Imagine going over 250 miles and some more on a full one-time electric charge in a ride. GM claims 259 miles (up 21 from its predecessor), to be exact, in its four-door, five-passenger 2019 Bolt EV. Plus, the four-door, five-passenger Bolt EV is an ultra-smooth and cool hatchback package with superb handling and overall balance. The ride is remarkably cooperative, soaking hurdles with dexterity, sure-footedness and poise.
The four-door hatchback driving force comes from an electric motor propelled by a huge under-floor lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 66 kWh. It produces 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The Bolt is mated to a single-speed gearbox with a sport mode switch to liven up handling. Regenerative braking allows the vehicle, when coasting or slowing down, to capture kinetic energy that would be lost. It converts the energy into useable electricity to recharge the battery.
Keeping the vehicle stable enough to soak bumps is an independent suspension of front MacPherson strut and torsion beam rear. The column-mounted electric power rack-and-pinion steering is accurate and unswerving. Charging options include a standard 120-volt Level 1 power cord, which takes an hour to recharge 4 to 5 miles. Instead, opt for the 240-volt Level 2 charging, which can recharge 25 miles or so in an hour (cost to install can range from $750 to $1,000).
It isn’t really a stunner though HID projector headlights flanking the familiar and centered Chevy bowtie gives the car a fitting appearance. The cabin is unlike most cars, especially the instrument panel with a 8-inch LCD screen in driver’s vision displaying the digital speedometer, distance, miles to go, average and battery level bar graph indicators. The massive 10.2-inch color screen in the center stack shows entertainment, climate and navigation readouts.
We must admit we were pleasantly surprised with the 56.6 cubic foot cargo space, plenty for several bags of luggage. Also standard are a single-zone auto a/c, leather shifter with satin silver and chrome accents, tilt/telescopic steering column, six-way manual front seats, 60/40 split rear fold seat and keyless open/start.
Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, lane change/side blind zone/rear-cross traffic alerts, rear park assist, pedestrian safety signal, three-point safety belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction control, rearview camera, tire pressure monitor and daytime running lights.
Though no longer eligible for a federal tax credit, the Bolt is a trailblazing vehicle that offers speedy acceleration with ample power. This car of the future could one day be mastered to perfection (imagine going 500 miles on an electric charge).
BOLT EV PREMIER
Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Length: 164 inches
Width: 69.5 inches
Height: 62.8 inches
Weight: 3,563 pounds
Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe): 118
Base price: $41,020
Price as tested: $44,130
Web site: www.chevy.com
Nitish S. Rele operates motoringtampabay.com and Khaas Baat, and was an automotive editor/columnist for the Tampa Tribune. Email him at email@example.com.