Bolt EV first impressions and cold weather experiance
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Thread: Bolt EV first impressions and cold weather experiance

  1. #1
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    May 2015
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    I just wanted to share my initial impressions of my Bolt EV Premier.

    I purchased my Bolt EV from a California dealer and had it delivered to Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm coming from a 2012 Volt which I absolutely loved minus the cramped back seat, poor visibility and lower electric range. I commute about 70 miles round trip each day and have charging available at home and work. I was easily able to make it to work and back on electric in the Volt spring through fall but I had to burn gas in order to keep my toddler warm in the back seat in winter months. But by driving very carefully and not going too crazy with the heat I managed to drive about 85% electric over the last 36,000 miles or so. I really think that the Volt is a world class commuter car if you're willing to live with a few caveats. http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/6361 Note the EV% dip beginning in August 2016 was caused by switching to a new job and only having only sporadic access to level 1 charging.

    So that's where I'm coming from. I ended up buying the Bolt EV over the phone sight unseen. I had never driven one or for that matter even seen one in person prior to my purchase. The biggest reason why I was in such a rush to get one now is that my wife and I recently had twin boys and I needed a vehicle that I can fit three car seats in. And since the Volt got me addicted to the pleasure of driving on electric my choices were basically a Bolt or a used Tesla Model S. I do have a reservation for a Tesla Model 3 but I can't afford to wait until who knows for sure when to get it. The Bolt does has a few advantages over the Tesla for my situation. Number one, I park in the short parking stall in my garage which is around 185 inches in length. A Tesla won't fit but the Bolt at 164 inches fits very easily. I like that. One other thing I like about that Bolt is that it's a Chevy. Nobody is going to make assumptions about you driving a Chevy the way they would if you were driving a Tesla. Don't get me wrong, Tesla hands down makes the coolest cars on the planet and I love them. But I'm one of those weirdos that would rather not get the attention, that's just my personality. The last advantage is price. Buying a new car is about the worst investment you can make but a fully optioned Bolt after tax credits is just $35,000. It's definitely not a cheap car but I think it's a fairly reasonable choice providing you keep it long enough to get your moneys worth which is something I've always tried to do with my vehicles.

    Looks and creature comfort impressions. Prior to seeing the Bolt EV in person I described it as looking a bit dorky. Seeing it in person has totally changed my opinion. It's definitely not Tesla sexy but it's really not dorky either. It took me a minute to get used to sitting much higher up than I do in the Volt but I like the driving position and it feels very comfortable and natural to me. Visibility is fantastic compared to the Volt. I can also confirm that you can fit 3 carseats in the rear. I have two rear facing infant seats and a forward facing toddler seat. I had to put the toddler seat in the middle to make it all work but it fits and you still have enough room to scoot the driver's seat back to a comfortable position. I'm 6'2" for the record. I like the bird's eye camera view and the rearview mirror camera display. And I like all the extra safety features from the Driver Confidence II package. Getting to wherever you're going safely should always be your number one priority and I feel like the collision alert, emergency braking, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring will help me do that. The stereo in the Infotainment Package is much louder and more powerful than the premium audio system I had in the Volt. The Bolt can pump out legitimate hearing damage levels of audio. It sounds really good to me. Also, Android Auto is a huge leap forward in the world of automobile infotainment systems. The only complaint is that you have to plug your phone into the USB to use it but the onboard USB ports charge very slowly compared to the Turbo Power quick charger I normally use for my Moto G Plus.

    Driving impressions. I always thought the Volt was fun to drive, especially when you weren't trying to maximize battery range. But the Bolt EV blows it away, first of all you have battery range for days and don't have to feel guilty about hammering the accelerator. While acceleration in the Volt really seems to die off once you hit 50, the Bolt will push you back in your seat up until at least 80. It really scoots and is a total blast to drive. But you have to learn to be nice to the tires. I've squealed them for over 100 feet off the line on a hard dry launch and have had them come loose at 30 mph while accelerating onto a freeway on-ramp.

    Cold weather performance. There is so much surplus range in the battery of the Bolt vs the Volt I don't think twice about cranking the heat. As far as range goes, I believe my drive yesterday was close to worse case scenario I can expect to see living with the Bolt day to day. I enabled Hill-Top Reserve and started the day with an 87% charge. I did not pre-heat the car, temperatures started out at 19F and we saw a high at around 30F. I did about 85 miles of freeway driving at around 75 MPH and had the heat set to a very comfortable 72-75F. I had three different co-workers take the car for a test drive throughout the day with a generous amount of hard acceleration tests. I ended up doing 102 miles total and the car showed another 52 miles of estimated range left. So that's a total of 154 miles in a near worst case scenario for me. I normally only drive 70 miles per day and rarely no more than 110 so I effectively have zero range anxiety in this car. No more stressing about getting a charge at work. That's a huge win in my book.

    I know everybody will always tell you that whatever car they just bought is the best car ever and they love it. But I can honestly say I've never loved a car as much as I did my Volt and the Bolt puts the Volt to shame in every category. I think GM might have a huge hit on their hands.
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    Last edited by thelogenator; 02-01-2017 at 11:40 AM. Reason: fixed typos

  2. #2
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    Glad to hear you are happy with the performance of your Bolt during the cold bad inversion period(s) here in the valley!




    Now if only more folks here would get a clue and go EV we may actually be able to breathe the air eventually!

  3. #3
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    Sweet! Great review.

    I'm really hoping someone like you (or our new Canada drivers) can start providing data about battery conditioning. Thus far, it's been nil, even down into the low teens F, which is likely the lowest I'd see here in California.

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by somms View Post
    Glad to hear you are happy with the performance of your Bolt during the cold bad inversion period(s) here in the valley!

    Now if only more folks here would get a clue and go EV we may actually be able to breathe the air eventually!
    It definitely feels good to be part of the solution. But doing good aside, I really do think the Bolt stands on it's own at just being a very good car. I think that's how we hit the EV tipping point, sell really good cars at a reasonable price. And air quality improvements become a nice side effect.

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladogaboy View Post
    Sweet! Great review.

    I'm really hoping someone like you (or our new Canada drivers) can start providing data about battery conditioning. Thus far, it's been nil, even down into the low teens F, which is likely the lowest I'd see here in California.
    I didn't check the report at the end of my day but battery conditioning was at 8% of my usage about half way through. I'll start recording that going forward.

  8. #6
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    Great review, and interesting to read. The results of your "worst case scenario" of cold weather, freeway driving, cabin heat, and hard acceleration is excellent. Obviously the range takes a hit but it's still very confidence inspiring that you have that much usable range in that circumstance, and without a full battery to start. A ground-breaking car for sure.

    I'm also very happy for you that the three car seats fit! I'm not sure I could have made a $35,000 decision without having the chance to test that out first! But that is also good to know as I have a car seat in my Gen 2 Volt and not really happy with how cramped it is back there. The Bolt, which will likely be my wife's car when we get one, will be a lot more accommodating.
    My next car's gonna be a VOLT!

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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelogenator View Post
    I know everybody will always tell you that whatever car they just bought is the best car ever and they love it. But I can honestly say I’ve never loved a car as much as I did my Volt and the Bolt puts the Volt to shame in every category. I think GM might have a huge hit on their hands.
    Well that certainly drives the point home! I know many of us feel the same way as you about our Volts. Thanks for sharing!
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  10. #8
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    Another glowing real world review. With each passing owner review I'm more convinced GM built a world class vehicle. And now that I'm reading more Tesla owners complaining about SC'ing being "throttled" back to less than it had been and folks spending over an hour charging, seems their advantage is slipping.

    But CSS charging for the Bolt still has a long way to go to enable a family to travel cross county easily. We need MORE CSS chargers. Where is all that VW money?
    Tom aka Accidental Electronaut
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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelogenator View Post
    I didn't check the report at the end of my day but battery conditioning was at 8% of my usage about half way through. I'll start recording that going forward.
    Well, with 102 miles driven and 52 miles of estimated range left, that means you probably used about 2/3 of your battery capacity, or just under 40 kWh of the 60 kWh battery. So if you continued with 8% rate for battery conditioning the rest of your drive, that would be about 3 kWh for battery conditioning. Quite a hit for a Volt, but peanuts to a Bolt. what a difference a big battery makes!

    Now if we can only get NPVolt up in the frozen north to "upgrade" and take a Bolt out for a test spin in -47F.....
    KV - 2013 - DU11118

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  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelogenator View Post
    Cold weather performance. There is so much surplus range in the battery of the Bolt vs the Volt I don’t think twice about cranking the heat. As far as range goes, I believe my drive yesterday was close to worse case scenario I can expect to see living with the Bolt day to day. I enabled Hill-Top Reserve and started the day with an 87% charge. I did not pre-heat the car, temperatures started out at 19F and we saw a high at around 30F. I did about 85 miles of freeway driving at around 75 MPH and had the heat set to a very comfortable 72-75F. I had three different co-workers take the car for a test drive throughout the day with a generous amount of hard acceleration tests. I ended up doing 102 miles total and the car showed another 52 miles of estimated range left. So that’s a total of 154 miles in a near worst case scenario for me. I normally only drive 70 miles per day and rarely more than 110 so I effectively have zero range anxiety in this car. No more stressing about getting a charge at work. That’s a huge win in my book.
    THIS!! Perfect shows the value of GM maximize the range! It is truly a no-compromise game changer!
    2011 LEAF Owner, 101,000 gasoline free miles so far...

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