Sep 16, 2023

What should next Chevy Bolt offer? Free Press readers tell GM leaders

I asked, and did you ever answer.

I wrote about GM’s decision to build a new version of the Chevy Bolt electric vehicle and asked you what features you'd want from the vehicle I am calling "Son of Bolt."

GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra said the automaker will develop faster and at a lower cost than usual. I think we can reasonably expect to see it within three years.

Recapping for those of you who didn't hear how we got here:

My request from you drew emails like the debut of a new Corvette, and you had just as many fierce opinions about the new model’s features.

A selection of your suggestions follows, edited for space and readability. In addition to plenty of sincere suggestions, I got a few notes from people who either hate EVs or didn’t understand the assignment. They called for things like a V6 engine or a plug-in hybrid model. The Bolt debuted as an electric-only vehicle; I’m confident it will remain so, unless GM’s EV strategy implodes.

Keith A: “The Bolt mostly has everything I want but one big thing is missing: AWD. Many in the Rocky Mountain west need AWD just to get home or to get up the driveway when it snows feet in a matter of hours. Reduce the mileage if that's what it takes.

“A rear hitch for my mountain bike and an optional roof rack for my kayak would also be nice. A 115 vac or dc port to charge my e-bike would be a godsend.”

Tom W.: “(Range should be) 300 miles, so it can go at least 230 miles in winter with the heater on. Less if they use a heat pump.

“I like the looks of my 2018 Bolt better than the EUV. I see no advantage to the EUV, only disadvantage since it uses the same battery as the Bolt so has less range.

“Cost is THE main problem with EVs. Well, that and DC fast charging infrastructure. The present price of about $27k is good, but longer range, more featured models will likely have to cost more. I think they should not go above mid-30k to keep the market larger.”

Justin S.: “(Range should be) 275 miles +/-

“DC fast charging should improve to 150 kilowatts.”

Mike S.: "The updated Chevy Bolt needs to be about $3,000 less than the Equinox (EV). Range should be similar to the Equinox.

"The current major problem is speed of charge. I am satisfied with the at-home level-two speed, the problem is the (speed of DC fast ) charging.”

Brian F.: “I do wish the on-board DCFC (Editor's note: DCFC means Direct Current Fast Charging) was faster. Perhaps with the Ultium technologies it will be.

“I really like the price point of the current models. I’d be willing to pay a bit more for faster DCFC charging, or even for the option of a rooftop solar array. (If Aptera can do it, so can GM.)" (Editor's note: Aptera is the first electric solar vehicle that doesn't need charging.)

Jeremy J.: "My Bolt EV should have a 400 mile range on a single charge.

“It SHOULD charge in 15 minutes or less.

“$30k. $40K with solar.”

Victor: “200 miles (range). 15 minutes (to charge) on highway to a decent charge level.

“I would like both and a wagon or trucklet.” (Editor's note: If you're new to the word, a "trucklet" is a small compact truck.)

Shel H.: “Range of 270-300 (miles is) fine. Perhaps with Ultium, lighter weight battery range increase could lower battery size from 65KWH to 60KWH?

“10%-80% recharge time less than 25 min.

“Should remain the same size but aerodynamics greatly improved. Bolt now has drag aspect of a brick.”

Brian F. again: “If GM insists on doing away with CarPlay support, I will not buy another GM EV.”

Jeffrey R.: “Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. I'm not buying or leasing any new car without this.

“Similar size to the EUV — I love small cars that are still reasonably roomy inside.

“I wouldn't mind an EUV that is the same width, but longer with a larger hatch space.

“I'd like to buy the upgraded stereo without having to also buy a sunroof.”

John P.: “Please limit the use of piano black plastic. Dust and finger print magnet. Carbon fiber-like texture look would be better."

Douglas B.: “Front seats could still use a little more width and padding. Power passenger seat would be much appreciated."

Paul J.: "Keep it as an inexpensive, responsive, reliable, durable entry-level EV.

“Think in terms of it being the EV equivalent of the post-WWII Volkswagen Beetle. They should keep the basic car and focus on making it as reliable and inexpensive as it can be.”

Patrick C. had a list:

“If the GM Genie appeared to me and said I could have a brand-new RED Bolt EUV with three things I wish for, not available on the car now, what would I wish for?

Robert S.: "Two wishes ...

“A. Heat pump heating for the winter to improve range. In winter I drive with a thin blanket on my lap/legs with heated seat in order to minimize use of car heater and increase range.

“B. Compatibility with high speed DC charging stations.”

Jan L.: “Do not allow price to exceed $29,999. This is a value for money car, Ms. Barra will understand. ...

“Over the air software updates preferred, we do not want to go to a dealer for software updates.

“Car should be sold online and delivered to home.”

Robin G.: “More frequent software updates. Add built-in bug-reporting mechanism (it is a smartphone with wheels, after all). Ultifi may take care of this. (Editor's note: Ultifi is GM's new end-to-end vehicle software platform.)"

Ed M.: “A generic EV charging station for all cars where you can just plug it in for a charge.

“More storage space in the rear.”

Terry B.: “Offer a spare, jack and lug wrench as an accessory or option after purchase."

Charles S.: “I would love for it to five star on all (independent) crash tests addition to that a 300 mile range and industry-leading warranty on the battery.”

AG.: “Ability to use the EV as a home generator.”

Anne R.: “My preference would be to have a sedan model of the Bolt.”

Chris Y.: “A hitch - Nothing heavy duty but enough to put a bike rack on or tow a very small trailer (1,500 pds maybe).

“Keep the EUV - Love the look of my Redline edition.

“Range-300 miles would be nice. Not sure how much battery is lost in the winter yet.”

Mike M.: “At least 2 120v AC outlets — 1 in center console and 1 in the cargo area. Two-to-one ratio of USB-C to USB connectors with ports at each seat position. CarPlay. A sunroof.

“Base price $30k. Premier $43k.”

Tom B.: “Bolt does not have room for a spare. A simple sheet metal bump-out behind the rear bumper would fix that. There is room.

“The heater is slow and power hungry. We prefer to dress warm and use heated seats. But GM needs to add heat mats for our frozen feet.

"A window control that makes it easy to stop the window at partially open positions.

"If you start the car to pre-heat the cabin and come back later without the key, the car will let you drive off. Next time you turn it off you won't be able to start it again. Fix that glitch.”

And back to that generator, which, with the latest round of summer storms, seems to be appropriate.

Gail: “The ability to run electric in the house after a power outage, the way the Ford 150 does.”

Contact Mark Phelan: 313-222-6731 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan. Read more on autos and sign up for our autos newsletter. Become a subscriber.

Keith A:Tom W.:Justin S.:Mike S.:Brian F.:Jeremy J.:Victor:Shel H.:Brian F.Jeffrey R.:John P.:Douglas B.:Paul J.:Patrick C.Robert S.:Jan L.:Robin G.:Ed M.:Terry B.:Charles S.:AG.:Anne R.:Chris Y.:Mike M.:Tom B.:Gail:@