It may not seem too long ago when Chevy made the official announcement that it was looking to produce electric vehicles. But the first, and temporarily the only available electric vehicle under its belt, the Bolt EV, has now been on the market for several years. No longer a newcomer on the scene, this model lineup is now entering a new generation with the release of the 2022 Chevy Bolt EV alongside the release of a new electric SUV. Upon its initial release in 2016, the vehicle was highly praised by critics and mostly had Chevy fans wanting more, and speculation began regarding Chevy’s plans to upgrade the Bolt EV. After a few years on the market, the model lineup would be upgraded with a larger battery, thus making it more fuel-efficient than ever before. Let’s explore the 2022 model and see whether or not it’s a worthy successor to the preceding generation.
The first major change has been in the trim levels, with the entry trim, formerly known as LT, now holding the name 1LT. This leads directly into another fundamental shift in the Bolt EV’s business strategy, and that’s offering the vehicle at a significantly lower cost than its predecessor. The 2022 Bolt EV starts at an MSRP of $31,995 as opposed to the 2021 model’s MSRP of $36,500. Every 2022 model comes equipped with both Chevy Safety Assist and a modern infotainment center, but if you’re looking for leather seats and perhaps some power-adjustable positioning, then you’ll want to opt for 2LT. This trim level replaces Premier from last year, but its purpose is very much the same.
Ditch Your Engine
Let’s discuss what makes an electric vehicle indisputably different from vehicles of the past, and that’s how the powertrain operates. In the case of the 2022 Bolt EV, an electric motor and a 65-kWh battery help to power the vehicle, and this combination makes for 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. This is the same performance that we’ve always seen on the Bolt EV, but models released before 2020 had a smaller range of distance on a single charge due to a smaller 60-kWh battery.
Fuel efficiency, in many cases, is the single most important reason why a driver may consider shopping for an EV. Back when the model launched, the Bolt EV was an intriguing option with a maximum range of 238 miles on a single charge, along with EPA-estimated ratings of 128 MPGe city and 110 MPGe highway. With the release of the 2020 model, the integrated battery was replaced with one that was about 8% larger than the prior one. Ultimately, this small increase in battery size proved to enhance its already excellent mileage range with a new distance of up to 259 miles on a single charge, which hasn’t seen any changes to this day. This is both excellent and problematic for Chevy as those who acquire their first Bolt EV will appreciate its fuel efficiency, but those returning will have hoped that Chevy had improved upon this aspect.
The 2022 Bolt EV also retains the inclusion of both One Pedal Driving and Regen on Demand for reserving extra power from your vehicle. Both of these features work slightly differently but are used together to restore some energy back to your engine. One Pedal Driving is a revolution in the way we operate our motor vehicles by allowing you to gain speed and retain your speed while the pedal is held down. Should you have to stop your vehicle, such as an approaching red light, you just simply release your foot off the pedal, and your Bolt EV will slowly come to a stop. Regen on Demand is a paddle that you press to activate, and it will utilize the energy built up from slowing down and reapplies it to the battery for a little extra boost in battery efficiency.
Chevy Safety Assist Included
Part of being such a modern vehicle includes offering drivers more ways to stay safe at all times when on the road. The Bolt EV naturally fits the bill with Chevy Safety Assist coming standard with both trims, a safety suite, which implements six separate safety features into one coherent package. For example, an integrated Following Distance Indicator will give you an estimated timespan in regards to how far away or how close you are to the vehicle ahead of you. Visibility is a huge part of Chevy Safety Assist, and features such as IntelliBeam Auto High Beam Assist are present to automatically adjust your headlamps when the vehicle decides you need more visibility or to prevent you from blinding an oncoming driver.
Chevy Safety Assist also includes a trio of advanced features that are designed to prevent, and in more severe cases, mitigate the damage caused by a front-end collision. This trio begins with a Forward Collision Alert to warn you of potential collisions that might occur, and Automatic Emergency Braking can act in a pinch to stop your vehicle as quickly as possible to either prevent or alleviate some of the damage of any collision. By itself, Automatic Emergency Braking is built to prevent collisions with other automobiles, but Chevy Safety Assist also comes with Front Pedestrian Braking. This feature can smartly identify when to stop the vehicle immediately for a bypassing pedestrian.
Some features are designed to help you retain focus on the road, most notably during freeway travel. Two of these features come included with Chevy Safety Assist, making up the last two of the six included safety features according to Chevy, whereas the other two will only come with the 2LT trim. The two that come included with the Bolt EV are Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning, the first of which is designed to assist in keeping you in your respective lane at all times by correcting your steering. Lane Departure Warning is included to warn you about your vehicle leaving its lane before Lane Keep Assist is activated.
Should You Wait?
Whether you’re upgrading from an older hybrid vehicle or any other gasoline-powered machine, the 2022 Bolt EV is a great place to start. As I mentioned earlier, Chevy’s decision to keep the same mileage range as the past couple of models is one of the more interesting aspects of this new release. For the hype that Chevy was building up before the 2022 Bolt EV’s release, some drivers may have waited last year in hopes that this new model would be as game-changing as they initially thought. To some extent, this is also a saving grace for this new variant of the popular EV because we can safely recommend this vehicle for both the kind of drivers who either have a past with a hybrid or one who is looking for an entry-level option.
Although the differences aren’t as monumental from one generation to the next as we had hoped, the 2022 Bolt EV is a sign of things to come. Plus, the upgrades in visual style of this new model are definitely a welcome refresh. If this is the newest foundation that Chevy will continue to build upon, then count us in.