Remember when electric vehicle range anxiety was a thing? Okay, perhaps we’re not past that yet, but it’s cool how automakers are working to push the distance their all-electric offerings can cover. Case in point: Chevrolet has announced a solid bump in range for the 2020 Bolt.
EPA-estimated range for the electric hatchback is now up to 259 miles, a 21-mile increase from last year’s 238-mile maximum. That nearly 9-percent increase is nothing to scoff at; given the current state of public charging infrastructure, EV drivers have to carefully consider range as they’re out and about or planning a trip. Even lifelong combustion-engine drivers have felt a twinge of panic as the fuel tank needle swings closer to E. Point is, we’ve all been in a situation where another 20-or-so miles of driving range would be a gift from the heavens above. Or in this case, Chevrolet.
Boosting the Bolt’s range involved a bit of secret sauce. Chevy’s battery engineers altered the cell chemistry of the car’s 60-kW-hr lithium-ion power source, making each electrode more energy-dense. It was all done without any physical changes to the battery pack, so it’s not any larger or heavier than before.
But there has to be a catch, right? Actually, it appears not. The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt will start at $37,495, the exact same price as last year. That includes the identical 200 horsepower, 266 lb-ft front-wheel-drive powertrain, with a 120-volt portable charge cord to keep it juiced. DC fast charging capability is an option.