The Chevrolet Bolt Has a Glaring Problem

Bozi Tatarevic
by Bozi Tatarevic

General Motors is taking the slow and steady approach when it comes to sales of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which might be the right path for a highly complex new car. Reviews show it to be a well-composed vehicle with decent fit and finish but, like any new car, there are some teething issues.

Like many of the other models in its class, the Bolt’s windshield is shaped and angled to maximize the vehicle’s efficiency. It works well in most regards, but one aspect has proven troubling. In top-line Premier trim, the Bolt comes with an interior trimmed in what GM calls Light Ash Gray and Ceramic White, paired with a dashboard that is also (very) light gray in color. Due to the dash’s relatively smooth surface, this color combination causes significant glare on sunny days — to the point where certain owners don’t feel safe driving it.

We were tipped off to the issue by a couple of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and decided to check out some forums and owner groups to see how prevalent the problem really is.

This nine-page thread on ChevyBolt.org details the discovery of the issue in January of this year, along with some troubleshooting and various fixes attempted by owners. All of the reported cases appear to be Premer-trim cars with the same interior combination. Models with darker dashboards are not showing any issues.

The examples with corresponding photographs shot at eye level show just how bad the issue can be. In response, some owners have designed makeshift fixes to help reduce the glare. Some have resorted to placing black cloths or matte black decals on the dash while others turn to cheesy dash carpets made just to make their drives bearable. One owner even went as far as replacing the whole dashboard with a dark gray unit — a decision that ended up costing $2,500 at the dealer.

The two NHTSA complaints mirror the descriptions on the forum and request a new, darker dash. Some of the forum users speculate that the issue was missed during testing because the mules had a cover on the dash to hide the vehicle’s details.

All of the fixes so far have been completed by owners. We reached out to GM for comment, but the automaker has not yet issued a response.

[Image: General Motors]

Bozi Tatarevic
Bozi Tatarevic

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  • Thx_zetec Thx_zetec on Jul 23, 2017

    Highly sloped windshields are a pain. Besides glare . . . . 1. Greatly increases heat load on AC in hot sunny weather. Here in Arizona the car's AC is like Sisyphus, using car's power to push out large thermal load from hot dashboard. 2. Hard to clean: really a pain to get these large windshields clean. 3. Poor visibility from surface films: besides glare, a low angle windshield will have worse visibility under same dirtiness. CAFE means we have to compromise car design to squeeze out every last mpg, I'd rather have more reasonable angle on windshield.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jul 23, 2017

    So would a bordello red dashboard glare like that? What about avocado green? How about medium blue? Bring back malaise colored interiors!!!

  • 3SpeedAutomatic At this time, GM had a "Me Too" attitude towards engine development:[list][*]the Euro luxury brands have diesels, so can we via an Olds V8[/*][*]variable value timing, welcome to the brave new world of Cadillac V8-6-4[/*][*]an aluminum block V8 engine via the HT4100, the go-go 80's[/*][*]double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, no sweat, just like the Asian brands via NorthStar. [/*][/list]When you mindset is iron block and cast iron heads, life if easy. However, each time, GM failed to understand the nuances; intricate differences; and technical difficulty in each new engine program. Each time, GM came away with egg on its face and its reputation in ruin.If you look today, the engines in most Cadillacs are the same as in many Chevrolets. 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
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