Tuesday, August 27, 2019

New Battery Extends the Range of 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV to 417 Kilometers

Photo Credit: Chevrolet/General Motors

Back in 2015, Chevrolet made a bold announcement confirming their first all-electric full-scale production car born from principles exhibited by the Bolt EV Concept. Relative affordability as a battery-powered vehicle as well as an operating range of 200 miles was among the key features advertised on the revolutionary product. Delivering on their interpretation of a zero-emission entry-level vehicle competing against the Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model 3, the 2017 model year premiere of the Bolt EV has been followed by modest sales. After three years on the market, Chevrolet’s all-electric Bolt EV hatchback will go the extra mile (or extra kilometer in Canada) to win over new customers.

For 2020, the Chevrolet Bolt EV will feature an extended range that is almost 10 percent greater than its 2019 counterpart. The updated 2020 Bolt EV will possess an EPA-estimated range of 417 kilometers (259 miles) on a single charge. Resulting in a range increase 34 kilometers or 21 miles over the 2019 model, the added driving range for the electric vehicle comes without any sacrifice to on-road performance. A permanent magnetic drive motor generating 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque will remain. Also unchanged on the 2020 Bolt EV are high-end  features such as Chevrolet Infotainment system with 10.2-inch touchscreen and the small car’s respectable 2,673 liters (94.4 cubic feet) of passenger volume. 
 
The increase range for the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV is credited to a new lithium-ion battery pack. Engineering advances of the cell electrodes by Chevrolet’s battery team is cited as the reason for the improvement. Raising from 60 kilowatt-hour to 66 kilowatt-hour in energy capacity, the enhanced battery’s succeeds in the auto company’s objective to improve vehicle range without taking up additional space. Even more remarkable is that the 2020 Bolt EV’s new 430-kilogram battery pack is 5 kilograms lighter than the previous unit.

Battery-powered fully electric vehicles are still and will probably remain a niche product along motorists for the foreseeable future but that market is showing signs of growth. Thanks in part to the Canadian federal government’s Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program introduced this year, sales of battery-powered automobiles through the first six months of the year are 30 percent higher in 2019 compared to 2018. Electric or zero-emission vehicle sales now account for 3 percent of new automobile sales in Canada.
 
When General Motors released its quarterly sales in July, Canadian sales for the 1,716 Chevrolet Bolt EV for the first six months of 2019 reflected a 19.7 percent increase over previous year. Sales of the Bolt EV in the United States registered a 5.4 percent increase for the period between January to June in 2019 equating to 8,281 vehicles. In both Canada and the US, the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s sales data is closely comparable to the Nissan LEAF (LEAF sales in Canada outnumbered the Bolt EV by just 28 vehicles as of the beginning of July).

The 417-kilometer range of the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV will certainly help to combat the lingering issue of range anxiety that haunts the minds of potential electric car buyers. Although electric vehicles are not compatible with all driving lifestyles, some drivers may not be as affected so badly by an alternative to gasoline. According to a 2017 release by Statistics Canada titled Journey to Work: Key Results from the 2016 Census, the median distance from home to work for half of employed Canadians is 7.7 kilometers. With the 2020 Bolt EV, a one-way trip can be comfortably undertaken between Toronto and Windsor.

Pricing for the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV has yet to be announced.


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