After recently completing the third road trip in my 2017 Bolt EV over the past year, all going from NC to Maine and back, I still have not quite gotten over how efficient this car is for me.
Two of the trips were with the original battery and the recent one in June was with the replacement battery just installed. There was no significant difference with the new battery on efficiency. So the critical numbers on the 3 trips were right around 4.6 miles per KWh efficiency overall, 4.7 on the northbound leg with a strong tailwind in June. But the thing that blew me away was the cost of charging overall on the June trip, all Electrify America except about 10% of free L1 and L2 charging, just under $80 for the 2.2K miles!!! Almost free when compared to an ICEV at today’s gas prices… and no oil change.
Now I confess I am an efficiency weenie due to my excessive Scottish DNA. And I rarely drive over 65mph, although with that tailwind I at times was over 70 and nearly 80 once. I implemented, in the recent trip, a 60% SOC stop charging limit, opting for faster and more frequent charging than the previous trips. Of course, EV road tripping involves a series of mini-trips of 2 to 3 hours in duration to the next charge and I really very much enjoy the process. At the beginning of each charge I spend some minutes assessing the next mini-trip options and selecting the next charge location using PlugShare and Apple CarPlay, often selecting ones that will be cutting it close. In that instance I’ll make a note to monitor progress along the way to assess trending and have bailout alternatives located just in case. So far I’ve always trended better than expected and have yet to need to abandon the original plan. But I’ll admit there were a few times when I needed to slow to 60mph in instances of range uncertainty in the middle of a mini-trip. As I’m a solo traveler here and able to travel this way, I’m able to approach these trips as if going to sea, as I used to do. The Bolt is more like a space capsule than a boat, but I’m set up self contained on these 1000 mile passages that are taking 32-36 hours and involve usually just one 4 hour sleep session plus maybe a short nap. For some reason I sleep extraordinarily deeply in the reclined seat and awaken usually around the 3 to 4 AM hour bright-eyed and ready to roll. I also have refrigeration available and the steering wheel hung “table” serves both for eating and working on the laptop with phone as hotspot, and with internet I’m working away. More often than not, charging to 60% is complete before I’m even ready to go. Accordingly, the Chevy Bolt EV is the perfect road tripper for me.