Owner of Both Finds Ten Things the Bolt Does Better Than a Model S

The common conception for most people is that, if you're going to have more than just one car, you buy an EV as a daily driver and an internal combustion engined car - preferably a larger one - for your vacations and any trip outside the 200-mile range of battery-powered vehicles.
Chevy Bolt vs Tesla Model S 1 photo
Photo: Chevrolet and Tesla
Well, that doesn't really stand for EV enthusiasts. They will argue that if you truly believe in electricity as the fuel of the future, you should be ready to make the switch right now. Actually, you should want to make the switch now and not wait for a time when there basically won't be any choice.

Thanks to the Supercharger network, those living in North America can already consider their Teslas long range-enabled, and we all know they aren't short on interior space or comfort either. With that part taken care of, they now need a second car to use for commuting to work and running over to the supermarket.

Until recently, this segment was pretty vacant. There was the smart fortwo electric drive (and it's still an option, better than ever, actually), but it had a severely limited range that only made it viable for people living inside a city. Plus, it's a two-seater - if you have kids or a dog, it's an automatic no-go. The Nissan LEAF? Yes, but it was quite expensive and a bit outdated. A BMW i3? Probably the best choice, but still way too pricey.

Now, though, the Chevrolet Bolt has arrived, and not only does it offer a maximum range that rivals even the Model S, but it's also compact enough to make it a great city runner while still offering seating for five and ample interior space.

Seth Weintraub is the Publisher of EV-oriented website Electrek, and he's been the proud owner of a Model S since 2013. About a month ago, he also had his Chevy Bolt delivered, so he's had plenty of time to compare the two and come with ten things that he likes more about the GM car than the Tesla.

We've already touched a few of them: the smaller footprint that makes it more maneuverable in tight space. Then there's the driver's seating position, which is way higher in the Bolt meaning you get to see more, but also get in and out of the car more easily. The regenerative braking on the Chevrolet also does a much better job, rendering the brake pedal useless for times on end.

GM also doesn't have the "I can do everything better than anyone" attitude that seems to be going on at Tesla, so its vehicle has full CarPlay/AndroidAuto connectivity. That means seamless access to almost all the content on your phone in a familiar interface.

Then there's the aspect of the FWD versus RWD setup. Of course, if you live in an area where it never snows or you buy an AWD Tesla, this argument is pointless. But strictly for the base versions of the two vehicles, a FWD architecture makes for much safer driving through snow.

Seth also raises a point that might seem controversial to some: he says the Bolt has a "reduced perceived pretentiousness factor." By that he means that you can go under the radar with a Bolt more easily than a Model S - it's not perceived so much as a statement as Teslas usually are, and when you do feel like going unnoticed, the Bolt is the car for you.

He also says that charging can sometimes work better, but he refers to the position of the charger, which sits at the front of the car in the Bolt enabling it to charge without reversing in first. Other than that, Tesla's Superchargers are still the way to go.

Due to its lower weight and probably more modern technology - remember that Seth's Tesla is a 2013 model - the Bolt can squeeze more range out of the same sized battery pack. They both have 60 kWh batteries, but the Bolt trumps the Model S by more than 30 miles. That's not too impressive for a car four years younger, but as things stand, it is better.

Is all this enough to make the Bolt a better electric car than the Model S. Not by a long mile, in Seth's opinion, but it does show a few areas where Tesla might look to improve. It also demonstrates that GM has managed to make an exciting EV that has a lot going for it. The only question is where will GM go from here?
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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