BMW i3 VS Chevy Bolt: Battle of the Electric Vehicles

Feb 15, 2017 10:20 AM EST | Joyce Vega

BMW is launching its improved 2017 BMW i3 to fight against the Chevy Bolt. So how do these two cars stack up in a head to head comparison?

According to BMW Blog, the most important features of electric vehicles are the cost and the range. There lies the biggest difference between the i3 and the Bolt. BMW i3 has a 22kWh battery pack standard and a 33kWh optional. Both are fitted with 96 cells. The 33kWh pack has more energy dense cells, 94Ah vs the standard 60Ah version. The EPA rating of BMW i3 22kWh is around 80 miles, and the rating on the 33kWh model is 114miles. On the other side, the Bolt comes with a much larger 60kWh battery pack composed of 299 cells, and its EPA rated at 238-mile range. Chevy Bolt comes with MSRP of $37, 495, while BMW i3 comes with MSRP of $43,395 for the 22kWh version or $44,595 for the 33kWh version.

Both of the cars are compact and practical five-door hatchbacks. Both electric vehicles have their battery pack along the bottom of the car, though the Bolt also packs extra cells under the back seat too. Both cars use electric motors that provide instant acceleration. The i3 is rear-wheel drive, whereas the Bolt is front-wheel drive.

BMW i3 uses a heat pump for cabin heat, where the Chevy Bolt uses a traditional resistance heater. Bolt also offers a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, while BMWi3 only offers heated front seats. The BMW i3 is made from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, and even though the underbody and crash structure are a metal alloy, the car weight is just 2900 lbs. Chevy Bolt’s frame and body are made of traditional steel alloy frame and weigh in around 3600 lbs.

According to MuziChevy, both the i3 and the Bolt are equipped with the latest technology. The cars come with excellent smartphone apps that allow the user to check on the state of the battery and the location. Chevy Bolt comes with a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, while BMW i3 uses cellular data to locate, perform certain functions and update traffic. Both cars have two LCD screens. One for the instrument cluster and one for the navigation system, and they are both customizable. Last but not least, DC charging is standard on the BMW i3 versus optional on the Bolt.

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