Chevrolet Bolt

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Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier front 6.20.18.jpg
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also calledOpel Ampera-e (Europe) (discontinued after 2018)
ProductionOctober 2016 – present
Model years2017–present
AssemblyBattery/drivetrain, HVAC and Instrument/Infotainment systems at LG, Incheon, South Korea, with Final assembly GM Orion Assembly, Lake Orion, Michigan
DesignerStuart Norris
Body and chassis
ClassSubcompact car
Body style5-door hatchback
LayoutElectric Drive Unit, front-wheel drive
PlatformBEV II
RelatedChevrolet Bolt EUV
Buick Velite 7
Electric motor200 hp (149 kW) permanent magnet motor/generator, 266 lb⋅ft (360 N⋅m) torque
Transmission1-speed Electronic Precision Shift, final drive gear ratio 7.05:1
Battery2017–19: 60.0 kWh lithium-ion
2020–: 66.0 kWh lithium-ion
288 cells, 96 cell groups – three cells per group
Electric range(2017-2019) 238 miles (383 km) (EPA)[1]
320 miles (520 km) (NEDC)[2]
240 miles (380 km) (WLTP)[2]
(2020–) 259 miles (417 km) (EPA)[3]
Plug-in charging120 V, 240 V AC, J1772, SAE Combo DC (CCS) Fast Charge
Wheelbase102.4 in (2,601 mm)
Length164.0 in (4,166 mm)
Width69.5 in (1,765 mm)
Height62.8 in (1,595 mm)
Curb weight3,563 lb (1,616 kg)
PredecessorChevrolet Spark EV
General Motors EV1
SuccessorFor Opel Ampera-e:
Opel Corsa-e

The Chevrolet Bolt or Chevrolet Bolt EV is a front-motor, five-door all-electric subcompact hatchback marketed by Chevrolet; developed and manufactured in partnership with LG Corporation.[4]

A rebadged European variant was sold as the Opel Ampera-e in mainland Europe. All Bolt EVs and Ampera-e's are left hand drive, so the car has never appeared under the Vauxhall or Holden nameplates.

As of the 2020 model year, the Bolt has an EPA all-electric range of 259 miles (417 km),[5][3] up from 238 miles (383 km) for the 2017–2019 model years, and EPA fuel economy rating of 119 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) (2.0 L/100 km) for combined city/highway driving.[1] The European Ampera-e, has a certified range of 320 miles (520 km) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) and 240 miles (380 km) under the stricter Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP).[2]

Sales of the 2017 Bolt began in California in December 2016, with nationwide US and international markets release in 2017.[6][7] The Bolt was the U.S. second best selling plug-in car in 2017. Global combined Bolt/Ampera-e family sales totaled 112,000 units by the end of 2020, the U.S. being the leading market.

At its introduction, the Bolt was named the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the 2017 North American Car of the Year,[8] and an Automobile Magazine 2017 All Star—and was listed in Time Magazine Best 25 Inventions of 2016.[9]



GM Korea began developing the Bolt in 2012 with a team of 180 people with the project code G2KCZ, which means "G2 for Gamma second-generation platform, K for hatchback, C for Chevrolet, and Z for electric car".[10][11] Its initial concept debuted at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.[12]

Chevrolet Bolt EV concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show

As of June 2015, General Motors had tested more than 50 Bolt prototypes hand-built at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan. The cars were tested at the proving grounds and overseas locations for ride and handling dynamics, cabin comfort, quietness, charging capability, and energy efficiency.[13]

Alan Batey, head of General Motors North America, announced in February 2015 that the Bolt EV was headed for production, and would be available in all 50 states.[14] GM also has plans to sell the Bolt in select global markets.[15]

In January 2016, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the production version of the Chevrolet Bolt was unveiled. At the show, during GM CEO Mary Barra's keynote, Chevrolet confirmed an estimated range of 200 miles (320 km) or more, around US$30,000 price after government incentives, and stated it would be available in late 2016.[16] Barra projected in February 2016 that the European version, marketed as the Opel Ampera-e (or Vauxhall Ampera-e in the United Kingdom if it was also built in right hand drive), would enter production in 2017.[17]

In March 2016, GM released photos and a short pre-production video of the Bolt at the company's Orion Assembly plant outside Detroit, testing manufacturing and tooling.[18] The car's user interface was developed in Israel.[19]


An unnamed source cited by Bloomberg News estimated that General Motors is expected to take a loss of US$8,000 to US$9,000 per Bolt sold. A GM spokesman declined to comment about expected profitability.[20] Opel refuted that in December 2016 and stated that GM has battery cell costs of $130/kWh, and industry is not yet optimized for mass production.[21] A UBS tear-down in 2017 suggested slightly smaller losses per vehicle, of $7418 on a base spec, or $5520 on a higher spec vehicle.[22] They estimate that by 2025 the Bolt will make a profit of about $6000 per vehicle.


Final assembly takes place at GM's Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan,[23] which received a US$160 million upgrade for Bolt production.[15] Manufacture of the battery, motor, and drive unit started in August 2016 at LG, Incheon, South Korea.[24]

The car is designed for flexible production by having some of the battery in the same position as the fuel tank in internal combustion engine-powered cars, and is made on the same assembly line as the Chevrolet Sonic[25][26] at a combined rate of 90,000 per year.[27] Although the car is assembled near Detroit, it has only 20% domestic-parts content.[28]

Analysts expected Bolt production at 22,000 per year, and Ampera-e at a few thousand.[29] Production may increase to 30,000 to 50,000 per year according to demand.[30] Initial regular production had begun by early November 2016[31] at a rate of 9 per hour, gradually increasing to 30 per hour.[32] Retail deliveries began in California in December 2016.[6][needs update]

Regular production was expected to begin in October 2016 at 25,000-30,000 the first year.[33][34]


In November 2020, 50,932 Chevrolet Bolt vehicles of model year 2017–2019 were recalled due to potential fire risk.[35] According to GM, these vehicles contained high voltage batteries that may pose a risk of fire "when charged to full, or very close to full, capacity."

As a precautionary measure, Chevrolet issued software updates that allow dealers to install a battery charge limit of 90% to their existing inventory while urging current 2017-2019 Chevy Bolt owners to enable the "Hill Top Reserve" option or to set vehicle "Target Charge Level" to 90%. A final software update is expected to remedy the charging capacity to 100% sometime in April 2021.[36]

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed five known fires with two injuries and recommends parking recalled vehicles outside, away from homes, until they have been repaired.[37]

First Generation (2017-2021)[edit]


Front view
Side view
Rear view
Bolt EV

The Bolt was designed from 2012 by a team of 180 people in GM's Korea[11] studio (formerly Daewoo Korea), as B-segment size[38] on its own platform, and does not share elements with the GM Gamma platform cars Chevrolet Sonic/Spark.[39][40]

The EPA classifies the Bolt as "small station wagon", with less than 130 cu ft of interior volume.[1][41] GM refers to the Bolt as a crossover.[42] The passenger volume is 94 cu ft (2,700 L), and cargo space is 17 cu ft (480 L)[43] (381 liter).[44]

The Bolt's doors, tailgate, and hood are aluminum.[38] The driver can adjust the level of regenerative braking as the accelerator pedal is lifted.[45] The front seats are asymmetrical to maximize cabin volume while accommodating airbags.[46]

GM planned for over-the-air software updates during 2017[47] but the feature was finally released to the Bolt in April 2018.[48]



The Bolt's battery uses "nickel-rich lithium-ion" chemistry, allowing the cells to run at higher temperatures than those in GM's previous electric vehicles, allowing a simpler[citation needed] and cheaper[citation needed] liquid cooling system for the 60 kWh (220 MJ) battery pack. The battery pack is a stressed member and weighs 960 lb (440 kg).[49] It accounts for 23% of the car's value,[43] and is composed of 288 flat "landscape" format cells. Cells are bundled into groups of three connected in parallel, and 96 groups connected in series compose the pack, which is rated at 160 kW peak power.[50] GM offers a battery warranty of 8 years / 100,000 miles (160,000 km), and has no plans for other battery sizes.[21]

Production version of the Chevy Bolt at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

In October 2015, General Motors said they will purchase the Bolt's battery cells at a price of $145 per kilowatt hour from LG Chem, representing a minimum of $8,700 in revenue per car.[51] The cost is reportedly about $100 cheaper per kWh than the price LG was giving other customers at the time.[52][53] GM estimated a cell price of $130/kWh in December 2016.[21]

While initially expected to share its lithium-ion battery technology with the second generation Chevrolet Volt,[14][54] the production version of the Bolt uses batteries with a different chemistry more suited to the different charge cycles of a long-range electric vehicle, compared to the more frequent charging/discharging of hybrids and short-range EVs.[55]

The 2020 model year's battery capacity increased to 66 kWh because of a small change made to the battery chemistry that increased the EPA rated range by 21 miles (34 km).[3]


Other specifications include a 200 hp (149 kW) and 266 lb⋅ft (361 N⋅m) Interior Permanent Magnet electric motor, acceleration from 0–30 mph (0–48 km/h) in 2.9 seconds and 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in less than 7 seconds, and a top speed of 91 mph (146 km/h). The electric motor is integrated with a single-speed transmission and differential, to form a single modular drive unit that connects directly to the front axles. The single-speed transmission has a final drive ratio of 7.05:1.[56][57][58][59]

Body and chassis[edit]

The Bolt EV is tall hatchback design, with a curb weight of 3,580 pounds (1,625 kg).[60] Despite its overall height of nearly 63 inches (1.6 meters), the center of gravity is under 21 inches (53 cm) above the ground, yielding surprisingly stable handling during cornering. The low center of gravity is due to under-floor mounting of the battery pack.

Bolt uses the now-common kammback/hatchback low-drag body design, with sweeping curves leading to an abrupt back end. It was initially reported to have a drag coefficient of Cd=0.32[38] but GM says the final production vehicle has Cd=0.308.[61]

Range and efficiency[edit]

Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) five-cycle test methodology, the Bolt fuel economy is rated at 119 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) (2.0 L/100 km) for combined driving, 128 mpg-e (1.8 L/100 km) in city and 110 mpg-e (2.1 L/100 km) in highway.[1] Charging time is rated at 9.3 hours on a Level 2 fast charger.[62]

Comparison of EPA-rated range for electric cars rated up until July 2017 and priced under US$50,000 in the U.S. Only model year 2016 and 2017 cars are included.[63][64]

The Bolt EV has a combined EPA-rated range of 238 miles (383 km).[1] For city driving, the EPA rated the Bolt range at 255 miles (410 km), and due to its relative high drag coefficient, its range for highway driving is 217 miles (349 km).[65] One Bolt owner was able to drive from McHenry, Maryland in the western part of the state to Ocean City, Maryland, a distance of 313 miles (504 km), on a single charge.[66]

The Ampera-e has a certified range of 320 miles (520 km) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test cycle with a full battery, and achieved a range of 240 miles (380 km) under the more strict Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP).[2] Opel expected the Ampera-e to achieve a NEDC range of about 500 km (310 mi).[67]

As of July 2017, the Bolt was the only plug-in electric car with a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of less than US$50,000 capable of delivering an EPA-rated range of over 200 miles (320 km).[64] All other electric cars below that price threshold and available for retail sales fell under that range, except the Tesla Model 3, which can go 220 to 325 miles (354 to 523 km) on a single charge.[62]


All models of Bolt support standard SAE EV charging plugs, at Level 1 or Level 2 (AC). A factory option supports Level 3 (rapid DC) charging with the SAE Combo DC system. A portable Level 1 charging adapter is supplied with each Bolt, stowed in a special compartment under the hatchback floor. It is UL Listed to operate at 120 VAC in the US market but is capable of operating at 240 VAC.[68]

Level 1 (110 VAC) charging supplies roughly 1 kW[44] and adds 3–5 miles (5–8 km) of range per hour of charging. Level 2 (240 VAC) charging supplies up to 7.2 kW[44] and adds 20–30 miles (30–50 km) of range per hour of charging. Level 3 charging with the factory-option 55 kW SAE Combo DC fast charging system[69] can add 150 miles (240 km) of range per hour. The Bolt user manual suggests fast-charging to only 80% charge to ensure consistent 50 kW charging.[26][70] The fast charge rate steps down to 38 kW at 56% charge and again to 24 kW at 68% charge. Above 85%, the charge rate varies from 16 kW to 0 kW.[71]


The Bolt EV is delivered with self-sealing tires whose interior surfaces are coated with a sticky compound to automatically seal small leaks and punctures in the tread area.[72] There is no spare tire, nor is there (officially) a place to store one.[73] The car is equipped with a digital Tire Pressure Monitoring System to warn the driver if a tire is leaking, and a portable air compressor kit is supplied as an optional part.[74] Under the rear hatchback cargo deck, there is a space that can be used to store an undersized spare, and some owners carry a compatible Chevy Cruze spare tire there.[75]

Test drives[edit]

The production version of the Opel Ampera-e debuted at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

The EPA-rated range of 238 miles (383 km) was confirmed by automotive reporters driving a preproduction Bolt with a 60-kWh battery. Driven under different driving modes with the air conditioning on, the trip between Monterey and Santa Barbara was completed with an energy consumption of 50.1 kWh, representing an average efficiency of 4.8 miles per kWh (12.9 kWh/100 km). A total of 237.8 miles (382.7 km) were driven, with the Bolt's display showing 34 miles (55 km) of range remaining.[76] Several other journalists conducted a preproduction Bolt test drive on the same route, and all reported similar results regarding the Bolt EPA-estimated range.[77][78][79][80][81]

As part of its debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Opel reported driving an Ampera-e without recharging from Piccadilly Circus in London to Porte de Versailles in Paris, the venue of the exhibition. The rebadged Bolt traveled 259 miles (417 km) with 50 miles (80 km) of range remaining.[67][82]

Markets and sales[edit]

Chevrolet Bolt / Opel Ampera-e Sales Numbers[83][84]
Calendar year  USA  Canada  South Korea  Brazil  Mexico  Europe total
2017 23,876[Note 1] 2,122 570 0 10 1,918
2018 18,019 2,628 4,580 0 20 2,731
2019 16,418 4,050 4,171 7 27 2,510
2020 20,754 4,025 1,579 108 38 2,775
Total 79,067 12,825 10,900 115 95 9,934

United States[edit]

Deliveries of the Bolt EV began in the U.S. in December 2016.

Ordering began in California and Oregon in mid-October 2016.[85] Production for the model year 2017 began in November 2016.[86][31] The first three Bolts were delivered in the San Francisco Bay Area on December 13, 2016,[6] and a total of 579 units were delivered in 2016.[87] Availability was rolled out gradually across the United States, and by August 2017 the car was available nationwide.[6]

Demand profile did not exactly match predictions, leading GM to slow production in July 2017.[88] However, in the last months of 2017 Bolt demand rose rapidly; by October, it outsold any other model of electric car, including those from Tesla.[89] Sales totaled 23,297 units in 2017, making the Bolt the U.S. second best selling plug-in car in 2017 after the Tesla Model S (≈26,500).[87][90] In California, the Bolt listed as the top selling plug-in car with 13,487 units delivered, ahead of the Tesla Model S, listed second with 11,813.[91] The Bolt also led the state's subcompact segment in 2017, with a market share of 14.7% of all new cars sold in this category.[92] As of February 2018, cumulative sales in the American market totaled 26,477 units.[87]

In January 2019, GM reported that 2018 US sales for the Bolt totaled 18,019, down 22% from the previous year. (US sales of the Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, jumped from 1,764 in 2017 to 139,782 in 2018.[93]) The combined sales of the Bolt and Volt also triggered the start of the full $7,500 tax credit phase out in Q4 2018, prompting the tax credit to reduce to $3,750 in April 2019 and $1,875 in October 2019 before disappearing entirely April 2020.[94]


The Bolt has been available in Canada since the beginning of 2017. A total of 2,122 Bolt EVs were sold in Canada in 2017.[87]

South Korea[edit]

In South Korea, General Motors opened the order books on March 18, 2017, and all 400 units of the first allotment were sold out in 2 hours.[95]

European countries[edit]

The European version began production in February 2017.[17][96]

The Ampera-e launch in the Norwegian market was scheduled for April 2017, when 13 were registered.[97][98] Deliveries to retail customers[26] began on May 17, 2017.[99] Over 4,000 cars were ordered in Norway, with some to be delivered in 2018.[96] Registrations totaled 1,121 units in 2017.[100]

European discontinuation controversy[edit]

In October 2017, European dealers were asked to completely stop accepting orders for the Opel Ampera-e, reportedly because of supply problems[citation needed], at the point when in the nation of Norway (which has a population of only 5.2 million, smaller than Minnesota's) 4,000-5,000 people had already ordered the car.[101][102] At that time the Bolt was offered for sale in Norway at a price of $35,000, not significantly higher than that of the Nissan Leaf, despite both its range and battery capacity being at least 50% higher than the Leaf's.

The fact that Opel was limiting deliveries of the Bolt to Norway, its most promising market, in 2017 led to suspicions that GM was going to "kill" the model in Europe.[103][dead link] No new Ampera could be ordered in Norway after 2017, and deliveries in Norway trickled at less than 100 units per month in 2018.[104] GM has been accused of purposefully sabotaging its own EV programme in the past.[citation needed] In February 2018, it was reported 1,971 Opel Ampera-e were sold in Europe.[105]

In 2018, it was virtually impossible to order the car in Europe[citation needed] (though in November 2018, it was reported to be on sale in the Netherlands at a price of $53,000[106]). Statistics show that, as of February 2019, a total of less than 5,000 Bolts were ever delivered in the entirety of Europe.[107] Groupe PSA, the new owner of the Opel brand offered the Opel Crossland X, a gasoline- or diesel-powered car with styling mildly reminiscent of the Bolt, to the customers, and suggested it's going to make two EVs based on the Opel Corsa and the Peugeot 208 (both being low-powered cars of smaller interior volume than the Bolt).

Even though the Bolt could be ordered and bought in the Netherlands in 2019, its steep price was still an issue. In early 2020, the importer lowered the price by as much as €10,000, to €34,149, which made it close to the official American MSRP, but still thousands of USD more than Californians were actually paying for the car.[108] This was enough to put the car in the top 10 of bestselling cars in the country (regardless of the powertrain), and make it #1 among electric cars.[109][110][111] However, it was only a sale of the outgoing model. As of 2020, Opel refuses to import the Bolt/Ampera-e into the Netherlands and Germany.

In 2018, a few months after Norwegians were prevented from ordering more Bolts, a close competitor, the Hyundai Kona Electric (with a 64 kWh battery), was offered for sale there. The entire yearly allotment of the cars was sold out almost instantly.[112]

Awards and recognition[edit]

The Bolt won the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year award,[113] the 2017 North American Car of the Year,[114][115] the 2017 Reader's Choice Green Car of the Year,[116] 2017 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards Car of the Year[117] and the Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2017.[118] The Bolt also ended up Car & Driver's '10 Best Cars' list for 2017[119] The Chevy Bolt also won the 2017 Green Car of the Year awarded by the Green Car Journal.[120] It was also named by Time Magazine among its list of 25 Best Inventions of 2016,[121] and among Popular Science's 10 Greatest Automotive Innovations of 2016.[122] The Bolt EV beat out the Cadillac CT6 and Jaguar XE to win the Detroit Free Press award for Car of the Year.[123] Automobile included the Bolt in its 2017 All Star list.[124]

Pre-production name confusion[edit]

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV badge.

In 2015, Chevrolet acknowledged confusion between two vehicles with a similar-sounding names; Bolt and Volt.[125]

Chevrolet's marketing chief, Tim Mahoney, subsequently announced GM would keep the Bolt name.[126]

Autoblog projected similar confusion among European customers where the Opel Ampera-e (the Bolt variant) is just one letter off from the Opel Ampera, the previous-generation Chevrolet Volt sold in Europe—suggesting the names could confuse customers who think the new all-electric hatchback is closely related to the old plug-in hybrid hatchback.[127]

Tata Motors has had a car named the Bolt on the market since 2014, and has registered the trademark in India and other countries.[128]

See also[edit]

Notes and References[edit]


  1. ^ 579 units sold in 2016 are included.


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External links[edit]

External media
image icon US sales diagram
video icon Collection of GM videos