The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV remains a unique vehicle in the market. It’s the sole electric car with more than 200 miles of range that you can buy today for less than $40,000. It’s available throughout the U.S. and comes in base, LT, and top-end Premier trim levels.
Chevy’s only battery-electric car does well in our ratings, earning a score of 7.2 out of 10, helped by its perfect rating for energy efficiency and performance that’s a lot quicker and more fun than many people assume electric cars can provide. Despite not having been tested for crash safety by the NHTSA, we’ve also scored it for safety this year for the first time. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Like so many of the electric cars that have gone on sale since 2011, the Chevy Bolt EV is a five-door hatchback that sits on the footprint of a compact car. It’s actually more spacious inside, courtesy of the smaller powertrain and a battery pack under the cabin floor, but despite a few efforts by Chevy to pitch it as a “crossover utility vehicle,” it remains a front-wheel-drive hatch. That’s a segment that’s shrinking, granted, but the Bolt EV is the best hatch on the market today.
Review continues below
It’s one of the best electric cars on the road, too. Its 238-mile rating eliminates range anxiety for average daily commuting and suburban use, and while it’s hardly stylish, passengers will likely be impressed with its acceleration and superior infotainment system. Its owners and drivers need never go to a gas station, however, and the car can be charged every night if desired to have a “full tank” every morning.
If the Bolt EV has flaws, they have to do with fast charging. It’s a $750 option to fit a Bolt EV with a CCS fast-charging port—and we feel strongly that every single buyer should do just that—but today’s CCS stations run at a maximum rate of 50 kilowatts, meaning unlike a Tesla, the electric Chevy may take two 30-minute fast-charging sessions to refill a totally depleted battery. Moreover, the CCS network in the U.S. currently lags behind not only the Tesla Supercharger network but even by the competing and equally slow CHAdeMO fast-charging network, used today only by the Nissan Leaf.
Still, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is a remarkable vehicle. Its mix of practicality, interior volume, brisk acceleration, and fun-to-drive roadholding won it the Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2017 award, among many other accolades. For anyone who’s considering an electric car that’s not a Tesla—and quite a few of those who didn’t even consider electric cars—the Chevy Bolt EV is a must-drive.