Chevy Bolt — Road Trip Review & How It Beat Tesla

It’s looking pretty fair to expect some big things from the Chevy Bolt EV, the first mass-market electric vehicle due out later this year.

Road Show’s editor-in-chief drove a pre-production Bolt from Monterey to Santa Barbara and reviewed it by video along the way.  For those keeping score, that’s 240 miles on a single charge.  It’s worth watching the video in full:

It’s looking more and more like Tesla just got scooped big time by Chevy on the mass-market EV.

But it’s also worth noting that Chevy has some serious advantages over Tesla. In addition to the production scale that Chevy can achieve in-house, it has the ironic advantage of selling a lot of dirty cars. The New York Times has a fascinating account of how Chevy beat out Tesla, and they cite this advantage:

Finally, G.M. enjoys the regulatory advantage of producing a fleet. Because the high-mileage, zero-emission Bolt helps the company stay under the federal government’s fuel-economy standards, it perversely allows G.M. to keep selling more profitable, gas-guzzling cars, like the Tahoe S.U.V. As a result, G.M. could lose money on each Bolt and still find the overall project valuable to its bottom line.

Tesla may benefit from a lot of zero emission vehicle credits from other automakers, but this regulatory quirk of fleet average emissions certainly benefits big automakers like Chevy over cleaner companies like Tesla.

But in the end, the more mass-market EVs on the road, the better — for both the consumer and the environment.


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