Affordable 259-Mile All-Electric Driving Range
Refreshed inside and out, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV continues to be the best-selling electric car for Chevrolet and parent General Motors. But the news gets even better as the Bolt’s starting price has been reduced $5,000 from the equivalent 2021 model.
The Driving Experience: Seamless Power
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV with a 259-mile driving range from a 150-kilowatt electric motor that drives the front wheels. Its 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque zips the 3,624-pound Bolt around, turning 0-60 times of 6.4-seconds.
Going quick is fun, but with an EV, efficiency is more important. The EPA rates the Bolt EV at 131 MPGe city/109 highway and a combined 120. It also estimates driving the Bolt EV over five years will save at least $3,750 on gasoline. Sounds pretty good! Clean Fleet Report was able to get an impressive 4.3 miles/kWh average over 526 miles of mixed driving through Southern California. Driving range numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s experience using the dash gauge computer. Your numbers may differ. Many Bolt owners proudly report going more than 300 miles on a charge.
The Driving Experience: Hitting the Road
The Bolt EV is no different from other electric vehicles as it runs silent, except any noise that may come from the tires and a bit of wind. Acceleration is smooth and instant with the Bolt’s one-speed automatic transmission delivering power and torque at anytime, which means no waiting for the transmission to downshift. If driving an EV is new to you, the feeling of instant power and torque will be an eye opener and a great big smile inducer.
The batteries, located under the seats, make for a lowered center of gravity driving experience that truly shines in city maneuvers, highway cruising, and a tight turning radius. The 215/50 all-season Michelin Energy Saver Green X tires, mounted on 17-inch machined-alloy wheels, are designed for low rolling-resistance and not performance. The Bolt EV is most at home in the city and highway, so mountain corner carving is not its thing. Overall the handling is good, just don’t push it too far.
The Bolt EV has two drive modes of Normal for highway and urban city driving, and Sport where the accelerator pedal has more feel for increased responsive driving. There are also two choices for the regenerative braking that converts kinetic energy into electric energy and stores it in the battery when applying the brakes or coasting.
The brake pedal can be used as normal for slowing and stopping, but the best and most enjoyable way to drive the Bolt is in the one-pedal driving mode. The base regeneration mode will slow the Bolt and allow it to creep after coming to a complete stop. But opting for one-pedal mode, the deceleration is far more aggressive and will bring the Bolt to a complete stop, and hold it there until pressing on the accelerator. Once you get the hang of it the Bolt can be driven under almost all circumstances without using the brake pedal, one of the joys of driving an electric car.
Another benefit of mastering the one-pedal driving technique, where the motor does the slowing, is that brake servicing becomes rare. This, along with all the other maintenance you will never have to do, is a real money saver versus a gasoline powered car. When you do need to use the brakes, the Bolt comes standard with an anti-lock braking system, power-assisted front vented and rear solid discs. Handling and driving confidence was aided by dynamic rear brake proportioning and electronic stability control.
Charging and Stopping
The 65-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, comprised of 288 individual cells, is primarily charged by the 11.5-kW onboard charger, accessed through a plug-in port offering three charging speeds. For the batteries to go add range, the approximate times would be:
- 120V (Level 1) 4 miles per hour
- 240V (Level 2) 39 miles per hour, Full charge in 7 hours
- DC Fast Charging 100 miles in 30 minutes
Exterior: Tall and Narrow
Clean Fleet Report’s Bolt EV, updated and refreshed for 2022, was painted in Ice Blue Metallic. The compact hatchback design has a sloping roof-to-windshield-to-bumper profile, with the slim LED daytime running lights wrapping the fender and sitting above in the LED headlamps in the redesigned lower fascia.
The smooth roof gently arcs to an integrated spoiler over the rear hatch window with the redesigned LED tail lamps sitting wide on the lift gate. The side view, with blacked-out B pillars and just the lightest touch of a chrome accent strip around the windows, combines with the the 17-inch bright, machined alloy wheels with carbon flash-painted pockets to help with a new premium look.
Interior: Open Feeling
The Bolt EV interior received even more changes than the exterior, resulting in a premium look through upgraded materials. The new dash design, especially by losing the stark white scheme, has improved the look, tone and feel of the cabin. The tall and narrow Bolt can fit four full size adults comfortably, or two adults upfront and three children in the rear. Leg and head room are excellent, front and rear.
The Bolt’s 2LT trim level has heated leather front seats with eight-way power adjustments, including lumbar, for the driver and manual adjustments for the passenger. The front seating position is higher than a compact car and sight lines and visibility are good. When combined with the height adjustable and telescoping steering column, a good driver position was easy to find. Considering how far back the driver’s seat slides, no circus contorting for the six-foot plus crowd is required.
All controls are within easy reach of the driver. The digital instrument cluster, viewed through the steering wheel, has one large round gauge with additional information on each side. The 10.2-inch color touchscreen housed Chevrolet’s MyLink connectivity system that featured navigation, and the optional Bose, seven-speaker audio system for the AM/FM/HD radio.
Also part of the infotainment system is SiriusXM, Bluetooth for telephone and streaming music and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Storage space is ample, with the rear seat split 60/40. When laid flat, the 57 cubic-feet of cargo capacity is large enough for a full-size bicycle. Additional storage in the rear cargo area comes in the guise of a false floor that, when removed, allows for the hauling taller objects.
Other interior conveniences are a leather-wrapped multi-function flat bottom steering wheel with radio and telephone controls, wireless device charging, automatic HVAC, power windows and power door locks, keyless open, remote start, power adjustable and manual folding exterior mirrors with turn signals and multi-function car analytics. The Bolt EV does not have a sunroof option.
Safety and Warranties
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV has 10 airbags and advanced driver safety assistance systems (ADAS) such as lane change and blind spot alert, rear park assist with cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, and front pedestrian braking. Additional safety features are a tire pressure monitoring system, a tire inflator kit, keyless push button on/off and OnStar.
Activating the handy and helpful OnStar system is as simple as pushing a button. This connects you with a friendly General Motors representative to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable by helping to handle emergencies, directions and general assistance. This is one area where GM is the industry leader.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not rated the 2022 Bolt EV, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested the Bolt and gave it an overall Good rating.
The 2022 Bolt EV comes with these warranties as part of its Complete Care package:
- Electric Propulsion Component (Battery) – Eight years/100,000 miles
- Bumper-to-Bumper – Three years/36,000 miles
- Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
- Corrosion – Six years/100,000 miles
- Roadside Assistance – Five years/60,000 miles
There are two 2022 Bolt EV models, with these base prices including the $995 destination charge.
- LT $32,990
- 2LT $36,190
The Bolt EV currently (as of August 2022) no longer qualifies for federal tax credits, but may qualify for credits or incentives in some states. See a tax consultant before visiting your local dealer. The Bolt EV is also eligible in some states for a HOV sticker allowing solo transit in a high-occupancy lane.
Observations: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV 2LT
With the price reduction, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV is a great deal for a car that can get 259 miles on a single charge and is fun to drive. The fuel cost savings, along with maintenance costs that won’t come with the Bolt, will make a significant difference in your monthly budget and overall cost of ownership.
The Bolt has good handling and a spirited all-electric driving experience. It is also practical in many ways, starting with the ability to handle a full week’s worth of 40-mile-per-day commuting without recharging.
All major auto manufacturers have announced plans to electrify their line-ups, with many models planned to be released before the year 2025. In a few short years it will be nearly impossible to find a mainstream manufacturer that does not have a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, EV or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. So getting a 2022 Bolt EV now will set you up for when that next generation of electrified cars come on the market.
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Story & photos by John Faulkner.
Other Affordable EVs we’ve tested:
Flash Drive: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Road Trip: 2020 Nissan Leaf
Road Test: 2019 Fiat 500e
Road Test: 2020 Mini SE Electric
Road Test: 2021 Volkswagen ID4 AWD
Road Test: 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric
Road Test: 2022 Kia Niro EV
Road Test: 2022 Mazda MX-30 EV
Road Test: 2022 Kia EV6
Flash Drive: 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
Road Trip: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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