The 2017 Chevy Bolt EV has not even had its first customer delivery yet but has already accrued some of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a car.
Having received at least eight major awards, and counting, the $30,000 after federal subsidy Bolt EV cuts by more than half what an electric car with 238 miles range would have cost just last year.
Granted, it’s not as sleek and fast as a Tesla Model S, but the front-wheel drive compact crossover represents a new price-for-range benchmark that other automakers, including Tesla, Nissan, VW Group, and more intend to follow.
So, while customers have not vetted the car yet, just the stat sheet has been enough to garner praise from the media – who also have been getting test drives the past several months to further convince them – so don’t be surprised if more awards come.
The same happened incidentally for the Chevy Volt, which between 2010 and 2014 racked up at least 40 awards for its groundbreaking technology, and more awards have come for the second-generation 2016 Volt since.
Naturally, as with any other product, the Volt – and the Bolt – have had and will continue to have those who do not speak well of them. Aside from the halo effect of an ever-filling trophy case, some buyers will find things to fault, and that’s just the facts of life.
One potential complaint we have already heard – not with the car itself – is its availability. First buyers expect the Bolt in California and Oregon over the next several weeks, but the rest of the country will need more patience. GM has not specified a delivery schedule for other markets, but has said rollout will be next year into the spring for shoppers in other states.
In any event, here’s a list of some of the more notable awards, as double checked by Chevrolet, who contributed two to a list we sent over to see if we’d missed any.
Car and Driver – 10Best Cars
The popular car mag selected the Bolt as one of its 10Best Cars for 2017, noting it is a significant improvement over the late ‘90s GM EV1, but still shy of transport promised by the Jetsons. In terms of what people can actually get today, it is a standout performer, says C&D.
The Chevrolet Bolt touches down in a different world, one that is edging toward the point where EVs start to make sense to people other than the sort of folk who campaign against cruelty to fruit. The Bolt isn’t an excuse-free electric car, but it earns its place on the 10Best list by being the one that comes closest to rebutting two of the biggest criticisms that have been levied against the genre: expense and range.
Car Connection – Best EV to Buy, Best Hatchback to Buy 2017
Respect on a high order was given by The Car Connection which named the Bolt not just the best EV to buy, but also the best hatchback to buy which would include gas-powered models.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV handily wins The Car Connection’s Best Electric Car to Buy 2017. It rendered all other affordable electric vehicles outdated and nearly obsolete the minute it was unveiled.
That’s what happens in the tech world, which is just what the auto industry is starting to feel like these days. …But what may be most remarkable about the Bolt EV is that it’s a normal car. That might not seem ground-breaking, but in the world of electric vehicles it moves the bar far higher than anyone else.
Sure, it’s a little quirky-looking outside, but it has more in common with upmarket crossovers like the Lexus RX than with economy cars. Inside, there’s good room for four adults and their luggage. Good space utilization makes the Bolt EV feel even roomier than it actually is, although its 94.4 cubic feet of interior volume is impressive on its own. …
Green Car Reports – Best New Car to Buy
Green Car Reports, a sister site to The Car Connection, likewise found much to like about the Bolt.
As did others, it noted its range-for-dollar while observing the Bolt is a well-executed total package.
The all-electric Bolt EV is EPA-rated at 238 miles of range, at a base price of $37,495.
That’s the range of a Tesla, for roughly half the price. Pretty remarkable less than five years after the first Tesla Model S rolled off the lines, no?
The Bolt EV is a five-seat, five-door hatchback, with the footprint of a compact car but more interior volume (by a fraction of a cubic foot) than that Model S.
On the basics, the Bolt EV succeeds. The tall, upright body holds four adults comfortably. The shape may not be to everyone’s taste, but the compact dimensions make it easier to park than that Model S.
The interior is bright and airy, with a low dash and crisp, high-resolution graphics with intuitive controls.
The floor is flat, because the battery pack sits under the floorpan and the rear seat, with the electric motor up front powering the front wheels.
The most important thing about the Bolt EV, though, is how far you can go on a single charge. The EPA rates its range at 238 miles. Chevy promised 200 miles, and overdelivered.
Green Car Journal – Green Car of the Year
A quarterly publication run by founder and editor Ron Cogan, the magazine’s Green Car of the Year award since 2006 has selected all sorts of technology for its award. These include hybrids, diesels, a natural gas car, and the Bolt’s predecessor, the extended-range Volt – for both first and second generations – and others.
This year Cogan summed up his thoughts on the new EV from Chevrolet.
“The new electric Bolt is a breakthrough vehicle,” said Cogan. “I have been covering this for 20 years and ‘range anxiety’ has always been an issue. Suddenly, the Bolt at 238 miles of all electric driving…this car becomes a game changer.”
Hispanic Motor Press – Best EV/Plug-In Vehicle
The Hispanic Motor Press chose the Bolt as best EV.plug-in vehicle after filtyering it through criteria incliuding design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction and value.
“The purpose of the awards is to acclaim the most outstanding new vehicles in the United States to go on sale in the 12 months preceding the date of the title,” says the publication.
Motor Trend – Car of the Year
“Chevy changes the game. Again,” said Motor Trend.
And with that, the enthusiast publication laid out some background, set the stage, and summed why the car deserves its award.
Two numbers—238 and 29,995—are why. The first is the number of miles the EPA has certified the Bolt EV will travel on a full charge. The second is the price, in dollars, of the Bolt EV, after allowing for a $7,500 federal tax rebate. By offering that range at that price, the Bolt EV has made just about every other electric vehicle on sale obsolete. “Simply put, it’s twice the car for half the price of a BMW i3,” guest judge Chris Theodore said. “A better car, better package, much better handling, with twice the range.”
Even the folks at Tesla, the electric vehicle masters of the universe, have been put on notice: The Bolt EV sets a benchmark for value and performance they’ll have to work overtime to match. “This is a direct challenge for Tesla to make the Model 3 anything near the Bolt EV for the same price,” executive editor Mark Rechtin said. “Chevrolet has made affordable long-range electric transportation available to the masses. Elon Musk should be afraid. Very, very afraid.”
AutoGuide Reader’s Choice
HybridCars.com’s sister publication this year asked its readers what the Green Car of the Year ought to be, and the answer was the Bolt.
The five-door hatchback features an all-electric powertrain with a total output of 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque while returning a range of 238 miles. The Chevrolet Bolt is heading to California and Oregon first, with a starting price of $37,495. The American automaker did confirm that the Bolt will eventually head to all 50 states as it looks to get a jump on the upcoming Tesla Model 3 as an affordable EV offering over 200 miles of all-electric driving on a single charge.
“The Bolt left a strong first impression and felt very refined,” AutoGuide.com‘s Sami Haj-Assaad said in his review. “It will be interesting to see if owners will be able to push the range over 200 miles, but as it stands, the Bolt will represent a huge move forward for affordable and practical electric vehicles.”
Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2016
Not a car-only award, Time Magazine included the Bolt along with 25 other inventions including the levitating lightbulb, Solar City’s new roof tile solar panels, and tires that spin in every direction by Goodyear.
As for the Bolt, it’s a “crown pleasing electric car,” says the pub which rounds up the price from $37,495 to an even $40,000 (assuming taxes, that may be about right, and who’s counting $2,500 here or there anyway?)
The endorsement otherwise is a welcome one for Chevrolet, and this is one of the two awards it brought to our attention.
For most buyers, electric vehicles fall into two camps: too expensive (think the $66,000 Tesla Model S) and too limited (the Nissan Leaf gets just 100 miles per charge). General Motors aims to bridge that gap with the Chevrolet Bolt, which touts crowd-pleasing features, like more than 200 miles of driving on a single charge, at a relatively low cost.
Popular Science 10 Greatest Automotive Innovations Of 2016
Along with a driveable supercar – the McLaren 570S – and Koenigsegg FreeValve engine technology, and the Airbus APWorks Light Rider 3D printed motorcycle, came the Chevy Bolt.
Another mainstream award Chevrolet was happy to let us know about, the magazine summed up what most others have said about why the Bolt was a standout this year.
Affordable electric vehicles have struggled to break the 200-mile-range barrier. General Motors (no, not Tesla) is getting there first. It all comes down to the battery: The Bolt’s 288-cell, 60-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion powerhouse is heavy in nickel, which boosts energy density and extends range to 238 miles. Liberal use of aluminum in the hood, doors, tailgate, and suspension keep the car from getting weighed down. $37,495