Make / Model Search

Future models - Chevrolet - Bolt

CES: GM’s Bolt out of the blue

Vegas show: GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra talks up the new electric Chevrolet Bolt in Las Vegas.

All-electric Chevrolet Bolt to get 320km range when it hits the road in late 2016


Click to see larger images

7 Jan 2016

GENERAL Motors has revealed the production version of its first mass-produced all-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, and confirmed a driving range of up to 320km when it starts rolling from the assembly line in late 2016.

This is more than double the range of the pioneering BMW i3 that, under United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test regime, is credited with a range of 130km.

However, would-be Australian buyers should not get too excited, as GM’s five-door, five-seat car is not confirmed for right-hand drive at this stage.

GM Holden product communications senior manager Kate Lonsdale told GoAuto that the Bolt was aimed at North America, and that no export markets had been announced.

Describing the vehicle as “a really interesting product”, Ms Lonsdale did not rule out Australian sales entirely, saying: “If it was made in right-hand drive, you would take a good look at it, and see if the business case could be made.”

GM’s other electrified vehicle, the range-extender Volt, is being made only in left-hand drive in its second generation, meaning Holden misses out.

The original Bolt concept – shown a year ago at the 2015 Detroit motor show – was designed in the United States but built at Holden’s design studio in Port Melbourne, alongside the Buick Avenir large sedan concept that made its first appearance at the same Detroit show.

Chevrolet chose the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas to reveal the production version of the Bolt, with GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra doing the honours.

Ms Barra said the Bolt would be equipped with technologies to allow car sharing – a subject close to GM’s heart as evidenced by its recent $US500 million ($A685m) alliance with car-sharing company Lyft.

“The Bolt EV is capable of using the latest mobile app technology to enable car sharing, advanced GPS routing ... all designed to enhance the ownership experience now and into the future,” Ms Barra said in a prepared statement.

Although the overall concept and dimensions appear to be faithful to the show car, the production Bolt has a substantially different face, with a large black lower grille.

The top “grille” is completely sealed in what appears to be black plastic, presumably to aid aerodynamics.

Designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, the Bolt has its battery pack sandwiched in the floor, raising the seating positions while opening up the interior and giving designers opportunity to play with creative layouts.

Looking more like a small crossover vehicle than a traditional hatch, the Bolt has a tall glasshouse and sits on a 2600mm wheelbase – slightly longer than that of the Holden Barina.

The boot is said to hold 470 litres – more than other light hatches such as the i3 or Honda Jazz.

The charging port is hidden behind a flap just rear of the passenger-side back door, like a conventional petrol cap.

Full technical details have been withheld until launch, with no power or performance data revealed at this point, but GM says the vehicle’s driving power “comes from next-generation technology”, and that it crosses boundaries and challenges expectations.

Chevrolet managing director of design Stuart Norris said Bolt’s designers had been given a blank canvas for Bolt, using “a unique platform to recast EV design for customers across the spectrum”.

“The team answered the challenge with a progressive design distinguished by dramatic graphics and exceptional passenger space,” he said.

The designers dispensed with a conventional console connected to the dashboard, instead adopting what they call a “floating instrument panel” to maximise cross-vehicle spaciousness. Thin-frame seats also contribute to this roominess, even though they incorporate side airbags.

The console between the seats has the transmission selector, twin cup-holders and a wireless charging port for mobile phones.

Like EVs from other manufacturers, GM has chosen blue as a signature ambient lighting colour for Bolt’s cabin. The trim is metallic white, contributing to “a fresh, bright colour palette that emphasises the open passenger environment”.

The instruments are fully electronic, while the dashboard sports a large LCD touchscreen.

The Bolt is not the first full-electric GM EV – that honour goes to the 1999-2002 EV1. However, that car was leased, not sold, and with limited production.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Chevrolet models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here