A popular used Chevy EV, a grey 2019 Chevy Bolt EV is driving past the ocean.

The Future of Cars Is Electric… but What About Today?

Lately, it seems like automobile news is taken up by excitedly reporting the latest updates regarding the future of electric vehicles (EV). The EV has finally hit its stride in terms of capacity, capability, and range to make these vehicles more appealing to the American public than ever before. But while some drivers eagerly await the arrival of the brand new models Chevrolet has planned for 2022 and 2023, others are checking out the used Chevy EV models that are available today.

It may be surprising for some drivers to learn that Chevrolet has had a hybrid or electric model on the market every year since 2011. So what do these early predecessors of the current Bolt and upcoming Bolt EUV have to offer? It turns out that these EV ancestors are a great way to get into the EV world at a remarkably affordable price. Before starting to shop, why not start with a glimpse into the early versions of Chevy EVs that you may be able to find on a used lot near you.

The Used Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Bolt EV is the most recent entry to the Chevrolet EV family, but a name that many drivers are familiar with. The Chevy Bolt EV has won over fans and critics alike with its peppy driving manners, long driving range, and affordability, making it both an innovative and inspirational vehicle for the generation of battery-based vehicles that is upon us.

The Chevy Bolt EV arrived on the market in 2017 to great fanfare as the first mass-produced, mass-market electric car in the General Motors stable of brands. The first point that won over drivers in 2017 was that the Bolt looks like an ordinary hatchback, lacking the excessive futuristic design elements that adorn so many current EVs.

The next selling point is the electric motor. While this was certainly not the first electric motor on the market, it made waves with its 200 horsepower, 266 lb-ft of torque, and 238 miles range from its capable 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. While many nay-sayers decried early EV models for requiring frequent stops for charging, the Bolt EV’s remarkable range quelled the common fears of running out of “juice” halfway to the office.

Furthermore, the earliest Bolt EV not only looks like a regular car, but it drives like a regular car, making the trip from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a quick 6.5 seconds. Offered in LT and Premium trims, the 2017 Bolt includes the same features and options as its gasoline-powered cousins, such as USB ports, keyless start and open, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It even has driver assistance features like a rear camera mirror, side blind zone alert, rear park assist, and rear cross traffic alert.

The Used Chevrolet Spark EV

A blue 2015 Chevy Spark EV is driving around a corner past trees.

The Chevy Spark didn’t start life as an electric vehicle, but the electric version has had a huge impact on the design and engineering of Chevy EVs since. The first Spark arrived in the United States in 2013 as a gas-powered subcompact. While some drivers were shocked by the small size, many were impressed by its overall fuel economy, maneuverability, and surprisingly peppy engine.

In 2014, Chevy decided to add an electric Spark to the lineup. Armed with a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that provides the vehicle with a surprisingly sturdy feel, the electric 2014 Spark EV offers an impressive 140 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. It can handle the transition from zero to 60 miles per hour in 7.6 seconds and boasts a charge range of 82 miles. The 2015 model year uses improved battery technology and has an even faster 7.2-second zero to 60 time.

While early critics were dubious of the relatively low battery range, the Spark EV offers the ability to charge overnight on a standard household 120-volt outlet, which is undoubtedly handy to the average driver. An easily-installed 240-volt charger reduces charge time to around 7sevenhours, and a public DC Fast Charging Unit can provide an 80-percent just 20 minutes. In 2014, DC charging stations were a bit of a novelty, but those who purchase a used Spark EV today will be pleased to find that the EV revolution has resulted in more and more conveniently located charging stations.

Searching for a used Chevy Spark EV, you’ll be thrilled to find that a mini car doesn’t mean minimal features. A six-speaker sound system with USB connectivity and satellite radio is a sure sign of a well-equipped vehicle. These features are joined by cruise control, keyless ignition, an adjustable leather-trimmed steering wheel, and heated power-adjustable mirrors.

The Used Chevrolet Volt

A blue 2018 Chevy Volt is driving around a corner in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Chevy Volt isn’t strictly an EV. However, its plug-in hybrid powertrain shares many features with an all-electric vehicle. When it first hit the scene in 2011, the Voltec propulsion system combined a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a 1.4L inline-4 gasoline engine, making it a hybrid with an emphasis on the electric side of things. The result is a 149 horsepower, 273 lb-ft of torque vehicle that can travel 35 miles strictly on electric power.

Much like the Bolt EV, the introductory Volt is a stand-alone model, rather than a variant of an existing model, as in the case of the Spark. That means drivers have a pair of comprehensive packages to choose from in order to create the ultimate Volt experience. At its most basic, the 2011 Volt includes all of the features you need, conveniently designed with saving energy in mind. That includes climate control, a Bose sound system that weighs less and uses less energy than the standard stereo offerings, and touch-ready drive controls. The Rear Camera and Park Assist Package includes just what the name would indicate, but the Premium Trim Package adds fun and luxury. The Premium features include heated front seats and leather interior, including the steering wheel and seating.

Through its eight years of production, the Chevy Volt saw some significant changes and upgrades, and by its final year of production in 2019, Chevy had implemented considerable driver feedback. That included an upgrade to the powerhouse, with the 2019 Chevy Volt including a larger 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 1.5L inline-4 gasoline engine powering the generator. That change increases the full charge range to an impressive 53 miles on battery power, enough for many drivers to never use the gasoline engine during their daily commute.

The 2019 Volt also includes an abundance of standard features. The base LT trim comes with keyless entry and start with remote entry, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a standard rearview camera, and cruise control. The 2019 Premier trim adds power-adjustable leather seating for the driver and a cutting edge Bose sound system. The optional Driver Confidence Package provides added safety features, such as rear cross-traffic alert and park assist, as well as blind-spot warning. The Driver Confidence II package gives Premier trim drivers automatic high beams, lane-keep assist, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control for the full array of Chevy’s driver assistance technology.

Choose Your Used Chevy EV

While the concept of shopping for a used Chevy EV may, on the surface, feel like a potential walk down memory lane, Chevrolet has demonstrated that even its earliest mass-marketed electric vehicles are as timeless as their gasoline-powered counterparts. From incorporating cutting-edge battery technology to thoughtful touches like audio and temperature control components that won’t drain your battery, each Chevy EV from the past decade has proven to be highly capable and extremely drivable. For those who don’t want to wait to see what the coming years have in store for electric vehicle production, a used Chevy EV is a great investment for today.