First Drive: Chevy Bolt EV 200-Mile Electric Car Development Vehicle Page 3

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Engineering development version of Chevrolet Bolt EV, Las Vegas, Jan 2016

Engineering development version of Chevrolet Bolt EV, Las Vegas, Jan 2016

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The Bolt EV uses a similar left-hand paddle to the Volt's, which lets the driver increase the regenerative braking rate, but it now has an icon to identify it protruding above the steering-wheel spoke.

Fletcher also provided one of the few surprises in a very short presentation: The Bolt EV will also provide what she called "one-pedal driving" by using the Low position on the shift lever.

Regrettably, we didn't get enough time to duplicate our laps in Low mode, so we look forward to trying it the next time Chevy offers seat time in a Bolt EV.

But the provision of one-pedal driving capability shows that GM has been paying attention to its Volt customers, some of whom habitually run their cars in Low with the Sport mode turned on.

With the 2016 Volt's addition of the variable-regen paddle, the accelerator and paddle together come pretty close to simulating one-pedal driving.

Engineering development version of Chevrolet Bolt EV, Las Vegas, Jan 2016

Engineering development version of Chevrolet Bolt EV, Las Vegas, Jan 2016

Enlarge Photo

Fletcher did say, however, that GM's one-pedal and regen feel was "our own balance" of what the company felt appropriate--and not necessarily as aggressive as that offered by some competitors.

Summing up GM's goals for the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, Fletcher said the development team felt it had combined long range, affordability, functionality, performance, and connectivity.

All of those are necessary elements to "cracking the code to take electric cars mainstream," she said.

Based on our limited drive today, as well as the excellent 2016 Volt developed by some of the same GM engineers, we'd say the Bolt EV has the best shot yet at doing just that.

[Chevrolet provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person review.]

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