Chevy Bolt EVs, Teen Driver Tech
Put Charge in Auto Show

Car makers showcase new tech at DFW Auto Show, which runs through Sunday.

auto show

Chevrolet’s first fully electric vehicle made its Texas debut at the DFW Auto Show this week, along with other innovative vehicles.

The auto show runs through Sunday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas.

The first Chevrolet Bolt EVs will be for sale in Texas by August or September with a retail price in the high $30,000s, before the federal tax credit.

They are already for sale in California and Oregon.

“It’s what we would like to call cracking the code of price and range.”
Patrick Hernandez

The batteries on the undercarriage have enough juice to travel about 230 miles, comparable to the much more expensive Tesla Model S and X vehicles.

It will be in competition with Tesla’s more economical Model 3, which starts at $35,000 and is scheduled to start production in mid-2017.

“It’s what we would like to call cracking the code of price and range,” said Patrick Hernandez, a Chevy spokesman.

The Bolt features many of the safety features that have become standard these days. There’s brake assist, lane departure warnings, and a bird’s-eye view of the car to help in tight situations.

The rearview mirror has a special trick, converting to a rear-view camera at the flick of a switch.

It takes about five hours to fully charge the Bolt with a 240-volt plug. Like other electric cars, the Bolt also has regenerative braking, which generates power from the braking process, sending it back to the batteries.

It’s Chevy’s first foray into a 100 percent electric vehicle after several years of making the Volt, a plug-in hybrid.

The Volt runs on battery power for the first 50 or so miles and then switches seamlessly to gasoline, which powers it for another 230 miles. The Volt has the advantage of being able to run entirely on gasoline, making it ideal for road trips.

TECH TRACKS TEEN DRIVER BEHAVIORS

Chevrolet also showed off its new Teen Driver technology that comes with several of its vehicles.

“It’s an opportunity for parents to have good conversations about their behavior.”
Patrick Hernandez

The teenager driver is given a specific key fob that the vehicle recognizes. An onboard computer tracks the distance driven, the average speed, and the number of times the driver-assist features are engaged. 

If a driver guns the vehicle, it records the wide open throttle.

Parents can set a maximum speed and the computer keeps track of the number of times that speed is exceeded.

All the data is emailed to the parent in a report card through a password-protected system.

“It’s an opportunity for parents to have good conversations about their behavior,” Hernandez said. “ It’s about open communication.”

Teen Driver, which is available on the Chevrolet Malibu, Cruze, and Cruze hatchback, does not track where a vehicle drives or if it actually exceeds a posted speed limit.

“It’s not adaptive to the changing environment around it,” Hernandez said.

FORD EXPEDITION REDESIGNED

Ford’s Expedition Platinum. [Photo: Nicholas Sakelaris]

Ford unveiled the new Expedition Platinum that’s been redesigned from the ground up for 2018.

The full-size SUV is a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices and has six USB chargers, four 12-volt plugs, and an 110-volt plug.

There’s even a wireless charging hub in the front console for phones that have that capability.

“You just throw the phone right there on the rubber pad and the inductive charging begins,” said Matthew McDonnell, a product specialist with Ford.

The Platinum also comes with pro-trailer technology to help hook up with boats and other trailers. Drivers can use a special knob to steer the vehicles. Turning the knob left actually turns the boat left, so it’s more intuitive.

The Expedition is also the first full-size SUV made from a high-strength aluminum alloy.

AND THERE’S MORE AT THE AUTO SHOW 

Capital One also showed off its Auto Navigator technology that lets consumers get pre-qualified and shop for at area dealerships all from the same website. 

Lego Batman fans can check out a full-size version of the Batmobile as part of the Chevrolet display. The vehicle was also featured in a Chevrolet advertisement as part of a cross-promotional tie into the Lego Batman film. Dallas-based ReelFX created the advertisement.

auto show

The LEGO Batmobile [Photo by Nicholas Sakelaris]

 


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