The Chevy Bolt stole the show at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. It did so because it is the first electric car that can deliver 200 plus mile range on a single charge plus sell for less than $30,000 after tax credits. The Chevy Bolt could be the auto industry’s iPhone offering a disruptive technology at a competitive price.
Bolt’s range and price are breakthroughs for electric cars
Range is the Bolt’s competitive advantage. The all electric Leaf or Chevy Spark have only a 100 mile range between charges. Speaking from personal experience, range anxiety is real when driving a Leaf. It is a great car. Fun to drive and spacious. But I could not take my eye, or concerns, off the digital driving range display.
The Bolt removes range anxiety for me. It is about 70 miles round trip between my home and the airport. And I make a lot of trips to the airport for business or to pick up visitors. The Bolt enables me to drive this distance and still have plenty of range to stop for a dinner or conduct a driving tour of the beaches.
Bolt’s $30,000 price is what makes it attractive. Today’s average new car price is over $33,000. To be able to buy an electric car for $30,000 with a 200 mile range is a price buster!
Bolt vs. Volt
A plug-in hybrid is the alternative range solution to an all electric car. The best in class is the Chevy Volt. The new one is a jump in style, features and performance. Gone is the futurist style that I like but many did not. The interior looks great, especially the two tone upgraded leather seats. The electric displays looks like you are sitting in an Apple store…very cool!
The Volt’s range advantage is that it has a gasoline fueled (now regular rather premium grade) engine that supplements the electric motor. The electric motor provides approximately a 50 mile range that is good for most trips. But for extended trips the gasoline engine runs the car. Range problem solved.
The Bolt really closes the range gap (fear) that the Volt satisfies. The emerging electric recharging grid now being built on the West Coast and the Northeast Corridor will enable the Bolt to have a range similar to a Volt’s. Once this type of recharging capacity is in place the sales door for Bolts will open wide.
Cost less, means more
The bottom line is that the Bolt is a compelling option for those, like me, driven by the numbers:
- The Bolt costs less, after tax incentives, that the average new car
- Even at $1.50 per gallon an electric car is cheaper to fuel
- Maintenance is less for electric cars.
The old reason for not buying an electric car is that they cost more and so the fuel savings have to pay for the added cost of the electric car. The Bolt has ended that logic. The Bolt is cheaper to buy than the average priced new car and it has a lower operating cost compared to gasoline fueled cars.
And it will be cleaner. An electric car has zero tailpipe emissions. Unless 100% of the electricity used to fuel the car is from coal fired plants it will be cleaner than using gasoline.
It gets even better if you are among the growing number of homeowners with solar power systems. A growing number of solar homeowners are fueling their electric cars from their solar systems. Assuming the solar system pays for itself in utility bill savings then these homeowners are fueling their electric cars for free!
That is the real future of electric cars. They will cost less. They will mean more in terms of human and environmental health. It maybe the Bolt that drives us all to really consider an electric car purchase.
About the author
Bill Roth is the author of The Boomer Generation Diet, now on sale at Amazon! Here’s what Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief of Triple Pundit says about the book: ”Written in Bill Roth’s lovable, relatable tone. The Boomer Generation Diet is a must-read for any Boomer who is looking to jumpstart their health and have fun at the same time. I hope my parents read it!” Follow Bill on Twitter and Facebook.