Is the Bolt Ready for My Commute - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Is the Bolt Ready for My Commute

I'm hoping to get some input from the Forum members. I'm close to pulling the trigger on a Bolt LT. I've test driven both the Premiere and the LT. But my concern is my commute, which is a 175-mile round trip of mixed travel from fast, open back country roads (central Virginia - elevation and directional changes), to dual lane rural highway, then about 25 miles of urban stop and go. All that is just one way to work, with the opposite coming back home. No ability to charge at work, so I'll have to make the whole run on one charge.

I currently use a 2006 BMW 325i for the commute and average 27 MPG. On the fueleconomy.gov site you can personalize your use to figure out what your expected real MPG is based on a mix of the EPA highway/city ratings for your car. You can compare any of 4 cars against each other on the website. So matching up my BMW 325i to a Bolt and configuring the personalization (you just adjust the percentage of stop and go miles) to get a 26 MPG estimate for the BMW, the Bolt comes back with a 221 mile total range and an MPGe of 112. The range estimate leaves me about 45 miles of margin. I'm assuming the 112 MPGe is based off of the EPA EV range test, which keeps a comfortable cabin temperature and driver environment. With the understanding that seasonal temperatures and weather affect the total range of an EV, I was wondering what you guys thought. My concern with my EV range modeling using the fueleconomy site personalization is it is tailored for ICE and not EV where stop and go would improve EV range. I have to set the personalization at 10% stop and go to get the BMW at 26 MPG, where as the rear percentage of stop and go is about 25%.

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 06:59 PM
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Based on my experience you have a solid 220 miles of range with a fully charged bolt - however this is close to the limit - but you can always extend an ev's range with some modest reduction in speed and optimization of regen braking - also you might find there are more charging options than you realize once you look around. However if you do get a bolt you will need a solid 9 hours each day to make sure it's charged for the next days use - you will need to install a 240 volt 32 amp charger on a 40 amp circuit to use the car on back to back days...

It will be tight but once you get in the groove you'll be able to easily make the trip.
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post #3 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 07:03 PM
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According to plug share there is a good smattering of chargers in Virginia both fast and L2 chargers that maybe accesseable to you for days when you need a boost

Recommend you check out the plug share app and see for yourself - 30 min at a fast charger will give 90 miles should you need it!
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post #4 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 08:12 PM
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Beware of colder temps. I've not got enough data to help, but I have seen a significant improvement as Spring warms up.
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post #5 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 08:17 PM
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It's going to be close. If it's cold really close. I drive in Nebraska 130 miles round trip. When it's been below freezing the GOM is around 160-180. It's been getting warmer (50-70)and I am getting 190-210. I drive 20 min city commute then 23 min on interstate at 75-80. Then another city commute 20 min. Each way I use 21kwh so about 1/3 of a tank. Hope this information helps you out.
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post #6 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 08:45 PM
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the stop and go driving will greatly help your range - if you drive it modestly
country roads is 65mph? highway 75mph?
you might have to adjust your driving habits depending on conditions. definitely get the heated seat and wheel to keep energy use down.
most of my driving is at high speeds and normally "i don't care" about the consumption/range - and I have yet to be under 3miles/kw = 180 range


I think it's very doable - the charging turnaround might be an issue? also are you sure you can't even "trickle charge" at work that would give you an extra 8-12kw as a cushion
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post #7 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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the stop and go driving will greatly help your range - if you drive it modestly
country roads is 65mph? highway 75mph?
you might have to adjust your driving habits depending on conditions. definitely get the heated seat and wheel to keep energy use down.
most of my driving is at high speeds and normally "i don't care" about the consumption/range - and I have yet to be under 3miles/kw = 180 range


I think it's very doable - the charging turnaround might be an issue? also are you sure you can't even "trickle charge" at work that would give you an extra 8-12kw as a cushion
The turnaround charging at home is not an issue because I'll install a Level 2 EVSE at home.

My average speed per tank for the whole trip, depending on traffic, is anywhere between 45 - 51 MPH. 16 miles is back country roads with elevation changes. 1 mile from the house I cross over a 1,000 foot mountain it's about a 500 foot climb in just a mile; it's a more gradual drop on the other side, and I'd say one could average 50 MPH - 11 miles of that 16 is a two-lane 55 MPH road. The next 26 miles is 55 MPH divided dual-lane highway, the police keep you in check at 65 - 70 MPH - all of this miles with no traffic. Then a small town, light traffic, 3 miles, then another 8 miles of dual lane divided highway with a constant elevation change of maybe 3% rise. Then Route 66 in Northern Virginia, with the first 10 miles of 80-plus MPH (and that's the low-end speed in the right lane). Then 17 miles of heavy stop and go (most times).

The idea behind a Bolt is to get a better car for the heavy traffic part. Better car means more fuel efficient and an easier drive. The BMW is a manual trans (I'm old school) and sitting in traffic with a manual is not my issue, because shifting and clutch work is second nature for me; but the trick is to leave a 1-car cushion between you and the car in front to let the clutch fully out, but most people don't realize you're in a manual car and don't understand the cushion, so you constantly get other drivers stuffing their car in front of you. What I found about EVs is the 1-speed transmission/motor torque pretty much acts like a properly-driven manual transmission car, where it is always in the "correct" gear. Sadly, manual transmissions are a dying breed, but 1-speed EVs are here to save the day IMO. All of this so I can get home earlier in the day rather than wait until traffic clears to get at least one leg of the round trip not in heavy traffic.

The idea NOT behind the Bolt is the need for a 30 minute, 90-mile top off at a DC fast charger, because the commute now is already 1 hour and 50 minutes typical. I've checked the garage at work for 120V plugs, but there are none. Before we moved a year ago to a new building, the old building had just installed two EVSE's... Grrrr. I spoke with the new building facilities guys and to get 208V- 240V power to the garage requires trenching. My new company (not employee friendly - they bought us, then moved us) I doubt would spend the money to install an EVSE in the garage.

Thanks to everyone for the input.

Last edited by Efthrreoh; 03-26-2017 at 06:47 AM.
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post #8 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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Beware of colder temps. I've not got enough data to help, but I have seen a significant improvement as Spring warms up.
Yeah, winter mileage is my main concern. The car sales guy will not tell you the truth and GM probably knows the exact effect of cold weather driving down to the degree, but doesn't want to publish such information...
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post #9 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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And I do want to say to you people smart/brave enough to be first adopters of the Bolt, my two test drives leave me highly impressed with the Bolt and GM's execution of it. GM did masterfully with the 1st gen Volt, and the 2nd gen Volt seems to be no less of a great car. I expect the same from the Bolt.
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post #10 of 72 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 10:57 AM
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I think you can do it, but I'm not sure. I have a 160 mile round trip commute, which is primarily freeway miles with some stop and go traffic for the last 10-20 miles. In general I have about 70 estimated miles left when I get home, sometimes a little less (if cold and rainy). However, I am in a much warmer climate than you- commuting to Sacramento from the Bay Area in California. I drive about max 70 mph. We did have some cold temps and lots of rain this winter but it's still not perfectly comparable as really cold temps do drive down the range significantly it seems.

I have access to charging at work but have never felt like I needed to use it. I do want to reiterate what someone else said- that your stop and go miles will help you- I generally have the same estimated mileage left when I arrive at my destination that I had about 20 miles out due to regen and slower speeds in traffic. Who would have thought traffic had a purpose? Good luck with your decision, they are great cars.
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