First Drive

First Drive: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV is the best car if you have a highway-heavy commute

The Chevrolet Bolt EUV enters the market for the 2022 model year.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Traffic is back. During the height of lockdown last year the roads were empty and it was smooth sailing wherever you needed to go, but that's over (thank goodness).

While I missed traffic for a while, I'm thinking that was an anomaly. Now, it's an annoyance again — but General Motors (GM) has the answer. It's called Super Cruise, and it's been around for a few years but on a very limited basis: namely, in the Cadillac CT6.

That's Cadillac's flagship sedan, which GM doesn't sell terribly many of and it's been a waiting game to see which vehicles Super Cruise would head to next. First was the new 2021 Cadillac Escalade, which has been heavily advertised but also costs more than $100,000 (and Super Cruise has extremely limited availability because of production and supplier issues).

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV has more cargo space and rear-seat legroom than the Bolt EV. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

But now there's the new 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, which is a new version of the Bolt EV that I drove last year, complete with a longer wheelbase, refreshed look, and that commuter killer app: Super Cruise.

Forget the car for a minute and let's talk Super Cruise. Standard adaptive or radar cruise control uses cameras and a radar sensor to determine the speed of the car in front of you and your distance to it. With that information, the car can automatically slow to match the speed of that car and keep you from driving into it.

The advantage here is that you don't need to use the pedals at all when adaptive cruise is activated - all you need to do is steer. This is great for stop-and-go traffic, because the car handles all the tedious braking and accelerating, while you can focus on your true crime podcast or whatever and just steer the car. But, you still have to steer. That's where Super Cruise comes in.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV has Super Cruise as an option. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

GM has taken laser-scans of just about all of the limited-access highways (think roads with exit ramps and without stoplights) in the United States. With that information, its cars fitted with the Super Cruise feature can actually STEER THEMSELVES down the highway. That's right, you don't have to touch the steering wheel at all when you're driving (unless the system has an issue like bad weather or particularly bad sun glare).

It really works, too. I tested it in the new 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV on the highways around Los Angeles last week and it was magnificent.

When you're on an eligible highway (basically all interstates plus some other major thoroughfares), a tiny steering wheel image illuminates on the dash indicating that the system is ready to go. Press a button on the steering wheel and... you're off. A large strip at the top of the wheel illuminates green when the system is operating and you can take your hands off the wheel entirely.

It steers for you, keeping you centered in your lane while the adaptive cruise control maintains speed. It's the only system on the market today that offers true hands-free driving.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV The cabin of the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV is spacious. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Now this isn't "self-driving" or "autonomous" driving. You're still required to pay attention to what's going on and no watching Harry Potter on your phone while you do it. There's a small sensor that looks at your eyes to make sure you're keeping them on the road at all times. No napping allowed!

But the car takes over 85 percent of the work of actually getting you down the road and you just keep an eye on anything weird that might be going on up ahead. Super Cruise can't do anything about deer wandering in front of you, nor will it handle people moving into your lane from the side — it only looks forward, so you're on your own for weird things like that.

But the system really, truly works and that means the Chevrolet Bolt EUV is by far the best car on the market for driving to work if you have a highway-heavy commute. Oh, and it's all-electric and should get somewhere around 250 miles of range, all for around $43,000 (the federal tax credit is gone for all GM vehicles, unfortunately).

Though my concerns about on-the-go charging remain (see my review of the Chevy Bolt EV last year for more), as a second car or commuter car, the Bolt EUV is the best option on the market simply because of how good Super Cruise is. It's a game changer, and I'm thrilled that it's coming to more cars.

By the way, Super Cruise is coming to theGMC Sierra for 2022, too.

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The all-electric range of the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed. The model is the first modern electric Volkswagen to be sold in the U.S. and a model that the German automaker is resting a lot of hopes on for the future of sales in the country.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro with all-wheel drive will achieve an EPA-estimated 260 miles of all-electric range on a full charge. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition, which have more features and equipment and therefore weigh more, achieve an estimated 250 miles of range.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 Pro RWD is 107 MPGe in the city; 91 MPGe on the highway, and 99 MPGe combined. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition does slightly worse achieving 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway, and 97 MPGe combined.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Exterior The "1st" badging denotes the vehicle as a first edition model. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

These new numbers come as part of a second round of EPA testing. Original testing found that the model did not quite hit its target.

How does that compare to other EVs? The Nissan Leaf Plus offers 226 miles of all-electric power. The Hyundai Kona Electric delivers 258 miles. Volvo's XC40 Recharge has just 208 miles of all-electric range but the Tesla Model Y can go up to 326 miles on one full charge.

First out of the Volkswagen gate will be ID.4 models with an 82-kilowatt-hour battery and rear-mounted AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor. That system delivers 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque.

At a public DC fast-charging station with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. With purchase, ID.4 owners receive three years of unlimited charging at Electrify America DC Fast Chargers at no additional cost.

The 2021 ID.4 is on sale now, with pricing for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro starting at $39,995 MSRP, before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The Pro S carries an MSRP of $44,495. The limited-run ID.4 1st Edition, which sold out the day the vehicle was launched, carried an MSRP of $43,995.

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