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May 27 2017

2018 Genesis G80
2018 Audi S7

May 26 2017


Study Predicts EV Prices Will Break Even With Gasoline-Powered Cars In 2025

Electric cars will become more cost effective next to conventional models – but not until 2025, says a new study.

The study by London-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts a break-even point that year, and that electric cars will beat conventional gasoline engine cars in years following.

“On an upfront basis, these things will start to get cheaper and people will start to adopt them more as price parity gets closer,” said Colin McKerracher, analyst at the research firm. “After that it gets even more compelling.”

The study predicts gradually reducing battery prices will be the driver for change, with these costs accounting now for about half the cost of electric cars.

The researcher forecasts battery costs will plunge downward by 77 percent between 2016 and 2030.

The Bloomberg chart shows the gap between average purchase prices of electric cars and conventional gasoline cars in the market now with a forecast through 2030.

The study appears to predict conventional cars will be costing about $30,000 in 2030 versus EVs coming down to somewhere between $26,000 to $27,000.

The current gap in sticker prices is considered to be a significant reason sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have been hovering around the 1 percent mark of total new vehicle sales for several months. Even with $7,500 federal tax incentives and rebates available in several states – along with competitive purchase prices becoming more common for EVs – sales have yet to surge forward.

That may have a lot to do with consumer’s price perceptions when viewing sticker prices, and lack of understanding of how the incentives work. Some market studies have emphasized concerns over limited driving range per charge, lack of charging stations, and lengthy charging time as key reasons sales don’t shoot up.

There’s also fear of the unknown for consumers – and vehicle fleet operators – who haven’t yet owned a plug-in electrified vehicle, or they’ve had a disappointing experience with EV ownership in the past; or at least they’ve heard a few of those stories from other EV owners who were disappointed in the real-world range and performance of their cars.

Renault, maker of the Zoe and other electric vehicles, has an earlier prediction than Bloomberg. By the early 2020s, total ownership costs of EVs will be equal to conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines.

“We have two curves,” said Gilles Normand, Renault’s senior vice president for electric vehicles. “One is EV technology cost reductions because there are more breakthroughs in the cost of technology and more volume, so the cost of EVs will go down. ICE (is) going to go up as a result of more stringent regulations especially regarding to particulate regulations.”

SEE ALSO:  Electric Vehicle Costs May Be On Par With Standard Vehicles By 2018

Swiss investment bank UBS predicts that parity will happen even sooner. Its recent study said the cost of purchasing and driving an electric vehicle may break even as soon as next year. Like the Renault analysis, UBS has built total operating costs into its predictive model.

The investment bank had found that an EV powertrain is actually $4,600 cheaper to produce than it had initially calculated. There will also be much potential to further reduce costs as EVs become more popular.

Price reductions will help drive up the share of EVs in total vehicle sales, according to UBS. That could go as high as 14 percent by 2025, or about 14.2 million vehicles sold per year worldwide.


The post Study Predicts EV Prices Will Break Even With Gasoline-Powered Cars In 2025 appeared first on HybridCars.com.


Class-Action Suit Alleges Emissions Cheating By GM Duramax Diesel Trucks

General Motors has been hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming defeat devices had been placed in hundreds of thousands of its diesel trucks.

The class action suit was filed Thursday in the Detroit federal district court on behalf of owners and lessees of more than 705,000 Duramax-engined GMC and Chevy trucks. It asserts GM cheated on emissions testing in two models of heavy-duty pickup trucks from 2011 to 2016.

The Duramax V8 diesel engine is available as an option for Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. It offers more torque and horsepower for hauling and towing trailers.

“These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves,” GM said. The automaker said its diesel Silverado and Sierra pickups comply with all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board emissions regulations.

Excessive emissions from the GM vehicles exposed the public to noxious levels of smog, according to the suit.

“GM claimed its engineers had accomplished a remarkable reduction of diesel emissions,” attorney Steve Berman, a managing partner at Hagens Berman, said in the complaint. “These GM trucks likely dumped as much excess poisonous emissions into our air as did the cheating Volkswagen passenger cars.”

The 190-page complaint includes 83 references to Volkswagen, and claims that the environmental damage caused by each GM truck could be more damaging than that of VW’s diesel vehicles.

Berman has also represented drivers and dealerships against VW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

GM has become the sixth global automaker being investigated or sued for allegedly installing defeat devices to beat emission tests in diesel vehicles. Along with investigations and suits against VW and Fiat Chrysler, Daimler is the target of a German probe and Renault and PSA Group are both being investigated in their home country of France.

Supplier Robert Bosch GmbH has also been drawn into the suit for its software in GM’s diesel engine.

Bosch was described in the complaint as “an active and knowing participant in the scheme to evade” emissions standards.

“Bosch takes the allegations of manipulation of the diesel software very seriously,” Linda Beckmeyer, a company spokeswoman, said in an email. “Bosch is cooperating with the continuing investigations in various jurisdictions, and is defending its interests in the litigation.”

Bosch was named a co-defendant by consumers who had sued VW.

SEE ALSO:  Chevy Cruze Diesel Hit with Emissions Cheating Class-Action Lawsuit

This is the second class-action suit against GM alleging emissions cheating.

Last year in July, a class-action lawsuit was filed in California by the law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, claiming that GM has been using emissions-cheating software. That results in more-than-allowed NOx to escape the tailpipe, according to the suit.

The Seattle law firm is asking GM to pay Cruze Diesel owners back the $2,000 premium they paid for their cars as well as punitive damages.

GM has disputed the claims made in the class-action lawsuit.


The post Class-Action Suit Alleges Emissions Cheating By GM Duramax Diesel Trucks appeared first on HybridCars.com.

2018 Lexus LC
GM sued over excess emissions in Chevrolet Silverado & GMC Sierra Duramax Diesel
2018 Honda Odyssey priced, 2018 Genesis G80 driven, Hydrogen's future: What’s New @ The Car Connection
2018 Honda Odyssey boasts premium pricing, lots of amenities

May 25 2017


Worker Safety Group Says Tesla Plant Injuries Higher Than Industry Average

A worker safety advocacy group says that injuries at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif.-based plant are much higher than the industry average.

The findings by Worksafe looked at the years 2014 and 2015, with a preliminary study of 2016 data finding injury reports to be on a similar track. The advocacy group studied reports filed the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Comparison to 2016 data is an estimate, as official industry-wide data won’t isn’t yet available.

Tesla has been under mounting pressure over unionizing its Fremont plant. That coincides with the facility being expanded to prepare for the 500,000 vehicles manufactured per year mark after the Model 3 launch later this year.

In the report, Worksafe found injury rates 31 percent higher at Tesla that the U.S. average in 2015, with an incidence rate of 8.8 per 100 workers versus 6.7 per 100 as the industry average. Preliminary findings for 2016 are at 8.1 injuries per worker.

The days away, restricted duty (DART rate) at the Fremont plant was double the industry rate in 2015, according to the report.

Worker safety has been previously raised as a pressing issue. Earlier this month, Tesla posted on its blog that it has seen improvements to its safety record, and warnings over worker safety there has been part of the United Auto Worker’s campaign to unionize workers.

Tesla said the same about the Worksafe study findings.

“We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but what matters is the future and with the changes we’ve made, we now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“Our goal is to have as close to zero injuries as humanly possible and to become the safest factory in the auto industry.”

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Proposes Doubling Fremont Plant to Meet Capacity

The Fremont plant will soon become much larger and more labor intensive to increase production to 500,000 Tesla vehicles a year.

In December, the company received approval from the city of Fremont to nearly double the size of the plant. About 4.6 million square feet will be added and will be spread across 11 new buildings.

The city expects the new manufacturing space will eventually an additional 3,100 workers to Tesla’s payroll at the factory.

The UAW would love to see them all become union members.

The Verge

The post Worker Safety Group Says Tesla Plant Injuries Higher Than Industry Average appeared first on HybridCars.com.


California Answers VW’s $800M Dieselgate Settlement To Build ZEV Infrastructure

The California Air Resources Board this week issued a letter to Volkswagen Group asking it to provide more details on the zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure it plans to implement across the United States between 2018 and 2020.

CARB’s concern is over VW’s $800 million commitment to California to build out ZEV-related investments over 10 years as part of a multi-billion dollar settlement with it and the U.S. EPA over diesel emissions cheating.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Nationwide EV Charging Plans

The CARB letter dated May 24 came almost a month after CARB had said to expect it, and asked for a supplementary document describing the long-term vision for the ZEV plan – dubbed “Electrify America” by VW.

The environmental watchdog is looking for those at VW’s ZEV Investment Plan (ZIP) arm to provide it with detailed information on its ZEV investments and an estimated schedule for implementing each investment. It says the info should consist of Electrify America’s long-term goals for ZEV investment in California, how developing infrastructure in major metropolitan areas first and extending to rural regions will progress and how ZIP spending will affect disadvantaged/underserved communities.

In addition, the document also asks for more details on ZIP’s potential future investment in hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure. CARB wants ZIP to address potential investment in hydrogen fueling stations over the 10-year period, heavy-duty hydrogen projects such as freight fleet or shuttle programs and the potential for gas-station like plazas that include both EV charging and hydrogen refueling stations. CARB is also looking for VW to provide it with a description of Electrify America’s structure and proposed business model and a commitment from the automaker to keep it consistently updated with its ZEV investments and other projects.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Tesla-like EV Charging Plans

“The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is eager to move forward with the first phase of investments in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education, and public access agreed to in the 2.0 liter Partial Consent Decree (Consent Decree),” the document reads.

The “Electrify America” spending plan is apart of VW’s “dieselgate” scandal finalized last year with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Through the Electrify America subsidiary, VW will spend $500 million in four consecutive 30-month periods for 10 years propping up EV charging stations all over the U.S. It will also spend $44 million implementing “Green City initiatives” such as EV taxi and delivery fleets and about $55 million promoting public awareness of alternative energy vehicles.

The post California Answers VW’s $800M Dieselgate Settlement To Build ZEV Infrastructure appeared first on HybridCars.com.

2018 Cadillac CT6
Report: 288,000 U.S. jobs could be affected if EPA efficiency rules change

Tesla Model 3 Specs Unveiled In Leaked Product Sheet

Specifications for the upcoming Tesla Model 3 sedan have been unveiled through a leaked product sheet from an apparent inside source.

The product sheet (below), which was posted on Model 3 Owners Club forum, compares the Model 3’s performance parameters and features with those of the Model S. The base Model 3’s range will sit at 215 miles (compared to 249 miles for the entry-level Model S 75) and it will sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds (compared to 5.0 seconds flat in the Model S 75).

The Model 3’s dimensions were also made public in the product sheet, with the length measuring 184.8 inches and the total cargo volume sitting at 14 cubic feet – counting both the rear trunk and front “frunk.”

By comparison, the Model S is 196 inches long and carries a cargo volume of 30 cubic feet. The Model S can also carry seven passengers if the rear-facing jump seats are used, whereas the Model 3 will be limited to just five persons max.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model 3 Caught Road Testing – Video

The Model 3 won’t be as customizable as the Model S, either. On the other hand, the Model S is available in over 1,500 possible configurations between its various powertrains, different interior and exterior colors and optional extras, the Model 3 will be offered in less than 100 variants. Additionally, the Model 3 won’t get any “Premiuim Features,” which on the Model S consist of auto-presenting door handles, a HEPA cabin filter and Tesla’s Smart Air Suspension system.

Further differentiating the two is the availability of free unlimited charging on the Model S and the lack thereof for the Model 3. This is a less important factor, however, seeing as the only way to get free unlimited charging on the Model S from now on will be to receive a referral code from pre-existing Model S owners.

Initial production is reportedly due in July, but a long line of people means delay in receipt of a new Model 3 for new orders.

Otherwise, new Model 3s ordered now are is expected to arrive sometime in the middle of next year. Musk said the company plans on producing more simplified versions of the vehicle initially, before introducing more model variants and options as production goes on.


The post Tesla Model 3 Specs Unveiled In Leaked Product Sheet appeared first on HybridCars.com.


Tesla Regains Some Approval From Consumer Reports For Restoring Low-Speed Emergency Braking

Consumer Reports has raised Tesla’s safety scores but expects to see improvements made at highway speeds.

The product review magazine has restored some of the points taken away in April from the Tesla Model S and Model X over the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system being removed as a standard feature on these vehicles in October 2016.

Some of the points were restored after Tesla issued a software upgrade restoring AEB in the affected vehicles soon after the report was published. Consumer Reports observes that some customers had been waiting as long as six months for it to happen.

Winning back all the restored rating points and improved Overall Scores for the Model S and Model X will need to have AEB working at higher speeds. The publication wants to see AEB issued as a standard offering up to high speeds, and that it’s a crucial safety feature known for preventing crashes.

Tesla had committed to sending out the improvement through software upgrades on April 21 of this year. The company started transmitting the over-the-air updates on April 26. The publication’s testing team received their Model S update the next day.

The activated AEB only works up to 28 mph – a wide gap from the earlier version of AEB that could go up to 90 mph. That was a realistic range for Tesla drivers known for gunning the torque power from their Model S or Model X.

The testing team made contact with Tesla owners to see if the low-speed AEB was being received in their vehicles. Most owners with new models had received the updates within a week of the April 26 announcement.

Yet some of the owners who’d purchased their Tesla without the option of full self-driving capability had received updates that did not include AEB. It took even longer for them to receive the update.

CR reported that it took close to a month for Tesla to finally deliver the partial updates. After Tesla owners reported receiving their updates, the magazine restored the partial points.

On April 26, the electric carmaker said that AEB would eventually bring the safety system up to highway speeds. The company didn’t say when it would happen or respond to inquiries about it.

The AEB system originally had given Tesla points that put the Model S at the top rating in the ultra-luxury vehicle category; that ad been knocked down after the rating drop was issued in April. The Model X was near the bottom of the luxury midsized sport-utility category after the points were taken away.

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Reinstates Auto Braking After Consumer Reports Downgrade

The absence of AEB first became an issue on October 19, 2016, when CEO Elon Musk said the automaker would be equipping all of its vehicles with fully autonomous features on all new vehicles produced starting later that month. It would still need supporting software and approval by safety regulators before being activated in Tesla vehicles, he said.

Musk acknowledged that the new hardware would mean that some basic safety features would be missing for a while. The software would have to be rewritten and validated, he said.

The Consumer Report test team had purchased a Model S 60D on Dec. 12 and found that the AEB wasn’t functioning like it had in the previous version. It was equipped with the second-generation Autopilot hardware.

That finding led to a back-and-forth tiff with Tesla that the carmaker has been working on cleaning up.

Consumer Reports


The post Tesla Regains Some Approval From Consumer Reports For Restoring Low-Speed Emergency Braking appeared first on HybridCars.com.


Volkswagen Shows Electrified Golf GTI Concepts

VW apprentices have created the first electrified Volkswagen GTI.

Called the Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade, it combines a 404-horsepower gasoline engine driving the front wheels with a 48-volt electric motor powering the rear. The electric motor has a maximum output of 16 hp and the two drive systems can be used separately or together. That means it can be operated conventionally in front-wheel drive, or pure electric with rear-wheel drive, or combined for an all-wheel-drive setup.

There are two batteries in the rear of the vehicle that can be charged through regenerative braking, which means the Golf GTI First Decade is capable of driving short distances in all-electric mode or in stop-and-go traffic.

On the outside, the electrified Golf GTI features Atlantic Blue Metallic paint, while the doors and rear side panels feature large areas of foil in contrasting Satin Ocean Shimmer. Other accents include glossy blue chrome foil racing stripes, high-gloss black honeycomb radiator grille, Clubsport rear spoiler and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Inside the cabin, there are handmade sport seats featuring titanium black nappa leather with Alcantara. The driver’s seat can be adjusted using an app on a smartphone or tablet, while the punched Alcantara sections have a blue background and the central section is decorated by an embroidered “10” at the top. There’s also a high-end audio system with 1,690 watts from 11 speakers and a subwoofer.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen’s I.D. Crozz Crossover EV Concept Revealed In Shanghai

Also premiering is the Volkswagen Golf GTE Estate impulsE from Zwickau, created by apprentices from Volkswagen Sachsen. The 14 apprentices from the Zwickau vehicle plant, the Chemnitz engine plant and the Transparent Factory in Dresden focused on e-mobility together with their mentors. The result is a show car with a prototype battery with a capacity increased from 8.8 kWh to 16.8 kWh. As a result, it has double the range.

The exterior of the electrified wagon features a five-tone matte paintwork in Oryx White, Apassionata Blue, Anthracite, Hallmark, and St. James Red. The hood also has ventilation slats, while the exterior color scheme carries inside with decorative trim pieces painted on the steering wheel, center console, gear selector gate, and door trim. There are also leather and Alcantara bucket seats with decorative blue stitching.

“During the creation of their dream GTI, our apprentices learn about the complexity and future challenges of automobile production. They gain further experience in the use of digital technologies, the application of system technology and electro-mobility,” says Peter Christ, Head of Automotive Technology Training in Wolfsburg. “This is why we choose our strongest talents and offer them the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors and experts from the entire company at an early stage.

This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com

The post Volkswagen Shows Electrified Golf GTI Concepts appeared first on HybridCars.com.

Study: People don't trust self-driving cars from Uber or Lyft
2018 Ford Expedition, 2017 Aston Martin DB11, US sues FCA: What’s New @ The Car Connection

LeEco Cutting U.S. Employees But Faraday Future Will Continue

Chinese tech company LeEco is cutting back its presence in the U.S., but its Faraday Future subsidiary says it’s not feeling the impact.

LeEco is laying off most of its U.S. workforce – 325 employees, about 70 percent, with a lack of corporate funding cited as the reason. The company, with its video streaming and smartphone units, will keep some employees on staff to reach a “focus on the narrower segment of Chinese-speaking households,” according to CNET.

CEO Jia Yueting had made a splash in the U.S. hosting the company’s San Francisco media event in October. Soon after, bad news about the company’s financial condition emerged along with speculation over the future of its LeSee electric car and Faraday Future.

Less than a month after that October event, Jia informed employees in a company letter that big cuts were in store.

“We are starting to see signs of big company disease, such as low individual performance and organizational redundancies,” he wrote.

As for California-based Faraday Future, it will stay in operation for now. The FF 91 all-electric hypercar (as seen in the photo above) isn’t going away, the company said.

“This decision does not impact FF’s daily operations, the development of FF 91, nor our manufacturing plans in North Las Vegas in any way,” a representative for Faraday Future said to The Verge.

“Similarly, no layoffs are planned for FF employees.” He also said that the company is “working on securing rounds of funding with new investors.”

At the time Faraday introduced the FF 91 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the company was under a great deal of pressure. Company executives were leaving and speculation soared about the future of the startup.

There was also talk of Jia cutting back on funding Faraday. The Verge reports that once-monthly stipends from the CEO had stopped a few months ago.

That relationship was said to be tense with Jia. One ex-Faraday employee said that the startup’s relationship with LeEco was like “indentured servitude.”

SEE ALSO:  Faraday Future Breaks Plans For California Plant And Will Downsize Nevada Plant

Faraday’s global chief financial officer affirmed the company’s continuation, and that seeking outside investors will be part of it, in a statement:

“Hearing about layoffs at our strategic partner LeEco is discouraging. However, I want to be clear that these layoffs have no impact on Faraday Future. We remain committed to our immediate goals of diversifying FF’s investment sources and getting FF 91 on the road in 2018, and we remain confident in the outlook for diversifying FF’s global investment.”

No comments were made about the future of its North Las Vegas plant.

The Verge

The post LeEco Cutting U.S. Employees But Faraday Future Will Continue appeared first on HybridCars.com.

Most capable full-size SUV for towing? The 2018 Ford Expedition, again

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review – Video

Chevrolet’s 238-mile range Bolt EV is a major leap forward among mass-appeal electric cars and for now arguably the best.

Why? Several reasons that add up to a nicely designed vehicle that does what it’s supposed to, while being enjoyable to motor around in, and boasting amazing efficiency as well.

As the first EV with over 200 miles range priced in the 30s – a few dollars under $30,000 with a $7,500 federal tax credit – it is General Motors’ badge of corporate technological pride. Until now, you’d have to have spent twice as much if you wanted the range the eco car from Chevrolet now provides.

Of course the Bolt won’t be utterly unique for long, as Tesla’s sleek 215-or-more range Model 3 is due in July and to be priced from $35,000, Tesla has said, plus likely destination fee. Also, Nissan’s next Leaf is to be unveiled in September, it’s to be a more-similar competitor to the Bolt, and others in this range-for-dollar metric are on the next 2-3 year horizon.

But today you can order a Bolt EV which began sales in Oregon and California last October, is rolling out across the country as we speak, and to be nationally available by summer. It won’t have to be an option-packed version stickering a few thousand higher than base, as the Model 3 is expected to initially be with its long line of reservation holders, and the Bowtie-brand car is a solid contender in its own right.

In talking up the collaboration between General Motors and South Korea’s LG Chem and LG Electronics which contributed 11 major components to the Michigan-built EV, engineers have displayed confidence that the car is well executed.

A strict budget did necessitate strategic cost-cutting, and the long-term reliability record is something we’ll have to wait and see on, but if the durability of the 2011-2017 Chevy Volt is any indicator, odds are favorable that the Bolt will be as good as its initial impressions.

Quick Long Range Runner

It all starts with the drivetrain, as that’s basically what the purpose-built EV is centered around. Almost all details impress, beginning with the 60-kWh heated and liquid-cooled battery.

This 960-pound (435 kg) pack is integrated as a strength-increasing structural member in the floor, as GM utilized a “skateboard” chassis style that other EVs do also – and which GM developed for fuel cell prototypes in the early 2000s, but never used until now.

The Bolt EV weighs a rather portly 3,580 pounds, has an OK .308 cd, and a very high 119 “MPGe” energy efficiency measure. The net result is it runs 20 miles farther on the EPA combined cycle than a more aerodynamic but heavier and larger Tesla Model S 60.

GM had already broached upon the formula of quick front-wheel-drive electric cars by way of the limited market and now discontinued Spark EV, and that formula was carried forward to the Bolt with 200 horsepower (150 kW) and 266 pounds-feet of torque. Characteristic of electric motors, the torque is “instant” and available from 0 rpm.

Not your granddad’s old Chevy.

This much power enables 0-30 mph in 2.9 seconds, 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, top speed of 92 mph (was also listed by GM at 91 as mentioned in the video) and that translates to not boring, especially next to a 10-second Nissan Leaf – or Toyota Prius hybrid or Prius Prime plug-in hybrid.

The Bolt’s 238-miles combined range – 255 city, 217 highway – means one may not have to charge it daily. Naturally, charging a less than completely drained battery takes less than official times for a depleted one, and realistically owners can be back on the road in a few hours from home level 2 (240 volt) charging.

Even in areas where charging is not plentiful, the Bolt has so much range that home charging is enough for regional traveling without undue stress that you’ll run out of charge.

That said, level 1 (120-volt) adds a paltry four miles range per hour, requiring 60 hours for a full refill. Level 2 via the 7.2-kW onboard charger adds about 25 miles range per hour, or a complete charge in just over nine hours.

Bolt EV battery system. Even in areas where charging is not plentiful, the Bolt has so much range that home charging is enough for regional running without undue stress that you’ll run out of charge.

A $750 optional port enables public level 3 DC fast charging which adds 90 miles range in 30 minutes to the pack at a peak charge rate of around 50 kilowatts.

Critics have asked why GM would not offer quicker charging like Tesla does which can more than double this rate. Engineers dance around this question, but it may have to do with balancing all desired attributes in the LG chemistry and maximizing life.

Avoids the Nerd Look

Designed in South Korea, the Bolt EV makes good use of the flat platform afforded by the battery in floor chassis.

Swooping compound shapes in the flanks, 17-inch wheels, a somewhat hawk-like front visage and shapely high-visibility tail-lights round out the package.

The profile with rear-sloping roofline is becoming popular, and GM calls the over-sized hatchback a “compact crossover” while it’s classified by the EPA as a small wagon.

Very short overhangs maximize occupant and cargo space on a 102.4-inch wheelbase, and are reminiscent of a BMW i3, but the Bolt appears less quirky and more “mainstream.”

The Chevy however weighs 700-800 pounds more than the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic all-electric BMW, which may be a more sophisticated car in several respects, but not in the range for dollar department, as it’s only rated 114 miles with a 94 Ah battery.

Meanwhile, the inside of the Bolt does its best to maximize available space, and GM pulled a move akin to Dr. Who’s Tardis for a vehicle that’s subcompact on the outside and midsized on the inside.

Its 95 cubic feet passenger volume plus 16.9 cubic feet cargo volume is within the EPA’s 110-119 cubic feet “midsized” scope. If it were classified as a sedan as the Leaf is, it would be midsized.

This is enabled by details like carved out seatbacks, but mainly thanks to the flat floor which let the designers optimize the five-seater to be roomier than the Chevrolet Volt. In fact, its 95 cubic feet total volume is a nominally above Tesla’s large-class 94-cubic feet volume Model S and Model X, though some of this is due to the Bolt’s high ceiling. Also, due to arcane rules from the 1970s, the EPA does not count the Tesla’s front trunk called a “frunk” toward available cargo volume.

Style-wise, the Bolt is airy, and non-confining, with plenty of leg and head room up front, good space in the back although the high-up rear bench seat has only adequate headroom for folks over 6 feet, 0 inches.

While cost-savings on plastic materials is evident, the look is contemporary, and made to feel more upscale and techno-feeling with an 8-inch main instrument cluster accompanied by a 10.2-inch infotainment screen. Advanced cruise control is not however available, and would be welcome on future model years.

Included is Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, plus OnStar 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hotspot. Navigation is by OnStar turn by turn or your connected smartphone, and plenty of other data is shown, including charging and energy usage. At night a blue LED strip adorning the dash along with strategically lit buttons add to an inviting futuristic feel.

The 16.9 cubic-feet cargo volume with rear 60/40 bench seat back up is respectable, and Chevrolet notes it edges out the Honda Fit (16.6 cubic feet) and the BMW i3 (15.1 cubic feet).

A stow-able false floor in back comes out and can be conveniently lowered or tucked in another position providing space to stash things, though there is no spare to replace a self-sealing 215/50-17 Michelin Energy Saver tire. In our Premier trim model, a Bose subwoofer and amplifier occupied the cavity where a space-saver spare might have gone.

The floor is not perfectly flat with seat folded down, but there’s enough cargo room to potentially lie a bicycle or other largish objects thanks to the tall ceiling.

The Premier comes with rails for an accessory bike rack. At least two brands of rear hitches are now available for adding a rear rack as well.

Safety wise, the Bolt has 10 air bags and the chassis itself is strong, being comprised of seven types of steel strategically placed plus aluminum for the door, front quarter panel, and hood skins.

The upscale Premier we drove has a rear camera mirror and a 360-degree Surround Vision system gives a bird’s eye view by stitching multiple camera images together. This system is handy for perfectly fitting within the lines at a parking lot, but the front and rear cameras have noticeably lower resolution than the side cameras that are located in the bottom of the side view mirrors. This leads to an oddly blocky overall look on the surround view image where these lower and higher resolution cameras are stitched together.

The Bolt has a camera in back that lets the mirror double as a rear-view monitor that can stay on while driving. It takes an adjustment in focal length, and some people with glasses may find it difficult to adjust vision to it.

Other features optional on the LT, and standard on the Premier are Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Park Assist and Cross-Traffic Alert. Also in place as part of a $1,000 option on the Premier car driven was GM’s Forward Collision Alert, Lane-Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and a Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking plus Front Pedestrian Braking.

Driving On Electric Avenue

Engaging the one-speed transmission via Chevrolet’s first shift and park-by-wire shifter is a simple action that lets the car set out in quiet motion accompanied by a requisite space-shippy sound at low speeds to alert pedestrians. This is typically only heard outside, or with windows down.

Acceleration is good enough that you may find yourself demonstrating to family and friends the zip-power of a car that’s quicker than what’s normally associated with sensible eco models.

The Bolt EV is actually just 0.3 seconds slower to 60 mph than a 2016 Ford Focus ST, an ostensible “hot hatch,” and some EV fans have wanted to call the Bolt a “hot hatch” as well.

You’re free to call it what you want, but a full-on hot hatch has a performance-tuned suspension, sticky tires for maximum lateral acceleration, big brakes, and can usually turn respectable lap times at a closed circuit course.

With its regenerative braking sparing greater abuse on the binders, Chevrolet equipped modest 11-inch vented front and 10-inch solid rear rotors that may not need pad changes but infrequently, and otherwise Chevrolet is not calling it a hot hatch.

In any case, the Bolt otherwise is entertaining with instant torque that kicks if the accelerator is mashed. It’s lots of fun, really, and tire chirp has been permitted by the engineers who set the parameters for the StabilTrak traction control. Rounding corners, the low center of gravity car corners flat enough, and with poise enough to invite pushing the limits. Depressing the accelerator harder would allow an aggressive driver to make the front tires sing further toward its understeer bias and ultimate traction loss.

Stickier tires would of course help the sporting experience, and the Bolt saves cost with a torsion beam rear axle mated to the MacPherson strut front suspension, but it handles respectably. Of it, Chevrolet is bold enough to say it gives “a delightful driving experience that’s more akin to a compact sports sedan than a small utilitarian crossover.”

Yeah, that’s relatively accurate, we’d say.

But this is about energy efficiency, you say? Right you are. The motor is up to 97-percent efficient at optimum operating speeds, and the Bolt makes a Prius look like an energy hog by comparison

Also, the effect of feeding juice back to the battery via regenerative braking is just neat.

The Bolt’s algorithms adjust estimated range based on how one drives. After a full charge, it indicated 256 miles range, with a high range estimate of 302, and low of 209.

Drive mode (“D”) allows normal “creep” from a stop, and coasting on the go. The Low “L” mode is aggressive, and allows what Chevrolet terms “one-pedal driving.” It’s not adjustable, but slows the car by reversing the motor torque and sending up to 70 kW of juice back to the battery. One can alternately back pull the shifter from D to L as needed, or use the paddle, or both.

Low will bring the car to a complete stop and hold it. Contrary to another report that said the Bolt uses its friction brakes to come to a complete stop, media representative Fred Liguori said it instead uses motor torque to finish the job and hold the car in place. When on a hill, it will engage the electric parking brake after an extended period of time or when slowly crawling on a downhill road.

Although there’s no such thing as a perpetual motion machine, the Bolt’s nifty and flexible regen capacity does remind you of “free” or “found” or actually recovered energy. Actually, the most efficient driving involves minimizing both friction braking and employing regen braking since regenerating and later reusing power is typically only around 60 percent efficient. As it is, the car can regain miles of range on the fly, and one pedal driving positively changes the whole experience.

On a 9.3-mile trip, the Bolt indicated 3 miles of used range thanks to strategic use of the L drive mode, and extra regenerated energy from the left-side regen paddle as first seen on the Cadillac ELR, and 2016 Chevy Volt.

On other trips, it was novel seeing miles indicated range increase instead of only decrease as with an internal combustion vehicle.

The EV For You?

A typical green car analysis might clinically ask whether the Bolt EV “makes sense” by trying its best imitation of dispassionate, logical Mr. Spock to rationalize the bottom line, justify the car’s existence, and ultimately lead toward a thumbs up or down.

Questions including fuel costs, greenhouse gas emissions (none at tailpipe, variable “upstream” depending on where you plug in), and other ownership costs come into play.

Assuming a $7,500 federal credit plus potential state incentives – or attractive lease as many prefer this route for emerging-tech cars – the Bolt can make bottom-line sense, but is that fully fair, or true to how people really choose cars?

At the entry level, consumers often buy on price. As sticker numbers escalate, factors like looks, drive performance, and ultimately a sum package adding to how a car makes one feel come into play. If that were not true, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi, BMW and others would be in big trouble.

The Bolt is not an upscale luxury car, or a high-performance track star, but it blends in enough of those elements on top of the most range for dollar EV anyone can buy anywhere at this present writing.

Factually speaking if there ever were a market case for a car like the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, Ford Focus Electric, etc., the Bolt builds on that formula in a huge way.

Its good utility, smart from-the-ground-up design, and fun factor are icing on the cake making it more than just an ultimate ecologically sound means of transportation, while still arguably being that.

With its 238-miles range, the Bolt EV takes the idea of going electric far closer toward mainstream viability than any electric car to date.

The post 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review – Video appeared first on HybridCars.com.

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