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The 2021 Chevy Bolt EV continues to push the narrative that America’s largest automaker sees Electric Vehicle (EV) technology as the future of modern automobile manufacturing. In its fifth model year of generation one, the Bolt EV continues its pursuit of category dominance. It offers original exterior styling in a crossover body style and the kind of range - 259 miles, to be exact - that puts to rest any lingering worries about practicality.
At a starting price of $36,500, the 2021 Bolt EV is an affordable gateway to all-electric technology. Its cute, hatchback-style exterior hints at a peppy driving experience, and the Bolt EV delivers just that. Perfect for urban dwellers or suburban highway commuters, The 2021 Chevy Bolt combines a surprisingly spacious interior with great exterior looks and performance that belies its all-electric powertrain.
The race to expand model lineups with highly-competent hybrid, hybrid plug-in, and all-electric powertrains continues to intensify, and while General Motors is making strides with the Bolt, the competition is stiff. Buyers demand not only hundreds of miles of range but also contemporary styling and interior comfort and convenience features that rival other, more luxurious vehicles. The Bolt delivers on all fronts, specifically with styling, finding a way to appeal to hatchback-lovers and crossover SUV fans alike.
It’s this unique cross-category positioning that helps the Bolt EV stand out and stand alone. Not only that but “Bolt” isn’t just a clever name: it’s a definition of how it performs. With great off-the-line performance, the Bolt also competes with traditional gas-powered cars in its class when it comes to delivering exceptional acceleration (from a stopped position) and highway-speed performance capability. This zippy little all-electric vehicle is the perfect entry into the world of EV power, and all without sacrificing the features that people love.
Buyers buy all-electric vehicles for one primary reason: efficiency. They’re done relying on traditional gas-powered engines and instead choose to embrace a technology that is rapidly catching up with its fossil fuel-dependent brethren in all ways that matter. There is no more sacrificing performance for good environmental stewardship, and the newer EVs deliver an impressive range, eliminating the argument that electric vehicles are inconvenient.
The 2021 Chevy Bolt EV delivers a 259-mile range via a 66-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which can charge in as little as two hours with the available DC fast-charging option, a must-have feature for protecting resale and maximizing convenience. DC fast-charging is notable because it’s the fastest method - versus Level 1 charging (120-volt capability) or Level 2 charging (240-volt capability) - at a 480-volt capability. So, you can spend a long time on the road without having to wait a long time for your car battery to charge up after.
How does that translate into distance and time-to-charge? A 120-volt charger gets you 4 miles of range per hour of charge, a 240-volt charger delivers a full charge in 10 hours, and the DC Fast Charge can charge 90 miles every 30 minutes. For 2021, the Bolt gets DC Fast Charging standard on the Premier trim and optional on the base LT trim level. Remember, a fully-charged Bolt EV gets a range of 259 miles and gets you there via an output of 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, a substantial amount of power.
Then there’s the matter of cost. According to the Department of Energy, fully charging a 66 kWh battery with a 200-mile range will run approximately $9, which is far cheaper than pumping a full tank of gas. The national average cost for a gallon of regular gas is $2.14, and the average fuel economy rating of a gas-powered compact car is 25 miles per gallon, so 200 miles of gas will run you nearly double the cost. One caveat: always compare the MSRP of both an EV and a competitive gas-powered vehicle to get the full picture on price. If you’re paying significantly more for an all-electric vehicle upfront, you’ll need to factor that into the overall cost-of-ownership. However, at a modest starting price, the Bolt EV is going to end up being a much better investment in the long run.
Chevy puts you in command of the 2021 Bolt EV via its myChevrolet mobile app with Energy Assist. The app turns your smartphone into a command center where you can access information like locating the nearest charging station (which is easy now that there are over 40,000 of them in the United States), current weather, and driving directions. The app also monitors the Bolt’s current charge level and integrates the EVgo app, making it easy to access when you pay for a charge while on the road.
The Bolt’s charging process is easy and programmable. Location-Based Charging optimizes off-peak electricity hours and saves you money in the process by letting you program the car to charge when electricity is cheapest. At-home charging is also customizable on the Bolt. Utilize the Target Charge Level mode to dial in a specific range based on what you’ll need on any given day. This quick-pick option is designed for convenience, so you can schedule charging time around your schedule.
On the inside, drivers will love the massive 10.2-inch color infotainment touchscreen display. Prominently situated in the center of the dash, it displays detailed and customizable vehicle information in three selectable modes: Classic, Modern, or Enhanced. The system displays real-time data about your driving style and how it affects performance and range, including factoring in specific road and weather conditions.
On the infotainment side, the touchscreen is your gateway to smartphone connectivity, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. An available 4G LTD Wi-Fi Hotspot helps you stay connected while on the road. Access your favorite streaming content, driving directions, and vehicle diagnostics via the split-screen display technology that keeps you firmly in control of your environment.
The 2021 Chevy Bolt EV gets you around town in an efficient, all-electric fashion, keeping you entertained and informed via a command center 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen. It’s enough to make you forget that a vehicle’s most important job is to keep its occupants safe. Luckily, Chevrolet has equipped the Bolt with advanced driver-assist safety systems that help get the job done.
Every Bolt is available with forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear park assist, and a rear camera mirror. It’s a dizzying list of safety systems that all work differently to protect the vehicle and its occupants in different ways. What these systems have in common, however, is they all fall into the category of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). They use automation technology that’s akin to features found on the futuristic driverless vehicles automakers are currently testing. In other words, today’s driver-assist technologies are just the tip of the iceberg.
Systems like collision alerts and lane departure warnings use audible alerts and, when necessary, perform physical driving maneuvers - such as braking and subtly nudging steering - to avoid collisions and keep vehicles driving in their intended lane of traffic. The Bolt EV is equipped with sensors and radar that detect potential hazards and help drivers mitigate collisions by audibly and visually sending alerts. The Chevy Bolt is available with Chevrolet’s OnStar service, connecting drivers with 24/7 roadside assistance and help with dispatching emergency help automatically if the airbags deploy.
In addition to advanced safety technology, all Bolt EV vehicles are equipped with 10 standard airbags, strategically located throughout the interior cabin to maximize protection after impact. An HD Rear Vision Camera is standard and gives drivers excellent back-of-the-vehicle visibility to make backing out of parking spots a lot less stressful. Even though the Bolt is small and powered by electricity, it does not lack in any way when it comes to Chevy's amazing optional and standard safety technologies.