Chevrolet Bolt EV heading to NZ for evaluation
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Holden New Zealand will soon have a single example of the award winning Chevrolet Bolt electric car on the road for evaluation in 2018.
And Holden NZ managing director Kristian Aquilina has floated the idea of relaxing local regulations for the sale of new left-hand-drive cars as a way to increase uptake of the latest generation electric vehicles.
Speaking at the launch of the new Holden Equinox SUV earlier this week, Mr Aquilina said he hopes to have discussions with the new government about the idea.
‘‘I think we should study the idea of selling a few left-hand-drive cars as way of fostering and demonstrating the technology that everyone is interested in,’’ he said.
Rules already allow enthusiasts to import and register specialist left-hand-drive vehicles (mainly high performance cars) for use in New Zealand and he believes allowing small volumes of LHD EVs would encourage their adoption and demonstrate demand that could encourage manufacturers such as GM to bring forward right-hand-drive production plans.
‘‘It would put more of the technology on the road and also into people’s minds. We’d like to sell a few in left-hand-drive,’’ he said.
He pin-pointed the new Chevrolet Bolt as an example of a car that demonstrates the best capabilities of electric cars. But with no General Motors plan to build the Bolt in right-hand-drive, there is no opportunity at present for New Zealanders to become early adopters of the car.
‘‘For EVs to become a true everyday proposition, enthusiasts and companies want to trial these cars,’’ Mr Aquilina said.
The Chevrolet Bolt is a small hatchback/wagon design – the dimensions are slightly larger than a Holden Barina – with a 60kWh lithium-ion battery pack integrated with the floor. A single electric motor develops 150kW and 350Nm of torque to achieve 0-100km/h in under seven secs.
Under the US EPA test regime it has an official range of 383km and using a DC fast charger system for 30 minutes will give the Bolt a driving range of about 150km.
Production began late in 2016 and the Bolt was named both 2017 North American Car of the Year and 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year. It’s also sold in some Europe markets as the Opel Ampera-e.
With a starting price of about US$37,500 (before federal and state tax incentives) in the US market, it’s likely the Bolt could sell here for less than the Holden Volt range-extender EV that had a short stint in the New Zealand market from 2012 priced at $85,000.