Karen Carter Richards, the publisher of the Houston Forward Times, gets ready to take a drive in the all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

When Karen Carter Richards, the publisher of the Houston Forward Times, saw the orange burst metallic Chevrolet Bolt EV parked in front of the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa, her first impression was “look at this little, ‘bitty’ car.”

That perception changed when she sat behind the wheel.

“When I got in…it was unbelievable,” said Carter Richards. “You can’t hear anything, the ride is smooth; it has a very fast takeoff.”

Carter Richards and dozens of other publishers participated in a “ride and drive” event, presented by Chevrolet, during the 2018 NNPA Mid-Winter Conference.

Carter Richards, who is more than six-feet tall, said that she was most surprised by the legroom.

“My legs are very long, I moved the seat all the way back, then I had to move it forward, because there was so much room,” said Carter Richards. The Houston publisher also said that the Bolt EV had the “feel” of a much larger car.

Fred Ligouri, a communications manager for Chevrolet’s electric vehicle (EV) program, said that the Bolt EV’s unique form factor contributes to that spacious feel.

“We have more interior volume space for the occupants in a Bolt EV than you’ll find in a Tesla Model S,” said Ligouri.

The Bolt EV is a 100 percent, pure electric vehicle (EV) and “the first of its kind: a long-range and affordable EV,” added Ligouri.

Ligouri explained: “Previously, if you were going to buy an EV you would’ve had to settle for a very high-priced vehicle that would carry the capabilities of our vehicle or you would have to spend the same amount of money for a vehicle with one-third to a half of the range.”

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Ligouri noted that the Bolt EV gets 238 miles on a single charge and even though the retail price is $37,495 (with the destination freight charge), after federal and state tax incentives and other benefits are included, customers could save about $7,500.

Carole Geary, the publisher of the Milwaukee Courier, said that she was most impressed by the Bolt’s safety features.

“I think it’s really an amazing car,” said Geary. “The [rear-vision camera] shows you the traffic behind you, and it has sensors that gives you signals, if you try to change lanes and there is a car in your blind spot.”

The rear-vision camera comes standard in all Bolt EVs. The premier model also includes a “Driver Confidence Package” with features like Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Rear Parking Assist.

Carter Richards said that Chevy’s pursuit of innovation in the electric car segment is a great idea.

When it comes to a “no-emission” vehicle’s environmental impact, Ligouri said that there’s no division in wanting an increased quality of life and a sustainable future for all of our kids.

“The place that you could conceivably do the most good with emission-free vehicles is in urban areas,” said Ligouri. “For that reason, the Bolt EV is a really good avenue for increasing sustainability and increasing the quality of life for all city residents.”

Geary said that any age group would be comfortable driving the Bolt EV, from baby boomers to millennials.

Carter Richards agreed.

“The Bolt EV has a nice, sporty look,” said Carter Richards. “I can see a college student driving it and someone like myself driving it, too.”