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Published on December 8th, 2015 | by Christopher Arcus


What Will The Chevy Bolt Be Like?

December 8th, 2015 by  

The new Chevy Bolt electric vehicle has been announced well in advance of its arrival, with hints and photos well before its anticipated release (late 2016). Let’s take a look at some of the details of what we know and can infer so far. From press releases and media coverage, we know some things….

“The Bolt EV is also expected to use a variation on the same next-generation Gamma platform that will underpin the updated Sonic,” Stephen Edelstein writes.

The Sonic and Trax also share the same platform. Based on the pictures and its height, it looks like Trax is the shared model with the Bolt, not the Sonic. The paint color is even the same as the Bolt. The Bolt appears tall like the Trax.

2015 Chevrolet Trax Front 3/4 Chevy Bolt at Santa Monica Alt Car Expo Chevy Bolt & Chevy Volt 2.0 Implications & Comparisons ChevroletBoltConceptReveal03.jpg

The dimensions of the Trax — 167″L x 70″W x 65″ H — compared to the Nissan Leaf — 175″L x 70″ W x 61″ H — are relatively shorter length by 8″and taller height by 5″.

The Trax is a mini-SUV-style vehicle. The main difference in appearance of the Bolt compared to the Trax is the Bolt’s very sloped front windshield, which makes the hood look shorter. From the pictures, including new spy shots, it looks as if the Bolt will have similar dimensions to the Trax. However, the platforms might be different. To see why, we need to look at GM battery pack design as currently used in the hybrid Volt. It’s likely GM will use the same battery pack configuration.

chevrolet-volt-battery-pack Chevrolet Volt

The Chevy Trax, by comparison, has a flat rear floor.


A glimpse of the Volt interior gives an idea of where the batteries might go.


GM has maintained the use of a T-shaped battery pack since it first used it in the EV1. Battery packs must meet safety criteria for intrusion in an accident, and mechanical strength for high G forces. The T-shaped pack protects the pack very well from outside impacts, with the bulk of the pack in the center of the car, and only a limited amount of the pack area exposed to the underside of the car. The chassis would have a large center hump like the Volt if the T-shaped pack is used. The T-shaped battery pack helps protect the pack from intrusion in accidents, but reduces interior space and rear center seat comfort (a top complaint of Chevy Volt owners and reviewers).

There are clues in the press release that indicate the Bolt will share a variation of the Trax platform, and pictures of prototypes seem to confirm that. Will the Bolt share its body with the Trax? Or will the Bolt have its own dedicated EV platform? Will GM use the T-shaped battery pack for the Bolt?

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About the Author

has studied wind, electric vehicles, and environmental issues. An electrical engineer familiar with power and electronics, he has participated in the Automotive X Prize contest. He is an avid writer, specializing in electric vehicles, batteries, and wind energy.

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