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EV Buyer’s Guide: Chevy Bolt Vs. Tesla Model 3

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The electric vehicle (EV) movement has potential car buyers trying to figure out which model is the best fit for them. There are so many different choices now it can seem overwhelming. Our new series can make that decision easier. We will compare and contrast two EVs from various brands, detailing the prices, metrics, and amenities each has. 

Think of it like a pro-con list. All the specs information comes from “Car and Driver.” 

First up, the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3

Photo Courtesy Tesla

Tesla Model 3

The Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla currently on the market, starting at $42,000 MSRP. When you factor in the clean vehicle tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the price can drop even lower. 

The sedan emerged on the scene in 2017, marking the beginning of Elon Musk’s quest for world domination — I mean, developing a reliable electric car. According to GreenCars.com, it’s one of the best-selling Tesla models in the world, second behind its cousin, the Model Y. 

Car and Driver reports the 2024 model isn’t getting too big of a makeover. Why tweak something that’s working? The biggest changes will likely be some minor aesthetic choices.

There are two other versions of the Model 3, Long Range AWD and Performance. They run about $49,000 and $55,000, respectively. Tax credits will lower their prices, too. 

The base model goes from 0-to-60 in 5.1 seconds, but Performance can do it in 3.5 seconds. That’s one of the fastest electric sedans on the market today.

The battery can get up to 272 miles of range, but Performance can get 315 miles and Long Range 333 miles. 

Being connected to the Tesla Supercharger network certainly helps this car’s case. Stepping into the cabin, it’s about as luxurious as it can get. The infotainment system stretches 8 inches across the center console. Unfortunately, Tesla doesn’t come with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or SiriusXM. 

The trade-off is having apps like Netflix, YouTube, and arcade games to access when charging. Navigation, USB, and Bluetooth all come standard. The Model 3’s trunk is quite spacious, and more space can be made when you fold down the seats. 

You get the Tesla Autopilot driver assistance with automatic braking, lane departure, and cruise control. It gets a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Photo Courtesy Chevy

Chevy Bolt

The most affordable Chevy EV, the Bolt, debuted in 2016 and has spawned a line of rebrands and editions like the Bolt EUV and Equinox EV. The base Bolt starts at $27,495, about a $5,900 reduction from previous years. 

The conundrum with the Chevy Bolt is it doesn’t qualify for the clean vehicle tax credits. Chevy has already produced enough EVs to meet the quota for the tax credits, so you won’t be getting a discount on the Bolt. 

People should also be aware that 2023 is the last year the Bolt EV and EUV will be made. Chevy is shifting toward other electric cars, many of which are electrified versions of their top-selling models, including the Silverado EV and Blazer EV. 

The Bolt has two versions, 1LT and 2LT, and gets 259 miles of range before the next charge. The Bolt has access to Level 2 chargers, many of which come from General Motor’s Ultium chargers.

Tesla Superchargers are now compatible with the Bolt thanks to the North American Charging Standard (NACS). 

The 2023 Bolt has a one-pedal driving mode that increases regenerative braking, returning charge to the battery. The interior doesn’t have as big of an infotainment system as the Model 3, but Chevy includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM. 

You can also get wifi in the Bolt through a subscription service. Spotify and Amazon Music are pre-programmed into the infotainment system. It gets a five-star safety rating, with features like driver assistance and 360-degree cameras. 

Closing Thoughts

The Model 3 offers a higher-performing car for a higher price, yet it lacks basic entertainment systems that come standard in most top brands. The Autopilot function is attractive, but the Bolt has similar safety features like automated emergency braking, 360 cameras, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure. 

Both score five stars in the NHTSA’s database. The Model 3 offers a better range. It’s hard to beat direct access to the Superchargers. Even with the NACS, the Bolt still needs the adapter to connect to Tesla’s charging network. Since the Bolt is being discontinued, it might make sense to buy the Model 3 since it will have more options in the coming years. Tesla’s Model 2 is expected to arrive next year as the brand’s most affordable vehicle made to date. Nevertheless, the Bolt is a good starter car for those looking for a simple EV.

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