The Chevy Bolt EV goes nationwide this year, giving consumers at Spencer Chevrolet dealerships and Chevy dealers throughout the U.S. the opportunity to purchase this groundbreaking all-electric vehicle, the only electric vehicle under $50,000 currently capable of a range of over 200 miles.
While General Motors has scored a major achievement in creating the first practical, affordable all-electric vehicle, the Detroit automaker isn’t resting on these laurels. GM is currently hard at work developing a self-driving version of the Bolt.
GM has begun testing prototype autonomous Chevy Bolts in Michigan, expanding testing programs that began in 2016 in California and Arizona. The new round of testing will place autonomous Chevy Bolts on public roads near GM’s Warren Tech Center campus and, later, in metro Detroit.
GM is taking all reasonable safety precautions with the testing. Safety engineers will be present in the vehicles, ready to take the wheel if needed. The prototype Bolts will also be easily identifiable. They’ll be painted white, will have manufacturers’ license plates, and will also have roof racks full of LIDAR devices and cameras.
The Michigan testing will determine how well GM’s autonomous driving technology fares in cold-weather conditions. Previous testing in California and Arizona has already yielded a trove of data concerning how the technology works in hotter climates. GM executives say they want to ensure their autonomous vehicles can operate in all road, weather, and climate conditions.
GM has announced that the autonomous Chevy Bolt will be manufactured at its Orion Assembly Plant—the same facility that manufactures the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV and the subcompact Chevy Sonic.
General Motors and Lyft announced a partnership in January 2016 to collaborate on driverless cars. The partnership includes a $500 million investment in Lyft, a major ride-hailing company, by GM. There is currently a major race among Lyft and other ride-hailing companies to develop autonomous vehicles. Ride-hailing companies see a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles as a potential game-changer for their industry.
Uber is working solo on an autonomous vehicle program and has recruited several top researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. Ford Motor Company has partnered with Google to work on developing autonomous vehicles. The GM-Lyft alliance is the first direct partnership between an automaker and a ride-hailing company, however.
The state of Michigan recently passed forward-thinking legislation regarding ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles. Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed laws allowing car manufacturers to operate driverless vehicles, to provide on-demand autonomous ride-sharing services, and to sell driverless cars. The new laws establish clear legal bounds for the manufacture, sale, and operation of autonomous vehicles and could help Michigan become a major hub in the development of this new technology.
While autonomous Lyft cabs are still years away, GM and Lyft are also collaborating on a program with more immediate results. GM has deployed about 5,000 vehicles in its rental Express Drive program for Lyft drivers. Available in Chicago and parts of Michigan and California, the program allows Lyft drivers to rent nearly brand new 2015 and 2016 GM vehicles on a short-term basis.
The program allows drivers to work for Lyft without having to own a car themselves. The drivers pay a weekly fee, or Lyft may cover fees for drivers who fulfill a certain number of rides each week. GM covers insurance.
GM intends to add hundreds of 2017 Bolt EVs to the Express Drive program in coming months. Ride-hailing services are seen as a way to reduce the environmental impact of transportation, as the proliferation of these services in large urban areas reduces the need for private vehicle ownership, thus reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
Fewer vehicles on the road mean fewer carbon emissions. Introducing all-electric vehicles to ride-hailing fleets further reduces the environmental impact of automobile transportation.
2017 Chevy Bolt EV
While you’re waiting for the autonomous Chevy Bolt to drive itself to your local dealership, the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV is well worth your attention. Automotive journalists are hailing the new Chevy Bolt EV as a game-changer in the electric vehicle market, thanks to its range and affordability. The Bolt EV has a greater range than the much-hyped Tesla Model S 60, but, at a base price of around $37,495, it is much less expensive.
The Bolt EV is a brand-new all-electric subcompact hatchback, not to be confused with the Chevrolet Volt hybrid vehicle. The Bolt has already garnered several awards from automotive experts, including the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year award, Green Car Reports Best Car to Buy 2017, and the 2017 AutoGuide.com Reader’s Choice Green Car of the Year award. The Bolt was also named one of Time Magazine’s Best 25 Inventions of the Year of 2016.
The Bolt is driven by a 200 horsepower electric motor powered by a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The Bolt performs well for an electric vehicle; it can go from zero to 60 mph in seven seconds and has a maximum speed of 91 mph. The Bolt can charge in a little more than nine hours from a conventional home charging kit, and commercial fast chargers can charge the Bolt to 80 percent battery capacity in just an hour.
The Bolt is an incredibly environmentally friendly vehicle. It gets the equivalent of 119 miles per gallon of gasoline, meaning it has a much smaller environmental impact than conventional gas engine vehicles or even hybrids. Climate change and oil consumption are perennial concerns for policy makers and consumers, and the Bolt gives consumers the comfort of knowing they’ve done something about both by driving a green-friendly vehicle.
The Bolt’s charms aren’t all in its fuel-efficiency and green creds, however. GM has designed a comfortable and practical vehicle in the Bolt, adding to its appeal.
On the exterior, the Bolt has a curvy, yet solid design that implies dependability and reliability. The Bolt has two trims: LT and Premier. The LT carries plenty of great standard features, including 17-inch wheels, keyless ignition and entry, remote start, back-up camera, automatic climate control, a well-sized driver information display, OnStar, and more.
The Premier trim level steps up the Bolt’s game even more, with a 360-degree parking camera, ambient interior lighting, heated seats, leather upholstery, and much more. Several option packages are also available.
The Bolt has a comfortable interior, with good head and leg space for drivers and passengers. The vehicle offers 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which is excellent for a subcompact vehicle.
One of the really cool features of the Bolt EV is that the vehicle’s navigation technology can plot routes to ensure maximum range and availability of EV charging stations. A dearth of EV charging stations has been a stumbling block in the development of EV technology, as consumers are concerned about having sufficient facilities to charge electric vehicles.
New electric charging facilities are being constructed throughout the U.S., and the day is not far off when they will be nearly as common as traditional gas pumps.
The Bolt is comparable in price to other electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and the Ford Focus EV, but the Bolt’s greater range makes it a far superior vehicle. Consumers searching for cars for sale in Indiana should consider a visit to Valley Chevy, a Spencer Chevrolet dealer that stocks a wide range of GM vehicles, including the new Chevy Bolt EV.
Valley Chevy has served the Spencer area for years, building trust and friendships among local residents. Visit today to find a new Bolt EV or other great GM vehicle at a value-conscious price.
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