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Published on December 8th, 2015 | by Christopher Arcus

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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.

2015-Chevrolet-Trax-ltz-interior-Seat-1024x684

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

2013-Volt-interior

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.



  • Philip Timmons

    They are just bound and determined to stay with the same stupid battery layout in the middle of the backseat? Because if they fixed it, it would be like admitting it was dumb, or what? What do they have to do to fix things? Fire a Marketing VP or something?

  • No, we covered it: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/12/01/2017-chevy-bolt-production-version-spy-photos-leak/

    This author is taking a deeper dive into the depths of the car and overall design.

  • NRG4All

    My fantasy is that something like the Satki3 process that creates ultra thin layers of cathode, solid state electrolyte, and anode will be laid down (plated?) in the footprint of a Tesla chassis under the floor. With just a couple of inches the amount of space available would make an EV with range greater than the bevy of ICE machines.

  • gus

    I’m pretty sure gm has stated they will use a battery shaped flat kinda like teslas

  • Harry Johnson

    That’s what I was wondering.

  • sault

    A combination of higher energy dense chemistry and more cells will be necessary to give the Bolt 3x – 4x as much all-electric range as the Volt. They’ll have to take out the spare tire or do something else to free up room for 60-odd kWh of batteries if they stick with the T-shaped battery.

    My other qualm is that they either need to make this thing Chademo / Tesla supercharger compatible or get a lot of SAE combo charging up and running in a hurry.

    • eveee

      Maybe. Or maybe the new batteries are more energy dense. Tesla’s pack doesn’t look that much bigger, but maybe we need to look at that more closely.

  • Kyle Field

    I have a hard time with a T-shaped pack. Makes the interior feel sub optimal…like the compromises are right there in your face. Why don’t they go with the skateboard approach? Seems so obvious. I guess I would even be ok if they were under the seats but it does feel weird to have no space there. The hump in the rear is a negative for consumers (I have it on my Leaf and am not a fan).

    • eveee

      We don’t know if the Bolt will have a T shaped pack. I am hoping they switched to skateboard, but we will find out soon.

      • Kyle Field

        Exactly. That’s really what I’m hoping for.

    • Adrian

      The Volt has the T-Pack because it’s a hacked-up Cruze. Stick a “skateboard” battery under the Cruze and it would sit too high. Although it would be fine for a CUV.

      Compromises…

    • mike_dyke

      I agree – I’ve had both types with different ICE cars, Front Wheel Drive (No Hump) vs Rear Wheel Drive (Hump) and the No hump version is much better for the rear seat passengers – especially in 3 person back seat configuration.

    • Philip Timmons

      It was because a Moron Marketing VP figured there had to room for Golf Clubs in the back. Really. You just cannot make up this kind of dumb.

      • Kyle Field

        Wow. That’s almost as reasonable as grass in the front yard of homes…oh wait, basically the same thing. Either way, Tesla owns here with a fully functional trunk and the frunk 😀

  • Kraylin

    Ugly is my guess, oh sorry it didn’t say what will the bolt “look” like. Kidding aside I will go back and read it now =). Personal preferences on looks aside I think this car will hit a sweet spot for range and price… surely some will find it attractive!

    • Ah, we have the anti-Marion! 😀

      Need some balance around here. 😀

      • Kraylin

        lol I’m not even sure how to take that but with two smileys how can it be bad? =)

        • exactly. 😀

          ->just that she always come on harshly to any Model 3 articles, and you started your comment with “Ugly is my guess.” 😀

        • eveee

          Take a look at the leaked production Bolt Photos. It looks different. The rear has some elements similar to the i3.

  • I hope the glass roof of the concept car is an option on the production model.

  • Marion Meads

    Just get it to the market soonest, GM!

    • What’s your guess on the nationwide arrival month?

      I’m going to very optimistically go with September 2016.

      • Kraylin

        I hope you are right because December 30th is still in 2016… I think they will beat the end of the year by a day at least! Hopefully…

        • I just think they are rushing as much as possible in order to get as many sales in as possible before Model 3 demand starts even more massively eating into Bolt demand.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Years ahead. 👍

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