I drove an electric car for the first time under intense conditions — and it performed better than I expected (GM)



chevy bolt autocrossMark Matousek / Business Insider

I drove an electric car , a Chevrolet Bolt EV, for the very first time in an autocross course.
Even the Bolt’s acceleration was not impressive, but it managed. I felt as though it was under command, even if I pushed it into a series of hard turns.
I came away with a favorable feeling of the Bolt. None of the maneuvers would apply to driving, but also the path revealed the Bolt can hold up in odd circumstances.

A Chevrolet Bolt EV is not the very first vehicle that you may think to use in an autocross track.

Autocross is a competition in which cones are arranged, often in a broad and flat environment like a parking lot, to make a path that assesses a driver’s ability. A modestly-priced car may not seem like the most plausible selection for this kind of occasion, however on a 2017 listing of the cars best suited to autocross, the automotive book Road & Track included cheap vehicles like the Ford Fiesta and Honda Civic together with the Porsche Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette.

Much like the Fiesta, the Bolt is compact and light, which helps with agility and tight ends. And its own 266 pound-feet of skate shirts competitions such as the Nissan Leaf (236 pound-feet) and the BMW i3 (184 pound-feet). While it won’t offer rapid acceleration (it takes 6.2 seconds to go from 0-60 mph) or race car-level handling, the Bolt can navigate tight twists and regular changes in pace without spinning out of control. 

The Bolt was likewise the very first fully-electric vehicle I’d pushed. The Bolt has been now General Motors’ mass-market electric car, beating Tesla’s mass-market vehicle, the Model 3, to market by a year. With 238 miles of range, the Bolt set out to ease range anxiety without breaking the bank. 

While my first experience with the Bolt  — and electric cars in general — in May came under unusual circumstances, it demonstrated how electric vehicle technology has progressed to a point where early stereotypes about electric vehicles being flimsy and impractical no longer apply.

Here’s how the Bolt held up over three hours of runs on an autocross track.

The autocross course was set up in the parking lot of Citi Field, the New York Mets’ baseball stadium, close to the end of May.
Mark Matousek / Business Insider
Five total cars were offered to drive four Chevy Bolts and a gas-powered Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Mark Matousek / Business Insider
Two of those Bolts had all-season tires, like the one in this picture.
Mark Matousek / Business Insider
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SEE ALSO: I drove a 44,000 Chevy Bolt for a weekend and saw how far electric cars have come — but I also discovered a glaring difficulty

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