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Compare & Contrast: Tesla Model 3 vs. Chevy Bolt

August 11, 2017 0 Comments

On Monday, Tesla revealed the new Model 3 specs – so, of course, let the comparisons begin.

As expected, the Model 3’s closest competitor is the Chevy Bolt. The Model 3 and the Bolt are Tesla and Chevy’s respective first attempts to appeal to consumers while holding strong on range as well as what has been termed the “in-vehicle experience.”

It’s too early to tell if demand for the Bolt is high, as the electric vehicle has been slowly rolling out to select dealerships since November. That said, the strategy appears at least initially to be working, as sales have increased progressively every month, with Chevy selling 1,642 Bolts in June.

Tesla, however, already has at least 500,000 pre-orders for the Model 3, which is sold out until mid-2018. CEO Elon Musk predicted that Tesla will have some trouble filling the orders on a timely schedule.

As with anything, each vehicle has its pros and cons.

The Bolt is available now, so if you’re in the immediate market for an electric vehicle, it’s definitely worth your while. It’s “zippy” and affordable and will last, at least until the Model 3 is more widely available. After all, Tesla is “known to struggle” when it comes to timely deliveries, and Musk’s prediction suggests that is not likely to change with the Model 3..

The Model 3 is “arguably a better car,” according to Business Insider, depending on how well the car fits your definition of “mass market.”

The Bolt ($37,495) can travel 238 miles on a single charge, and accelerates up to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, topping out at 91 mph.

The base Model 3 ($35,000), on the other hand, can only go 220 miles on a single charge, but it beats out the Bolt in acceleration: up to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The Model 3 tops out at a much higher 130 mph.

The Model 3 has an advantage with its Enhanced Autopilot option, which will cost you an additional $5,000. The feature matches the car’s speed to traffic conditions and can automatically change lanes, merge on and off highways, and even self-park.

Sure, you can get a lot for your $44,000 from Tesla, but only by foregoing other upgrades. For example, a tinted glass roof or a paint color other than the standard black ups the price to $50,000. The premium trim, which increases the range to 310 miles, could kick up the price to $60,000 – nearly double the price of the base model.

In contrast, even at the premier trim level, the Bolt stays under $42,000; the premier trim level includes safety features like lane-keep assist, side blind-zone alert, and rear-parking assist.

It’s not to say the Bolt and its safety features are better than the Enhanced Autopilot Tesla is rolling out, but the Bolt certainly is more consumer-friendly: you can buy the top-of-the-line version and not break the mass-market price range.

If you’re looking for something affordable, the Chevy Bolt is a good bet. It has all the necessities, performs well, and won’t cost over $42,000 – and you’ll get your hands on the actual car more quickly than you will with a Model 3.

With the Model 3, you can always add the Enhanced Autopilot later via a software update. Either way, you’ll get a high-performance vehicle with good range and safety features and “access to Tesla’s Supercharger network” – not a bad investment by any means.

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