Electric Chevrolet Bolt to go 238 miles on a charge

NEW YORK — General Motors’ all-electric Chevrolet Bolt compact car will be able to go 238 miles on a single charge, the automaker announced Tuesday.

That’s enough to drive from New York City to Washington DC or nearly enough to make a round trip between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Perhaps more importantly to GM, it beats the 215 miles Tesla has promised for its upcoming Model 3, a similarly-priced electric car that’s expected to go on sale next year.

“Chevrolet showed the world the production version Bolt EV earlier this year and in a few short months we’ve moved from that vision to a reality,” said GM North America President Alan Batey.

Sales of the Chevrolet Bolt are scheduled to begin before the end of this year.

Electric Chevrolet Bolt

While the Bolt’s name is very similar to that of another GM plug-in car, the Chevrolet Volt, the two cars operate very differently. While the Volt can go over 50 miles on a charge, it has a gasoline engine to generate power for longer drives. The Bolt is purely electric. The Bolt’s price will start at under $37,500, GM has said, a price that would effectively make it cost under $30,000 with federal tax incentives.

The Model 3 will be priced about $35,000, Tesla has said. Tesla has already received hundreds of thousands of pre-orders for its car.

The Bolt is powered by a 200 horsepower electric motor which will enable it to go from zero to 60 in under seven seconds, which is quick for a small car. Top speed will be about 91 miles per hour.

To help maximize the Bolt’s range, it’s made from lightweight materials such as aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber.

Like some other plug-in and hybrid cars, the Bolt has a one-pedal driving mode which will extend its driving range by about 5%, GM has said. When that mode is selected, lifting a foot off the accelerator pedal immediately initiates regenerative braking, in which electric motors are used to slow the car. That also generates a small amount of electricity that slightly recharges the battery. Ordinarily, regenerative braking is only initiated by pressing on the brake pedal. One pedal operation eases driving in slow moving or stop-and-go traffic in addition to increasing energy efficiency.

GM classifies the Bolt as a “crossover SUV,” although the EPA, which does not have a “crossover” classification, calls it a “small wagon.”

Beating the Model 3 to market will give GM bragging rights for marketing the first “affordable” long-range electric car. Other lower-cost electric cars from major manufacturers, such as the Nissan Leaf or GM’s own Chevrolet Spark EV, have had driving ranges of less than 100 miles.