Why I canceled my Chevy Bolt EV electric-car order: a reader explains Page 3

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Doug Kerr, daughter Andie Kerr, fiancee Barbara Gleason; Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, Fiat 500e

Doug Kerr, daughter Andie Kerr, fiancee Barbara Gleason; Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, Fiat 500e

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I am a fanatic when it comes to buying a new car. This was the first car that I l was about to purchase without actually seeing. I had photos, but no real car.

Finally, in mid-February, the dealer called me to say I could take delivery. When we showed up, the sad news was that our Bolt EV was in the shop. It hadn’t taken a charge that morning.

The good news was that another Bolt was there for us to take for a long test drive. The dealer handed the keys to my fiancée and me and told us to take it out, by ourselves. Fun!

Both of us had the same first impression of the Bolt: it’s a toaster. Well, an aerodynamic toaster, at least. The transition to production eradicated any sporty factor.

It is, however, very practical. When we hopped inside, it was sort of like a Harry Potter movie where the tent is small on the outside, but enormous on the inside.

Putting a flat battery pack under the floorboards opens up huge amounts of space, while the electric motor takes very little room up front.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

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If you compare the Bolt to a normal gasoline car, you'll see that engine takes up a lot of space that the Bolt uses for the interior instead.

I drove first, and headed straight for the freeway. While the Bolt lost its sporty EV identity in production, it did not lose any of that sportiness in handling or acceleration.

If you haven’t driven an electric car, you are missing what true acceleration means. Put the pedal to the floor in a gas car, and everyone around you has been notified of your lack of civility.

This makes the Bolt EV that much more fun accelerating to 60 mph on Harbor Boulevard. Freeway on-ramps are a breeze, and the handling is crisp and sure.

As an experienced electric-car driver, I love the regenerative braking option that allows one-pedal driving. I tried to explain to my fiancée that it was like driving the Autopia cars at Disneyland. No brake. She still couldn’t like it.

The one real technological negative was the electronic shifter. I suppose owner will get used to it, but finding reverse requires a tutorial for the uninitiated.

The Bolt's interior is quiet: road and any tire noise is all but erased.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

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Ah, yes ... the interior. I had seen it in photos, but I was still disappointed in person. Sure, some corners had to be cut in order to package all of this technology into a reasonable price.

So am I too picky when I say I hate all the hard plastics and the lack of refinement in the interior? The huge 10.2” display looks really cool, and the dash is a technological dream.

But cheap chic only works in retro cars like the 500e. It doesn’t work in the Bolt.

In the final analysis, it turns out that both my fiancée and I want an electric car that's simply less dorky.

My critique of the Bolt styling still holds so far as the unwelcome changes from the concept.

We have a Tesla Model 3 on order, and expect to pay $5,000 to $7,000 more for the Model 3 with similar range than we would have given the sticker price of almost $42,000 on the Bolt.

Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

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Hopefully, the upcoming Tesla volume car will be worth the premium. It certainly looks sportier.

Maybe it's time for a little more sportiness—and a lot less dorkiness—among electric cars.

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