Chevy Bolt isn’t flashy, but it gets the job done
It epitomizes the Detroit-based automaker’s definition of a good car: it gets the driver and passengers where they need to be in the safest and most cost-effective way.
However, what the vehicle gets in bare-bones efficiency, it gives up in design and tech savvy.
This reporter took a Chevy Bolt on a test drive early this month on a 45-kilometer (28-mile) course from Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi, to Hyeri Art Village in Paju, Gyeonggi.
The driver’s seat is higher compared to that of other sedans or hatchbacks because the lithium-ion battery has been placed underneath the seats. While this feature might distract some people who are used to driving a sedan in which the driver’s seat is low, it actually felt convenient for this reporter because it helped secure a wider range of sight, similar to driving an SUV.
General Motors provides what’s called a one-pedal driving in its Bolt EV. Most internal combustion engine vehicles glide for a considerable amount of range when one’s foot is taken off the accelerator, but most electric vehicles stop almost immediately to transfer the kinetic energy back to the battery pack.
To support the one pedal driving function, the Bolt has added an extra gear setting on the gear shift that can generate a clean brake.
With the stick on the new setting “L,” the car instantly stops when one’s foot is taken off the accelerator. Drivers can also activate immediate braking with a designated paddle behind the steering wheel.
This function is certainly a wow factor because there is no comparable feature in any other electric vehicles in the market. Not to mention, this kind of braking might even extend the driving distance of the Bolt’s electric battery, which is already the longest-lasting in Korea’s EV market. It does require some practice for drivers, though, before they take the car out on congested urban streets.
While the battery’s functionality and long driving distance are laudable, the Bolt is not an eye-catching product in terms of design and technology. Its exterior resembles an enlarged version of the compact vehicle Spark, with a pointy and sturdy-looking frontal face and side lines pointing upward to give it a sportier side look.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at 47.8 million won ($42,000). With government subsidies for electric vehicles, it can go down to the 20 million won range.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]