Chevy Bolt's aero is a 'disaster,' but it will be big inside

GM uses aluminum, grille 'shutters' to compensate.

2017 Chevy Bolt
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt in motion
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt front fascia
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt headlights
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt taillights
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt charging port
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt interior
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt interior center console
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt rear seats
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt, profile in shadow
General Motors traded off some aerodynamics for utility when it came to designing the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, according to the model's lead designer. That will mean a spacious-feeling five-door vehicle with a hatchback and a fair amount of cargo space, Automotive News says. It also means what the EV's design team leader Stuart Norris called a "disaster for aero."

The car has a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.32. By comparison, the Toyota Prius has a Cd of 0.24, while the Tesla Model 3 will record a downright-slippery 0.21 figure. The Bolt was designed at GM's South Korea design studio, which has about 190 employees working on 10 vehicle projects. The studio, which is also responsible for the Sonic, Cruze, and Spark, is the automaker's third-largest in the world behind its US and Europe studios.

The Bolt's design team tried to compensate for the model's less-than-optimal aerodynamics with a spoiler and underbody paneling, as well as grille "shutters" that close at certain speeds. Designers cut weight by using aluminum for the car's doors and hood, while the A-pillar radius was also tweaked. All told, designers tested a half-dozen versions of the Bolt in wind tunnels as the design team further fine-tuned the vehicle's shape.

Norris said his team gave up some aerodynamics for interior room to ensure that the car had enough utility to generate sufficient sales. The Bolt, which starts production this October, features a 60 kilowatt-hour battery that provides a single-charge range of about 200 miles. The car will be priced at $37,500 before rebates. We got to take a Quick Spin in a Bolt prototype earlier this year, and look forward to a fuller test soon.

Related Video:

2017 Chevrolet Bolt Quick Spin | 2016 CES

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