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An independent organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been crash testing vehicles for years and those that perform well can receive a Top Safety Pick award. Chevrolet’s first EV performed spectacularly and the Bolt received the designation by receiving a “Good” score in every crashworthiness test.

There are three categories of tests that each vehicle must go through; crashworthiness, crash avoidance and mitigation, and child seat anchors. Where the Bolt excelled is the crashworthiness category where cars are subjected to small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, head restraints and seats tests. The highest score a model can receive is “Good” and the Bolt scored green across the board.

Where the Bolt was lacking, thus preventing it from receiving the Top Safety Pick+ award, was in the headlight and child seat anchor tests. In a Premier trim Bolt, the factory headlights created excessive glare when set to low beam and visibility was only fair on both left curves. Their second concern deals with how accessible the lower child seat anchors are; a bit too deep in the seat and too much attachment force is required.

At least the Bolt isn’t alone when it comes to headlight ratings. According to MotorTrend, of the midsized SUVs tested this month, two models had “Good” headlights, 12 had “Acceptable” headlights, and 23 had “Marginal” or “Poor” headlights.

 

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If the headlights are so bad, can't you just change out the light bulb for an aftermarket one? Pretty sure the Bolt's headlight system should be similar to a general car's so you should be able to easily change the bulb.
 

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Bazinga: IMHO the headlamps are great. They just did not meet THEIR specs for top honors. I don't think you would get any significant improvement by exchanging aftermarket lamps for those supplied.
 

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It looks like it was essentially just because of the excessive glare. Which I mean.. is terrible for the other drivers but from the driver of the Bolts perspective, you wouldn't even notice it. Visibility of everything else is okay.
 

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Yeah I saw the tests too. It was just a little bit heartbreaking to see these nice new Bolts getting all smashed up, but it makes me feel better that mine should hold up well if the worst should happen.
 

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Seeing the front pillar get damaged infront crashes always makes me feel uneasy but i'm glad that the Bolt aced it here, only the lower 1/4 of the pillar got damaged, leaving no compromise to where it surrounds the cabin.
All we have to do now is tint our windows for better protection from the glass on side impact.
 

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I've always wondered about the likelihood of someone crashing their car at the exact line for that front overlap test. That's a small area to take a frontal hit and you'd have to be perfectly aligned with a light pole for that to happen.
 

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I've always wondered about the likelihood of someone crashing their car at the exact line for that front overlap test. That's a small area to take a frontal hit and you'd have to be perfectly aligned with a light pole for that to happen.
I think the "small overlap" crash test is considered to be the most severe test. If you hit a lamp pole much further outboard than that the car would tend to glance off it rather than absorb all the impact - and if you hit it any further inboard then there would be more structure to deform and soak up energy.
 

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If the headlights are so bad, can't you just change out the light bulb for an aftermarket one? Pretty sure the Bolt's headlight system should be similar to a general car's so you should be able to easily change the bulb.
The problem isn't the bulb. The problem the IIHS has with the headlights has to do with the design of the reflectors and lenses as well as possibly the adjustment as they are set at the factory. My understanding is, they test the cars as they get them from the dealership and make no attempt to remedy the headlight problems they find by adjustment. The left turn illumination and the glare might be able to be improved with adjustment.

My curiosity lies more with the battery pack. After these cars were crashed, did anybody take them apart and inspect the condition of the battery pack? Would the battery pack have performed different if it have been hot and under load? Maybe they can sell these cars back to GM for inspection. I would think their engineers would like to get their hands on as many badly wrecked Bolts as they can to check the performance of the battery pack.
 

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My curiosity lies more with the battery pack. After these cars were crashed, did anybody take them apart and inspect the condition of the battery pack? Would the battery pack have performed different if it have been hot and under load? Maybe they can sell these cars back to GM for inspection. I would think their engineers would like to get their hands on as many badly wrecked Bolts as they can to check the performance of the battery pack.
I would be great to know if the battery remains intact in the different scenarios. I would imagine that the battery pack could not be repaired, but would have to be totally replaced in case of any damage.
 
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