2017 Chevy Bolt First Drive: The quiet revolutionary

– Menlo Park, California

When you’re taking the scenic route to Half Moon Bay, through the hilly roads to the west of my Menlo Park starting place, the driving is rather special. Deep forests crowd the smooth, winding roadways, and dramatic elevation occasionally combines with open places to reveal dewy valleys and other breathtaking varieties of Northern California vista.

I’ve driven more than a handful of car species here, from Lotus to Hyundai, and it’s hard to remember a vehicle in which the experience wasn’t grand.

The same can be said, certainly, of my very recent drive in the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Though, as I spend the day winding my way north along the San Francisco Peninsula, and then south from The City (in a hurry) to make my flight at SFO, it wasn’t the mountain driving that impressed me most with what might very well be the best electric vehicle on sale today. Rather, it was that last bit, the drive out of congested city streets, and onto a busy Highway 101, that had me sold. Make no mistake: This is an EV that is built to excel at driving in the real world, with average, uninterested drivers behind the wheel.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: First Drive
2017 Chevrolet Bolt: First Drive
2017 Chevrolet Bolt: First Drive
2017 Chevrolet Bolt: First Drive

This is an EV that is built to excel at driving in the real world, with average, uninterested drivers behind the wheel.

On busy streets and freeways, the Bolt’s electric powertrain is king. The single permanent magnet drive motor produces 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, and of course that twist is available as soon as you ask for it, no...