General Motors' Chevy Bolt is Now a Compact SUV With "Hands-Free Driving"

The Chevy Bolt has undergone quite a developmental change, now a 250 mile ranged, hands-free driving compact SUV by GM’s new EV division.

Credit | General Motors

GM, as part of its massive electric vehicle initiative, is releasing the Chevy Bolt as two different vehicles, the updated Bolt EV, and the new Bolt EUV. These, announced on Sunday, are a long range EV hatchback (with new tech features), and a compact SUV with electronic vehicle components, respectively.

These are expected to arrive this Summer, with the Bolt EV selling for $31,995 and the Bolt EUV selling for $33,995. A limited-time “Launch” edition will arrive with unique wheels and badging, as well as an illuminated charge port for the car. The Launch edition will be available for $43,495, about $7-8 thousand more expensive than the current Bolt EV.

The Bolt EV and EUV were originally intended to go into production in late 2020, although they were both delayed until this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic had severely affected production and distribution. This will be a very opportune moment for the cars as well, as this is a big moment for EVs, with growing market share and reduced battery and part pricing.

Big changes to EVs

General Motors originally created the Bolt EV in 2016, gradually readjusting the car to become more along the lines of where it is today. The 2021 model will start at $36,500, with around a 260 mile range. 2016’s Bolt had a range over 200 miles as well, although the original model was much less accentuated or noticeable as the cars are now. 

The Chevy Bolt’s now much more accepting of its EV qualities, with a new design, with sharper colors and contours, pushing the vehicle into more of a noticeably electric category. The car comes with aluminum wheels, outside heated mirrors, quite a lot of chrome, and assorted LED and powered devices on the outside of the vehicle.

It seems as though GM and Chevy, more specifically, are adopting the obvious qualifiers of EVs, like those in a Tesla, following dismal sales from the company’s first EV product. The Bolt’s redesigned compact size and shape are what most buyers are seeming to be looking for, according to new trends, helping GM focus on more potential buyers.

The design issue wasn’t even the only issue however, as 2017-2019 Bolts were recalled heavily, following flawed battery designs, which helped to ruin GM’s EV image even more. GM and Chevy hope to fix these issues, boosting EV sales with the Bolt, although the tech they’re using behind the new cars, isn’t necessarily the newest.

New batteries means old problems

Both the upcoming Bolt EV and EUV will be built on GM’s early BEV2 platform, which is very different, and mildly outdated when compared to the company’s new Ultium battery pack. That pack, announced in 2020, will be used with the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV first, with additional vehicles built upon that architecture afterwards.

GM has said multiple times that the Ultium platform is built to enable the company’s future EVs to travel further on a single charge, building upon further advances to battery technology. 

The company will have to actively transfer past and future products over to the growing battery platform, helping to move all of these vehicles and brands to a modular system. This will push most vehicles’ battery ranges to over 400 miles, which is massive compared to the Bolt’s future 260 mile range.

As a fill-in for the vehicles’ missing Ultium technology, GM is instead including Super Cruise, the company’s “hands-free” driver assist system, which had previously been exclusive to Cadillac vehicles. The Bolt EV and EUV will be the first non-Cadillac vehicles and the first electric vehicles to have the Super Cruise technology.

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Making up for a lack of Ultium

GM’s also reducing the price from past models of Bolts, focusing on providing additional features in replacement for a lack of the Ultium platform. Original Bolts, introduced five years ago, came with a $7,500 tax credit, turning a ~$37,000 vehicle into a $30,000 vehicle.

GM no longer has access to these tax credits however, following their 200,000th EV sold, which removed them from the United States’ program for tax credits. Although GM isn’t eligible for these tax credits anymore, the company’s sticking with the $30,000 net price, although this time, it’s just the price. It’s a good sign for GM’s attempt to make up for Ultium shortcomings.

It’s still claimed that the Bolt EV’s non-Ultium 65kWh battery pack, will enable 259 miles on a single charge, which while not great, is still higher than the slightly heavier Bolt EUV’s 250 miles in range. The original Bolt had 238 miles, making these new additions look like more of a deal in comparison.

The Bolt EUV and Bolt EV share the general architecture, although their designs are unique. They both share a single-motor drive unit, with 200 horsepower in output, with a new one-petal driving mode, and regenerative braking to help keep your brakes alive. 

New cars, new interiors

The original Bolt came with a practical, plastic bound interior, although the new Bolt EV and EUVs are more technology-oriented, rumored to have been constructed to assist with “hands-free” Super Cruise driving. Chevy’s even taken out the poorly received Bolt’s seats, replacing them with a trianglularly patterned and contrasting color seat set, built to provide a “premium design that gives a consistent and upscale atmosphere.”

That’s very unique, especially for a $30,000 car, one that’s definitely not a luxury vehicle. That uniqueness carries into the dashboard of the cars, both of which providing a 10.2 inch main infotainment screen, with smoother buttons and designs. There’s also a new light bar in the steering wheel, with infrared sensors throughout the car. That’s integrated with the Super Cruise system, which uses cameras, radar, and additional sensors to drive hands-free on the road.

These are also incorporated to ensure that hands-free driving isn’t human-free driving as well, with a necessary road/eye-contact, just to ensure that you’re actually paying attention to your driving.

Working on EV charging

While Chevy isn’t making charging any easier or more accessible, they are doing what they can to make it less painful. The Bolt comes with a combined two-level charging cord, which is said to eliminate the need for two different chargers. The changeable plug allows charging through a standard three-prong outlet for Level 1 charging, with an additional 240-volt outlet for Level 2 charging.

Charging time changes depending on power levels though, as below:

  • 120-volts | 4 miles per hour of charging (65 hours for full charge)
  • 240-volts | 37 miles per hour (7 hours for full charge)
  • DC fast charger | 100 miles per 30 minutes, or >200/hour


While internal combustion engines will likely continue to be produced for several more years, there’s hope that the EV movement will keep growing, with definite confidence that the movement is for sure, real.

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