During a short drive in the all-new Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, I began to wonder if its creators had discovered the secret to perpetual motion.

When I pulled off the lot, the screen readout indicated the maximum range that day, before a plug-in recharge was needed, would be a maximum of 244 kilometres. A full battery might have pushed the upper limit to 383 kilometres but what the range promised would be more than enough for my jaunt.

If I were heavy footed then I might be lucky to reach 169 kilometres; that would be embarrassing. The number 207 shone brightly through the spokes of the steering wheel. It was the more realistic range based on normal driving style and conditions.

And it offered an irresistible challenge to this competitive son of a gun! – Within a couple of minutes, it fell to 205; mind you the car had motored three clicks. When you lift your foot off the accelerator the car slows smoothly and regenerates electricity to top up the battery. Get the timing right and no more than a touch on the brake is necessary until you close in on the car ahead at the light. One pedal driving – almost!

This was going to be fun. By the time I’d clocked 10 kilometres, the readout had jumped to 209 – more range than when I set out. Cool. Maybe that 244 mark was not so optimistic. Stop and go traffic across town brought me down to earth, so to speak. My 25-kilometre drive came to an end at the recharging station opposite Granville Island Market in Vancouver. Didn’t need to plug it in but f

ree juice is free juice.

No sooner was I out of the car when a guy leapt from the other side of the road, narrowly missing a meet with one of those gas guzzling gas-electric hybrid powered taxi cabs. Just kidding. About it being a gas guzzler that is.

He wanted to know whether I would recommend the crossover-like vehicle. I proudly told him the display should really show a remaining range of 182, not the 190 he saw. Told him that if he couldn’t afford the $42,895 (plus taxes) sticker price (less a $5,000 point of purchase rebate from the Clean Energy Vehicles program) he could enter to win one at the Vancouver International Auto Show (March 28-April 2). Check it out on vancouverinternationalautoshow.com/bolt.

For the record, the gas economy equivalency is 1.8/2.1 L.100km (city/hwy). Green credentials intact, yours truly shopped and returned to drop a bag or two in the surprisingly generous space that lies beneath the rear hatch. Now for a stretch on the freeway, that would surely deplete the battery.

Well, it did and at a faster rate as I sped by some surprised faces at 100 klicks. The Bolt is similar in appearance to many cute utes on the road today but it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The electric power launches the small five door family car at a rate rarely seen off track. In less than seven seconds the needle is closing in on 100 km/h.

The Bolt is loaded with what every family wants in terms of safety equipment and entertainment systems. Available active safety features including Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert and Forward Pedestrian Alert.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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