Big Man Rides : 2019 Chevy Bolt vs Kia Nero EV vs Tesla Model 3

It’s a new world. In the not so distant future, vehicles fueled by dinosaur juice will be in museums. Many countries, including India and China plan to stop selling and manufacturing petrol based cars.

To electrically charge a car, doesn’t require a large hole underground. Doesn’t rely on trucks or trains to transport gas or oil. A electric car owner can charge their car at home, while they are shopping , having  a meal ,with prices much lower than gasoline.

In California urban centers ,chargers aren’t difficult to find. In smaller communities locating an electric chargers may prove challenging.


Late Night Heart Pounding Scary: My first road trip in an electric car


The availability of charging stations nationwide has grown considerably since September. Oil Giants, Shell and Chevron are building electric station in the US .Volkswagen through its new subsidiary Electrify America, is building 3000 electric charging stations across the United States. This was a settlement arising from Dieselgate .The company, has recently installed ultra fast charging stations at Wal Mart and Target stores.

Dieselgate: Diesel engines are very efficient they are powerful and more fuel efficient than gasoline engines, the downside they pollute more that a gasoline engine. In 2008, Volkswagen introduced a new diesel engine “Clean Diesel. These Cars were sold world wide including the United States. After an investigation in 2014, scientists learned that Volkswagen engineers developed software that could detect when the car was being tested for emissions. The reality was in the real world driving these cars (some 11 million world wide were in fact heavy polluters. Owners of these cars, could accept a fix or payout. In the US alone Volkswagen has paid more than five billion dollars. 

Tesla has built more than 4000 superchargers across the country. A Tesla owner could drive from California to New York and from Canada to Mexico.

The first mainstream all electric car was the Nissan Leaf. In 2011, this EV (electric vehicle)had a range of 75 miles, that range limited the use of the car to very short in town drives. Most owners charged their car at home as there were few changing stations. Even with those limitations, Nissan sold more than 115,000 Leafs in the US alone. It was range anxiety that kept prospective EV buyers away. Today, it’s possible to purchase an EV with a range of 370 miles.

This isn’t a typical BIG MANS RIDES review that rates cars on interior size features and performance.  Because Electric Vehicle(EV’s) is a relatively expensive  new technology we have included predicted reliability. The sources are print and video reviewers and Consumer Reports magazine.


Chevrolet Bolt vs Kia Niro Ev vs Tesla Model 3

These three cars all have an electric range over 230 miles


Chevrolet Bolt

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The Chevrolet Bolt was introduced in 2017. That year it was crowned Motor Trends car of the Year and won the coveted the “North American Car of the year. The Chevy Bolt was the first EV with a range of over 200 miles under seventy thousand dollars. GM seemed to take its styling cues from Toyota. Its not super cute, but it has a nice personality. The first thing you’ll notice as you enter the Bolt is its large 10.1 infotainment system which has Android Auto and Apple Carplay standard.

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The Chevy Bolt EV On the road it’s hoot! (yes I said hoot) it’s the shortest of three.  Drivers can easily make middle of the block u-turns.  I tested the top of the line Premier model. The Bolt EV is a perfect urban car. Its relatively quiet for a small car. and despite is small size its roomy. The seats fold down or larger package.

There were no complaints from any of the four adult passengers on a 100 mile trip .The leg room and width was fine for this giant man, however it was too intimate for two giants with shoulders overlapping. The Niro and the Model 3 are wider.

The view from the inside is hampered by its large A pillars they are wide enough to block pedestrians. The good news there are sensors that warns you of pedestrians. The rear view mirror is connected to a excellent camera first applied in the Cadillac CT6. It takes a little getting used to as you look in the mirror and don’t see your reflection. To put the car in gear, you must press a button on the left of the gear shift knob, to put the car in park you must press another button on top of the gear shift selector. The seats in the Bolt are hard and borderline comfortable Consumers Reports says, the Chevy Bolt EV is GM’s most reliable car. The Bolt EV prices range from 33,000 to 45,000. Deep discounts are available. The Bolt EV received 5 stars from the NHTSA. The Basic Warranty is 3 years 36,000 miles. In addition to the basic warranty GM will over the Battery and Electrical Components for 8 years or 100,000 miles The Federal Tax Credit in not available for the Bolt EV.  Beginning this year the Bolts driving range has increased to 360 miles.


Kia Niro EV

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Disclosure: While I have extensive experience driving the Kia Nero Hybrid I was limited to a 30 minute drive with the Kia Nero EV.

Unlike the Chevy Bolt EV and the Tesla Model 3 which were designed from the ground up as Electric Vehicles. The Kia Niro EV entered the market in 2017 as a Hybrid, with a petrol engine. Hyundai\Kia has redesigned two models, Hyundai Kona and the Kia Nero to EV, these vehicles are also sold in petro forms. This spring the Kia Soul EV will be available and sold along side a petro version of the same car. All three vehicles use the same battery with and electric range from 239 Miles on the NiroEV to 258 miles on the smaller Kona EV

These vehicles are in short supply due to availability of batteries

As a Hybrid, the Kia Niro was a good car. It was affordable, roomy and fuel efficient. In 2018, Consumer Reports says the Niro was Kia’s best built car.

Image result for kia niro ev interior

With Electrification, the Niro EV was a completely different car. I tested the EX Premium,the only car of the three that offers a Sunroof Like most Electrics, the Niro was 40% faster. The weight and location of the battery made the Niro more planted in corners. The location of the front charger made the Niro more convenient than the Chevy and the Tesla. The controls are conventional with the exception on the rotary shiftier that seemed awkward. Forward Visibility is better than the Chevy, rear visibility was about the same. Of the three cars, the Niro was the roomiest Apple Carplay and Android Auto

Due to limited supply, discounts may be difficult. However, unlike the Bolt EV and the Tesla Model 3 the Kia Niro EV is currently eligible for the full Federal Tax of $7500 and EV State Credits which could make the Niro EV a compelling buy. Like all Hyundai/Kia vehicles the Niro EV has a 10 years 100,000 mile warranty.


Tesla Model 3

Damm that Elon Musk. Currently there are no cars manufacturer on earth like the Tesla.. Unlike any vehicle it was designed for this century. If you buy a basic Tesla without someone the electronic upgrades no worry, the company could download the upgrade to your car. Unlike, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce or any automaker, older Tesla’s can upgraded keeping the car for the most part current.

The other benefit of the Tesla’s is its strong Supercharger Network. The car will tell you the nearest Supercharger to you based on the remaining amount of power left in your battery and unlike other EV’s you can charge your Tesla on other networks

Tesla’ aren’t without its fault. Being a relatively new company its experiencing major growing pains. I know of customers who have waited four months for a lug nut. Other have waited a year or more for simple parts. Unlike the Chevy and the Kia there are few places where a Tesla can be repaired and fewer body shops should the owner is involved in accident.

The Fast Lane Car (podcast) purchased a Model 3 last April. Shortly after taking delivery the vehicle was damaged. A few months later and the car isn’t repaired. This isn’t a uncommon, you tube is filled with many owners complaining about extreme delays. Sofyan Bey of Redline Reviews waited a year for spoiler. Much of the Tesla’s body is aluminum which means simple dents are more expensive to repair .

With all its little folbles, the Telsa are a blast to drive. Like most electric’s ,its much faster than its petro powered counterparts. The handing is solid. The very elusive base model (40K) has a range of 250 miles and its zero to 60 is estimated at 5.3 seconds With a top speed of 140 miles per hour. The dual motor all wheel drive (49,K) its has a range of 322 miles.

Tesla are the benchmark for all electric vehicles . It has an Apple,cult like following, But is it the best ?

The ratings for this comparison test is different from my others technology is new and for 99.8% of you this will be your first EV .

Kia Niro EV

  1. The Kia Niro is the Toyota Camry of the three EV’s here. Its the best built, has the roomiest interior,and by far the best warranty. It There isn’t a learning curve with the Niro, every thing is it its place. While there is more power, it isn’t as fun to drive as the Bolt and the Model 3. Like the Toyota, the Niro is solid and reliable, it gets you from point A to point B. Its pricey, on looks alone, it doesn’t look like a $38,000 car or a nearly $50,000 car . However, its the only vehicle here that qualifies for the full federal tax credit .
  2. The Chevrolet Bolt is a solid number two. Its the sleeper here. General Motors did it no favors in the styling department. Its upright styling makes it much roomier than its looks. The Bolt is quiet and quick it rides surprisingly well until you hit a large hole, a victim of its rear torsion beam suspension. Inside, is where the car is a bit of a let down. While the Bolt’s fit and finish doesn’t compete with the Niro, its considerable better than the Tesla’s. Its washed in hard plastics and like the other two EV’s this car also starts at 38,000, However, Chevrolet has been offering large discounts, some as deep as 10,000 for the base model which makes the Bolt a compelling buy.
  3. The Tesla Model 3, is far and away my favorite car here. It’s can be blazingly fast,  handles well and it’s like nothing out there on the road today.. There are a kazillion videos of various Tesla’s annihilating various Mustangs,Corvettes and Hellcats and imports costing twice as much as the Tesla.  From its vegan seats to its spartan interior there is nothing like the Tesla. Model 3 is the best selling luxury car in nine countries.   The Tesla Model 3 alone accounts for 1 out of every 8 global electric vehicle sales, 13% of the world  With every auto manufacturer in the world scrambling to compete with Tesla.   The problem for Tesla is that its a new mass auto maker.  In less than five years its gone from building less than 4000 cars a month to more than 10,000 a week.  Sixty years ago many Japanese manufacturers has issues with quality. Tesla are rapidly improving but there are many holes in the network.  As a customer ,Roman Mica of the Fast Lane Car said it best the wait times for parts and repairs is unacceptable. He has the option to choose from a fleet of cars.  But what if, the Tesla was your only car? and this is the reason the Tesla came in last.