- I drove the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, now the cheapest electric SUV in America after a price cut.
- The Bolt EUV costs just over $28,000 and offers a driving range of 247 miles, making it one of the best values on the market.
- Chevy loaned me a 2022 Bolt EUV Premier, which would cost about $37,000 after this year’s price cut.
Electric cars have largely shed their stigma as toys for rich people and wayward means of transportation for tree huggers. But there’s still a major barrier to entry to deter potential converts from taking the plunge: They’re just too expensive.
At a time when more people than ever are eager to kick fossil fuels aside, the average electric car is still well beyond the reach of the average American. Last month, the price for a new battery-powered car was a whopping $65,000, about the annual income for the average American household.
But there is one bright spot between all the very expensive Teslas and Audis: the Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
It’s not what theoretically affordable EV that power made possibly. (I’m looking at you, Tesla.) It’s available now for $28,195, and I got to drive it. It’s the low-cost electric car America has been missing.
An EPA-rated range of 247 miles gives the EUV — America’s cheapest e-SUV after a recent $6,300 price cut — one of the best bang for your buck in the entire EV market. Breaking down the value into a range-per-dollar ratio, the EUV is beaten only by the Bolt EV hatchback, which costs slightly less and delivers 250 miles of range.
Consider the other low-priced EVs out there. An electric Mini Cooper will cost you about $34,000, but it only offers 114 miles of range in return. Similarly, the Nissan Leaf starts at $28,000, but is rated for a paltry 150 miles. The latest generation of electric SUVs from Ford, Hyundai and Kia all start at over $40,000.
In a world where charging stations are still not widespread, range and price are two of the main concerns for electric vehicle buyers. And the EUV scores high on both.
Crucially, all that range and value comes packed into the SUV package that Americans love. Historically, the cheapest mass-market EVs have always been hatchbacks, which Americans have rejected in favor of SUVs of various sizes.
Driving the Bolt EUV is not a revelation, but it is a very pleasant experience. The EUV sails comfortably and quietly. It doesn’t give the same acceleration boost as, say, a Ford Mustang Mach-E, but it fires away from a traffic light quickly enough thanks to a 200 horsepower engine. And you can pay extra for Super Cruise, an excellent driver assistance feature that controls the car hands-free on motorways.
The cheapest of all undoubtedly has a few shortcomings. The EUV can’t charge as fast as more expensive rivals (it can add 90 miles of range in 30 minutes, Chevy says), and all-wheel drive isn’t an option. It’s not particularly fast, and its styling looks pretty pedestrian next to standout Hyundai and Kia models.
There is clearly a hunger for cheaper EVs. Surveys consistently cite high prices as one of the top factors keeping buyers away from the EV market. And according to a new study from S&P Global Mobility, Tesla is losing market share to EVs at the more affordable (under $50,000) end of the spectrum, which Musk’s brand doesn’t compete with.
The Bolt EUV doesn’t try to be a starship, speed demon or smartphone on wheels. What it brings to the table is arguably more important in a warming climate: electrification for the masses.