We liked the Chevrolet Bolt EV enough to make it our 2017 Car of the Year, but that’s no guarantee of sales domination, especially when Tesla releases a similarly priced car. The Bolt EV will get a refresh this year in the first strike of GM’s EV offensive, and it’ll get backup in the form of the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV electric crossover. (Note: This timeline may be pushed back a year due to the ongoing crisis.)
Although we don’t expect the term “EUV” (an acronym for “Electric Utility Vehicle”) to catch on, the longer Bolt EUV should attract customers looking for an electric SUV rather than a tall hatchback. Sleeker, sexier styling will not only bring it in line with the latest Chevrolet design language but also address another of the Bolt EV’s weak points.
Based on the Bolt’s BEV2 architecture, the Bolt EUV is stretched 3 inches between the wheels for more interior space and 5 to 6 inches overall. The Bolt is already tall, and we don’t expect the Bolt EUV to get any taller, but more upright styling will make it look more like an SUV with low ground clearance than a life-size car emoji. The longer wheelbase will make space for a larger battery than the standard Bolt’s 66-kW-hr pack, which would logically improve the range beyond the smaller car’s 259 miles. It will still, however, be front-wheel drive only, as there are no plans to add a motor to the rear axle.
Because the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will remain on the BEV2 platform, they’ll continue on with the same battery and charging technology rather than GM’s new Ultium batteries. This means they’ll still be capable of DC fast charging but won’t be able to charge as fast as the more advanced Ultium batteries and won’t have the same capacity and range. On the other hand, using existing technology will allow the Bolt EUV to get to market next year while the BEV3-based vehicles and their Ultium batteries won’t be ready for another year.
The Bolt EUV will benefit from a number of updates coming to the standard Bolt, including a revamped interior promised to be less plasticky. Chevy is addressing a number of our complaints about the current Bolt, giving the new Bolt and Bolt EUV better seats, an upgraded infotainment system, and a push-button gear selector.
The Bolt EUV, though, will benefit from a few optional upgrades not available on the updated Bolt, including a sunroof and Super Cruise, the highly advanced cruise control system that lets you take your hands of the wheel on the freeway; so far, Super Cruise has only been available on Cadillacs.
Because EVs in general are price-sensitive and with Tesla’s new Model Y beating the Bolt EUV to market, we expect it to only be a little more expensive than the standard Bolt. The 2020 Bolt EV starts just a hair over $37,000 before local, state, and federal incentives, with its upgraded Premier trim level starting just under $42,000. We’re betting the larger Bolt EUV crossover will come in right around the starting price of the up-level Bolt when it goes on sale in mid-2021.
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