Thoughts on 2011 Leaf to 2019 Bolt - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on 2011 Leaf to 2019 Bolt

When I bought my 2011 Leaf used in 2014 I was excited to get an electric car that I could drive like a normal car. My previous experience driving an electric car was with a 1975 Citicar that was more like a street-legal golf cart. It had no heat. It leaked. The batteries really did catch on fire once. From the Citicar, my Leaf was a giant upgrade.

That said, there wasn't much else that got me excited about the Leaf. I forgave it for everything else it lacked because it was electric, and that's what really mattered to me. I never liked the styling. I never grew comfortable with the limited range. The acceleration was good though. It was warm and dry.

We live about 15 miles out of town. Most driving we do requires going in town and back. In the Leaf, in the winter, going into town and back was a bit of a restricted exercise. We always had to watch the battery level closely. It doesn't seem like it should have been that way, but it always was. Partly because once we're in town, we need to drive around a bit to get what we need before heading back. There was often this tension..."Hi Mom. No, I'm not sure we can stop by. We're low on juice. Sorry."

In each of the last three summers, the Leaf battery has lost one of the 12 battery life bars. I'm down to 9. Getting to and from town in the winter has become more and more of a restricted exercise. Last year, I bought an electric bike (highly recommended) and often drove the Leaf part way into town and biked the rest of the way. That was an awesome move which I plan to continue when the weather improves just a bit more. Anyhow, I have a growing disenchantment with Nissan regarding their continuing lack of battery management, and their sky-high price for replacing Leaf batteries ($8500 I think). I am still hoping for a third party to help at some point. If reports on the 2017 Bolts with high mileage are any indicator, I don't think I'm going to be running into similar problems with my Bolt.

Last November I invested in a Bolt. About 26k after incentives with a 3 year no interest loan. The no interest loan saved me about 9k over a 5 (or 6) year 6% interest loan. I'm not sure how much I would have spent, including interest, on a TM3. But I believe would have been over 50k.

Range matters a lot. Last week I drove 270 miles in two days. No problem. Both days involved trips to Seattle and back. It's hard to describe the sense of liberation. The Leaf had become a Leash. The Bolt, I believe, is going to serve me in every driving situation outside of actual road trips. We do those about once or twice a year. We have a gas mobile for that. Today I drove around town, picked up my son, drove south 20 miles to Centralia, drove back into town (Olympia) and then went back home. 100 miles down and less than half a battery used. This is a big deal. No leash.

There's something truly special for me about hitting the highway on electric power. No fumes. It just feels good.

I also honestly like the way my Bolt looks. I love the color (blue), and I like how it sits up higher than most sedans, almost to a small SUV level. It's like a mini utility vehicle. I wouldn't have noticed the narrow seats if there hadn't been a hubbub about them on the Internet. The Leaf's seats are a lot cushier, but I don't experience the difference as a downgrade in my daily wellbeing. I like that the Bolt is somewhat narrow. This is really good for parking.

Today I parked next to a dual motor long range TM3. When we started our business, my business partner and I had the idea that we would buy Teslas when our business had grown enough. Yes, part of me lusts after the acceleration and the range for sure. But I also have this sense that I really like my Bolt. It's quick enough. It's long range enough. It's nice enough. I don't feel that burning need for a Tesla anymore. I'm good. I think the Bolt might do the trick for years to come.

Here are few other things I noted about Leaf/Bolt differences:

  • The Bolt's GOM is way, way better than the Leaf's GOM. I actually trust it. The Leaf's GOM is unyieldingly optimistic until the last few miles, when it tends to be fairly accurate.
  • I got about 4.1 m/kwh while heating the cabin to between 65-70 on days that were between 35 and 45 fahrenheit. The heater on my Leaf just isn't very good. It heats, but it doesn't seem to pay attention to where I set the temperature. If I set it at 61, then it heats the cabin full-on. But if I set it at 60, it blows cold air into the cabin no matter how cold it is already. Weird and annoying, and energy consuming. If I did the same trip to Seattle in my Leaf (if my Leaf could do the trip) it would probably do it at 3 m/kwh or less. The 2011 Leaf heater is a power sucker.
  • The Bolt scoots. I don't think I need a quicker car. I mean, I wouldn't mind, but it's a lot of fun to drive.
  • It would be nice if the Bolt had a battery life indicator like the Leaf.
  • On the second day of my trip I got home with 15 miles left on the GOM. At around 25 miles it gave me a warning that I was running low on juice. That was hilarious! On cold days my Leaf will give me about 30-35 miles total (with heat running). Warning, your Bolt is becoming Leaf-like.
  • I never had the need to install a charger at my house before I owned the Bolt. I just plugged the Leaf into a trickle charge and it was good to go in the morning. This is not the case with the Bolt. The battery is massive in comparison. Doing consecutive trips to Seattle was barely possible with a trickle charger. So, I'm planning to install a 240 volt charger some time soon.
  • I'd love to find a way to disable the Bolt's 3 beep warning when I leave my keys in the car. I think it does the same thing when I leave the car on and try to leave with the keys in my pocket - not sure (?) Anyways, I hate it.
  • I'd love to find a way to disable the wifi completely outside of pulling the fuse. I know there's a switch but the signal remains on. It all feels like Big GM Brother is watching you.
  • The plastic interior is cheesy on the Bolt, but I don't care much. I actually like the dash just fine. It's the doors that seem extra 10k car-like.
  • There's a basic honesty to the Bolt that I really like. The stated range is range always seems realistic. In the Leaf, the range initially stated on the GOM is always a fantasy.
  • The Bolt doesn't have that idiotic "Can we capture your data" screen on start up that continually haunts me on the Leaf - every day, every drive.
  • The sound system on the Leaf is better - and it even has a CD slot behind the navigation screen. Very cool. Sound systems are easy and inexpensive to upgrade. Not so with batteries.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 12:00 AM
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you can turn the three beeps off if leaving keys in the car

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/244962-post4.html
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 12:13 AM
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Congratulations on your Bolt EV!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnU View Post
It's hard to describe the sense of liberation.
Yes, this is something that has been hard to explain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnU View Post
The Bolt's GOM is way, way better than the Leaf's GOM. I actually trust it. The Leaf's GOM is unyieldingly optimistic until the last few miles, when it tends to be fairly accurate.
Yup. I make a point of calling it by its name: Range Estimator. The Bolt EV's Range Estimator seems to be one of the most accurate available (though GM has seemed to make it a bit more conservative than it used to be).

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Originally Posted by JohnU View Post
It would be nice if the Bolt had a battery life indicator like the Leaf.
I agree here as well. Two things I would like to see added to the Bolt EV is a battery percentage indicator and a battery temperature indicator. I mean, exact percentages and exact temperatures; no idiot gauges.

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Originally Posted by JohnU View Post
I never had the need to install a charger at my house before I owned the Bolt. I just plugged the Leaf into a trickle charge and it was good to go in the morning. This is not the case with the Bolt. The battery is massive in comparison. Doing consecutive trips to Seattle was barely possible with a trickle charger. So, I'm planning to install a 240 volt charger some time soon.
With the Bolt EV, I'd definitely recommend it. I only ever used 120 V when I was driving my Volt. There was really no need for faster charging. When I got the Bolt EV, I quickly realized that I needed to install 240 V at my property in Northern California.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 12:51 AM
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The EVSE delivered with the Bolt will work on 240V (if you have a 240V socket already in your garage). It will charge at 12A @ 240V, or about 2.8kW. So 12 hours will put 32-34 kWh into your battery. A lower-cost solution (if it allows you to use an existing 240V socket in your garage).

You will need an adapter (which you might need to make yourself) that will turn a 240V socket into a NEMA 5-15 (120V standard) that the Bolt's EVSE plugs in to. There are quite a few threads on this forum about that. Make sure that it doesn't 'float around', as plugging most 120V appliances into 240V is very, very bad. Many people recommend zip-tying it to the EVSE cord so that it doesn't wander.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 11:04 AM
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I had a very similar experience when moving from a 2011 Miev into the Bolt. The Bolt was a wonderland of surprises compared to the golf cart operation of the Miev. I remain extremely happy with the Bolt. Just goes to show you what a little perspective does in evaluating cars...
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 11:18 AM
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I had a very similar experience when moving from a 2011 Miev into the Bolt. The Bolt was a wonderland of surprises compared to the golf cart operation of the Miev. I remain extremely happy with the Bolt. Just goes to show you what a little perspective does in evaluating cars...
Its amazing how much they've improved! I googled it and at 16Kw it really doesn't seem like You could do anything with it but commute to a job that's no more than about 5 miles away.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 12:25 PM
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Warning, your Bolt is becoming Leaf-like.
Nice, thanks for your comparison, for sharing your experiences, and thanks for the chuckle

As @SparkE mentioned, based on your use case, I would consider getting an adapter for your stock GM EVSE if you have easy access to 240V. I purchased and installed a JuiceBox EVSE just after signing the papers for my Bolt, it has worked great, but in hindsight I would have been just fine with the stock GM EVSE and the plug adapter.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/6561776...r-220-240v-for
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by NewsCoulomb View Post
Congratulations on your Bolt EV!




I agree here as well. Two things I would like to see added to the Bolt EV is a battery percentage indicator and a battery temperature indicator. I mean, exact percentages and exact temperatures; no idiot gauges.
As far as I know it does display battery % but Strangely its Through android auto / my chevrolet energy assist (which at least for me rarely works) or directly on Your phone through my chevrolet (main screen tap on vehicle status and it will bring up 6 pieces of info - 1 run key pass, 2 ev range and battery level,3 charge status - which seems inaccurate very often especially if You've been charging for an hour it will still read as Not Charging, 4 tire pressure, 5 efficiency (for some crazy reason I'm stuck at 2.9 mi/kWh lifetime even though I'm often averaging 4-5 so I have no clue on why that is and 6 odometer. I agree with News Coulomb that an update that shows battery temp in addition to the % would be very awesome and very reassuring.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderbolt View Post
Nice, thanks for your comparison, for sharing your experiences, and thanks for the chuckle

As @SparkE mentioned, based on your use case, I would consider getting an adapter for your stock GM EVSE if you have easy access to 240V. I purchased and installed a JuiceBox EVSE just after signing the papers for my Bolt, it has worked great, but in hindsight I would have been just fine with the stock GM EVSE and the plug adapter.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/6561776...r-220-240v-for
Thanks SparkE and wonderbolt. Ah yes! I remember reading about these adapters. That sounds like an awesome solution. I believe we can easily get a 240v plug installed in our shed. I might already have an adapter that will work from another project a while back.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnU View Post
Thanks SparkE and wonderbolt. Ah yes! I remember reading about these adapters. That sounds like an awesome solution. I believe we can easily get a 240v plug installed in our shed. I might already have an adapter that will work from another project a while back.
Don't cut the plug on your stock charger - there's temperature sensing in it. Build an adapter that has a female socket and is labeled.
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