An Unparalleled Electric Car Bargain

In an landscape, electrified automotive, there has been a predominant focus on higher-end, more expensive vehicles. These high-dollar EVs – which often come with more attractive profits – allow automakers to absorb the increased cost associated with developing and building electric vehicles.

An understandable business move for certain, however, it leaves many would-be buyers left with questions. When will electric cars become more affordable? And even if they could afford it, the next question almost immediately goes to range, and how would the average layperson be able to keep an electric vehicle charged up? All of this leads us to the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Key Features

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Bose Audio
  • Wireless Android Auto
  • Wireless Phone Charging

  • Model: Bolt EV
  • Engine/Motor: Electric
  • Horsepower: 200
  • Torque: 266 Lb-Ft
  • Drivetrain: FWD
  • Transmission: Direct-Drive
  • Range: 259 miles

  • Cheapest EV On Sale In The US
  • Free Home Charger Installation Included
  • Solid Range

  • Interior Feels A Bit Cheap
  • Some Features Locked In More Expensive Bolt EUV Model

The Dollars And Sense Behind The Chevrolet Bolt

Since its debut in 2017, the Bolt has represented the least expensive point of entry to the world of electrified vehicles from parent company General Motors. It also has benefited from a steady stream of updates since, including increased range from a larger electric battery pack and a flurry of stylistic and technological updates, inside and out.

The biggest update of all, however, comes for the fast-approaching 2023 model year, which, thanks to an aggressive pricing strategy by Chevrolet, means that the Bolt EV is officially the least expensive electric car on sale in the United States, with pricing starting at an unbelievable $26,595. That is more than two-grand cheaper than a Nissan Leaf, four-grand cheaper than a Mini Cooper Electric, and almost half the price of a base model Tesla Model 3.

In what Chevy claims is an effort to stay competitive, the Bolt’s $26K price point represents a $5,900 price reduction compared to the MSRP of an equivalent 2022 model, and with numbers that large at play, there’s a good reason as to why.

The Federal Government has been offering up to a $7,500 tax credit to buyers of certain electrified vehicles, of which just about every EV and plug-in hybrid vehicle qualifies for. This means that come tax time, buyers with tax liability can use that credit to reduce what they owe to the Fed. Of note, the US Department of Energy maintains a list of qualifying vehicles, and the exact amount of credit they qualify for.

The asterisk here is that the program is only for the first 200,000 electric vehicles sold by a manufacturer, a figure that Chevrolet’s parent company GM has long since sailed past. Without the financial appeal of an available tax credit and the associated idea of ​​“free money” on the table compared to other brands, Chevrolet’s Bolt EV began to look a bit less appealing.

Related: 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line e-AWD Review: A Game-Changer In The EV MarketLess appealing than that, however, was a string of battery failures and resulting in electrical fires that necessitated the recall of every Bolt EV model sold, and subsequent replacement of the affected power units.

So in an effort to generate goodwill, Chevrolet has opted to lop the price right off the front end of the Bolt. The $5,900 price cut stands to benefit more buyers than the tax credit, as fewer people will have $7,500 worth of tax liability in one year, but everyone can take advantage of the new, reduced price. Chevrolet is also retroactively applying this price to existing 2022 models in dealership showrooms, meaning that buyers don’t have to explicitly wait for 2023 models, which are arriving by Summer’s end. Recent Bolt EV buyers who were unable to take advantage of this new pricing will also be receiving rebate checks in the mail directly from the GM. As far as brownie points go, Chevrolet is certainly earning a lot of them with this move.

What Do You Get for $26-Grand?

The Bolt EV is a practical four-door hatchback powered by a string of battery packs located on the floor of the vehicle, which power a single electric motor that sends 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. The battery pack got an upgrade in 2020 from a 60 kWh unit to a larger 65 kWh pack, improving the claimed range from 238 to 259 miles.

Related: 10 Things To Know Before Getting The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EVA 120-volt charging cable is standard equipment, which allows Bolt owners to plug in to regular wall outlets. Like all EVs, this is not the recommended way to regularly charge, as the charge rate is a paltry 4 miles of range per hour of charge, approximately.

A dual-use charging cable that supports both 120V and 240V is available for just $295, and it is an optional extra that everyone seriously considering buying a Bolt EV should go for.

The Bolt supports both AC and DC fast charging, the two common types of charging infrastructure found in the wild, but the reason why buyers should opt to pick up that $295 enhanced cable for personal use is because Chevrolet is offering complimentary home-charging installations. These “Level 2” AC chargers will juice up the Bolt EV at a rate of approximately 20 miles of range per hour, meaning that an overnight charge will have the Bolt fully-charged and ready to go.

What Options Are Available?

Our tester is a fully-loaded Bolt EV 2LT trim. This means it has features like heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and thanks to a $595 infotainment package upgrade features a 7-speaker Bose audio system and wireless phone charging. That seems like a great option box to tick. Interestingly, some features that you might expect, like a sunroof, are only available in the larger and more expensive Bolt EUV.

The Bolt’s interior has also received periodic updates throughout the years, and this latest model sports a 10-inch infotainment display with the most recent GM interface that is straight-forward and easy to use, as well as having functionality like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as standard.

Disappointingly for some, the Bolt EV is only available with a black interior color scheme, which can feel a bit drab, especially with some interior bits feeling a bit plasticky and cheap, but for just $30,265 fully-loaded, there is little complain about a practical EV that can seat four grown adults inside and have decent trunk space, to boot. The aforementioned Bolt EUV has an available two-tone interior combination, to lighten things up.

The Bolt Is A Solid Driver, Too

With a curb weight under 3,600-pounds, the Bolt is one of the lighter EVs around, and with its smaller footprint on the road, it feels pretty agile. The fact that all the batteries – the heaviest part of the equation – tuck into the floor means that the center of gravity is relatively low, further improving handling.

Related: 2022 BMW i4 eDrive40 Review: A True Competitor In The EV Segment

It’s no sports car, but with the ability to do the 0-60 mph dash in just 6.5-seconds, it’s certainly a spiritedly ride, especially around town with the immediate power delivery that electric cars have become known for.

An even bigger perk is the efficiency, as the Bolt EV returned an impressive 4.3 miles per kWh average efficiency, which is sort of the mpg equivalent in the EV world. Multiply 4.3 by the 65 kWh battery pack size and that works out to a theoretical max range of 279.5 miles, about 20-miles ahead of the claimed 259-mile range. Very impressive.

An Unbeatable Value – Electric Or Otherwise

A week behind the wheel of the Bolt EV showcased a very polished product from Chevrolet. The Bolt is quiet, comfortable, refined, and well-equipped, all for thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars less than other electric vehicles. Any nitpicks about the look and feel is easily forgiven by the unbeatable value that this represents. With the Bolt, Chevrolet has managed to build an electric car that has solid range, and removed the uneasiness newcomers to the world of electrified vehicles often have when it comes to charging, all at an unbelievable price, making it a clear winner.

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