Short Answer: Probably.
Long Answer: The Chevy Bolt has two main competitors: the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model 3. The Leaf is usually the best-selling electric car in the country, sometimes swapping places with the Tesla Model S. Why isn’t the Model S the Bolt’s main competitor, then? Because its base price is more than twice the sticker of the Bolt.
The Nissan Leaf starts at $29,010, which puts it in the ballpark with the Bolt, though it costs significantly less. But it also needs to charge twice as often. The Leaf is rated by the EPA at 107 miles per charge; the Bolt is rated at 238 miles per charge.
The Tesla Model 3 is expected to get 215 miles per charge, and it will cost a Bolt-like $35,000. But notice all these future-tense verbs: you can reserve a Model 3, but it won’t be built until next year. And there are thousands of people ahead of you in line, so if Tesla doesn’t ramp up production pronto, you could be waiting awhile.
About That Tax Credit
If you’re considering a Bolt, there a couple of other things to note. There is a federal tax credit of $7,500 available for some buyers; that credit is available for the Leaf and will be for the Tesla too. And for pretty much every EV on the market. But keep in mind that it’s a tax credit, not a rebate or cash back offer. You’ll pay full price for the car and then potentially get a $7,500 credit to apply to your taxes.
With either the Bolt or the Model 3, you’re going to get where you need to go every day, no compromises. Having more than 200 miles in the tank is enough for commuting to work, taking kids to their things, and stopping at the store for takeout from the deli because seriously who has the time to cook. Actually, you might, since you’ll never stop at a gas station again with one of these cars. The Leaf, by the way, has the advantage of being significantly cheaper, and 100 miles is still enough for most people to get around all day.
With any of these cars, how you drive will affect how many miles you can go per charge. Stomp the accelerator and drive uphill all day, and you’ll see way less range (but way more fun). Drive carefully and use the cool gadgetry in the dashboard to maximize mileage, and you’ll go well over the EPA rating.
And don’t forget, if you feel like you need EV training wheels, there’s always the trusty Chevy Volt, with its onboard gasoline generator to recharge the batteries. It’s in the same price range — $33,220 — but it blows the others out of the water with a 1000-mile range between pit stops at the gas station for fuel, according to Chevy, as long as you plug the car in at night to recharge.