Chevy Bolt second drive.

Discussion in 'Fuel Economy' started by 300kmileprius, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. 300kmileprius

    300kmileprius Well-Known Member

    So today I got to drive the Bolt for the second time. Thank you Herb Connolly Chevrolet of Framingham MA for the experience. I went out with a sales person named Eduardo who seemed very knowledgeable. This was the premiere model. Although the manager told the sales person to just take me around the block, once we got on the road, I took control of the situation and basically said I was taking the car on the highway. And that I did.

    Once on the interstate the car very quickly hit its electronically limited top speed of 92 mph. It almost felt like hitting a brick wall. At that speed the car felt very stable. The 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds seemed accurate and you can even chirp the tires when nailing it from 30 or so. The car handles well for a tall hatchback but aerodynamics could be better. Steering seemed very precise for the type of vehicle. Sport mode seems to make the throttle more sensitive but if you floor it both modes seem to be the same. Putting the selector into L mode significantly increases regenerative braking to he point where one pedal driving in possible other than in a panic stop situation. I would say the regen in L mode is a powerful as the BMW I3. There is also a regen paddle on the left side of the steering wheel which will increase regen with the tap of a finger.

    The Bolt definitely offered a quiet and comfortable ride both around town and on the interstate. Some people have mentioned the front seats not being wide enough but I didn't seem to notice. I will have to pay more attention on a longer drive to be sure. The heated leather seats worked very well along with the heated steering wheel. Along with a realtime front and rear camera system that can be activated at anytime, the rear view mirror also can be turned into a camera which is helpful if you have tall passengers in the back seat. The feature comes straight out of the Cadillac CT6 from what I am told. The blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning worked as they are supposed to. The climate system worked very well. Unlike the Volt plugin hybrid, the Bolt is a true 5 seater. The rear seats are comfortable and I had plenty of leg room even with the driver seat in my driving position. I am 6 feet tall. Head room is excellent.

    The Bolt is rated at 238 miles EPA combined and those numbers seem to be achievable even in 35-40 degree temps. On the ride back, I kept the speed around 65 mph but still nailed it a few times. Under these conditions I averaged 3.7 miles per kWh at 40 degrees and climate set to 68. I hope to do some round trip steady state testing in the near future. In somewhat warmer weather, 5 miles per kWh should be doable without too much trouble which means 300 miles is possible on a charge. The standard tires are the low rolling resistance Michelin Energy Saver AS. Unfortunately there is no spare tire, only an onboard compressor and can of fix a flat. Many cars seem to be going this way electric or not.

    The Bolt comes standard with a 110 volt portable charger that plugs into a household outlet. This will give about 5 miles back per hour or so. Depending on the amount of daily driving, the will work fine on many cases. The Bolt can be plugged into any 220 volt level 2 charging station for up to 25 miles back per hour. This particular car had the optional 440 volt SAE combo plug and will charge at a rate of 180 miles per hour using an SAE fast charger. For comparison a tesla supercharger will do up to 380 miles per hour.

    The Bolt was originally thought to be based on the same platform as the Sonic hatchback. GM claims that no parts are shared in the Bolt with the Gamma platform but they refuse to say what platform is being used. On the Facebook site I have photos of both cars for comparison. The Bolt is about 3 inches higher than the sonic. Some people call the Bolt a small crossover vehicle but in my opinion I would just call it a small but tall hatchback. I have only driven the sonic hatch once and that was a couple years ago. I suspect the Bolt is a better handling car.

    Overall the Bolt is a great choice for someone who wants a longer range EV but can't afford a Tesla S or X and doesn't want to wait for the model 3. Last I heard the first deliveries of the model 3 should be in q3 of 2017. I hope the Bolt sells well and I think it has a good shot. I do wish GM would up the top speed to be on par with other 6.5 second cars. This might make the Bolt more appealing to a wider audience. In termed of recommendations for this dealer, there should be at least one Bolt specifically as a demonstration model. It should have big signage advertising the name of the dealer as well as a sign saying "ALL ELECTRIC 238 MILE RANGE."
    That way people on the road would notice the car on every test drive. I would also as a manger not tell the sales people to only take someone around the block. I would never buy a car without going on the interstate. The customers should be offered a thorough test drive. This was the only Bolt they had on the lot today but they are getting more as we speak. I hope GM puts the Bolt driveline in a more aerodynamic model in the future. More information after the next test drive.
    xcel likes this.
  2. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the confirmation that they have a Bolt on hand there. I hope to go see the Bolt EV in person, very soon.
    xcel likes this.
  3. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Thanks for the very thorough report. I haven't driven one , but I don't think I would want max regen for "one-pedal" driving. I think it would make a lot more difficult to find the right point where true glide occurs. Automotive journalists rave about one-pedal driving , but they have no clue about the why or how of gliding.
    xcel, NeilBlanchard and RedylC94 like this.
  4. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I'd like a three-position manual control to give me the choice of
    1) no regenerative braking upon release of accelerator, or
    2) light regenerative braking (like Prius), or
    3) heavy ("one-pedal") regeneration.
    xcel likes this.
  5. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    They have had variable-interval windshield wipers for centuries (I exaggerate). Why not a simple variable control for regen on the steering wheel that will go from full glide to max regen ? Actually , I'm very accustomed to the Prius regen , but it's nice to have more control. I guess I miss having a manual transmission , so I need gadgets to play with !
    xcel likes this.
  6. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    I test drove the same Bolt EV Premier as the OP, with my brother Nathan and my son Nick yesterday. I am 6'-4" and ~225, Nick is 6'-6" and ~245, and Nathan is 6'-7" and ~265.


    Some impressions from seeing and sitting in the Bolt EV Premier, and brief test drive:

    The seats are upright and comfortable, and firm. The Premier has leather seats, and the LT (which we didn't see) has cloth, that are apparently slightly softer. The seat base is narrower than typical, but they still support all three of us.

    The rear seat is also upright, and only Nathan's head touched the roof if he tilted it back. We had to duck a bit getting in the back seat. The floor is flat all the way across, so the middle seat would be better than most.

    Nathan fit in the backseat behind Nick in the driver's seat - this is most impressive, indeed!

    The front door openings are great - there is NO rise at the door sill for your feet, so the floor is essentially level. There is a shallow storage bin on the floor between the front seats; otherwise the floor would be flat.

    The vision out of the car for the driver is excellent, with even the windshield continuing up high enough to see traffic lights when you are at the stop line (which is much better than many cars for us tall folks). The side window sills are nice and low, making it feel quite open and airy.

    Shifting is very similar to the Leaf, but regenerative braking in L (which is called B in the Leaf) is MUCH stronger, and it offers true "one pedal" driving. You can drive normally using only the accelerator pedal. If you use D, there is a regen switch on the back of the left side of the steering wheel. And regen is integrated onto the brake pedal, as well.

    Acceleration is strong - even for a seasoned EV driver. My extended family already has SEVEN EV's. We are familiar with the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i MiEV, VW e-Golf, and BMW i3.

    The Bolt EV apparently has a "safety" noise maker, so that people outside the car get a subtle warning. The good news is this is not noticeable to the people inside; as it is on the Leaf and the e-Golf.


    I agree that the lack of easy coasting (by default) is less than ideal. I tested while we were sitting still, and holding it in N does put it into "neutral", so it can coast if you use the "shifter". I didn't do this on the test drive, though.

    They DO have a variable regen paddle on the back of the left spoke of the steering wheel. This is only needed in D; because L already has full regen. I found that coasting in L was not really feasible - you can get close, but it easily "slips" to either accelerating or regen. The i3 has a noticeable "detent" when you can feel it coasting - the Bolt EV does not do this.

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  7. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Thanks for the nice report, Neil.
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  8. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    No problem. I would have liked to have driven farther, but it was President's Day, and there were other folks waiting.

    We did see how the Projection works: if you plug in your Android or Apple smart phone with a USB cord, the phone screen goes black, and some of the apps then show on the car's 10" screen, including the map program - this is how you do sat nav in the Bolt EV.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  9. Chris12

    Chris12 Well-Known Member

    Neil, nice report-back, very informative. Could I ask for your advice about long-distance travel in the Bolt?

    You mentioned in the review that you and your family have a lot of experience with EVs, and it looks like you're in the RI/MA area.

    I live in the NYC area, but my family is from MA, and I make a trip up there about once a month. It's roughly a 250 mile drive each way. I'm in the market for a car, and originally I was leaning toward the Ioniq PHEV, but lately I've been trying to figure out if I could swing just going full EV. So I've been considering the Bolt. But my question is: how annoying would it be to take a 500-mile round-trip in a Bolt once a month? Is that realistic? I've done some snooping on Plugshare, and it looks like there are some new, free DC fast chargers (by "fast" they still only mean 50 kw max) popping up on 84 and the Mass Pike. So I've kind of been thinking: in a Bolt, on a 250 mile highway trip, I could drive 150 miles, stop once at a DC fast charger, spend 30ish minutes picking up 75 miles of charge, then drive the last 100 miles and charge again at my destination. Is this wishful thinking? I have no idea how busy the fast chargers are, which could make a 30 minute stop turn into a 60 or even 90 minute stop. But figuring that, in an ICE car, when you stop at a rest stop, get gas, use the bathroom, buy food, etc., this can easily take 20 minutes especially if you have kids, what's so bad about one 30 minute fast charge and then you're on your way? Especially if the fast charge is free?
  10. Adam Hebrew

    Adam Hebrew New Member

    Good to know about Fuel Economy. However, as I can the fuel economy of an automobile is the relationship between the distance traveled and the amount of fuel consumed by the vehicle. Consumption can be expressed in terms of volume of fuel to travel a distance, or the distance travelled per unit volume of fuel consumed.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2018

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