Trevor Collett | Sep 15, 2016

General Motors has revealed that its all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV hatch can travel up to 383km on a full charge, bettering the best estimate for Tesla’s Model 3 by at least 30km.

Maximum range estimates for the Model 3 vary from 250km to 350km, but as the first ‘real world’ example has yet to be built, no official figure can be determined.

The Bolt’s 383km range is the official figure from America’s EPA, and is a substantial improvement from the 320km first mooted at launch. It’s also a substantial improvement on the Chevrolet Spark EV, which was rated at just 132km per full charge in the US market.

The maximum range even gives the Bolt room to compete with Tesla’s more expensive but larger (and better-equipped) Model S 60, which is rated at a maximum of around 400km per full charge in Australia.

The Bolt will beat the Model 3 into US showrooms by around 12 months, and its US$37,500 (AU$50,212) starting price, before green car tax incentives, is designed to compete with Tesla’s US$35,000 (AU$46,865) Model 3 price tag.

But it’s not quite a laydown misere for the Bolt, as the Model 3 has the Bolt well and truly beaten in one key regard. That is, the Model 3 has been confirmed for right-hand-drive production.

For now, the Bolt and its Opel Ampera-e equivalent for the European market are strictly a LHD-only affair, meaning customers in Australia are unlikely to see it in local showrooms wearing a Holden badge.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Holden’s previous EV effort was the well-received but low-volume Holden Volt range-extended midsizer, which was priced from around $60,000 plus on-road costs.

Customers in Australia can already outlay a $1500 deposit for Tesla’s Model 3, although some could be waiting four or more years to take delivery of their new EVs.

Should GM ever decide to build the Bolt in RHD, and offer it locally, the Model 3 in Australia could just have a fight on its hands.

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