Every few days or so, Dan and I have a conversation about various things -- about baseball or business or politics, this passion project we’re beginning -- but, inevitably, one question arises.
“So,” the question goes, “are you still loving your Chevy Bolt?”
Yes, we both bought Chevy Bolts. It is the first electric car either of us has owned. Dan is a car guy through-and-through, someone who has read every review, studied every magazine, can and will talk about any and every part of the car business from the most luxurious sports car in the world to what the best SUV you could get for less than $20,000. I am not a car guy at all; I have written dozens and dozens of NASCAR stories, for instance, and even after decades of being told, I can never remember what it means for a car to drive tight or loose.
We both absolutely love our Chevy Bolts.
You will be forgiven, certainly, if you have never even heard of the Chevy Bolt. The good people at GM have not made it easy in the last couple of years as they have produced the Chevy VOLT, with a V, and the Chevy BOLT with a B. The Volt is a hybrid car that will give you fifty miles on electricity and then go to gas.
The Bolt is all electric. And it is absolutely remarkable.
How remarkable? Well, the battery range is roughly 240 miles which is roughly twice the range of every non-Tesla car on the road (more on Tesla in a minute). The ride is quiet and smooth. The car is loaded with cool gadgets (including a “rear seat reminder,” which, as the name indicates, reminds you when you park not to forget what you left in the back seat … it’s kind of an odd gadget, to be honest). And it is responsive; the car goes 0-to-60 in about six seconds and it feels even faster than that.
Then, at night, you can just plug it into an outlet.
It’s kind of a miracle, really. And the miracle is not just that you never have to fill up at a gas station (you don’t) or that it is so quiet that music on the radio sounds quantifiably different from a regular car (it does) or even that’s it’s fun to drive, because whatever power you ask for comes immediately, making it pretty easy to beat cars at the light if you need to get over a lane.
No, the miracle is this: It is the future. This is why Dan and I love it so much, because we just know that this is where the world is going - not just for environmental reasons or anything like that. No, the world is going this way because the Bolt has a 240-mile range which means, before too long, there will be a car with a 500-mile range, and then a car with a 700-mile range and so on.
The world is going this way because while the Bolt on fast charge can load up 25 miles per hour (and on super-fast chargers, available at some public station, it can add 90 miles in 30 minutes), we all know that soon you will be able to charge it up entirely in a half hour, then 15 minutes. We all know that at some point you won’t even need to plug in a charger, you will be able to drive on to a charging mat or something like that and charge up your car in a short time.
The world is going this way because the Bolt is already fantastic, and it’s just the first generation of its kind. This is easy to miss because Chevy has not exactly been the essence of cool in a while. Tesla, right, that’s cool. Tesla’s cars are extraordinary pieces of technology with extraordinary price tags to match. The entry point to get into a Tesla is roughly $70,000.
But Tesla has promised the Model 3, a sports sedan which starts at $36,000. People are so excited about the Model 3 - because people are so passionate about the Tesla brand - that roughly a half million people have already put down a $1,000 reservation payment to get on Tesla 3 waiting list even though you can only reserve a car that will be delivered in “12 to 18 months.”
The Chevy Bolt is roughly the same price, has roughly the same specs, is getting rave reviews and is here and available right now; it gets lost. This is a story of passion. Tesla’s Elon Musk is a genius for sparking passion. And the Chevy Bolt deserves so much more.
Over the next five years, dozens of new electric cars will hit the market. GM has promised to break out 20 different models over the next five years; in all, there should be more than 100 new models to come out in the United States over that time period. There is some thought in the car industry that companies are moving too fast, that the appetite for electric cars is not quite there yet and that it will take quite a bit longer for most people to make the transition.
Maybe. All we can tell you is this: We love our Chevy Bolts. To drive it now feels like we’re right on the cusp of the future.