Hi - I'm contemplating a Bolt :) - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Hi - I'm contemplating a Bolt :)

I don't drive that frequently during the week because work, stores, and virtually everything I need is within a bike ride distance from home, but I do go on long road trips on the weekends.

I'm fairly new to the process of learning about Bolts, so please forgive me for my ignorance. Is there a cost involved in using the charging stations at grocery stores, the libraries, and whatnot, or do you use them for free? They are all over my neighborhood but I've never inspected one or closely watched someone plugging in.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 04:37 AM
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Hi Clementine. I'm pretty new at this whole Bolt thing myself (had the car for all of two weeks now!!). To answer your question at the chargers you see at the various locations you mentioned, they are most likely Level 2 chargers (also used at homes), delivering around 25 miles per hour of charge, and, in my experience, are most often free for use by the public.


A Level 3 charger is a (normally) commercial fast charger. Speaking in general terms, you must be subscribed to that company's charge system (EVgo, Chargepoint, are a couple that I know of. There are lots more.). You use the card sent you, and you are billed for their use. You can get around 100 miles of charge in about an hour, with the sweet spot being reaching the 80% charge level, due to the time it takes to get to the 100% charge from that point on.


Hope this was of some help.


Here's a site that might be of value, Plugshare. Shows you where all the chargers are in your area:


https://www.plugshare.com/



Rich
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by clementine View Post
I don't drive that frequently during the week because work, stores, and virtually everything I need is within a bike ride distance from home, but I do go on long road trips on the weekends.

I'm fairly new to the process of learning about Bolts, so please forgive me for my ignorance. Is there a cost involved in using the charging stations at grocery stores, the libraries, and whatnot, or do you use them for free? They are all over my neighborhood but I've never inspected one or closely watched someone plugging in.
Approximately, where are you located?

Plugshare rocks! If you filter on the web site and via their app, you want to filter by J1772/EV Plug for level 2 AC charging and SAE Combo for DC charging, usually fast. Plugshare is crowdsourced so the pricing info may not be accurate. Using pricing info on web site and app of other networks (e.g. ChargePoint,. EVgo, etc.) will be more accurate.

There are VERY few DC fast chargers in the SF Bay Area. Free also often means busy. And, they could be broken or blocked. There are some free level 2 charging stations but I don't recommend going that route unless they're convenient and you plan to be there for many hours on end anyway.

Almost all of my charging is for free at work. I've never used the DC FC portion on my Bolt yet (got it at end of Jan 2019). My other EV, a '13 Leaf SV w/premium w/NO DC fast charging inlet was my primary car from July 2015 until recently. My previous '13 Leaf had CHAdeMO (another DC FC standard) but I used that portion of its port ~16 times in 2 years on free DC FCs. None of those are free any longer.

Paid public charging is almost always going to be more $ than charging at home.

I used to use some free public L2 charging near home on Fridays and weekends w/my Leaf but I don't really do so for my Bolt. Don't need it.

I normally would not recommend a non-Tesla pure EV to anyone if they cannot charge at home, work or some places where they're going to be at regularly for many hours at a time.

Even w/Teslas, thanks to their excellent Supercharger network, it's going to be costly to use those.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 08:18 AM
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To cwerdna:
I suggest charging at a DCFC before going on a trip that would require the use of a fast charger to ensure the charging port/circuitry, etc in the Bolt is working properly . Imagine stopping a couple hundred miles from home to charge for the first time only to find out someone at the factory forgot to connect a wire or tighten a connection!
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 10:04 AM
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To cwerdna:
I suggest charging at a DCFC before going on a trip that would require the use of a fast charger to ensure the charging port/circuitry, etc in the Bolt is working properly . Imagine stopping a couple hundred miles from home to charge for the first time only to find out someone at the factory forgot to connect a wire or tighten a connection!
Every Chevy dealer that sells a Bolt is required to have a DCFC and the BOLT is factory DCFC, and I presume DCFC at the dealer as well as part of the delivery process. Not to say that something couldn't happen,and I agree that testing DCFC before a trip is a great idea, but I would guess any issue is much more likely that you have an operator error, or a DCFC station issue (payment, etc)

also @RichCapeCod , the Bolt is rated, at ideal battery temperature, starting from a low state of charge, and using a DCFC station capable of delivering 150A or better (typically a 62.5kW or higher DCFC), to charge at 90 miles in 30 minutes charge rate. Yes that is a lot of qualifications regarding the charge rate ;-)
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 10:09 AM
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I do go on long road trips on the weekends.
How long? More than a Chevy Bolt full charge of about 240 miles in the Summer and about 160 miles in a northeast US winter?
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by clementine View Post
I don't drive that frequently during the week because work, stores, and virtually everything I need is within a bike ride distance from home, but I do go on long road trips on the weekends.
Hi Clementine,

the main area I'll focus on is the long road trips. What sort of distance are you talking about? Road tripping in an EV, especially with the range the Bolt has, is perfectly feasible but does require extra planning and time management relative to a petrol powered car. Not rocket science at all, but it does take some work to understand optimal charging intervals in order to maximize charging stops and some adjustment in the way you go about your road trip as a whole.

If you're prepared to spend some time scoping out your trip for Level 3 chargers (you should definitely get the DC Fast Charging option if you want to road trip) and are cool with spending the time at those stations, you'll be all good and glad that you went EV :-)

Do bear in mind that most EV specialists (which I don't consider myself to be!) will also clue you in on the correct way to charge the battery in order to maintain it's long term health. You shouldn't charge to 100% on a regular basis, if you're leaving the car for long periods of time you should leave it plugged-in, etc...Things to keep in mind relative to your living situation (plan to park it on the street, have a garage with adapted/accessible power outlet, etc...).

For reference, I've had a Bolt LT for a year and a half. I use it for daily commuting, 5 miles each way, and charge it about once per week at work (free chargers). I never plug it in at home. It does great for us in that context and everything we like to do on the weekends around the LA area. We've road-tripped with it once and thought that experience was fine, though more tedious than with a gas powered car, but haven't considered using it for any type of ski trip, for example. That's just us. We're not the most adventurous with our EV and others on this forum can provide better insight on going long distances without concern!

Last edited by kendallg; 05-11-2019 at 09:53 PM.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kendallg View Post
Do bear in mind that most EV specialists (which I don't consider myself to be!) will also clue you in on the correct way to charge the battery in order to maintain it's long term health. You shouldn't charge to 100% on a regular basis, if you're leaving the car for long periods of time you should leave it plugged-in, etc...Things to keep in mind relative to your living situation (plan to park it on the street, have a garage with adapted/accessible power outlet, etc...).
As a counterpoint to this, no one here on this forum knows of any instance of a Bolt showing any measurable harm from being regularly charged to 100%. In fact, the designers of the Bolt have said that the car was specifically designed so that drivers would worry about as much about the battery as most folks do about the state of their elbows. Some forum members charge up to 100% every day.

There is a reason not to charge to 100% (e.g., 90% instead), and that's so that there is enough space in the battery for full regenerative braking.

(If you keep the Bolt long enough, there likely will be a very modest difference in battery performance based on how you treat the battery, but the effect is likely very small and probably won't be measurable until you hit something like 250,000 miles. If you never worried about how to prolong the life of the transmission on your previous car, don't worry about the battery on the Bolt.)
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 11:21 PM
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[QUOTE=clementine;500305]I don't drive that frequently during the week because work, stores, and virtually everything I need is within a bike ride distance from home, but I do go on long road trips on the weekends.

Honestly, in my opinion and from my experience:
1. Unless your putting at least 15000 miles a year on your car.. you may not see savings from a new electric car for a very long time.
2. While I love my Bolt for my 100 mile commute.. it is not the best road trip car.
Charging is slow.. compared to other options.
In florida, Ive been waiting months for EA stations to come on line and no joy as of yet.
3. There have not been any updates. The 17 I bought is stuck in 17.. whiele the 19 has had upgrades, from the factory that could probably very easily be pushed to the the 16 17 and 18.. it has not happened.
4. It DEPENDS on your road trip.. 100-200-300 miles at 55-70.. bolt EV is perfect for you. 400-600 miles.. at 70-80.. base M3 all the way.. more than that... rent an ICE.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RichCapeCod View Post
Hi Clementine. I'm pretty new at this whole Bolt thing myself (had the car for all of two weeks now!!). To answer your question at the chargers you see at the various locations you mentioned, they are most likely Level 2 chargers (also used at homes), delivering around 25 miles per hour of charge, and, in my experience, are most often free for use by the public.
I'd have to disagree with this. I think most Level 2 public chargers have a fee, and that's its relatively rare to find completely free charging. Maybe this is true on Cape Cod? but I wouldn't want Clementine to expect free charging everywhere. Energy costs money; it will be cheaper than gas but expect a cost.

Checking Plugshare to check on the stations nearby is definitely a good idea.
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