People tend to have a love-hate relationship with all-electric vehicles. I’m in the middle. I truly believe we need to rely less on gas and electric cars make a lot of sense. But, for the most part they aren’t fun to drive and I worry about running out of juice (it happened once!).

The Chevy Bolt, on the other hand, is a game-changer. The Bolt, first of all, has amazing range. It can go 259 miles on a full charge and has 200 horsepower behind it. If you’re talking the equivalent, 259 miles on an all-electric car’s battery is the same as 127 miles in a gas car in the city; 108 on the highway and 118 combined. Not bad at all. It takes about 10 hours to charge th eBolt’s 66-kWH battery using a 240-volt outlet. With DC Fast Charging, you can get about 100 miles in half an hour.

The Bolt is a perfect second family car or a teenager car. It’s compact,  incredibly safe, has lots of interior room and won’t hurt your wallet. We were, frankly, pleasantly surprised by its upscale features, including front bucket seats, leather-wrapped (and heated) steering wheel and heated front seats (some of which are upgrades). We loved the ambient interior lighting and the clean dramatic lines inside. The interior was roomy for four and could even fit five with decent space.

Another plus for families is that is has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and an upper tether for the rear middle seat.

The Bolt has plenty of cargo space (16.9 cubit feet and 56.6 cubic feet when the seats are folded back. We were able to fill several Trader Joe’s backs and paper goods in it with no problem; it’ll easily handle whatever sports equipment will come its way. There lot of inside space as well with a compartment behind the electronic shifter that fits a smartphone and another by the center console that is perfect for a purse.

The Bolt provides a fun comfortable ride and, with its low center of gravity you feel confident going around curves and on the highway. It has a regenerative braking system. I didn’t know what that meant but it’s the way an electric car converts some of its kinetic energy lost when decelerating back into stored energy in the vehicle’s battery. Basically, when you brake a car the energy is put back into the stored energy of the vehicle so that when the car accelerates it uses that energy instead of giving into tits own energy reserves. Essentially, it helps save the battery’s energy needed to run — and stop — the car. Whew!  The Bolt’s regenerative braking system has a Regen on Demand steering paddle with Drive and Low modes. The Drive mode is like a traditional gas-powered car while the one-pedal option recharges the battery and slows it  down when you let go of the accelerator.

The Bolt’s technology offerings are substantial including rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking and a 10.2-inch touchscreen. One downer is that it doesn’t have a navigation system but one can always use their smartphones.

The Bolt’s standard price is $36,620; we drove the Premier level, which came in at $43,700.

Again, it’s a great car for a teenager or a second car for those who want reliability, comfort and giving a boost to the environment.

Jim Ellis Chevrolet, Steve Rayman Chevrolet, John Thornton Chevrolet, Nalley Chevrolet, Rick Hendrick Chevrolet Duluth.

— Mary Welch


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