There are actually very few electric vehicles on the market at the moment, but they seem to create the bulk of the buzz. Whether that stems from curiosity, excitement, the very mention of Elon Musk’s name, or the looming sense that the days of internal combustion are slowly drawing to a close, get ready for more. A lot more.
General Motors has targeted 2035 to turn off the taps for internal-combustion power, at least for personal transportation. The transformation is well under way for the company, even if the various GM vehicle lineups aren’t exactly teeming with EVs just yet.
While the company is staking its future on the new Ultium battery platform for many of its future large EVs, such as the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Hummer — both of which are nearing production — all were preceded by the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback. That model, built on the GM BEV2 platform, has been around since the 2017 model year and was redesigned for 2022. At that time, a second Bolt model was added, called the EUV. Its profile is more in line with that of a compact utility vehicle.
It hasn’t been an easy birth.
Chevrolet suspended EUV production shortly after it began in August because of potential fire-hazard issues with the battery packs, which were supplied by LG Chem. That has now been sorted out and both models are once again rolling off the Michigan assembly line.
Compared with the Bolt, the Bolt EUV is about 18 centimetres longer and has close to eight more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. According to Chevrolet, that directly translates to eight more centimetres of rear-seat legroom. Surprisingly, the EUV’s cargo volume, with the rear seat upright or folded flat, is similar to that of the smaller Bolt.
It’s understandably stubbier than the EUV, but the two vehicles look very similar. The Bolt’s black headlight trim extends to the side mirrors and the EUV has extra fender creases and a more pronounced side body line. The Bolt’s rear pillar styling has a noticeable flat spot. And that’s about it.
The EUV’s cabin has a 10.2-inch touch-screen, wifi hotspot capability plus Apple CarPlay and Android connectivity. Behind the flat-bottom steering wheel is an 8.0-inch configurable display with speedometer and range readouts.
The “Regen on Demand” paddle, located behind the steering wheel, lets the driver brake the Bolt to a full stop at low speeds. This helps recharge the 65-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery by converting braking energy to electricity and putting back into the battery.
The EUV’s electric motor drives the front wheels with 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough, says Chevrolet, to propel the vehicle to 60 mph (96 km/h) from rest in seven seconds. Top speed is 95 mph (150 km/h).
Maximum range is about 400 kilometres, which is slightly shy of the Bolt EV, which weighs 45 kilograms less. That distance is quite decent for a modestly priced electric vehicle. Fuel-consumption equivalency is rated at 1.9 l/100 km in the city, 2.3 on the highway and 2.1 combined.
According to Chevrolet, a Level 3 DC commercial station charges the EUV at a rate of 150 kilometres per 30 minutes. Using a Level 2 home station (240 volts), expect a full charge in about seven hours. In a pinch, you can charge at 120 volts (regular house current), but at a rate of just 6.5 kilometres of range per hour. At that rate, a full charge from empty would take about three full days.
Pricing excluding government rebates begins at $42,100, including destination charges, which gets you the LT trim. Aside from the power-operated basics, it comes with wireless phone charging, a six-speaker audio system and roof-mounted side rails. There’s also forward-collision alert, automatic emergency braking and pedestrian braking, and lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning.
The Premier trim gets leather seat coverings, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, plus a 360-degree surround-view camera. A Bose sound system is optional for the Premier as is a panoramic power sunroof and GM’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system (subscription required). It allows hands-free driving on more than 320,000 kilometres of roads in Canada and the United States.
With the battery problems addressed, it appears to be clear sailing for the Bolt EUV. That means customers can focus on its practical shape, spacious accommodations and reasonable range that make the vehicle an affordable means of driving into the future.
What you should know: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Type: Front-wheel-drive compact electric hatchback
Motor (h.p.): Front-mounted single electric (200)
Transmission: Single-speed controller
Market position: The more substantial version of the Bolt EV offers more space for passengers and a bit more style as well. Otherwise the two models follow a nearly identical path when it comes to drivetrain output cargo capacity.
Points: Styling is on the conservative side when compared with newly emerging EVs. • Interior benefits from additional rear-seat space; stowage volume is more than adequate for this size of vehicle. • Motor output is relatively modest, but the instant torque is pleasing. • Range should be sufficient for short-to-medium highway travels. • Excellent value in the small-EV class.
Active Safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); front emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (n.a.); lane-departure warning (std.); pedestrian warning (std.)
L/100 km equivalency (city/hwy): 1.9/2.3
Base price (incl. destination): $42,100
Hyundai Kona Electric
- Base price: $42,500
- Updated model uses a 201-h.p. motor and has 410 km of range.
- Base price: $41,800
- Low-priced EV has a range of 235 to 360 km, depending on the model.
- Base price: $46,000
- Pricier than the Bolt, but roomier. RWD model offers a 450-km range.
– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media