July 17, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

The Mainstream Benchmark

If there were one Chevrolet model that we wish was sold in the Philippine market today, it would be the Bolt EV. It is currently not just the state of California’s favorite EV; it is also our most favored alternative fuel vehicle as well. The front-wheel-driven Chevrolet Bolt EV uses its own purpose-built BEV2 architecture platform using the liquid-cooled lithium-ion 60-kWh battery (equivalent to 1.9 gallons of gasoline) as a stressed member. The drag coefficient is .31 cd. The doors, hood, and tailgate are aluminum. In case you were wondering, the answer is no, the Bolt is not an electric version of the Trax or Spark.

With a genuine range of over 380-kilometers on a single full charge of electricity, the versatile Bolt EV crossover can sit 5 adults with supporting trunk space. It may not look much larger than a Honda Jazz or Kia Soul or even the Tesla Model 3 but it is, carrying more capacity than all three. It may even be smaller than the Toyota Mirai and Prius Prime but the Chevrolet still carries more people and cargo over more distance with one more significant bonus, dynamic thrust! The Tesla Model 3 is ultimately faster and offers even more range however, it also costs at least 25 % more despite what they say. We have yet to hear of any customer actually taking delivery of a Model 3 with their desired equipment at under $50k!

Our metallic Green Mist with dark galvanized grey interior Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier test unit was fully loaded with all the available options and still costed much less than the Tesla. It drove exemplarily well and rode very planted too. The ride was not clumsy or jarring even with the use of a rear torsion beam suspension combined with 215/50R17 91H Michelin Energy Saver A/S self-sealing tires.

In order to keep the Bolt EV as affordable as possible, there are still generous amounts of inexpensive interior materials applied to the minimalist but modern cabin. Sure, I wish that these bare plastic surfaces would have been covered with soft materials for even better acoustics and aesthetics, but I appreciate the thoughtful execution nonetheless. The equipment on our test unit featured the standard colored and crisp 10.2-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, proximity-key entry and push-button start, 4G LTE with mobile Wi-Fi, leather, heated front and rear seats, roof rails, a color 8-inch Driver Information Center for your instrument needs, a 360-degree-view camera system, a neat rearview camera mirror, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, great sounding 7-speaker Bose® stereo, wireless phone charging, LED headlights and taillights, multiple USB ports, a host of active safety measures, quick-charging connector that enables the battery to be charged up to 144 kilometers of range in 30 minutes, over-the-air software updates, and more!

Until the Bolt, our desired peppy and preppy EV was the BMW i3. And guess what, the Chevy walks away from the German while having more load capacity and range! Yes, the BMW i3 is more driver centric and handles ultimately better but Chevy makes up for that with so much more relentless thrust, comfort, and range which translates to better driver enjoyment over longer distances. The power is so good that the governed 152 km/h top speed comes up comparatively as quick as a Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupé! Do these juvenile antics enough times for kicks and giggles and battery range will obviously take a hit, but not as bad as you would think. Passing and merging on the highway is effortless. If you are still not persuaded about electric propulsion taking over traditional combustion engines to curb air pollution and stretch your hard-earned money, then the Bolt will give you the driver shock that you needed to be convinced.

Unless you genuinely have a naturally charismatic sounding powerplant in your car, it is very easy to get used to the uniquely robotic sounds that an EV makes. The old birthing pains of EV behavior on the road are almost gone. The Bolt’s steering is quick and accurate, and once you get accustomed to managing the auxiliary regenerative braking system with the paddle on the left side of the steering wheel, you can drive mostly using just the throttle. The Chevrolet Bolt is the most convincing fully EV car in the market. It is far more entertaining and versatile compared to the top-spec new Nissan Leaf with considerably more range as well.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 200 hp
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 266 lb-ft
Transmission 1-Speed Direct Drive

Performance

Top Speed 152 km/h (95 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 6.7 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) MPGe 128 City / 110 Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 43,510.00
What's Great Good looking, strong overall performance, great packaging, more compelling than a Tesla, fun and practical.
What's Not So Not available in our market yet, seriously conservative speed governor, full charge from empty at 240V takes 9.5 hours.
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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