2019 Chevy Bolt May Have Better Seats, Improved Suspension
There is an upside to spending well over two hours “fast-charging” your Chevy Bolt in public, apparently: you may find yourself with lots of time for a chat with Mike Lelli, the chief engineer of that all-electric Chevrolet. At least, that was the case for one lucky owner. As a result, we believe we’ve learned about some minor, but much-needed improvements to the hatchback for 2019, including better seats.
If you’ve ever sat down in the Bolt, you may have regretted it. Not because of any fundamental problem with the vehicle. Indeed, it garnered Car-Of-The-Year accolades from Motortrend, the Detroit Free Press, and Popular Mechanics. . . .
The thing is, for some at least, the front chairs (pictured above) are somewhat underwhelming: too small and not enough padding are two of the more common complaints. To underline the level of dissatisfaction, shortly after the InsideEVs Forum launched, we were blessed with the creation of a thread titled “A new EV forum = The inevitable Bolt EV seat complaint thread!.” This is not to say that everyone has this same opinion. There are plenty of folks who have no problem whatsoever with either the size or the bolstering (or lack thereof) of the individual benches.
Now, though, it seems they’ve been improved. At least, that’s the tune Chevy Bolt EV Forum user “Fivedoor” is singing after spending about two hours chatting with the aforementioned head engineer during a chance encounter at a charging station. He recounts a pretty interesting encounter that you can read about here. . . .
I'm one of the people who had no problem with the seats in the LT I drove, but many obviously do, so this is welcome news. Her'es some quotes from Fivedoor's original post on the ChevyBolt.org forum:
Main differences in the 2019 are revised front seats, improved suspension (different springs and shocks) in the front to reduce thump and jounce when going over road imperfections, and having several choices of what % to charge the battery to rather than just having 88% hilltop reserve and 100%
I asked about upcoming improvements and he couldn't really talk about the future other than that GM is committed to an EV future. He did ask me what I thought needed improvement.
He said he knows that battery size and charging speed are the top two things, but what else?
I said that improvements to the infotainment system like displaying charging amps, voltage, and KW when fast charging instead of just time to 80% would be great, and having either wireless android auto or a native app based infotainment system with something like Google Maps or Ways rather than having to use a USB cable would be a big improvement. I also said that some form of spare tire at least as an option would be a hit, Millennials may think that a cell phone and AAA will get them out of any jam, but a side wall failure when you are in the middle of no-where without cell phone coverage would benefit from a compact spare. I pointed out how Mazda used to have a deflated (and thus even more compact) spare as standard equipment on the 1st gen Miata. I also said that AWD would be great at least as an option, for utility in a "crossover" as well as improved acceleration for performance enthusiasts.
He asked about adaptive cruise control and I said it would be great for long trips, and for people that commute in heavy traffic, but that super-cruise with lane centering rather than ping-pong back and forth lane keep assist would be even better.
When he asked if a larger battery or faster charging was more important I told him that my opinion had changed in the last 6 months due to the Electrify America build out and the plans for several coast to coast travel corridors. I now would prefer faster charging, over a larger battery, and that of course both would be welcome. . . .
I'm totally onboard with the need for a spare (and jack/lugwrench), and also would want most of the rest of the improvements he suggests, but the Bolt is about 10"-12" too short for me (want to be able to lie down stretched out in the back) plus no AWD, so that rules it out for me. Maybe some/all of this will show up on the Buick BECUV that's supposedly arriving soon.