The 2020 Chevy Bolt sees few changes this year and carries over most of what’s made it great since its 2017 debut. Chevy’s Bolt was a game-changer in 2017, offering car buyers looking for a green, gas-free ride an affordable option. Since 2017, the electric vehicle landscape has changed with Hyundai’s Kona EV and Kia’s Niro EV coming to the stage, as well as the more expensive Tesla Model 3 rounding out the top choices.
The biggest change the 2020 Bolt EV sees this year is the increase in its driving range to about 259 miles – an increase of 21 miles. When you’re driving in rural North Carolina with no nearby charging stations popping up on your phone, every mile counts. The Bolt’s driving range puts it at the head of the pack as far as distance you can drive on a single full charge. The Kona and Tesla Model 3 comes close with 258 and 250 respectively.
The 2020 Bolt powers out 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque and accelerates very quickly. Braking was stiff – as in most EV vehicles – but the Bolt handled well on city streets and highways. While the inside was sleek and well-designed, I was surprised how much road noise there was driving on the highway from wind. The interior was roomy considering this is a hatchback, and windows offered good visibility.
There are two Bolt EV models to choose from: The basic LT model and the feature-packed Premier model.
The LT is a good step above basic and offers a 10.2-inch color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, keyless start, ambient interior lighting and a high-definition rearview camera.
My test vehicle was a Bolt EV Premier added on heated front and rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, surround view parking camera and driver assist features.
As with any EV vehicle, maintaining your charge requires some thinking ahead. You can’t just zip to the closest gas station and fill up within 10 minutes and be ready to drive across the state. While planning a road trip from Cary to Rocky Mount and back, I was calculating down to the last mile. With fast DC charging stations (there are slow ones and fast ones) few and far between outside of Wake County, I was stressed out by cutting it so close.
The Bolt recharges at a rate of 4 mph with a 120V plug, and about 10 hours if you use a 240V home charger. In my regular 120V in my garage, I needed 64 HOURS TO GET A FULL CHARGE.
As with other EVs, you can charge much more quickly at a DC fast charging station. Here, the Bolt can recoup 100 miles in 30 minutes. I was not able to conveniently find one of these faster stations very often. If I owned a Bolt EV, I would do my homework and know well where all charging stations were located around me (it’s first come, first served, so you might have to find an alternate charging station if someone else is charging.)
A Chevy Bolt EV LT starts out at about $27,000. The Premier model starts out at about $40,000 and my test model had a bottom-line price tag of $44,130.