The 2023 Chevy Bolt EV is still America’s best-rated EV so far

Longtime Electrek readers will know that I rented a Chevy Bolt EV from 2017 until the pandemic and absolutely loved that electric blue “Micro-SUV” EV; we’ve already seen his sister, EUV with Super Cruise. But given recent events, GM has cleared the battery “problem” and lowered the price by $6000, and introduced the 2023 model year – as well as the opportunity for a tax cut refresh – I thought it would be nice to look back on the sub-now. $30,000 EUV Bolt.

Back to Bolt

I’ve driven one version or another of this car since returning to CES in January 2016. Back then, it was a prototype, and we were among the first to actually drive it. We weren’t allowed on the street, just a large parking lot, but it soon became apparent that there was some great engineering and packaging work being done here.

Just for nostalgia, here’s a prototype of the 2015 Bolt:

Chevy actually built the Bolt EV and delivered the first unit in late 2016. I got mine on the east coast in early 2017 and fell in love with the ultra-small form factor “Micro Crossover.”

I love it so much, I even wrote some blasphemies like “10 things I love about the Chevy Bolt EV vs Tesla Model S.” When my 3 year lease ran out, I tried to buy a Bolt, but GM somehow wanted to charge me more than the new one so I passed. I also don’t want to go through Chevy dealer hell again to get a new one.

So I wrote a retrospective and moved on, but of course, GM wasn’t done with the Bolt.

As soon as GM didn’t want to sell my Bolt, they started the Bolt battery and started buying it back and stopping production. I dodged the bullets there.

EUV . Bolt

The Bolt EUV is also launching in February 2021, and we’re doing our first test run. The six-inch longer EUV provides more room inside, including an additional three inches of legroom in the rear seats. That extra length/reduced height also makes the Bolt EUV more like a crossover SUV than the Bolt EV which is more like a hatchback than a “Micro Crossover”. The drive train remains the same, so the larger EUV is less than a second 0-60 slower and has slightly reduced range.

  • Chevy Bolt EV . Range – 259 miles on a full charge
  • EUV . Chevy Bolt Range – 247 miles on a full charge

Perhaps most importantly, GM saw fit to include optional Super Cruise Autonomous driving in the EUV. It must be configured at purchase and the camera/equipment already installed, however, so cannot be added later like Tesla Autopilot/FSD.

Otherwise, EUVs are great for a cheap EV, which are few and far between these days. 0-60 in six seconds isn’t lightning fast, but it’s respectable. The second Bolt seat improves dramatically in 2022, and I’m not one of those who hated the early Bolt seats – the whole interior is much nicer.

Bolt EV and EUV – Fun and practical

Perhaps the most important aspect of the Bolt experience is how easy it is and how nice it is to have. You can turn the turn, shoot it at the green light and park easily. The hatchback means it’s easy to load and there’s plenty of room at the back. Four adults fit nicely in the EUV or EV as well as 3 kids in the back.

Bonus, in the 3 years I’ve had it, it doesn’t need to be serviced even once. Obviously no oil changes but also no brakes, tune ups, tires etc.

Bolt EV brings fat tire ebike with rear seat facing up

EUV Bolt issue 2023 much the same from 2017

Unfortunately, EUV is still having a lot of the problems I had with the Bolt in 2017. Most notably:

  • DC fast charging speed: 54kW enabling 100 miles in 30 minutes and 160 miles in one hour. In 2017, most DC fast charging is 50kW so this is not a big deal. Today, it is.
  • Front wheel drive, low resistance tires, wheels spin easily in rain/snow gravel.
  • There is no AWD option. Putting even a 50hp electric motor on the rear wheels and charging a few thousand extra for a faster Bolt capable of handling snow would open up a much bigger market for the Bolt. Chevy doesn’t do this.
  • Shift button: In 2017, the Bolt has a derailleur that doesn’t provide tactile feedback but looks like a regular derailleur. In 2022, with the Bolt EUV, Chevy turned shifters into buttons. Drive and Reverse are push buttons, while Park and Neutral are push buttons (see below) – I really don’t like this decision but get used to it. One nice thing is that for us single-pedal drivers, there is a single-pedal drive button that keeps the driver’s preference even after turning off the car.

Wireless CarPlay/Android Auto is a big step

One of the bigger improvements to the Bolt is the CarPlay/Android Auto experience. The 10.2-inch screen is not only bigger, it’s noticeably brighter and things like maps really stand out. The touch screen is also much more accurate.

However, the biggest change is that Carplay/Android Auto now works wirelessly, meaning you can leave your phone in your pocket or place it in the cleverly designed wireless charging port and see the charging status on the screen. In my tests, Wireless CarPlay worked almost flawlessly on the Bolt EUV with little time lag when changing songs.

The Bolt retains the ability to change songs and volume behind the wheel, although the buttons have changed somewhat. Once you get used to this, the Bolt’s ergonomics are fantastic.

EUV bolts vs. EV

There are some notable differences between the two cars including the already discussed 6-inch length and SuperCruise.

Basic price:

  • EV Bolt: $25,600
  • EUV bolt: $27,200

Storage space is very similar considering the extra six inches in length. Surprisingly though, being taller, the shorter EV actually has more cargo space volumetrically.

  • EUV bolt: 16.3 ft³, 56.9 ft³ with seating area
  • EV bolt: 16.6 ft³, 57 ft with seating area

Electrek Pickup

I highly recommend the Chevy Bolt to anyone shopping for an EV in the $30,000 or below price bracket. In fact, there isn’t much else to consider in the US market. Nissan Leaf has the same price but lower range, fast charging Chadamo and slower. The $35,000 Kia Niro/Hyundai Konas is less agile (yes it’s 0-60 times similar) and more expensive (though it’s faster). The rest of your options are Teslas (which don’t age well) and other early EVs like the Jaguar i-pace/Audi E-Trons or compliance cars. Even the Mazda MX-30EV with an all-100 mile range, is more expensive at $33,500.

The biggest question you may have is EV or EUV, and I may have a surprising answer for you. I recommend an EV over an EUV UNLESS you need the extra three inches of backroom or the Super Cruise, which I prefer (but also a $25/month subscription after three years). The Bolt EV is very roomy for its footprint, and there’s actually less cargo space in the EUV.

The EV is also $1600 less than the base EUV price. What’s even more interesting is that depending on whether the new law passes by the US congress, it might make the Bolt a car under $20,000. A lot of bad stuff will be in the details there, and it’s likely that GM will raise the price again if it passes.

However, you can’t go wrong with purchasing the Bolt EV now.

Click here to find the lowest price on BoltEV in your local area

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