Chevy Bolt is Paving the Way to an Electric FutureBy Lavanya Sunkara
Mar. 25 2020, Published 3:14 p.m. ET
The all-new 2020 Chevy Bolt EV glides into the future in expressive colors like Oasis Blue and Cayenne Orange Metallic, boosting the automaker’s longest battery range. You can drive this dynamic electric car up to 259 miles on a single charge. To test the range and to experience its newest features, I embarked on a South Florida road trip, starting from the first (and only) solar-powered town in the country, Babcock Ranch near Fort Myers, across the Everglades, to the sandy shores of Miami.
The Bolt EV is Chevrolet’s first all-electric vehicle and debuted in 2016. It was awarded the North American Car of the Year and Green Car of the Year in 2017. The 2020 model, starting at $36,620, offers technical advancements in RoD (Regen on Demand) one-pedal driving, AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System), WiFi connectivity, and Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile phone integration. Best of all, the Rear Vision and Surround Vision Cameras provide peace of mind for a safer driving experience. Inside, the car is quiet, while exterior speakers alert pedestrians to its presence. These features, combined with a spacious interior and ample trunk storage, made the 176-mile journey through the Sunshine State a breeze.
With a 21-mile increase in range compared to previous EV models, I put range anxiety out of my mind. The front dashboard indicates the minimum and the maximum number of miles the car can travel on the current charge, determined by an algorithm based on the driver’s habits and the type of terrain. Also, to support popular apps like Google Maps and Spotify via phone integration, the color touchscreen provides real-time diagnostics on battery levels, estimated range, and charging settings. Regen on Demand one pedal driving regenerates energy when you let go of the gas pedal to slow down and stop without using the brake pedal, allowing you to conserve energy in Low mode. The brake lights still come on to indicate braking. The ability to easily toggle between Drive and Low mode at any speed made for an even more sustainable driving experience.
The myChevrolet Mobile App was the perfect sidekick, arming me with real-time information on charging stations and battery status. The app turns your phone into a vehicle command center, with controls to lock and unlock doors, start and shut down the car, and activate the lights. It also helps with planning your trip, suggesting the most efficient route for your journey.
There are three ways to charge the Chevy Bolt EV. Basic Level 1 comes standard and allows you to simply plug into a 120-volt three-prong outlet to charge the car, typically overnight or while at work. Basic Level 2 is available at public spaces, and can be installed in your garage, and gives approximately 25 miles of charge hourly. The fastest method is DC Fast Charge, which charges up to 100 miles in just a half-hour.
After charging the vehicle overnight at Hyatt House in Naples, I set out on the road. Although I didn’t need extra juice, it was nice to plug in the car at a complementary station in Babcock Ranch. Driving an all-new electric car to gaze upon the 400-acre Solar Farm at Babcock Ranch, where solar panels stretched beyond the horizon, it suddenly dawned on me: the future is here.
Range: 259 miles on a full charge
Top Speed: 93 mph
Energy: 66 kWh
Maximum Power: 200 horsepower
Transmission: Single motor and gear set
Length: 164 inches
Width: 69.5 inches
Height: 62.8 inches
Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Storage: 56.6 cubic feet
Originally published in Bleu Magazine Issue #65