2020 Chevy Bolt: Change In The Interest of Range

  • The 2020 Chevy Bolt undergoes a few critical changes and tweaks for the new model year. 
  • Said changes help the new Bolt return an EPA-estimated 259 miles of range on a full charge.

Change in the interest of range: that’s the story behind the 2020 Chevy Bolt EV due later this year. Chevy recently announced EPA ratings for the new Bolt, a praiseworthy 259 miles of range on a single charge. The figure, a 21-mile increase versus the current Bolt, addresses the nagging concern of range anxiety potential buyers have when considering an EV. According to AAA, 20 percent – or close to 50 million Americans are looking to buy an electric vehicle as their next car. The figure represents a 15 percent jump from 2017.

“At Chevrolet we’re constantly listening to customer feedback and we heard the desire for more range,” explained Tim Grewe, director of Global Battery Cell Engineering and Strategy. “The team worked diligently to find ways to improve battery energy, giving customers the confidence to go more than the extra mile.”

2020 Chevy Bolt: Cell Chemistry Changes

The battery engineering team spent the bulk of their time improving the energy of the cell electrodes. While it sounds like a Herculean task, Chevy says it was more about little tweaks versus moving mountains. The automaker describes these changes to the Bolt’s cell chemistry as small but impactful. While they don’t elaborate beyond that, Chevy says packaging is unaffected by the changes. Even though range increases, the battery’s physical size remains the same as does its position within the vehicle’s architecture.

The lithium-ion battery contains 288 cells with an output of 66 kWh. The battery pack itself is 430 lbs., about 12 percent of the 2020 Chevy Bolt’s curb weight (3,563 lbs.). With a DC fast-charger, the 2020 Chevy Bolt will return up to 90 miles in 30 minutes. The 240 volt charger is the overnight option, juicing the new Bolt to 100 percent in about 10 hours. Chevy’s recent partnership with Qmerit is meant to help owners find quotes from certified electricians to install at-home charging equipment.

Working in concert with the battery is the permanent magnetic drive motor. All said and done, the 2020 Chevy Bolt produces 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft. of torque through a final drive ratio of 7.05:1.

2020 Chevy Bolt. Photo: Chevrolet.

Essential Foundations

The 2020 Chevy Bolt rides on an independent (MacPherson) strut-type suspension with a solid stabilizer bar up front, while a torsion beam with coil springs supports the rear. The Bolt’s electric steering nets a turning circle of 35 feet, good for busy parking lots and smaller city streets. The four-wheel disc ABS system is electro-hydraulic and partially regenerative, complete with 11-inch vented rotors at the front and 10-inch solid rotors at the rear. Michelin Energy Saver all-season tires are the icing on the cake for the 17-inch wheels.

How Big Is The 2020 Chevy Bolt?

In terms of size: the 2020 Chevy Bolt has a 102.4-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 164 inches. Width is 69.5 inches; height is 62.8 inches. Cargo volume behind the second row is 16.9 cubic feet; total cargo volume is 56.6 cubic feet. Headroom up front is 39.7 inches and 37.9 inches in the back. By contrast, legroom up front is 41.6 inches and 36.5 inches in the back.

2020 Chevy Bolt interior layout. Photo: Chevrolet.

Pricing & Availability

Expect the new Bolt at dealerships later this year with a starting MSRP of $37,495. Two new exterior colors, Cayenne Orange Metallic and Oasis Blue, are on offer. The 2020 Bolt includes an Energy Assist feature through the myChevrolet mobile app. This helps drivers search for charging stations, plan a trip with multiple waypoints, and monitor their route among other things.

Carl Anthony studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan. Before going back to school, he simultaneously held product development and experiential marketing roles in the automotive industry.

2020 Chevy Bolt Gallery

Photos & Source: Chevrolet.

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