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Going Free Footed in a Chevrolet Bolt - Review and Electric Observations From Martha Hindes +VIDEO

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By Martha Hindes
Senior Editor
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

For car lovers, there’s an odd numbered conundrum coming on scene. Is someone a three pedal or a one pedal driver?

Three, of course, refers to the road warrior who wouldn’t be caught behind the wheel of a vehicle with less than three pedals on the floor – one for acceleration, one for braking and the requisite third for the standard transmission clutch.

On Sunday, St.Valentine’s Day, General Motors’ Chevrolet Division held a virtual reveal of what it probably hopes will spark a digression away from multiple footwork requirements, the new 2022 Bolt EUV along with a redesigned 2022 Bolt EV.

This from the official Bolt Press Release

"One Pedal Driving lets the driver speed up, slow down and even come to a complete stop using only the accelerator pedal"...and then this from the GM Lawyers: "You should always use your brake pedal if you need to stop quickly" HUH?...good advice no matter how many pedals your vehicle has.

As GM aims a five year plan toward an all electric future announced to shareholders earlier in February by CEO Mary Barra, it used a heart-warming collage of scenes interwoven with iconic ghostly Disney cartoon figures, Star Wars X-Wing Fighter futuristic space craft and an explosive takeoff into hyperspace to set the stage.

The introductory video, populated by a typical American family, journeying into Disney World magic in their sporty Bolt EUV, had footage, shot partially at Florida’s Disney World, of how it went from concept to splashing with excitement across the screen. It was designed for customers “to imagine an all-electric future,” said Steve Majoros, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing.

The launch video, combines the lure of Disney with the practical elements that push it towards an unencumbered future where the driver can relax, coasting hands free and digging into a bag of chips while the Bolt EUV’S Super Cruise driving system guides it along some 200,000 miles of compatible express roads in the U.S. and Canada, well spaced behind other traffic.

In that mode it wears a green band across the top of the steering wheel to show the system is under control. If the driver’s attention is diverted for too many seconds or it requires driver intervention, it turns red with a warning signal to take over manually. (GM must have learned from Tesla on that one.)

A 90 second “Magic is Electric” commercial from the launch debuted on American Idol’s Valentines Day program Sunday evening and is scheduled to be on ESPN’s SportsCenter’s “Magical Moment” segments from Feb. 15 th to 19 th.

Of course electric vehicles aren’t anything new. There was a proliferation of them in the early days of the 20th Century before the internal combustion engine pushed them off the road.

But, after four years of the original Bolt EV on sale, a “can’t resist” statement was obligatory for a new generation sport utility vehicle that’s small, for five, electric and produces 200 horsepower and 266 lb. ft. of torque from its single motor.

If you’re going to show off a vehicle designed to out-Tesla Tesla, what better way to do it than with a sprinkling of stardust on the scene as you tout the 250 mile-on-a single-charge range, and one pedal driving as the Bolt EUV takes over braking functions. “If you're in "low" it's dual function: throttle as you press, brake as you let up," explained Chevrolet spokesman Shad Balch.

The Bolt now has more modest pricing than might be expected for a vehicle loaded with almost every kind of electronic gadget and connectivity one could imagine. The Bolt EUV starts at $33,995 and the Bolt EV starts at $31,995.

And as an introductory bonus Chevy will have a program to underwrite installation of a Level 2 home-based fast charging station for those customers who have someplace to install it.(On street parkers need not apply)

Chevrolet has succeeded in getting our attention. We can’t wait until it’s actually in showrooms sometime this summer to find out if they actually delivered.

However, a concern jumps out at this point. How do you explain to stick shift Corvette drivers their preferred means of shifting soon could only be an image in the rear view mirror?

Copyright 2021, Martha Hindes, Automotive Bureau, All rights Reserved.