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2019 Chevy Bolt EV earns a Top Safety Pick with revised headlights

The electric car also requires optional active safety tech, which isn't cheap.

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Chevrolet

Thanks to a headlight revision, the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Previously, it missed out due to headlights that didn't quite aim in the proper direction.

The IIHS originally rated the Chevy Bolt EV's headlights Poor, but according to Green Car Reports, General Motors disclosed to the IIHS that it had adjusted their aim. GM didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the latest testing, the insurance industry-funded safety body bumped the headlights' score to Acceptable, which qualifies for the safety award. In combination with Good ratings in five out of six crash tests and a single Acceptable rating in the small-overlap front passenger side crash test, the Bolt EV joins a group reserved for only the safest cars.

In an unusual twist, it's not the headlights that create the asterisk for a Top Safety Pick award, as they're often locked away in an expensive options package. Instead, it's the optional frontal-crash prevention technology.

The Bolt EV requires an optional package to load it with this tech that the IIHS rates as Superior. Without it, the electric car doesn't meet the threshold for the award. Speccing the car with this gear requires a $495 Driver Confidence II Package that also drops in tons of other extras by default. It specifically requires buyers to also add the Comfort and Convenience Package and the lowlier Driver Confidence Package.

All of this adds features such as heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a host of other active safety systems for a total of $1,545. While the price isn't too steep, it may outfit a Bolt EV with stuff buyers simply aren't interested in. Those interested in driving off with a Bolt EV with the IIHS' as-tested equipment will be looking at a $39,040 vehicle before whatever's left of the federal tax credits for GM's EVs.

Of course, this doesn't apply to the 2020 Bolt EV, which buyers may fancy more with a slightly longer electric driving range. The electric car will go an estimated 259 miles now rather than 238 miles on a single charge.

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