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I decided to get a Chevy Bolt when my Hybrid started to give me trouble. I have a 130 mile round trip commute that is ALL highway, which I will discuss in my review. There is a chargepoint charger at work that charges $0.15 per kWhr and I don't have a level 2 charger at home yet... I bought the standard model, dark grey, heated steering wheel and seats, with driver assist package.


The seats are horrific. I have narrow hips for someone at 6 foot (180 lbs) and I have no idea who thought these narrow seats would be a good idea to equip in the car. After 1000 miles they are getting more comfortable as the cushioning on the sides is compacting due to my weight. However it is still slightly uncomfortable for a 130 round trip commute. I do have seat warmers, so I don't want to put a seat cushion on top. It is getting more comfortable though as it breaks in.


I get anywhere from 180 - 260 miles per charge during my commute. I have been shocked by this variance in mileage. The car gets horrible mileage in cold weather when I run my heater. I also have to drive 70 mph for the majority of my commute which is the posted speed limit. The aerodynamics for this car is horrific, I think a brick on wheels would have the same drag coefficient. Whenever I hit slow traffic my mileage is much, much higher. I once hit horrible traffic on the way home during a 72 degree day that no air conditioning was required. I made it home on 12.8 kWhr for 65 miles.


The back seats have great leg room, which I was surprised at. I am also shocked by the height of the roof. I am 6 foot and there is plenty of room over my head. It also feels like I am driving a car between an SUV and a sedan with the seats being higher up. I actually enjoy the seat position, but again not the seats!


I am satisfied with the purchase, but not really happy. It is a commute car for me, but on long trips I will use my Ford Explorer. I will put on 20,000 miles a year on the car, so I will be able to give feedback on the battery life. The reason I purchased the car is really for the subsidies and wanting to reduce my emissions in the Central Valley driving 20,000 miles a year for work. I get to max out on the following subsidies 7500 federal, 3000 Valley Air, 2500 Cali, and 500 PGE makes this car about the same price as a Prius. It is a fun car to drive and not worrying about smog checks and oil changes will be a nice bonus. This car would be a perfect fit for someone in the city. You could get 300 miles per charge no problem in good weather and the acceleration is surprisingly fun!
 

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I get anywhere from 180 - 260 miles per charge during my commute. I have been shocked by this variance in mileage. The car gets horrible mileage in cold weather when I run my heater. I also have to drive 70 mph for the majority of my commute which is the posted speed limit. The aerodynamics for this car is horrific, I think a brick on wheels would have the same drag coefficient. Whenever I hit slow traffic my mileage is much, much higher. I once hit horrible traffic on the way home during a 72 degree day that no air conditioning was required. I made it home on 12.8 kWhr for 65 miles.

that variation in range is absolutely normally and common with any EV. heat can use easily 8-10% of your energy. AC uses about 3%.


the aerodynamics aren't horrific, not sure where you are getting this from? the bolt is quite efficient with it's energy use and actually a recent test (can't remember where I did read it) showed that the bolt used less energy than a tesla over a side-by-side 200 mile (or so) test drive ...


enjoy your car, you have a great vehicle in your hands!
 

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... I also have to drive 70 mph for the majority of my commute which is the posted speed limit. The aerodynamics for this car is horrific, I think a brick on wheels would have the same drag coefficient. Whenever I hit slow traffic my mileage is much, much higher.
Almost every car is an aerodynamic brick at higher speeds. EV drivers tend to notice it more because their cars give them immediate feedback in the form of reduced range, which is never as much as a gas-powered vehicle to begin with.
 

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The aerodynamics for this car is horrific, I think a brick on wheels would have the same drag coefficient. Whenever I hit slow traffic my mileage is much, much higher. I once hit horrible traffic on the way home during a 72 degree day that no air conditioning was required. I made it home on 12.8 kWhr for 65 miles.
The decreased range when driving 70 mph compared to driving in traffic is not really due to the aerodynamics. With electric cars, when you cruise at sustained, high speeds, there is no opportunity to recharge with regenerating braking. Chevy engineers stated that some 40 miles of the 238 range is from regenerative braking. I have found, I can drive city streets or in traffic without decreasing my range for miles.

Also, with the speed limit of 70 mph does not mean you have to drive 70 mph. Unless your location has a minimum speed of 70 mph, you can drive slower than 70 mph. Usually, at speeds greater than 65 mph, you start to use up your electrons more rapidly. So, unless I am running late to something, I hang in the 2nd to right lane and cruise at 60-65 mph.
 

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With electric cars, when you cruise at sustained, high speeds, there is no opportunity to recharge with regenerating braking.
It sounds like you're trying to say that you would get better range at high speeds if you could somehow use regenerative braking, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Regenerative braking is not 100% efficient - every time you slow down with regenerative braking and then accelerate back to your original speed you've wasted at least some energy. Not as much as if you used friction brakes to slow down, but more than if you simply kept going the same speed.

Cruising at a constant 70mph is less efficient than cruising at a constant 30mph because of a combination of air resistance, rolling resistance, and other drivetrain losses. It has nothing to do with regenerative braking.

And driving in stop-and-go traffic at an average speed of 30mph, even using regen for the stops, is less efficient than cruising at a constant 30mph.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was just surprised how the car becomes so much more inefficient at higher speeds. I wish I had the opportunity to drive to work at a slower speed, but with 70 mph posted speed limit it would be dangerous to do so. The cars in the past did have worse has mileage at speeds at 70 mph, but not as bad as the Bolt. However I shouldn't complain about a car that still beats a Prius in cost per mile.
 

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I was just surprised how the car becomes so much more inefficient at higher speeds. I wish I had the opportunity to drive to work at a slower speed, but with 70 mph posted speed limit it would be dangerous to do so. The cars in the past did have worse has mileage at speeds at 70 mph, but not as bad as the Bolt. However I shouldn't complain about a car that still beats a Prius in cost per mile.
This is true, once you cross something like 50 or 60mph the energy consumption begins to rise pretty sharply as the air gets exponentially harder to push through. Not that the car is particularly inefficient (it's pretty good actually, about the same CD as a late model Jetta which has a much lower roofline). This is true for any car, gas or electric. As Sean mentioned above it's just that in other cars you don't notice it so much without a very prominent energy consumption display right in your face like you have in the Bolt.

It also doesn't help that we're used to expecting IMPROVED economy on the highway at sustained speeds in IC cars, since driving an IC car around the city wastes so much energy turning brake pads into dust. When we get into the EV that does such a great job recovering that spent energy in the city, that efficiency makes it seem as if it's really inefficient at highway speeds. In fact it's more a case of being pretty average on the highway (ok a bit better) but being really stelar in the city which makes you feel like highway efficiency sucks. EV's are not at home on the autobahn, just not a good use-case for them.
 

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Aerodynamic drag--negligible at low velocities--begins to dominate the electric engine load at high speeds, and when it does it rises with the square of the velocity. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_equation) My daily commute is 30 miles each way over a substantial mountain with the speed limit at 50 mph. The comparatively low speed coupled with a great deal of regenerative braking is noticeably more efficient that cruising at even 65 mph over flat ground.

The Bolt's aerodynamics are not horrible.
 

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This is true, once you cross something like 50 or 60mph the energy consumption begins to rise pretty sharply as the air gets exponentially harder to push through. Not that the car is particularly inefficient (it's pretty good actually, about the same CD as a late model Jetta which has a much lower roofline). This is true for any car, gas or electric. As Sean mentioned above it's just that in other cars you don't notice it so much without a very prominent energy consumption display right in your face like you have in the Bolt.

It also doesn't help that we're used to expecting IMPROVED economy on the highway at sustained speeds in IC cars, since driving an IC car around the city wastes so much energy turning brake pads into dust. When we get into the EV that does such a great job recovering that spent energy in the city, that efficiency makes it seem as if it's really inefficient at highway speeds. In fact it's more a case of being pretty average on the highway (ok a bit better) but being really stelar in the city which makes you feel like highway efficiency sucks. EV's are not at home on the autobahn, just not a good use-case for them.
very well said. It's not that the bolt is inefficient on the freeway, it's that its so eefficient in city ddriving that it "feels" inefficient on the freeway.

and the bolt actually is sslightly more efficient than the volt. I own both and have driven both in similar conditions on the same roads
 

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Loss in range depending on heat usage, how heavy footed you are, etc are to be expected and the same applies for gas cars too.

and yea, even the Chevy engineers admitted to sacrificing aerodynamics for more cabin space, but at least your 6 foot frame can fit in there. It's a trade off.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Loss in range depending on heat usage, how heavy footed you are, etc are to be expected and the same applies for gas cars too.

and yea, even the Chevy engineers admitted to sacrificing aerodynamics for more cabin space, but at least your 6 foot frame can fit in there. It's a trade off.

I think the headroom is too much. They make a car where someone 7 foot could possible sit in it, but you need hips and but like a 5'6" slender person. The seat is getting more comfortable for me, but it is still something that I am aware of during a drive. There is no wiggle room and I am locked into the same position for my hour drive each way. If the car had normal seats I think it would be selling twice as much. Whenever anyone asks me about the car I say you should really consider one, but you need to be aware of the seats.


One thing I noticed at work is the charging stations are getting full because of the Nissan Leafs. They must be getting rid of them or have really low leasing option now. I am now researching on installing a charger in my house.
 

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One thing I noticed at work is the charging stations are getting full because of the Nissan Leafs. They must be getting rid of them or have really low leasing option now. I am now researching on installing a charger in my house.
Yes. They are dumping Leafs at a loss right now. It is hurting Bolt sales for sure. Other companies are doing the same with their compliance cars. Dumping them at a big loss. If you don't mind only about 80 miles range and you don't mind leasing, there are deals to be had.

GM has to walk a fine line that other companies don't. They have chosen the path to fully enter the BEV market. This does not make most investors happy. GM cannot have more articles in the media where analysts claim "GM is losing $XXXX on every Bolt they sell!" They need to try to break even, or at least minimize the losses, so they can't give them away like other companies can. If they had skipped the Bolt and just kept making Spark EVs, then yeah, they could have just dumped them, taken some loss and blamed the government/s for their liability on the balance sheet, but they chose to go all in and that is costing them.
 

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.308 CD.
I believe the Volt (either gen) has a .28.
.325 for a Spark EV

the bolt gets more miles per kw than the volt. I own both and have driven both in exact same conditions. the bolt is slightly more efficient than the volt.
it's also slightly more efficient than a tesla (there was some test done with both)


soo ...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Updated Review,


The more I drive the car, the more I love it. The only issue is those ridiculous front seats. If this car had regular front seats I would want to drive this car for the rest of my life. However, if I can't get the front seats comfortable I will trading in this car when three years is up, so I don't violate the subsidies rules for the California and Federal credits.


True Cost to Drive
For my 130 mile daily commute it averages $5.20. If I went by my true kWh use it would be much less, but there is about an 8% energy loss during the charging process. The cheapest gas in my area is $2.60 per gallon, so this is the equivalent of a 65 mpg car. I charge my car at work ay $0.15 per kWh and sometimes trickle charge at home during the weekend. I will continue to do this until the charging stations at work are filled one day and I can't charge and barely make it home. I don't see spending $1000 on a home charging system at $0.12 per kWh and having to change my PGE charge rate. I think it would be more expensive for my energy use anyways because the time of use charge during the summer would be insane. PGE changed its tier system to just 2 tiers and it doesn't make sense for me to change now. I would say the true MPG of this car is somewhere in the 50 to 80 mpg range.


Front Seats
I just want to remove them and put a lawn chair in there instead. I left very bad reviews on the Chevy customer surveys about the car. They wanted my opinion, and they got it.


Maintenance
I am at 5000 miles and have had no issues at all. About 3000 more miles and I am going to have to get those tires rotated. They really need an automatic tire rotator included with the Bolt...


Kicking myself for not getting premier model
Watching all the videos of people with the birds-eye views of the car and the cool rear view mirror makes me depressed sometimes... I also can't understand why the cargo shelf is not standard, but at least that one I can spend $150 to install.


Rebates
I got back my $3000 from Valley Air and $2500 from Cali. Still waiting for the $500 from PGE. I bought my car right before the $3000 off MSRP started and just got my car at invoice :( With these great deals in the Central Valley in Cali, it is a shame that I have never saw a Bolt on the road. I have been looking my entire 5000 miles I drove. I have seen about 100 different Teslas though...


Fun to Drive
Merging on highways and passing has never been so fun. It has enough HP for my driving style, and people that drive with me are shocked by the torque. However, they are also shocked by the horrible seats as well...


Conclusion
If GM installs new seats in my car I would hang out at local dealerships for 5 hours every weekend and would help them sell a few hundred vehicles. If a car salesman knows how the rebates actually work in Cali, knows how to use L mode, and could explain charging options these cars would not be sitting on the lots. Each dealership should have a "green" salesman that actually knows science. Listening to a car salesman talk about what a kWh is amusing, I think my 7 year old daughter knows more. Chevy is sitting on a gold mine here and is screwing it up.
 

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Updated Review,
The more I drive the car, the more I love it. The only issue is those ridiculous front seats. If this car had regular front seats I would want to drive this car for the rest of my life. However, if I can't get the front seats comfortable I will trading in this car when three years is up, so I don't violate the subsidies rules for the California and Federal credits.

True Cost to Drive
For my 130 mile daily commute it averages $5.20. If I went by my true kWh use it would be much less, but there is about an 8% energy loss during the charging process. The cheapest gas in my area is $2.60 per gallon, so this is the equivalent of a 65 mpg car. I charge my car at work ay $0.15 per kWh and sometimes trickle charge at home during the weekend. I will continue to do this until the charging stations at work are filled one day and I can't charge and barely make it home. I don't see spending $1000 on a home charging system at $0.12 per kWh and having to change my PGE charge rate. I think it would be more expensive for my energy use anyways because the time of use charge during the summer would be insane. PGE changed its tier system to just 2 tiers and it doesn't make sense for me to change now. I would say the true MPG of this car is somewhere in the 50 to 80 mpg range.

Front Seats
I just want to remove them and put a lawn chair in there instead. I left very bad reviews on the Chevy customer surveys about the car. They wanted my opinion, and they got it.

Rebates
I got back my $3000 from Valley Air and $2500 from Cali. Still waiting for the $500 from PGE. I bought my car right before the $3000 off MSRP started and just got my car at invoice :( With these great deals in the Central Valley in Cali, it is a shame that I have never saw a Bolt on the road. I have been looking my entire 5000 miles I drove. I have seen about 100 different Teslas though...
I appreciate the detailed update. A few questions.

First, are you saying your PGE rate is $0.12 per kWh or did I misunderstand that? If it is that low, I would avoid changing to TOU rates. If not, ignore me, I'm paying about $0.10 / kWh and sometimes feel I'm overpaying - my electric provider has raised rates 8 of the last 11 years I've lived in my home but I find that we're paying about as low as anyone.

Second, it's none of my business but would it be possible to spend a small chunk of the rebates on aftermarket seats (Recaro, etc.)? Seems like they might be available or your seats could be modified. Never done this myself but just a thought. The absolute most comfortable seats I've ever had were in my 2002 Suburban. Have you tried any seat cushions, etc.? Some have a tremendous reputation but I haven't ever used any.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My PGE rates are $0.19 per kWh and then $0.27 per kWh when I hit the second tier. If I go to time of use then I can hit $0.12 per kWh for offpeak charging, however my other electric use will be higher. So I am happy using chargepoint at work for $0.15 per kWh and not installing a Level 2 charger. I tried seat cushions, but they made it worse. I was higher in the car and had trouble seeing through the rearview mirror. I am over 6 foot so anything that makes me higher is no good. Also any back cushion pushes me further away from the seat and I don't get enough leg support. I will check out a seat modification or get it reupholstered.
 

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My PGE rates are $0.19 per kWh and then $0.27 per kWh when I hit the second tier. If I go to time of use then I can hit $0.12 per kWh for offpeak charging, however my other electric use will be higher. So I am happy using chargepoint at work for $0.15 per kWh and not installing a Level 2 charger. I tried seat cushions, but they made it worse. I was higher in the car and had trouble seeing through the rearview mirror. I am over 6 foot so anything that makes me higher is no good. Also any back cushion pushes me further away from the seat and I don't get enough leg support. I will check out a seat modification or get it reupholstered.
Before I switched my rate plan, my bill was $210.00. I changed to the EV setup and dropped it to $86.00
You just need to make a few changes to your energy use times and you'll save big :nerd:
 
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