Peel back the Chevy Bolt’s androgynous design, and you’ll find a car with more than its share of electrons. In case you haven’t heard, this is a pure battery-powered electric with no combustion to drive you home when the juice runs low. But don’t fret; thanks to its ample electron supply, the Bolt offers a claimed 200-mile range. There’s also plenty of space for passengers and their stuff, and the Bolt’s attitude is highly congenial. We discovered that last item on a 50-mile drive with the Bolt’s chief engineer, Josh Tavel, riding shotgun, absorbing our barrage of questions.
First Drive: 2020 Chevrolet Bolt, The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt is being delivered to Canadian showrooms this month. The starting MSRP price is $44,998, plus freight and air tax, and before any government incentives. – News from driving.ca –
Jab the accelerator, and the Bolt makes good on its name. Chevy says it reaches 60 mph in less than seven seconds, which is quicker than every other pure electric we’ve tested except the BMW i3 and the Tesla Roadster, Model S, and Model X. That said, the seats of our pants suggest that seven seconds may be conservative. Right pedal down, this front-drive hatchback tears out of the hole and scratches for traction in bends. With 266 lb-ft of torque available at just above zero rpm and multiplied seven times by reduction gears, the Bolt has no difficulty going with the flow.
According to Tavel, the 200-hp motor’s output had to be trimmed at times to diminish torque steer. While passing a tractor-trailer outside GM’s Milford proving grounds, we feel exactly what he’s talking about. Those who summon all the loose electrons for acceleration will need more than a couple of pinkies on the steering wheel.
Tavel is still tweaking various calibrations since Bolt production and sales are months out, but he’s clearly proud of what his development team has achieved. This 37-year-old engineer began amateur competition at age five on BMX bikes and continued with minimal interruption to his current SCCA Spec Racer Ford campaign. A deeply ingrained racing mentality may be why Tavel hated to sacrifice any torque to diminish tugs on the steering wheel, and why the Bolt’s every motion is well managed when you toss it around. Without imposing harshness, the ride is firm to help keep body roll in check during full-boogie maneuvers. The low-rolling-resistance Michelin Energy Saver A/S 215/50R-17 tires absorb patched pavement without recoil and break away gently when tasked with a surprise lane change. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Marc Urbano