The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is a fully electric vehicle and has been growing in popularity in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Government incentives are provided to those who purchase electric vehicle, thus making the price of electric vehicles very alluring. Some employers will even match the savings, to encourage employees to go green.
I spent a day with Chevrolet Canada to test drive the Bolt EV up and down Highway 1 to test the range of the vehicle to bust any myths about electric vehicles. We made it to and from Squamish from Downtown Vancouver without sweating.
This car is in the small wagon vehicle class, but this car was anything but small. It has a clean-sheet design with crossover-like proportions.
Flat battery pack spans the entire length of the vehicle’s floor. Since the batteries are located underneath the car, this leaves plenty of trunk space. There is a false floor, so you can remove it and get more vertical height. If you push the back seats down, you have more space to carry more things around.
There’s lots of storage space between the driver and the passenger in the front seats. The “Floating” instrument panel and multipurpose, connected centre console has wireless phone charging and a compartment large enough to stow a tablet device. There are also 2 USB ports to enable Apple Car Play/ Android Auto.
The interface of the infotainment system is highly customizable and easy to use. The Bolt EV also is loaded with exterior facing cameras to help you park and see your surroundings clearly.
The vehicle is very well equipped with push-start ignition, it creates it’s own wi-fi hot spot, Bose sound system, active-safety technology, and heated rear seats. Some things that are missed are power seats and a sun roof, but it didn’t bother us.
One thing I noticed with the ample amount of leg room and head space in the back seat. If you’re tall, you don’t have to worry about your legs or head banging into the car.
There are 2 additional USB ports for the backseat for passengers to recharge any of their devices. It really comes in handy especially for road trips or when someone needs an emergency charge for their phone.
One of the other things I noticed was the texture and the panels in the car. It has many triangular patterns and when the light hits it, it gives it a shimmery effect.
On a full battery charge, you will get 383 km of range, which is amazing. With electric cars, you will notice how quiet the ride really is. Acceleration was smooth as well. Going up and down the highway with a quiet engine didn’t feel like we were going fast until I looked at the km/h.
One another cool feature that took me a while to understand is the Regen on Demand function. There is a paddle on the back of the steering wheel and it helps you break without wearing down on the breaks.
When you press down on it, it helps capture kinetic energy normally wasted during stopping situations and send energy back to the battery.
The electric shifter was very hard to use at first. There’s a button on the left side that you need to press to move the stick. To park, you just press the ‘P’ button. When you put the vehicle into Low mode, you have the ability to bring the vehicle to a complete stop without pressing the break. They call this one pedal driving. It will maintain a zero speed until the accelerator pedal is pressed.
At the end of your trip, you can see how efficiently you were driving the vehicle.
You can change the Bolt EV at home, at public charging stations or Super Fast DC charging station that can recharge the vehicle in 30 minutes. The first 2 options will take a few hours. You’ll still save money instead of purchasing gas, but you will have to plan trips more carefully to figure out where public charging stations are located. Infrastructure for charging stations is continually growing.
Overall, the range of 383 km on a full charge is very impressive compared to some other EVs out there. It starts at $37,795 MSRP, but with provincial incentives, it makes the Bolt EV even more affordable. If you are looking for a more eco-friendly vehicle, the Bolt EV is definitely it. It is packed with lots of technology feature to keep the kids entertained and stay very comfortable no matter how long the trips are. I really really enjoyed this vehicle and I would definitely recommend it to those who are in the market for an electric vehicle.