In terms of media coverage, Tesla is leading the way in the electric vehicle industry, but could the Chevrolet Bolt be sneaking up on Tesla’s dominance?
In order to properly examine Tesla and the Bolt, we have to set some ground rules and evaluation tactics. For each car, we will analyze them in the areas of upfront cost, performance, sustainability, deliverability, and style. Tesla has a wide range of cars, but the most similar car to the Chevy Bolt is the Tesla Model 3, which we will use in this comparison test. I would argue that most of you have heard about the Model 3, and maybe know a decent bit about it, but when it comes to the Chevy Bolt, you likely only know the name.
First examining cost, the 2017 Chevy bolt will start at $30,000, after a $7,500 federal EV tax credit. The Tesla Model 3 will, after tax credit, be $27,500. In terms of purchasing, a $2,500 difference really doesn’t mean all that much to consumers, especially when you consider options and special incentives. On paper, the Bolt is more expensive, but in actuality, they are practically the same. Even still, they will be the cheapest EVs on the market.
In the analysis of performance, we will take into account both power and range. The Model 3 has been promised at a minimum range of 215 miles after 7 hours of charging from a 240V outlet. The Bolt, on the other hand, has an estimated range of 200 miles after 9 hours of charging from a 240V outlet. The Bolt will output an equivalent horsepower of 200 and the Model 3 will have an estimated output of 400 HP. In terms of performance, all things considered, the Tesla Model 3 takes the win.
Sustainability is a hard thing to gauge given that these cars haven’t been commercially produced yet. However, we can analyze the overall state of each company as a whole. Chevrolet is well established in the automotive industry and has the means to manufacture electric vehicles on a large scale easily and sustainably. However, Chevrolet has not devoted a large portion of their assets to EV production, which may hurt them in comparison to Tesla. Tesla has proven their EV production capabilities, given that this is all they do. A car company that solely focuses on the electric vehicle will likely have more know-how in the industry, but they are still relatively new to success. Comparing both the corporate power of Chevrolet and innovative aspects of Tesla’s success, both end up in about the same realm within sustainability, for different aspects of EVs production.
The Model 3 has close to 400K pre-orders, but they won’t be delivered until 2018. The Chevrolet Bolt, on the other hand, will be available in the 2017 production cycle, and will likely take a chunk out of Tesla’s sales. In terms of deliverability, the Chevy Bolt will be available to consumers much earlier than the Model 3. Also considering Tesla’s less than wonderful history of deliverability on current models, it would seem like the Bolt is the winner if you are hoping to get your hands on the cheapest and best EV as soon as possible.
Style may not be important to you, but for the large mass of American consumers, it is perhaps the most important quality. In every other area, the Model 3 and Bolt are arguably comparable, but in terms of style, they contrast sharply. The Bolt sticks to some of Chevrolet’s classic styling cues, and it was purposed to be a versatile hatchback crossover. Unfortunately, a car of this design isn’t going to turn any heads on the street. The Model 3 lacks nothing in the beauty department and is undeniably the work of Tesla’s brilliant designers. Not to come off favoriting Tesla, but it is hard to beat the elegant styling cues of the Model 3. That said, it would seem that the cars were designed for a different consumer base in terms of styling. The person that buys a Model 3 will want sleekness and status, whereas someone who buys a Bolt is going to want versatility over anything else.
Looking back through all of the considerations, both cars come out at essentially equivalent standings. The Bolt will be available sooner than the Model 3, and you’ll be able to take it for a test drive before buying it, a perk for many. On paper, the choice is very hard. However, in terms of the actual consumer, like the 400K other buyers, the Tesla 3 is likely going to win out in the EV competition.