General Motors (NYSE:GM) subsidiary Chevrolet is taking on the 200-mile range Tesla Model 3 electric sedan with its 238-mile range 2017 Bolt EV. The federally tested range of 238 miles per charge is enough to travel from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a single charge. This is the longest range available for battery-powered cars in that price range.
The EPA tests all automobiles sold in the U.S. for fuel economy and automakers are required to provide those numbers to prospective buyers. For electric cars, the agency also publishes average time to recharge the battery, the equivalent miles per gallon, and other details. The Bolt EV averaged the electric equivalent of 128 mpg in city driving and 110 mpg in highway driving.
Many plug-in electric cars can go 80 to 100 miles on a single charge. BMW’s i3, Chevy’s Spark EV, Fiat’s 500e, Mercedes-Benz’s B250e and Volkswagen’s eGolf all get just under 90 miles per charge. Kia’s Soul electric gets 93 miles per charge, while Nissan’s Leaf gets 107. Most electric cars cost less than $50,000.
In the U.S., only Tesla’s Model S sedan and Model X crossover can go more than 200 miles before recharging. The Model X luxury crossover can get more than 250 miles on a single charge and the Model S luxury sedan can get nearly 300 miles. The Model S and Model X sell for an average price of $110,000.
The Bolt is the first mid-priced, long-range electric vehicle to hit the market. The car is expected to have an MSRP of around $37,500, before federal tax credits of up to $7,500, and will be available by the end of year. Chevy previously said that its planned Bolt EV have a range of more than 200 miles and a price point of about $30,000. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 and will be released to the public by late 2017.
Mainstream acceptance of an electric vehicle is still elusive. Annual sales of battery-powered passenger cars account for less than 1 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales, despite there being more than a dozen plug-in electric vehicles available on the market. One of the biggest concerns for those on the fence about purchasing an electric vehicle is the range that they can get with the vehicle on a single charge. The fear of running out of electricity far from a recharge station has contributed to keeping battery electric vehicle sales low.