owner reached out to show us just how bad the Bolt can be.

The owner, “Steve M,” who hails from sunny California and has filed a complaint to the NHTSA, claims to have driven hundreds of vehicles over the years, but, in his words, has never seen glare this extreme. Steve’s photos show the extent of the glare when the sun is high in the sky.

Bolt drivers may as well be facing a whiteboard, not a windshield.

In Steve’s words:

I fully understand that many cars have glare to some extent. With the low angle of windshields, there is really no good way around it. Even the Bolt with the darker dash does reflect some. However, it is nowhere near as severe as the light-colored dash. Depending on where and how bright the sun is, the issue can span from annoying to blinding. At times, very dangerous!

Chevrolet Bolt dash glare, Image: Steve M.

As seen on Chevy Bolt fan forums, owners have begun crafting makeshift rugs for their vehicle’s dashtop. In Steve’s case, a gray cloth spread out across the dash provides a decent, if unsightly, remedy for the issue. You can see the “ridiculous” cloth  in the photos above and below.

For this owner (who took delivery of his new Bolt on a cloudy, rainy day) suggestions from commenters aren’t of much help:

Yes, polarized sunglasses help, but I for one do not always like to wear sunglasses in certain light and sometimes you forget them. Suggesting sunglasses as a solution for this issue is like buying a new boat with a leak, and the fix is to just buy rubber boots to keep your feet dry…

Many are suggesting glass film, paint, dash covers, etc. The bottom line is that the dark dash does not reflect anywhere near as much. This is a relatively simple fix for Chevy.  Just replace the the light dash with the darker. It’s my understanding that the light dash is more rare so there are not as many out there to replace. In fact, they have not sold that many Bolts overall! Now is the time to resolve the issue.

When asked about the issue, Steve’s dealer suggested a dash cover. Apparently, only one company makes one that fits, and it’s not of the highest quality. “This is an issue in itself as there are sensors, vents, speakers, displays and not to mention airbags that could be impacted by a ‘tacky dash cover,'” Steve said of the prescribed cover.

He’s since asked the dealer to speak with the regional manager.

We contacted several General Motors representatives before publishing our first too-sunny Bolt story, only to never hear back. Hopefully Steve, as well as other owners, has better luck finding a solution for this problem.


[Images: Steve M.]

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37 Comments on “I (Can’t) See Clearly Now: Chevrolet Bolt Owner Struggles to Fix His Dash’s Blinding Glare...”

  • avatar

    I don’t want to be crass, but how does this kind of Sierra Hotel Indigo Tango make it into production? These cars go through multiple build levels and each one is flogged to death on test, and subjected to ride and drive / evaluations all the way from the lowly engineers up to executives, for 2+ years. And nobody complained about this until they reached the customer?

    It’s inexcusable.

  • avatar

    Like I said in the last article, I don’t drive (or even go outside) without my polarized sunglasses. I may as well be Johnny Bravo.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve got transitions lenses but my dad spent a few years wearing polarized and mirror tinted sunglasses whenever he was outside.

      Mom: I hate those glasses. I can’t see your eyes.

      Dad: That’s the idea.

      • 0 avatar
        Shane Rimmer

        PrincipalDan, I have transitions lenses as well, but the windshield, and even the visor of my motorcycle helmet, blocks too much of the UV light for them to darken.

        As an aside, it’s good to know a bit more about Boss No Eyes’ family life…

    • 0 avatar

      The same here. My sunglasses are prescription, since I need glasses to drive and simply never bothered with contact lenses.

      They are polarized, and I often forget that. So when I’m looking at water and can see fish, my wife and kids often ask how I can see that stuff. I suspect that the glare in my car is worse than average with a dash color that is officially called “Cardmom” (which can be seen in the link below). It takes some effort to keep it clean, and looks nice, and is darker than the Bolt’s dash. But if I had contacts or could use cheap sunglasses, I think I’d have a similar problem.

      Does the angle of the windshield play a factor?

    • 0 avatar

      “Whoa, momma!”

      I couldn’t drive my fourth gen Trans Am without polarized shades. The dash was so huge (and the windshield at such an angle) that reflections were always an issue. It had a medium-gray dash, too. I never put any shiny protectants on the dash, which made it worse. God forbid if you knew someone who armor-alled it, they’d be screwed. I still wear shades whenever I’m driving in the sun, even though my Mazda 3’s dash is much less reflective.

      Until GM fixes these light dashes (which they should) I’d recommend this reader use a pair of polarized shades. Their entire existence is to cut out reflections on glass and other surfaces.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Polarized sunglasses really do seem like the most practical and elegant workaround… and while I also think GM should have done its homework here, I found “Steve’s” dismissal of this obvious solution to be somewhat odd and off-putting.

      In-vehicle displays have evolved to where they’re still visible with polarized glasses, and I’ve found I can even see my car’s HUD well enough when wearing them. Besides, you should basically wear sunglasses outside whenever the sun is shining to reduce UV damage that leads to cataracts, etc.

  • avatar

    This one seems like it’ll end up in a recall, but perhaps only after someone crashes and is injured in a high trim Bolt.

  • avatar

    Saw a documentary on the design of the 6 series and I remember an interior designer wanted a continuous piece on the top of the dash, in a light color. The idea was rejected because of intense reflections.

    This is a very poor design choice by GM. There is software that OEM’s can use to simulate sun glare on interior components, GM should have used that. There was such a software featured on Autoline years ago but I forget what it’s called.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The Trinity Test at 0.00001 seconds.”

    “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

    I agree with Corey – this dash will be recalled, replaced, and never offered again. I’m sure they’re already working on the field action plan. It’s an embarrassing blunder by GM.

  • avatar

    Much appreciated subject that you had brought to the public and this follow up posting, especially with the 3 pictures to highlight the difference, is especially helpful.

  • avatar

    Whether it’s ignition switches, timing chains, or dashboards, GM has a real knack for reviving issues that had been solved industry-wide ages ago. They might want to find a way to stop doing that.

    • 0 avatar

      Chrysler is very good at this too. (The ZF shifter debacle, or the 4-cylinders with only 1/2 a thrust bearing.)

      Oh, on the list for GM, you forgot cost-cutting the corrosion protection for brake, transmission, and fuel lines in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Wait, I almost forgot the lack of body seam sealing in the 2000s Equinox. Hmm, there are probably more if we think for a while…

      • 0 avatar

        our 99 Buick Century had the brake lines rot through in 10 years…damn pedal went right to the floor without warning. Fortunately it happened in the driveway. How can a company beancount a critical item like a brakeline? Is there no moral obligation on the part of the company? Can’t imagine what would happen in places with real winter. FWIW the brake lines on the 92 Mercury, which we still have, are original.

        • 0 avatar

          all reminders why the CamCorXimas took over the midsize market starting in the early 90s. It was just too easy.

        • 0 avatar

          Haha, my experience was very similar. A family member had the Olds Intrigue version (also a 1999), and it took about 12 years before the brake line popped without warning. (It had rotted through right over the rear axle, where you can’t see it.) Again, it was in the driveway, fortunate for the driver. That car also had a transmission line replaced. The fuel lines looked like they were not long for this world, either.

          My 1990 Thunderbird, in contrast, has lines that still look almost corrosion free, after 27 Northeast winters.

          The extreme difference in corrosion resistance compared to contemporary cars tells me that GM did something different deliberately, and they were at fault there. The NHTSA chose to be nice (to GM, not to us) and didn’t make them recall everything they made for a decade. Woo-hoo.

  • avatar

    The photos point out how bad it is. Quite severe.

    I live in the absolute heart of EV land – SF Bay Area. Teslas are as common as Chevys here (almost). I have seen very few Bolts relatively. Wonder how many dashes GM would have to replace, particularly if this is only in high end trim

  • avatar

    Black DashMat to the rescue?–DLBRCNARIsAFIwR24SVVsOInQYlW7mwYVpOs7nDfI7yn9ScIve60Kxdf4Ed6-EMEW11Y0aAgHqEALw_wcB

    They list the Bolt EV, select LT or Premier. $39.99.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    And to think how much I complain about my Grand Cherokee’s black leather dash with it’s white stitching. That stitching goes straight across my field of vision and is extremely annoying in sunny weather. I considered taking a black Sharpie to it, but just decided to live with it until I traded it in on another one without the white dash stitching.

  • avatar

    Anyone in photography will tell you, that photo doesn’t show/prove much of anything.

    Photography through a window by an untrained hand (which is 98% of picture takers) can produce horrific reflections in the glass, which isn’t actually visible if you were standing at the same angle with your eyes.

    Both before and after pictures were taken using a pretty narrow-angle lens for starters, which by nature producers more reflection in glass photography.

    I could produce that before and after with a circular polarizing filter, without changing anything else.

    Doesn’t matter, we’ll have Glaregate coverage every day, all day, because…well because we’re covering any issue in the NHTSA complaint database with 2 mentions in it apparently.

  • avatar

    Just tank this slow selling anti American piece of excrement.

  • avatar

    Two words: flock it.

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