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How Serious Is Competition Between Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3: Similarities and Differences

There are more differences between Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 than similarities between these two electric vehicles.

Chevy Bolt Size vs Tesla Model 3 Size

Other publications have been well, kind of foaming at the mouth, eager to topple Tesla from its pinnacle atop the high-tech/EV mountain. As Euripides said, roughly translated, “Those whom the gods would destroy they first raise up.” It makes a much more readable story to say that the great are about to be brought low by a new entrant in the EV car race only if you have built him up before hand.

That seems to be happening here. That same publication touts its epa range as being 238 and that this clearly outclasses the announced range of the Tesla 3 of 215. Wow, 13 more miles per charge. The author neglects to mention that Musk stated the range would be at least 215 miles per charge. Do we expect the man who created the P100D Series S so that it would do 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, making it the fastest production car in the world to take that lying down? I would expect to see a range at least in the range of 250 miles per charge at introduction. But really. All this fuss over 13 miles per charge? Advantage: draw.

Bolt vs Model 3 Acceleration

Speaking of acceleration, we can confidently expect that Tesla Model 3 will be in the range of 4 seconds to 60 when introduced. Even the first Model S with a 40 kwh battery managed that. So how does the Bolt compare? 7 seconds. That’s right 7 seconds. That puts it in family sedan territory, not the rarified air of the Tesla. Not even worth talking about any longer. Advantage: Tesla

Tesla Model 3 vs Chevy Bolt Comfort

Tesla Model S is classified as a large car. We have yet to see the ratings on the Model 3, but indications that it might still be classified as a large car, certainly no less than medium. The Bolt is small. It is a small hatchback. Small. Granted the inside is quite roomy compared to other small cars, but comparable? I don’t think so. Advantage: Tsla


Now, my home stomping grounds are the capital district of New York. For us to get down to NYC takes about 155 miles. That will probably leave about 100 miles of useful range. That’s not enough to make it home without sticking out my thumb. With either car. With the Bolt, I can sit around patiently for about eight hours waiting to get enough of a charge. With the 3 I have my choice of Superchargers to top off in less than 30 minutes and be on my way, or I could choose one of the many hotels with destination Tesla chargers to stay if I’m staying overnight. Where? Well, there’s one in Edison, NJ if I want to visit my alma mater Rutgers, or East Brunswick if I want to charge up right in the same town as Rutgers, or Paramus in NJ if I want to charge up on the way home, or if I want to go farther, why not stop in Newburgh, half way up the Thruway?

So, not the same. Not the same. Quick recharge? Advantage: Tesla


I don’t see anything, anywhere about the Bolt featuring any Autonomous features in their car. I am panting, drooling over the day when I will be able to turn over the driving function to the car. The cost of this equipment is not insubstantial, yet it will be included in the 3 to the best of our knowledge. This pushes the 3’s price advantage even further. Advantage: Tesla

Source of Car Parts

One of the guys on one of my favorite Tesla podcasts said they really ought to call the Chevy Bolt the LG Bolt since they are supplying everything on the Bolt but the seats and the chassis. That all comes out Korea. Motor, electronics, batteries, controls, dashboard...well, you get the idea.

Tesla Model 3 will be made in Fremont, California with batteries made in Nevada in the Gigafactory with lithium mined here. By American workers! Advantage: Tesla.

Bottom Line

The Chevy Bolt is a small, untested, hatchback that costs about ten percent more, is slower, doesn’t really have long range capabilities and, quite frankly, won’t turn any heads as it goes down the road. It’s nice, but it ain’t no Tesla. Look at the pictures.


cody ozz (not verified)    September 14, 2016 - 11:08PM

Think you could write a more slanted article? I'm not sure. Now let me preface my response with this, I promise to be utterly fair to both the Tesla M3 and the Bolt, b/c I like both cars.

Regarding RANGE: yes, absolutely the Tesla will probably have to go 65 on the battery to outdo the Bolt, but I'm guessing he will do that, and get 240 or 250 out of it. ADVANTAGE: Tesla

ACCELERATION: Yes, the Bolt will take around 7 seconds to hit 60... and I'm guessing the Model 3 will do it in 4.5. But it's supposed to be a mainstream family car, not a super (expensive) car like the model 3. ADVANTAGE: barely Tesla M3

COMFORT: The Bolt will be an easy to get in, easy to see out of, easy to access the back hatch area, largish small car. The M3 will be barely larger, a MIDSIZE car, maybe. It will be harder to get in and out of (I just rode in a Model S and it's not exactly easy to board,) has a smallish trunk access area and only a pass thru. the Bolt clearly wins here in accessibility and space, and the only Tesla advantage is the Frunk... which will be good for one bag. But will you be able to put a chair in the back of a M3, or how bout a 3' square box? Nope. How bout 2 dogs? Clearly roomier for them.ADVANTAGE: Chevy Bolt

(SUPER/QUICK)CHARGING:Yes the M3 will have SC access and that should be a nice advantage, but you state a huge gaff by not mentioning the fast charging capability of the Bolt. Both the Chevy and M3 can destination charge for 1.5 hours and have the needed 50 miles of range for you to head home. Lunch, Dinner, Movie, shopping... it all fits in there. Who would rather sit at a SC when you only need 50 miles, when you can charge at your destination, eliminating the need for a charging stop. ADVANTAGE: neither.. but possibly the Bolt, if Tesla requires (pre)payment for using the Supercharger network.

Please be fair... They're both great cars and both will have their merits and faults

mike w (not verified)    September 15, 2016 - 7:28PM

Slanted article no doubt. The DCFC charge rates for the Bolt have not yet been announced unless I missed it. Same with the model 3. no guarantee you will be able to plug into a SC and get 135 KW for more than a minute or two. And the detail for access for the Model 3 at super charger stations has again not been announced. A quick check of the PLUGSHARE network shows way more CCS DCFC charge locations than supercharger locations in New York. Again maximum L2 charge rates for the Bolt have not been announced AFAIK.
I like Tesla as much as the next guy but my opinion is that the Bolt is the better over all car. Prices and options still not announced on either car.

Jeffrey (not verified)    September 18, 2016 - 9:21AM

In reply to by mike w (not verified)

I guess you don't understand the meaning of "slanted". The Model 3 will have full access to the SC network and all your CCS / DCFC networks. How is that even a comparison. I drove a Model S for a week and don't agree with you it was hard to get in or out. And the ultimate test will be the M3 will probably outsell the Bolt 5to1 not that the Bilt is terrible but GM is not really interested in selling EV. They do it for show and because California requires them to.

Allan Honeyman    September 19, 2016 - 10:34AM

My feelings exactly. It seems from the comment you made that you are in agreement with me. The only thing you did not mention is that while Tesla is member of the CCS network, the Supercharger is currently three times as fast as the CCS. Theoretically the chademo chargers will be able to go up to 300 kw, but currently they are slow-walking at 50, so they have a theoretical best of a 30 minute charge to get as much as a Supercharger delivers in 10.

I don't mind the screamers, they haven't dug into the details. Also, I think they are for "American" car companies, not realizing that Tesla has higher American content than just about anybody, and is American owned. The Bolt is a Korean car with American body and seats. It was even designed there! How about a little cheerleading for America?