2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV: video review of 238-mile electric car

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From the outside, this car looks like a tall hatchback, not all that remarkable, maybe a bit bigger than some of the smallest cars around.

But from the moment you open the door and get behind the wheel, it's clear that this is no ordinary Chevrolet.

In fact, it's Chevrolet's first-ever mass-market electric car: the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV.

The Bolt has an EPA-rated range of 238 miles, or three times that of a Nissan Leaf electric car just six years ago. Its starting price is $37,500.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

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The Bolt EV is the culmination of a promise GM made two years ago, and it'll go on sale before the end of 2016 at selected dealers, probably in California first.

So what's it like to live with?

From the outside, the Bolt EV's designers have used accents, chrome trim, and a variety of recent design trends to minimize its height and its square shape.

It's not unappealing--but it's definitely out there on the styling spectrum.

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The interior has a pair of high-resolution displays, one behind the wheel and the second in the usual center-dash location.

Their graphics, including lots of vehicle operating information, are different than any other Chevy's. We found them bright, crisp, and easy to understand.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

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The Bolt EV sits on the footprint of a compact car, and that means lots of space.

Passengers might be startled at the thin, upright seats, but they're comfortable, and the Bolt EV has plenty of headroom.

Four adults fit easily into the electric Chevrolet, and five can fit in a pinch. Cargo space is good, helped by the flat floor in the rear compartment.

CHECK OUT: Green Car Reports 2017 Best Car To Buy nominee: Chevy Bolt EV

The 60-kilowatt-hour battery sits under the floorpan and the rear seats, with all the electric gear up front, including the 150-kilowatt (200-horsepower) motor that powers the front wheels.

On the road, the Bolt EV is liveliest from a dead stop—0 to 30 mph in less than 3 seconds, Chevy says—but responsive up to 60 mph, which takes about 7 seconds from a stop.

We'd judge the 238-mile range to be accurate.

Driving to keep up with sometimes aggressive traffic, at speeds up to 75 mph, we got the car's rated range. It's possible to baby it along and get another 10 or more miles out of it.

At any of those distances, Bolt EV drivers will treasure what so far only buyers of Tesla cars—at $70,000 and up—have been able to have in an electric car.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Enlarge Photo

That would be complete freedom from range anxiety.

Assuming you don't plan to drive cross-country, you can hop in and get several hours of varied driving in a Chevy Bolt without even thinking about how much range is left.

Recharging a completely discharged battery—something owners will rarely do—takes roughly nine hours with a 240-volt Level 2 charging station.

Or you could simply plug the car into a standard 120-volt outlet every night and top up more slowly.

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