Hooniverse Asks: The 2017 Chevy Bolt – Brah! Or Blah?

This month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, GM debuted what is probably the company’s most important product of this decade, the 2017 Chevy Bolt. Featuring an all-electric drivetrain and a promised 200 mile range, the modestly priced five-door hatch is a shot across the bow of Tesla and others, and may bring just be the ride that brings electric cars to the masses.
Okay, a lot of that is marketing hype, but the truth be told, this is a real car – sales start in late 2016 – and that “optimal conditions” 200 mile range means that even if it’s so cold out that you have to keep the brass monkeys in at night, your Bolt should still have enough miles in it to get you to work in the morning. Not only that, but after government givebacks for being so eco-friendly, the out the door price for a Bolt should be in the neighborhood of just $30K. That’s not all that bad.
Or is it? We haven’t had the chance to get behind the wheel of a production bolt because such a beast simply doesn’t yet exist. Is this both GM’s and the automobile’s second coming? Or, do you think it’s the case that the hype machine is far more effective than the Bolt ever could be? What’s your take on GM’s “cheap” all-electric car, brah! or blah?
Image: GM Media

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  1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    As far as electric appliances go, it’s not bad. At least the hype seems appropriate.
    As for a car that I would own. Probably not, but I was more interested by the Cruze Hatch.

  2. 0A5599 Avatar

    I lost a Chevy bolt. It fell out of the wrench when I was changing a water pump. I never could find where it landed.

    1. GTXcellent Avatar

      Me too. Lost a Chevy bolt down the inner fender on my ’88 Silverado when I was putting the new engine in.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar
        1. Facel Vega Avatar
          Facel Vega

          Those are MGs

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    I don’t trust GM to build reliable or particularly desirable conventional cars. New technology, even if less complex than common cars, in their hands? With the main objective, as always, being low cost? Nah. That’s an attitude of little knowledge about this new vehicle and lots of prejudice about what this company usually does, so I wouldn’t give myself too much weight. But I wouldn’t buy it either. I’d have the electric Kia Soul, thank you.

    1. neight428 Avatar

      I saw Electric Soul open up for Earth Wind and Fire at a Casino in Biloxi.

      1. Alff Avatar

        That’s a great opening line for a novel.

        1. neight428 Avatar

          She said it was her first gig playing the keyboards, and that much was obvious, even listening through the fog of Wild Turkey, .

          1. ramLlama Avatar

            Alff throws you a bone with “novel” and you take it up a notch and give him a poem. I salute you sir.

          2. Tanshanomi Avatar

            Frankly, I didn’t really care; she was keeping my eyes busy enough that my ears didn’t matter. However, to whatever degree her questionable musical ability raised my suspicions, the Israeli paratrooper insignia tattooed on her left ankle was of much greater concern.

    2. Maymar Avatar

      I will say, the previous Gen Volt was a pretty pleasant car, although I drove one that pretty much refused to move after a pipe in the battery cooing system cracked.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Exactly. I don’t know why I trust Kia more, as an example, but that car has at least kept cool looks – while the Bolt went from wow to vanilla going from a concept to a production car. Also: 7 year warranty.

  4. Kiefmo Avatar

    $30k is still a pile of money for someone who has never paid more than $8k for a car.
    Holler when they release a model with steelies, crank windows, manual locks, and lacking all of the “comforts” that jack up the price. Alls I need is heat, AC, and a basic radio with an AUX in or BT.
    Why does no one make my EV?

    1. Citric Avatar

      I think the only people making your EV are in this week’s Crapshoot.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar

        The Bolt’s gotta get old eventually. I can finally experience the marriage of my household wiring AND car servicing experience!
        FWIW, I can get a Leaf in my neck of the woods for under $10k, but that’s only got half the range of the Bolt. Hopefully, GM will actually sell these instead of just leasing, and not buyback and destroy the lot of them in a few years.

    2. bigredcavetroll Avatar

      If I were to buy an EV, I would go for the exact same [lack of] options, although aluminum wheels on such a vehicle might be nice.

    3. Surfer Sandman Avatar
      Surfer Sandman

      No one buys strippers?

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        It’s more a sort of lease? Semantics.

        1. Monkey10is Avatar

          Rent/lease/buy? — whatever; as long as I can keep on writing it off as a business expense…

      2. acarr260 Avatar

        I thought that they were generally rented for 1-3 songs…

  5. tonyola Avatar

    I wouldn’t buy one as an only car because of the limited trip ability, but as a second car I’d say brah. If the 200-mile range is for real, then that’s a big step for electrics.

  6. GTXcellent Avatar

    IF they really can deliver a 200 mile range – sure, why not. I’d still personally never consider one where I live, but I learned long ago I’m an anomaly.

  7. neight428 Avatar

    As a portent of the future, I say brah! With 200 mile range, that’s real usability, in a while, with innovation, perhaps they’ll make one that doesn’t look like a Cimmaron’d Chevy Sparq and cost as much as a Camaro SS. I’d love to see the real economics on these. I’d guess they are going to lose a bunch of money on the effort unless they sell way more than I think they will.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      You might have to adjust for the GM-factor:http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/2011-chevrolet-volt_100226382_m.jpg
      The claimed 230MPG turned out to be 93 mpg (or 60mpg or 35mpg, depending on how far you drive) or so according to the EPA, so maybe the Bolt’s 200 mile range is more like 80 miles?
      I really *hope* that the 200mpg is true, but GM needs to understand they can’t keep lying and still be taken at their word.

  8. dukeisduke Avatar

    I thought Bolt was a movie, about a dog.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Yeah, he thought he was super-awesome when he was actually pretty ordinary.
      Frankly, I think GM nailed it.

  9. ramLlama Avatar

    I wouldn’t buy it, but super-brah.
    Tesla has already proven that EV’s can work, and work very well. But Tesla ain’t for the proletariat, at least not yet. Yes, we have the Nissan Leaf and electric versions of [insert favorite subcompact], but at less that 100 miles range, they are city runabouts at best.
    200 miles opens up whole new avenues for EV’s to drive in. They can truly become a daily driver for a large majority of the commuting public. And at $30k (and probably quickly going down in the following years), they are well within reach.
    The Bolt is the harbinger of EV ubiquity. As long as it isn’t a total hype and gets advertised range, it’s a game-changer.

  10. Alff Avatar

    Not brah. Son.

  11. JayP Avatar

    Do you realize how many Crown Vics that’ll buy?
    About all of them.

  12. Maymar Avatar

    I feel like the Bolt is just a little too weird looking and also not weird looking enough. It’ll be nice like the Ford C-Max, and it won’t sell like the Ford C-Max.
    The Tesla doesn’t just do well because it doesn’t use gas, it does well because it’s exotic looking and quick and useable. Granted, the Bolt is quick enough and practical, but it doesn’t look like something people aspire to own.

  13. Citric Avatar

    It’s nice enough, and it’s a bit less hair shirt than a Prius or a Leaf – though it’s still dorky, it’s not quite as “look at the sacrifice I’m making for the environment” in style, which is good – but is still far too sensible. I want a cheap EV that plays up the fun like the expensive ones do.

  14. Surfer Sandman Avatar
    Surfer Sandman

    I honestly don’t know why people bother commenting on vehicles like this when their comments are nothing short of snarky.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      That would be the “…Or Blah?” part of this series.
      The only positive statement I’m in a position to make is that I imagine the Bolt will prove to be superior to my own electric vehicle in essentially every meaningful way, but after the passage of forty years and with the resources of a major manufacturer that is probably to be expected.

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      ‘Cuz is fun?

  15. discontinuuity Avatar

    Since the distinction between “B” and “V” is almost non-existent to most Spanish-speakers, I hope that they change the name in Latin America, otherwise there will be a lot of confusion between the Bolt and the Volt.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      “Not west want, westauwant! See? total cwap. You suck, Siwi!” – Barry Kripke

  16. Tanshanomi Avatar

    How is this a big deal? The Pentagon was buying $30,000 bolts thirty years ago.

    1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

      Wait, what?!
      Is this a submarine’s toilet seat?

      1. cap'n fast Avatar
        cap’n fast

        no.it is the four plastic feet from the navigators foot stool on the E3A AWAC aircraft used to access the overhead sextant periscope mount. in 1982 dollars their price came out to $30,122 for the set of four. and the wonder of it was the all up unit cost per aircraft was only a very million shy of a billion bucks.

      2. Vairship Avatar

        Nope, it’s a submarine’s screen door. Vital to keep the mosquitoes out.

  17. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

    I’ve half-assed considered a used Volt as a replacement for Pearl, my ’05 V8 STS, in a few years, when said STS has 250K+ miles on it…but it’s gotta be able to do 120 miles, on a single charge, with heat or A/C running…and no cheaping out on letting me play the radio, either.
    I think, instead, I may shop a 2006-2008, low mileage Jaaaag XJ Super V8 Portfolio.
    About the same weight as my STS, moar power by 100 BHP (or so), larger, and damn it, PICNIC TABLES!!!!!!
    If you’ve not driven a Super V8…it’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There’s no way a machine that size should be able to be that comfy, yet that taut.
    It was almost creepy.
    Of course, there’s always the Hellkitty Grand Cherokee, which can keep our 5.9L ZJ company.
    Hellkitty = summer
    5.9L = winter
    Never more than 12 MPG, average…and that’s being gentle.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Essentially betting on oil prices not recovering. This is the opposite of the investment strategy I’m contemplating. I’m a bit jealous of tgese possibilities.

      1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

        Oh, they’ll recover, but I think it may be a while.
        As it stands, our stable of vehicles is, um…stable for a while.

  18. MattC Avatar

    I am all for this. I considered a Leaf(nice car and well reviewed) but the <100 mile range becomes even less in colder weather. The Bolt should and hopefully will do well as it effectively straddles the range from the first gen electrics (Leaf/Spark EV/Fiat 500 EV etc) and the Tesla. Almost 200 miles of range makes this car more feasible option for a longer distance commuter car or a car that can still run errands after commuting to/from work.

  19. JBsC6 Avatar

    Oil is going down to $30 a barrel. Hard to justify 30 grand for that ugly econobox…
    Zero to 60 is quicker than a fiesta ST which is impressive.

  20. SteveL Avatar

    DO WANT. Once you’ve commuted with electric and the smoothness and quiet you hate going back to combustion. (disclosure — I own a Volt). The “200 mile range” means I can commute 100 miles round trip even if I have to run the heater to stay toasty (and I’m old enough to refuse to hyper-freeze my backside off for electric range) which means I can use it for any possible commute that I might have now or in the future (and in reality, the 100 mile round trip commute is unlikely for me if I want to stay out of prison for road rage).
    The shape — functional. That’s all I care about in my commuter pod. And I fully admit that I come from the standpoint of having a 2nd car in the family, so my commuter pod doesn’t have to fill every possible use. Nor does it have to serve as a track car because there are race cars for that.
    But for me, my daily commute, maybe running to the dog park on weekends…perfect.

  21. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    honda accord hybrid makes much more sense as a commuter. all plug-in EVs just seem so limited in flexibility as a primary vehicle. i am fortunate enough to have moved into diesel many years ago and have become accustomed to 40+mpg or so. nephew’s accord hybrid blows me away with it’s in city economy, but it’s the creature comfort and perceived quality of design, engineering, and construction that i am keyed into.simply a marvelous machine.
    as to a GM product, it’s more a “Meh” than blah. owning a GM vehicle is like biting into a luscious bacon laced sandwich and finding out halfway thru it that the bread is moldy.