A few weeks, ago, Chevrolet quietly introduced a new Rear Seat Delete Package for the 2018 Bolt EV, essentially resulting in the Chevy Bolt Cargo. Though not officially announced or explained by the Bowtie until its national dealer conference in Las Vegas at the beginning of the month, the move is unquestionably part of a push to expand the audience of the electric car by making it more appealing to fleet and commercial customers looking for a van (otherwise known as a light commercial vehicle, or LCV). Though we like the idea of expanding the Bolt’s target audience and Bolt sales volume, we are convinced that Chevy could have Found New Roads by going further and doing more with the package, rather than cutting corners.
Those unfamiliar with the Bolt’s Rear Seat Delete package should know that it is assigned RPO code K1T and contains the following equipment:
- Rear seat delete (ATZ)
- Modified airbag system (AYG), including:
- Driver and front passenger dual-stage frontal airbags, includes Passenger Sensing System
- Head-curtain side-impact and thorax side-impact seat-mounted for front outboard seating positions
- Driver and front passenger knee airbags
- Tire inflation kit (KTI)
- 16″ steel wheels (PWM)
- 205/55R16 all-season blackwall tires (Q1N)
- Incomplete vehicle designation (VXT)
We don’t imagine that any retail customer, or any other non-commercial customer, for that matter, would opt for such an option for a personal-use vehicle. In other words, it’s pretty safe to say that the target market for the Bolt Cargo are commercial customers that will use the vehicle to transport various materials and other forms of cargo.
In all, it’s difficult to argue with the notion that the Chevy Bolt EV Rear Seat Delete is for commercial customers in the market for a cargo van. Keep that in mind as we move along.
Close But No Cigar
So if the target market are commercial customers, then we see no use in Rear Seat Delete Bolts having a regular set of rear doors. Instead, those traditional doors should have been replaced by sliding units that provide better access to the cargo area. Or, at the very least, Chevy should have paneled out the entire rear door, or the rear windows of those doors, as we don’t imagine the glass in the rear doors interacting all that well large cargo items.
To add insult to injury, the Bolt Cargo continues with the exact same door panel inserts inside the vehicle as the regular passenger version of the vehicle. Something tells us that the cargo residing in the back of a Bolt EV will have absolutely no use for the door-mounted armrests, exit handles, or the window up/down controls.
Similarly, the Bolt Cargo package should have replaced the top-hinged tailgate with either barn doors or a side-hinged tailgate. A top-hinged tailgate is not at all attractive to commercial users, which is why it’s not available on any compact commercial van – including the Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster City, or the Nissan NV200, a rebadged version of which was briefly sold as the Chevrolet City Express.
In all, Bolt Cargo / Rear Seat Delete package reeks of GM corner cutting measures and taking the easy way out in offering a half-baked product, rather than evaluating the needs of potential customers and offering what they truly want – something that purveyors of other compact commercial vans like Ford, Ram/Fiat and Nissan have all done.
A Stop Gap?
Production of the Bolt EV was recently expanded at the GM Orion plant, and we imagine that the introduction of and expected demand for this Bolt Cargo option is partially responsible for the expansion. Since the package leaves a lot to be desired for commercial customers looking for true cargo-carrying capacity, we’re hoping that the Rear Seat Delete package is simply a stop gap in GM’s product lineup until the automaker introduces a true compact van, especially now that the abominable City Express has been discontinued.
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