Early Bolt EVs May Not Have Promised Navigation

Indicators are that a promised built-in map-based navigation system for the Bolt EV may not yet be available and it’s not clear if it will be in time for first deliveries.

With release of Chevrolet’s Bolt EV fleet order guide, conspicuously absent in its 26 pages is any mention of this feature.

Early ride-along videos in Bolts also have seen folks reporting that the vehicle has no nav system, and one must instead rely on another workaround, such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the nav system imported by the paired smartphone.

A map-based nav system is important not just for general traveling, but to find destination chargers, and an EV-focused version was promised at the Bolt’s January reveal at CES in Las Vegas by GM CEO Mary Barra.

“Another way we are looking to save everyone’s time is by offering navigation with EV-specific routing. With EV Navigation mapping, Bolt EV gives options — like routes that maximize your range or provide access to charging stations,” said Barra. “Bolt EV also offers an advanced range predictor, which accurately estimates driving range based on topography… temperature… and driving habits.”

Details Pending


When asked if the 2017 model year would get this feature, Chevrolet Communications rep Fred Ligouri confirmed it would, while remaining vague on the particulars.

“Yes, we will meet the commitment made by our CEO, and those are details we’ll delve into closer to launch,” said Ligouri.

Ligouri did not give any further answer to the question if “map-based nav will be offered with the very first units sold or later in the year?” He otherwise said alternatives to map-based nav are now operative and confirmed the ordering guide does now omit it.

“Also, you’re not mistaken regarding the navigation offering. OnStar guidance plans remain an option, but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay use with smartphone integration provide navigation features on the 10.2-inch center touchscreen.”

General Motors’ subscription-based OnStar system is a suite of connected services offered on more than 30 cars, and turn-by-turn nav is a feature that’s activated by pressing the blue OnStar button and telling an OnStar Advisor where you want to go.

If there is a technical holdup at this stage for all Barra promised, this is also unclear.

General Motors has otherwise said over the air (OTA) updates would be something it offers, and this potentially could be for the Bolt, which could get the map-based nav system after first deliveries are made.

Although Ligouri did not specifically answer whether the Bolt will include map-based nav Barra spoke of in time for first sales, his answer seemed to imply as much.

Others in the EV community have however expressed misgivings that the very first Bolts delivered may not receive map-based nav and related functions, considering that the feature is completely omitted from the online ordering guide.

Not helping the uncertainty is that first drives in the Bolt by journalists saw Chevrolet requesting they not give away details of the advanced infotainment system in the car, so info on the infotainment has been deliberately shrouded by Chevrolet.

If in fact map-based nav is delayed, having an infotainment feature delayed and later installed would not be without precedent. This was the case with the 2016 Chevy Volt which came with Apple CarPlay, and not Android Auto. For the 2017 model year, Android Auto was factory installed, but Chevrolet required 2016 owners to go to their dealer to have their systems updated for Android Auto when it became available.

Now with potential for Tesla-esque OTA updates, perhaps Chevrolet will get to show off this whiz-bang feature just like Tesla, and which is otherwise being demanded of major automakers by consumers who’ve seen how handy it can be.

It’s all up in the air at this point, no pun intended, and as Chevrolet says, more will be disclosed “closer to launch.”