SAN FRANCISCO -- The Chevrolet Bolt has been described as General Motors' electric moonshot, a Tesla fighter and a game changer.
But Chevy wants consumers to see the Bolt as something else: a regular car.
In a market that's still blase about electric vehicles, Chevy sees the Bolt's ability to fit seamlessly with the rest of its lineup as key to its hopes for significant sales volumes. Confident that the car's battery range of 200-plus miles is enough for most situations, designers and engineers who showed it off at a media testing event here last week focused on the Bolt's ride quality, handling, connectivity technology and utility.
"If you're going to go to the masses, it can't be this quirky thing," said the Bolt's chief engineer, Mike Lelli. "There are lots of people who like the car not because it's zero-emissions but because of the way it drives."
Quirkiness has long been a hallmark of hybrids and plug-in cars, with Toyota quickly discovering that Prius drivers wanted styling that made their environmental consciousness obvious from a half-mile away. BMW's i3 is among the most conspicuous cars on the road, and Tesla didn't put a pair of falcon-wing doors on its Model X to blend in.