The Chevrolet Bolt EV was a major milestone for electric cars. It was the first electric car to achieve more than 200 miles of range with a starting price below $40,000 — opening up a much wider swath of the market. But with rivals catching up, Chevy has upped the ante. The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV has an estimated range of 259 miles, up from the previous 238 miles. That puts the Bolt EV ahead of most competitors.
The 259-mile figure first appeared on the Environmental Protection Agency’s fueleconomy.gov website, which lists the agency’s electric range and fuel economy ratings, and was reported by Car and Driver before Chevy officially confirmed it. Power output is expected to remain the same, at 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Chevy previously said that will get the 2019 Bolt EV from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.
Chevy said it achieved the 8-percent range increase by altering the battery-cell electrodes and making “small but impactful changes” to the cell chemistry. This allowed for a range increase without physically changing the battery pack, Chevy said. The battery pack is integrated with the vehicle structure, Chevy noted, so changing it would have necessitated a larger-scale reengineering of the car.
The 2020 Bolt EV may have more range, but the price remains the same. The Bolt EV still starts at $37,495, before any tax credits or other incentives. The only other notable change for 2020 is the addition of two new color options — Cayenne Orange Metallic and Oasis Blue.
With 259 miles of range, the 2020 Bolt EV should have the most range of any non-luxury electric car — by a small margin. The Hyundai Kona Electric boasts 258 miles of range. But while the Hyundai is only sold in 10 EV-friendly states, the Chevy is available nationwide. The Kia Soul EV (243 miles) and Kia Niro EV (239 miles) aren’t available nationwide, either. The Tesla Model 3 is available across the country, but only the 240-mile Standard Range Plus version comes close to the Bolt EV’s price. The 310-mile Long Range version costs almost $10,000 more. The Nissan Leaf Plus also trails with 226 miles of range.
Chevy parent General Motors has plans for more electric cars. Having gained a foothold with the Bolt EV, GM plans to launch 20 new electric cars worldwide by 2023. One of those cars will be an electric SUV for Cadillac, but it’s likely that Chevy will get additional electric models as it pivots away from hybrids.
Updated on August 23, 2019: Added official confirmation of the range increase and details on how it was achieved.
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