The Chevrolet Bolt was General Motors’ (GM) first effort in the pure battery-electric vehicle (BEV) area in a couple of decades. It is the beneficiary of a raft of changes for the 2022 model year. Chevrolet refreshed the Bolt EV’s looks inside and out, and it received a new infotainment system. The car’s ability to take on a charge improved, and GM upgraded the infotainment system. But, interestingly, from a mechanical point of view, it hasn’t changed much at all.
For the 2022 model year, the significant changes to the Chevrolet Bolt EV include:
- New hood, front and rear fascias, LED headlights, taillights, and wheels
- One-pedal-driving button
- New instrument panel, vehicle controls, and seats
- 11.5-kW onboard charging module
- Dual-level charge cord with 120- and 240-volt capability
- New Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with a 10.2-inch color touchscreen
- DC fast charging is now standard
- Chevrolet Safety Assist is now standard
Classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a small station wagon, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt battery-electric has a very simple lineup; Chevy offers it in 1LT and 2LT trim levels. One key difference between the trims is the seat upholstery. The 1LT has cloth-covered seats, while the 2LT has perforated leather seats. The 2LT also has more highly styled alloy wheels.
Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV. This review focuses on the Bolt EV’s updates for 2022 and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to consumers.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV competes in the Small Car market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 55 percent of Small Car buyers are male (vs. 61 percent for the industry as a whole), and the median age of a new Small Car buyer is 53 years (vs. 57).
As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Small Car segment in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicles to their least favorite:
- Fuel economy
- Exterior styling
- Driving feel
- Setting up and starting
- Infotainment system
- Getting in and out
- Interior design
- Feeling of safety
- Driving comfort
In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Chevrolet Bolt EV did not officially rank in the Small Car segment due to the small sample size.
What Our Independent Expert Says About the Chevrolet Bolt EV – Find the best Nissan deals!
In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a Bolt EV 2LT equipped with the following options:
The price of the test vehicle came to $36,165, including the $995 destination charge.
Charging and Range Enhancements
While the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV has many changes, it hasn’t changed much mechanically versus the 2021 model. Still, Chevrolet added equipment and ancillaries to make charging the vehicle easier and more efficient.
One key addition is the now-standard 11.5-kilowatt-capable onboard charging module. The module enables the Bolt EV’s 65+ kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack to take on as much as 37 miles of range per hour of charge when using a 240-volt 48-amp charging unit. According to Chevrolet’s consumer website, the brand is currently offering to cover the cost of the standard installation of a Level 2 (240-volt) charging outlet for eligible customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EV. But that could be a limited-time offer. Because of supply-chain issues, an 11.5-kW charger is not currently available through Chevrolet. Those transitory issues aside, the addition of the faster onboard charger is a big plus.
Another big plus is the newly optional dual-level charge cord. It features changeable NEMA 5-15 14-50 plugs with an SAE J1772 vehicle connection. Bolt EV owners can use a standard 3-prong grounded 120-volt plug for Level 1 charging with the new cord. By changing attachment ends on the charge cord, owners can plug the Bolt EV into a 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet that enables Level 2 charging at up to 7.7 kW.
With the dual-level charge cord, Level 1 charging will add about four miles of range per hour of charging. That figures out to be a staggering 60+ hours of Level 1 charging to bring the Bolt EV from zero charge to 259 miles of range. While Level 1 will be good for a boost, Level 2 charging is much more palatable in terms of charge times. It will add 25 miles of range per hour of charging time. Chevrolet estimates that bringing the Bolt EV to a full charge using Level 2 charging will require about seven hours.
The addition of standard DC fast charging capabilities for 2022 is an obvious boon for those on the go. Chevrolet says DC fast charging will contribute up to 100 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging. This level of charging is only available at commercial charging stations.
To diminish charging frequency, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV offers two systems that enable the vehicle to recapture energy that otherwise would be lost. Regen on Demand, accessed by pulling a steering-wheel-mounted paddle, allows the Bolt EV to convert kinetic energy from deceleration into energy stored in the lithium-ion battery pack.
The Bolt EV also now has a pushbutton that activates one-pedal driving. This offers the driver the convenience of accelerating, decelerating, and stopping the vehicle using only the accelerator pedal. It also enables an aggressive level of power regeneration.
Exterior Styling Changes
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt’s exterior styling and design changes are much easier to discuss compared to the charging changes. The Bolt EV has gone through what the car industry calls a “mid-cycle refresh” for the new model year. This isn’t a full-on ground-up redesign. Instead, mid-cycle refreshes usually consist of altering the model’s front and rear styling, which is the case with the Bolt EV for 2022.
For 2022, it has a new grille-less front end with slim LED headlights. Chevrolet also changed the driving lights into a more modern rendition. The new front end required a new hood, which is less sculpted than the previous edition. At the rear, Chevrolet widened and re-shaped the taillights. Access to the rear cargo area is essentially unchanged.
Both trims of the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV ride on new alloy wheels. The standard wheels are silver-painted 17-inch aluminum. Machined-faced 17-inch aluminum wheels with carbon flash-painted pockets are available on the 1LT and are the stock wheels on the 2LT trim.
Enhanced Interior and Driver Information Display
While the exterior freshening makes the 2022 Chevy Bolt EV look better, the interior alterations make it look better and act better. One key example of that is the new digital instrument panel. It is large, colorful, easy to run, and puts vital vehicle information right in front of the driver. If you want to know how you are doing in terms of EV efficiency, the vehicle will put that in your face.
Beyond the driver information screen, the entire dash is redesigned. The new materials appear richer than those used previously. While the Bolt EV gives its drivers all the battery, charging, and vehicle-related information they want—and some of them want a lot—it also works well for the Luddites in the driver mix who appreciate dedicated buttons and knobs for heavily used controls.
The steering wheel includes an array of handy controls on the right and left spokes. A sportier, flat-button steering wheel is an option. One especially nice feature is the easy-to-find pushbutton to engage one-pedal driving. Competitive models often make their drivers search for that function.
Another excellent revision is the new gear selector. Console-mounted, it uses pushbuttons and pull toggles to allow drivers to select Forward, Reverse, and Park.
Chevrolet redesigned the front seats with an emphasis on comfort. The 1LT seats are cloth-covered, while the 2LT seats are perforated leather. (I don’t believe the perforations are for weight savings, but you never know.) Chevy also configured the back seat to accommodate three passengers, but they’d better be small, friendly, or engaged to be married.
While not precisely an interior change, the addition of Chevy Safety Assist as standard is a welcome development. Advanced driving assistance systems include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, following distance indicator, and automatic high-beam headlights.
New Infotainment System
Okay, the new Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system doesn’t have a flashy name, but it sure looks and works great. Ford has the succession of Sync systems, and Stellantis offers the Uconnect lineup, which gives them brand recognition, but the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system works just fine. It looks good, and it operates just as you’d guess, which is the definition of intuitive.
A key feature of the system in the 2022 Bolt EV is its 10.2-inch HD touchscreen. The graphics are colorful, inviting, and—when asked—they display all the EV-related information you might seek. Because of the size of the Bolt and the proximity to the driver, the display looks bigger than its actual size.
The system’s Bluetooth connection doesn’t simply allow audio streaming; it also can connect two devices at once. You can connect your smartphone to take and make calls while your spouse’s connected smartphone can play music.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility are standard, putting the system ahead of many of those installed in luxury vehicles. The system facilitates voice recognition and passes voice commands along to compatible smartphones. That means Siri will hear you through the system. You can also use in-vehicle apps.
For audiophiles, a Bose 7-speaker audio system is part of the Infotainment option package. The system includes a subwoofer, powerful enough for the Bolt EV’s compact interior. The option package also includes wireless device charging and two USB charging-only ports for rear-seat passengers.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV has always been an engaging car. And it seems as if every change for the 2022 model year makes it incrementally better. It remains essentially the same as before mechanically, and its EPA-rated range is identical to the 2021 version. Still, each one of the alterations improves the Bolt EV’s value proposition, including one not revealed until now—a lower starting price.
At 163 inches long, the Chevy Bolt EV is one of the smallest models on the American market right now. For comparison, it is a foot shorter in overall length than the competitive Nissan Leaf. The short length, tight turning circle, and instant electric power give it a fun-to-drive personality. And that fun-to-drive lilt is enhanced by its sprightly 6.7-second zero-to-60-mph time.
From behind the wheel, the colorful digital screens give the Bolt EV a video game feel. And driving it almost seems as if you’re using a video game controller, especially when you’re in one-pedal mode. Ride quality is pleasant, and the Bolt EV is naturally quiet.
Despite its small exterior size, the Bolt EV has a sizable cabin. It has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. The little station wagon will swallow 57 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded.
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV’s lower price is partly in response to the fact that GM vehicles like the Bolt EV don’t qualify their buyers for the $7,500 federal income tax credit. At the same time, in the $32,000-40,000 range, the Bolt EV has plenty to offer EV buyers. Its 250-plus-mile range is impressive, and its driving demeanor gives potential customers many reasons to smile.
Jack R. Nerad has been reviewing cars, trucks, vans, and sport utilities for more than three decades. He managed the editorial efforts of Motor Trend magazine and Kelley Blue Book and currently is the host of the SportsMap Radio Network program America on the Road, which is available on Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, and other outlets.