Chevrolet’s rumored new all-electric model makes its debut in concept form at this year’s Detroit auto show alongside the 2016 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric. The Chevrolet Bolt concept is said to start at about $37,500 (before any tax incentives) and offer a 200-mile driving range from a fully-charged battery.
The Chevrolet Bolt concept is a tall hatchback design with a stubby nose that’s enabled by the lack of an engine up front. With a skinny grille opening and an almost totally flat front fascia, the front end has a clean, tidy look. LED head- and taillights are used to reduce power consumption. The chrome beltline sweeps up dramatically behind the rear doors. A full-width LED strip connects the taillights beneath the large rear window on the liftgate. If you see strong similarities to the BMW i3’s upright, airy design, you’re not alone. As with the German EV, the Chevrolet Bolt attempts to cut mass by using aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber.
There’s no word yet on when the Chevrolet Bolt concept will reach production, and officials categorize it as purely a concept for now. Chevrolet tells us that the Bolt will be Honda Fit-like in its space utilization, offering C-segment interior room (think Chevrolet Cruze) despite being sized like a B-segment car (Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, etc). The automaker hopes that the one-two punch of the Bolt and the new Volt will attract buyers who would otherwise have bought a Prius, or drivers who have owned a Prius for several years.
Chevrolet designers went for a thoroughly minimalist look inside, with curvy white plastic surfaces, a simple touchscreen atop the dashboard, and a small shifter nestled between the front seats. A smartphone app can serve as the car’s key, and can control charging schedules and an autonomous parking feature that lets the Bolt drive itself into an open space. There’s also a control to adjust the car’s suspension comfort, ride height, and accelerator mapping. The company promises that in addition to the lofty all-electric range promises, a production version of the Bolt concept would offer, “spirited weekend cruising.”
Few details have been released so far on the car’s powertrain, but Chevrolet says the Bolt takes lessons from the Spark EV and the Volt. The Chevrolet Spark EV has an electric motor rated for 140 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque, while the 2016 Chevrolet Volt‘s electric motor produces 149 hp and 294 lb-ft.
Expect more information on a production-ready Chevrolet Bolt over the coming year.