The Model 3, expected to launch later this year, is the handiwork of Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen. When it was unveiled in March 2016, it set a slightly new direction for the carmaker. The front fascia, for example, lacked any conventional automotive cues, such as a grille — an unnecessary element, of course, because Teslas don’t need to inhale air to burn gasoline.
The Tesla Model S and Model X would adopt this new language. In any case, the Model 3 continued Tesla’s tradition of making its cars look sleek, fast, and sexy. The Model 3 might be for the mass market, but it evokes the luxury EVs that Tesla is selling.
The Bolt is something else altogether: an electric car that aims for practicality over sex appeal, while still serving up some tasty performance. (You can read our review here.) Designer Stuart Norris and the South Korea-based studio made sure the Bolt was roomy inside and provided good cargo capacity.
The Bolt looks much more like an everyday five-door hatchback. In this sense, it’s a throwback to some earlier ideas about alternative-fuel vehicles. Think of the Toyota Prius when it arrived — nobody would have called it beautiful. Its appearance advertised its virtue.
It’s sexy versus sensible, then, when you put the Bolt and the Model 3 side by side. (By the way, we’re talking about the preproduction version of the Model 3. The real deal won’t enter our field of vision for a few more months.)
Here’s an annotated examination of both vehicles.