Review and Test Drive: 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

By Jonathan Spira on 20 August 2020
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The Chevrolet Bolt, Detroit’s answer to the call for electric vehicles with sufficient range as to be useful for more than short trips and commutes, made its debut not at one of the major auto shows but at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.

That alone should be telling.

The Bolt is assembled in General Motor’s Orion Assembly plant in Michigan, which received a $160 million upgrade in order to produce the high-tech vehicle.  Its debut made headlines: An affordable EV with a range of 238 miles (383 kilometers).  Since then, competitors have emerged from Hyundai, Kia, and even Tesla, the latter with the Model 3.


Four years later, we wanted to check out what the Bolt has to offer – and that includes more technology, more features, and even greater range.


Let’s start with the number one question on every EV buyer’s mind: range.  Early EVs had a range of under 100 miles (160 kilometers), so buyers had to be both adventurous and resourceful.  Look how far we’ve come.

The Bolt’s updated 66-kilowatt-hour battery pack, up from 60 kWh, provides 259 miles (417 kilometers) of driving, per EPA estimates.  That’s a 9% increase, 21-mile (34-kilometer) and not an insignificant figure.  What’s equally impressive is that Chevrolet’s engineers accomplished this by increasing the energy density of the battery cells to boost the capacity of the battery pack from 60 kWh to 66, all without altering the physical battery pack.  This means that the size and weight both remained the same.

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