With the Bolt’s win, Chevrolet now has the most electric vehicles on the Car of the Year list.
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt is that long-range affordable electric car that is (really) coming this year. Bolts are rolling off the line at Chevrolet’s Orion plant in Michigan and expected to arrive at dealers any day now.
The Bolt’s 238-miles of EPA-estimated range puts the car squarely in the lead among affordable battery-electric vehicles, and its price after incentives will be below the average transaction price for vehicles in America. However, those weren’t the only reasons that the Editors at Motor Trend Magazine chose the Bolt as the Car of the Year for 2017.
Motor Trend selects nominees and then narrows the field to those that are most worthy of consideration. Ultimately, the winning car needs to excel above the pack in six areas; safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function.
The Bolt’s win may have come down to winning big in at least three of these categories. Guest judge Chris Theodore summed up how well the Bolt advances the EV design and commented on its value by saying, “Simply put, it’s twice the car for half the price of a BMW i3.” In its overview of the awards, Motor Trend said of the Bolt’s combination of long range and low price, “By offering that range at that price, the Bolt EV has made just about every other electric vehicle on sale obsolete.” That the Bolt makes other battery-electrics seem almost ridiculously bad bargains is a concept that BestRide took the time to explain a recent feature story.
But what about “performance of intended function?” How did the editors at Motor Trend know that the Bolt was so good? Simple, really. The Bolt is a real car being made right here in the U.S. at Chevy’s Orion plant in Michigan. Chevy was able to offer the Motor Trend staff test time in a real Bolt. Pretty much all the news one hears every other automaker from Tesla to Jaguar releases is about future electric vehicles years away and never tested by the media. The Bolt is here, now, and it works exactly as advertised.
Motor Trend also paid the all-electric Bolt the highest compliment any EV can receive, saying “The most impressive thing about the Bolt EV is that there are no caveats and no ‘for an electric car’ qualifiers needed in any discussion. It is, simply, a world-class small car, and that’s before you factor in the benefits inherent in the smoothness, silence, and instant-on torque provided by the electric motor.” Angus MacKenzie, Motor Trend’s in-house tech guru for many years and International Bureau Chief for TEN: The Enthusiast Network, said Bolt the is, “…a roomy, practical, quiet, and comfortable compact hatchback; an energy-efficient small car; and a benchmark electric vehicle – all in one.”
The Bolt will bring affordability to the long-range EV market, but it also features many of the best practices that current EVs now have. For example, the Bolt will allow a driver to select her own preference for how aggressively the Bolt recoups energy while braking using paddle shifters. This melds driver involvement with an EV drivetrain. One pedal driving also allows drivers to rarely use the brakes if they choose, something Tesla owners have grown to love about their high-priced luxury EVs.
This award highlights just how far Chevy has come in EVs. The Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle is a prior winner of the Car of the Year Award. Thus, Chevy has the most EV wins of any automaker. Chevy’s Bolt is also its third EV for sale, which means Chevy will have more EV models for sale than Tesla and Nissan.
Perhaps most importantly, Chevy has positioned the Bolt for success. The production line that is presently making the Bolt can produce 90,000 vehicles per year. That is roughly double the current sales rate of battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. and almost triple the number of vehicles that Tesla can presently produce.
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