Tesla Model 3 or Chevrolet Bolt EV? Which Car Should You Buy?

With the waiting list for the Tesla Model 3 more than a year long for those who want a higher-spec car (or indeed anyone who reserves a Model 3 today) Tesla’s mass-market affordable sedan may not be the best choice for would-be plug-in car drivers who are looking to switch today.

At the moment however, there are very few alternatives in the Model 3’s price range that could be considered an alternative. The only car (for the next month or so at least) is the Chervolet Bolt EV — a car which (while available in the U.S.) isn’t a true competitor to the Model 3, since both cars occupy a different marketplace.

Tesla does have autopilot advantage over the Bolt EV — as well as its Supercharger network.

But with similar range and interior volume, not to mention over-the-air updates for both cars, should you opt for a Chevrolet Bolt EV instead? Is it really worth waiting for a Tesla Model 3?

Watch the video above to find out, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and support Transport Evolved at Patreon.


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  • Albemarle

    Good report, Nikki. Well balanced. Personally, I don’t consider a car I can’t buy when new car shopping; whether because of price, availability or distance to dealership. But then, I consider Tesla a manufacturer, not God’s gift to transportation. It’s hard to make a case to wait what will turn out to be 1-2 years. That’s the kind of time that many major manufacturers like VW, Ford etc. are announcing their new models will be on the market. While we know more about the Model 3 than the VW EV bus, it’s not any more available. Heck, here in Ontario, even the Bolt EV is almost impossible to get.

  • Jeff Laurence

    Everyone seems to be stating the obvious lately. The Tesla is good looking and more advanced but not yet commonly available. One is rather plushy inside and handles like a BMW. The other is a bit plain inside and handles like any typical small car.

  • bioburner

    I think many people are missing the point. The Model 3 competes against the BMW 3 series in price and performance not the Bolt. The Chevy Bolt is going to be selling against the second gen Nissan Leaf. A well optioned Model 3 is going to sell at $55K. That price is about $10K higher than a loaded Chevy Bolt.

  • Dan Wilcox

    Hey, Nikki, good report. My (adult) daughter really wanted an electric car for her commute to work. So when her current car lease was nearing its end, we went and test drove every electric (and some hybrid or range extended) cars that we could find in our area (Raleigh, NC). After all the tests drives we did, it came down to the BMW i3 vs the Chevy Bolt. The Bolt has a much better range (although she didn’t really need it for her daily commute) but the BMW i3 won out because it was a much more comfortable car. When you say “the Bolt EV seats are kind of thin and not all that comfortable”, you weren’t kidding. The seats in the Bolt are terrible. I don’t see how Chevy made such a nice car and then puts such uncomfortable seats in it! My daughter loves her i3! It drives so nicely (and fast!) and has great headroom and legroom in the back seat. And the BMW dealer had (has through August) a great lease program and the Chevy dealer was unwilling to deal at all (to be fair, the Bolt wasn’t (isn’t?) officially available in NC – only certain dealers have been bringing them in from their out-of-state dealerships). So the BMW i3 ended up being significantly cheaper than the Bolt!

  • jjdoe

    The new Leaf has just announced. I’ve been waiting for the T3 – but when I saw the Leaf has driving aids, and is semi-self driving, that changed the game. To get those features on the T3, simply add $30,000 to the price! That’s a real deal killer!
    We have a 2015 SL Leaf, and might get the new model in a year or two. Getting older, I like the idea of the driver’s aids! And for the price of the T3, with similar driving aids – we could buy two Leafs in the next 10 years, and never worry about the battery! And imagine how much better the technology will be in 5 years…