Following more than a year of speculation, the Chevy Bolt’s drag coefficient has finally been revealed. It comes in at a relatively (for a CUV) decent 0.32, according to the soon-to-be-released electric vehicle’s lead designer.
Some will probably be inclined to compare the drag coefficient of the Bolt to that of the Tesla Model 3, but the comparison really doesn’t seem to be an apt one to me. Many of those interested in getting a Bolt seem to to considering the GM offering mostly owing to the relatively spacious 5-door, hatchback design. That comes with a bit of a tradeoff with regard to aerodynamics and efficiency, one that is reasonable and expected. The Tesla Model 3 is taking a very different approach to design (though, the Model 3 will reportedly have fairly good storage space).
It should be noted that the Bolt was designed at the same South Korean GM facility that the Chevy Sonic, Cruze, and Spark were designed at, so the design studios there do seem to have had pretty good success anticipating market desires, from the look of it.
Personally, I would guess that the decision to sacrifice low drag coefficient values for improved accessibility and storage space extent was the right one. That’s really one of the only things that the Bolt has going for it when compared to the Tesla Model 3 … (I’d be happy to be proved wrong on this count later this year when we take a closer look at the production version of the Bolt).
Autoblog provides more, revealing that “the Bolt’s design team tried to compensate for the model’s less-than-optimal aerodynamics with a spoiler and underbody paneling, as well as grille ‘shutters’ that close at certain speeds. Designers cut weight by using aluminum for the car’s doors and hood, while the A-pillar radius was also tweaked. All told, designers tested a half-dozen versions of the Bolt in wind tunnels as the design team further fine-tuned the vehicle’s shape.”
Lead designer Stuart Norris said his team relinquished “some aerodynamics for interior room to ensure that the car had enough utility to generate sufficient sales.”
GM is supposed to begin Chevy Bolt production in earnest in October.
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