- Chevy; Tesla; Business Insider/Yu Han
I’ll say it upfront: if you’re looking for a good electric car, the Chevy Bolt is not a bad option.
For $37,500, the Bolt offers a solid range of 238 miles on a single charge. That’s impressive, especially considering that Tesla’s Model 3 is only expected to have a range of 215 miles per charge.
But there’s more to consider than just range, especially when the mileage difference is fairly small. Here are the advantages of waiting for the Model 3:
Let’s give credit where credit is due: General Motors beat Tesla to the punch with rolling out an affordable, electric car. The $37,500 Chevy Bolt will hit dealerships before the end of 2016.
That’s $37,500 before federal tax credits.
The Tesla Model 3, meanwhile, isn’t slated to become available until the end of 2017 or early 2018.
- YouTube/Motor Trend
It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t exactly known for keeping deadlines. The Model X was delayed by three years, and a Wall Street Journal article points out that Tesla has failed to meet over 20 of its projections in the last five years.
Whether Tesla’s Fremont, California factory plant can handle Model 3 demand has yet to be seen.
So if it’s important for you to get a solid, affordable electric car as soon as possible, the Chevy Bolt isn’t a bad option.
The Chevy Bolt currently has one of the best ranges of affordable electric cars on the market, beating out cars like the Nissan LEAF. (Keep in mind that pricier electric cars like Tesla’s Model X and Model S still beat the Chevy Bolt when it comes to range.)
The Bolt also has some pretty impressive tech features, including its fully digital rearview mirror and its wireless charging console. It also has a number of safety features including collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, blind zone warning, and front pedestrian braking.
The Bolt can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 7 seconds. That’s a solid spec compared to other electric cars on the market. The Model 3, however, does edge that out with an acceleration time of less than 6 seconds.
But if I have around $40,000 to burn on an electric car, I’m still waiting for the Model 3. There’s a few reasons for this. First, when you really consider it, the range difference is negligible.
- YouTube/Motor Trend
If you mainly use your car to commute, you’re maybe getting an extra day or two before needing to re-charge with the Chevy Bolt. If you want to go on any long trips, there’s really no difference at all in regards to where you would need to stop.
It would be one thing if it were the difference between 300 miles and 215 miles, but that extra 23-mile bump by the Bolt won’t have any meaningful impact on your everyday driving life.
It’s also worth noting that when Musk unveiled the car in March, he said Tesla aims to exceed the initial range of 215 miles. Considering Tesla is known to roll out a version of the car with several battery options, it’s likely the Model 3 will inch closer to the Chevy Bolt’s range, and with it the tiny price difference between the two cars will close.
So if range and price pretty much factor each other out, what makes the Model 3 better? For one, there’s the tech.
Like the Chevy Bolt, the Model 3 comes standard with blind spot warning and automatic braking.
But with the Model 3, you can pay more to get Autopilot convenience features including automatic parallel parking, automatic lane change, and the ability to summon you car remotely from a parking space.
The price of that upgrade hasn’t been released, but it seems safe to assume it would cost the standard extra $3,000 it costs to activate in the Model S and Model X.
So if the Model 3 costs $35,000, and you choose to tack on $3,000 for the suite of semi-autonomous tech, you’re looking at an overall price of $38,000. That’s just $500 more than the $37,500 Chevy Bolt before federal tax credits, and you’re getting a suite of semi-autonomous tech you simply can’t get in the Bolt.
There’s also something to be said about buying into the Tesla brand and knowing your car will get new features overtime with software updates.
Then there’s the design of the car. Like the Bolt, the Model 3 can fit five people, but the Model 3 is simply a sexier car. Just look at it!
Overall, the range difference is not enough to sell me on the Chevy Bolt. If you’re looking to get an EV right now, the Bolt is a good option. But you’ll likely get more for your money if you wait for Tesla’s Model 3.
- Chevrolet; Tesla; Business Insider/ Yu Han