Chevrolet helped pioneer the long-range mass-market battery-electric vehicle with the Bolt EV. It offered an attainable EV with over 200 miles of range, giving consumers a viable alternative to more expensive Teslas. However, competition remains fierce. More automakers jumped into the electric car bandwagon and the technology has advanced so quickly in a short time. The refreshed 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV arrives with lots of new improvements and a quirky new look. Will that be enough to keep it relevant? Let’s take a look and find out.
Bolt EV and Bolt EUV Similarities and Differences
The Bolt family expands for 2022 with the addition of the Bolt EUV. Versus the Bolt EV, it’s longer and slightly wider and taller. Together with a 2.3-inch longer wheelbase, the EUV has a roomier interior. In addition to their exterior dimensions, you can distinguish the two models based on their exterior lights. Although they have the same stacked headlights, the Bolt EUV has a split setup while the Bolt EV houses everything in a single angular vertical cluster. They also get thin LED taillights and 17-inch wheels but each car gets unique patterns for both elements.
Both Bolt models get a new dash and center console layout. The latter features a large storage area underneath and a cubby under the center stack where the available wireless charging pad lives. You also get new front seats regardless of the variant you choose. These provide better back support and are wider, allowing them to accommodate more body types. Their cushions, though, remain on the stiff side. Cabin differences include the lack of perforations on the dash inserts and black as the only interior color choice. Certain convenience features like ventilated front seats, a sunroof, and heated rear seats are exclusive to the Bolt EUV.
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV also uses more hard plastics in the cabin. While the materials are better than in the pre-refresh car, it’s noticeably less upscale than the Bolt EUV, which features nicer appointments. Additionally, the bigger of the two Bolts gets more sound deadening. The Bolt EV’s cabin lets in a lot of wind and road noise on the highway, disturbing an otherwise serene environment.
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Simple and Intuitive
General Motors’ new infotainment system doubles down on user-friendliness. The unit in the Bolt EV features a responsive 10.2-inch touchscreen with big icons and minimal submenus. As a result, it‘s easy to figure out how everything works. You also get shortcuts, a physical home button, and two knobs. The available seven-speaker Bose audio system sounds good and does a great job covering the cabin. You may want to dial down the bass and treble, though, because this unit has a ton of both.
One big differentiator between the Bolt EV and EUV is the former’s lack of Super Cruise, GM’s semi-autonomous system. That’s likely due to the Bolt EV’s positioning as the least expensive electric vehicle in the company’s portfolio. Thankfully, you still get a full suite of driver assistance and collision prevention features as part of the standard Chevy Safety Assist suite. The base 1LT grade offers blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as part of the Driver Confidence package. These components work subtly and stay in the background while you’re driving. Lane keeping is the only exception because it reacts late and bounces you between the lane lines. Adaptive cruise control tuning veers on the conservative side because it leaves a lot of space between you and the vehicle ahead. Thankfully, the car does a great job maintaining your set distance and slowing down when someone cuts you off.
Zippy…on the Road
Power comes from a 65-kWh battery and single electric motor with 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. As a result, you get zippy acceleration at all speeds for effortless driving. Sport mode sharpens the throttle response, giving the Bolt EV a livelier character. The car stays planted and confident through turns thanks to well-controlled body motions. Quick, accurate steering makes maneuvering a cinch even in tight spaces. However, the car’s height and short wheelbase cause it to feel tipsy over surfaces with lots of big bumps, potholes, and expansion joints. Otherwise, the ride stays comfortable and you get a lot of cushioning thanks to tires with thick sidewalls.
Now let’s discuss the elephant in the room: DC charging. Both Bolt models have a peak rate of 55 kW, which is among the lowest. This also keeps the cars from being a viable road trip option because the long charging times extend your overall travel duration. DC charging from 25 to 80 percent took 52 minutes. That’s with the car sustaining 50 to 55 kW up to 65 percent. The consistency impresses but the low rates of energy intake mean longer charging times during road trips.
On a positive note, the Bolt EV’s efficiency levels remain among the best. During my week, I averaged 4.4 miles per kWh, which is quite high. Although the EPA says the car can travel 259 miles, surpassing that takes little effort. I managed to eke 285 miles on a single charge without using any hypermiling techniques, highlighting the Bolt EV’s true capabilities. This also gives the car plenty of flexibility as a daily driver since its long range allows you to go farther out and still get back home with plenty of range to spare.
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Strength in Value
Chevrolet turned the 2022 Bolt EV into a strong value proposition with a starting price of $32,495 for the base 1LT grade. This 2LT test car with adaptive cruise control and the Infotainment package costs $36,165, a steal when you consider the long standard equipment list and the Bolt EV’s capabilities. For 2023, GM doubled down on making the Bolt EV affordable, cutting the price by a staggering $5,900. That makes this car an even stronger value with a starting price of $26,595 for the 1LT trim. Take that drop into account and this loaded 2LT test car now checks in at a mind-boggling $30,295, making this an impressive proposition.
The Best Commuter?
There’s no question that the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV excels as a daily driver. Between its generous driving range, handy size, user-friendly tech features, and roomy cabin, this quirky hatchback checks a lot of boxes. The attainable price tag makes electrified motoring viable to more consumers…provided you’re not doing a lot of long-distance driving. For those who charge at home 99 percent of the time, the Bolt EV makes for the perfect vehicle. It gives you plenty of range and enables you to take advantage of its 11.5-kW onboard charger. Think of this as your second vehicle, the one that fulfills your daily needs from commuting to errands while your hybrid or another EV with faster DC charging times serves as the road warrior.