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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's up all?

I have an extended test drive scheduled for Friday with a 2017 Premier. I'd say my expectations going in from a size and cargo utility perspective are well managed, as my wife and I owned a 2015 Fit before we traded it in after my son was born. I'm expecting more overall room and space vs the Fit, but I'm unsure on how much more. I have no idea what to expect as it relates to performance. From everything I've read and having a Readers Digest version functional understanding of EVs, I suspect it'll be a complately new driving experience. Currently I'm leasing a 2015 Durango R/T, which I'll be trading in (first child born, owned a Fit, irrational fears of getting t-boned, traded it in for big SUV with AWD). I'm drawn to the Bolt for a couple of reasons. I think the technology, engineering, and range are flat out impressive. My home has a 120/240 50 amp outside hookup from the previous owner who owned an RV, so the ability to charge at home without concern draws me in as well. Also, my home is connected to a whole house natural gas generator, so even if the grid lost power, my ability to charge wouldn't be affected. And of course the tax benefits are appealing combined with the $240/month gas savings.

I do have some reservations, the biggest being the real world residual of this car in 3/4 years .I'm concerned technology in three years may hurt the future value of the Bolt; for this reason I'm thinking a lease may be the way to go. Mechanical issues aren't really something I worry about with a new car under warranty, but the car I'm testing has been sitting around for a while I suspect and I have concerns with what down-the-road damage this could've caused (I don't get the impression from the dealer that it's been routinely charged). Another thing that worries me is the fluctuation in range from season to season. This winter has been BIBLICAL. There was a three week stretch in late December to January where the windchill didn't get above 0 and we had 5-6 day stretches of negative degree weather.

If anyone has advice, comments, or question, I'm all ears; I'm not sure if there are other things I should be considering with potential ownership.

Best case scenario is this car works from a practicality standpoint (car seat, two adults, dog at times, stroller, room for additional carry-ons) and the dealer is willing to play ball.

Thanks for taking the time to read/comment,

Mark
 

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You should click around this site. There are quite a few threads about reduced winter range (and how to minimize), DCFC (DC Fast Charge) issues (and how to find public chargers), and many other topics (including several "buy vs. lease" discussions).

Personally, I find that a multi-car household has more leeway with EVs, as they can always take the gas-mobile if they have a long drive.

If you only have one vehicle for the family, you should read about DCFC (which allows charging the car's battery from from 10% to around 70% in about and hour, adding maybe 150 miles in that hour). It ("it" being only having one vehicle) would also complicate trips via car, as you'd really have to plan ahead to find the charging stations.
 

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I sold my 2008 Honda Fit and leased a Bolt LT w comfort and safety packages last fall, and have been driving it all winter here in Vermont. It's a bit bigger than the Fit, with maybe slightly better interior square footage, but does not have the legendarily efficient interior layout of the Fit. That hasn't been a problem for me, but my kid and dog are out of the house at this point. The Bolt is much quieter than the Fit, especially on the freeway. (Those first gen Fits were really loud.) I have an L2 EVSE setup in my garage (Juicebox), and on a day to day basis generally don't drive more than 50 miles a day, so the loss of range in winter doesn't matter at all. Just plug it in maybe once a week and don't have to think about it.

Every couple of weeks, I do have to do a weekend commute of 190 miles each way. There I do have to think about range; as the range drops in the winter, I do some basic efficiency measures -- e.g., use seat and steering wheel warmers, use the cabin heat sparingly, heat the car up while still plugged in before hitting the road. But I also find it practical to charge up at 2/3 or 3/4 of the way, and luckily in my case there are a few fast chargers along the route; a 20 to 30 minute charge is all it takes to have more than enough juice to finish the trip comfortably. Bottom line: the commute in the Bolt is quieter and more comfortable than my Fit, but also tends to be a bit longer in cold weather, because I either have to drive slower or charge along the way. (Some people hate the front seats in the Bolt; I've gotten used to them and they don't bother me, but check them out on your test drive.)
 

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Hello Mark,

I was in your shoes 4 months ago. Know that the car's range will be cut in half with -5 to 5 F temps and messy roads if you heat the car to a reasonable temp. I hoped the car would do at least 160 miles in our weather but that is not the case. However in 40F+ temps you will get 200-300 mile range.

I too worry about the residual of the Bolt down the road due to lack of adaptive cruise control, lack of a fast charging network, and worry that GM will drop and not support the car. I am not a big fan of full L4 auto-pilot, but if GM adds adaptive cruise control to the Bolt in 2018 or 2019 that would severely damage cars without it. Same thing with fast charging... if there isn't a network with chargers every 50-100 miles on the major highways, then EV's have a very small re-sale value.

For the above reasons, I chose to lease my Bolt for 3 years. If I could go back 4 months I would buy a used Tesla with supercharging. The lack of DC fast chargers or even L2 chargers in Michigan is ridiculous. I was hoping for 150-160 mile range in the winter and have experienced 100-160 mile range. I knew the pains I was getting into with the Bolt, but my next vehicle will have nationwide supercharging. In my opinion supercharging (fast charging) is more important than range for the extreme winter conditions and long distance travel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You should click around this site. There are quite a few threads about reduced winter range (and how to minimize), DCFC (DC Fast Charge) issues (and how to find public chargers), and many other topics (including several "buy vs. lease" discussions).

Personally, I find that a multi-car household has more leeway with EVs, as they can always take the gas-mobile if they have a long drive.

If you only have one vehicle for the family, you should read about DCFC (which allows charging the car's battery from from 10% to around 70% in about and hour, adding maybe 150 miles in that hour). It ("it" being only having one vehicle) would also complicate trips via car, as you'd really have to plan ahead to find the charging stations.
Thanks for the input. The Bolt would be primarily for my wife's commute, which is 60 miles/day round trip, 36 weeks a year (teacher), then bouncing around town/local trips on weekends and her summer daily driver. I commute 70 miles/day round trip year round in an '08 Accord 5 speed, 134k ticks on the odometer. It's a road warrior and still very capable of handling 4-8 hours in any direction and back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I sold my 2008 Honda Fit and leased a Bolt LT w comfort and safety packages last fall, and have been driving it all winter here in Vermont. It's a bit bigger than the Fit, with maybe slightly better interior square footage, but does not have the legendarily efficient interior layout of the Fit. That hasn't been a problem for me, but my kid and dog are out of the house at this point. The Bolt is much quieter than the Fit, especially on the freeway. (Those first gen Fits were really loud.) I have an L2 EVSE setup in my garage (Juicebox), and on a day to day basis generally don't drive more than 50 miles a day, so the loss of range in winter doesn't matter at all. Just plug it in maybe once a week and don't have to think about it.

Every couple of weeks, I do have to do a weekend commute of 190 miles each way. There I do have to think about range; as the range drops in the winter, I do some basic efficiency measures -- e.g., use seat and steering wheel warmers, use the cabin heat sparingly, heat the car up while still plugged in before hitting the road. But I also find it practical to charge up at 2/3 or 3/4 of the way, and luckily in my case there are a few fast chargers along the route; a 20 to 30 minute charge is all it takes to have more than enough juice to finish the trip comfortably. Bottom line: the commute in the Bolt is quieter and more comfortable than my Fit, but also tends to be a bit longer in cold weather, because I either have to drive slower or charge along the way. (Some people hate the front seats in the Bolt; I've gotten used to them and they don't bother me, but check them out on your test drive.)
+1 on the road noise with the fit. Our 2015 had excessive wind noise even at low speed. I think Honda had big QC issues when production was shifted to Mexico. Still, the Fit is a utilitarians dream - there isn't an inch on wasted space in that vehicle and it sipped gas with plenty of pep at the pedal when called upon. The Durango I'm in now is extremely quiet. FCA engineered sound proofing into the glass panels which gives almost an eerily quiet ride even on the highway. I'm hoping the lack of engine noise with the Chevy provides something similar.

Thanks for sharing your input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello Mark,

I was in your shoes 4 months ago. Know that the car's range will be cut in half with -5 to 5 F temps and messy roads if you heat the car to a reasonable temp. I hoped the car would do at least 160 miles in our weather but that is not the case. However in 40F+ temps you will get 200-300 mile range.

I too worry about the residual of the Bolt down the road due to lack of adaptive cruise control, lack of a fast charging network, and worry that GM will drop and not support the car. I am not a big fan of full L4 auto-pilot, but if GM adds adaptive cruise control to the Bolt in 2018 or 2019 that would severely damage cars without it. Same thing with fast charging... if there isn't a network with chargers every 50-100 miles on the major highways, then EV's have a very small re-sale value.

For the above reasons, I chose to lease my Bolt for 3 years. If I could go back 4 months I would buy a used Tesla with supercharging. The lack of DC fast chargers or even L2 chargers in Michigan is ridiculous. I was hoping for 150-160 mile range in the winter and have experienced 100-160 mile range. I knew the pains I was getting into with the Bolt, but my next vehicle will have nationwide supercharging. In my opinion supercharging (fast charging) is more important than range for the extreme winter conditions and long distance travel.
I'm leaning towards leasing as well. Even if I got over 3k miles a year on a 36/15 I'm sure I can time a GM incentive program on a new vehicle or a lease pull ahead program to offset the $0.25/mile charge. Fortunately, NY seems up to speed with DC stations alone, with 196 outlets available statewide, which most seem to be placed strategically along the major interstates. Tesla really isn't an option for me, as the closest dealer is three hours south. Not sure I'd be ok with lack of proximity for dealer support, but their charging network is very, very attractive.

The winter fluctuations will be an issue, but not a deal breaker. I'll be able to keep the car plugged in overnight and will only be dealing with a 60 mile commute. The only question would be when the car sits unplugged for 8 hours. I'm guessing a full charge will be able to handle that along with the 60 mile drive.

Thanks Scott
 

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IMO I think purchasing the car is the best way to go, but only time will tell. In NY you will qualify for a $2000 rebate and the federal 7500 tax credit. With these factors and getting the car below MSRP, you should be looking at a sub $30,000 after taxes and registration. The reason I think the car will hold its value better than cars like the Leaf and BMW i3 is that the Bolt is the only EV over 200 miles that is available for purchase. Three years from now if you decide to sell your Bolt, it will be the only used 200 plus range EV that will be on the market. There will possibly be more options available for new purchase, but I think the Bolt will still have decent resale after three years. I buy cars to run them into the ground and putting close to 30,000 miles on the car I had no choice. The lease deals are pretty bad for the Bolt and I really think purchase is the way to go unless you get a great deal.


The resale value shouldn't worry you as much as your other concerns. I would be worried about the car space if it is your main car and you need to fit a lot in the Bolt. I use it for a commuter car, but I don't take it for family trips. The cold weather is also going to kill your mileage. I went to school in Plattsburgh, NY and I don't know if I would even consider a Bolt. Having all-wheel drive in that horrific weather is really important. Ice will form in parts of the car that you never had to worry about with an ICE car. The heat from the ICE engine won't allow ice to form as easily in the tire wells. I have heard some people hear crunching from turning the wheel, and that would never happen to an ICE car. Also the windshield wipers can freeze in their positions because of their location. I would take advice from the cold weather drivers here since they measure in hours how long it is under 32 degrees in my area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
IMO I think purchasing the car is the best way to go, but only time will tell. In NY you will qualify for a $2000 rebate and the federal 7500 tax credit. With these factors and getting the car below MSRP, you should be looking at a sub $30,000 after taxes and registration. The reason I think the car will hold its value better than cars like the Leaf and BMW i3 is that the Bolt is the only EV over 200 miles that is available for purchase. Three years from now if you decide to sell your Bolt, it will be the only used 200 plus range EV that will be on the market. There will possibly be more options available for new purchase, but I think the Bolt will still have decent resale after three years. I buy cars to run them into the ground and putting close to 30,000 miles on the car I had no choice. The lease deals are pretty bad for the Bolt and I really think purchase is the way to go unless you get a great deal.


The resale value shouldn't worry you as much as your other concerns. I would be worried about the car space if it is your main car and you need to fit a lot in the Bolt. I use it for a commuter car, but I don't take it for family trips. The cold weather is also going to kill your mileage. I went to school in Plattsburgh, NY and I don't know if I would even consider a Bolt. Having all-wheel drive in that horrific weather is really important. Ice will form in parts of the car that you never had to worry about with an ICE car. The heat from the ICE engine won't allow ice to form as easily in the tire wells. I have heard some people hear crunching from turning the wheel, and that would never happen to an ICE car. Also the windshield wipers can freeze in their positions because of their location. I would take advice from the cold weather drivers here since they measure in hours how long it is under 32 degrees in my area.
It looks like Chevy just updated their March incentives published on Edmunds and there is a lot of cash available for 2017s; if it's a matter of an extra $75-100 to own it outright per month, then that may be something I'd have to strongly consider.

Those are really good points I haven't thought about for the Bolts place in a CPO/used market in 3-4 years. I don't think manufacturers will ever be able to truly capture an economy of scale with design/production/sale of EVs and I only see MSRPs climbing, albeit with greater features and benefits, which should in theory make the used market strong.

I'm about 135 miles south of Plattsburgh and our winters are very unpredictable in terms of precipitation. This will be my wife's daily driver, about 80% highway. She's a teacher so if conditions are bad she'll have a delay or closure (not to say that totally addresses an ice issue within the wheels/tires objection). The wiper issue makes me panic a bit, as that can happen in any freezing temperature irrespective of snow.

My son will be two in May so the only ask I have from the passenger & cargo space is a forward facing car seat, and my wife's mom bag with all of the toddler essentials, which is about the size of a small carry on. At times we'll need to fit a stroller. Long trips we would take my Accord which has pretty good trunk space for a sedan.

Thanks a lot for your perspective.
 

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...The winter fluctuations will be an issue, but not a deal breaker. I'll be able to keep the car plugged in overnight and will only be dealing with a 60 mile commute. The only question would be when the car sits unplugged for 8 hours. I'm guessing a full charge will be able to handle that along with the 60 mile drive.
We had a stretch of zero degree days downstate (Long Island) back in Jan, I was still getting 150mi range.

You will have no issues making a 60mi round tip commute no matter how cold it gets. My round trip commute is 50mi, and even at 0 degrees outside I came home from work with 95+ mi range left.

As a matter of fact the range is so high, I have enabled "Hilltop Reserve" which limits charging to 90% of full. Even in full NY winter conditions with a 50mi round trip commute there's just no way you could use 60kWh of electricity. Even if it was chewing through 2mi/kWh it would only consume 25kWh for my full 2-way commute.

Today we had Nore' Easter part II... at the end of my 28mi trip from home to work I was at 3mi/kWh... so I burned through just 9.3kWh, I have 3/4 battery reserve (44.7kWh @ 90% Hilltop Reserve charge) for the 22mi trip back home tonight. No sweat, no range anxiety.
 

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BTW- make sure your dealer is registered with NYS to be able to give you the $2,000 "Drive Clean" point of sale rebate.
I had to have my dealer sign up with NYS before purchasing my Bolt, if they didn't I wouldn't have gotten the $2K off at the time of purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We had a stretch of zero degree days downstate (Long Island) back in Jan, I was still getting 150mi range.

You will have no issues making a 60mi round tip commute no matter how cold it gets. My round trip commute is 50mi, and even at 0 degrees outside I came home from work with 95+ mi range left.

As a matter of fact the range is so high, I have enabled "Hilltop Reserve" which limits charging to 90% of full. Even in full NY winter conditions with a 50mi round trip commute there's just no way you could use 60kWh of electricity. Even if it was chewing through 2mi/kWh it would only consume 25kWh for my full 2-way commute.

Today we had Nore' Easter part II... at the end of my 28mi trip from home to work I was at 3mi/kWh... so I burned through just 9.3kWh, I have 3/4 battery reserve (44.7kWh @ 90% Hilltop Reserve charge) for the 22mi trip back home tonight. No sweat, no range anxiety.
BTW- make sure your dealer is registered with NYS to be able to give you the $2,000 "Drive Clean" point of sale rebate.
I had to have my dealer sign up with NYS before purchasing my Bolt, if they didn't I wouldn't have gotten the $2K off at the time of purchase.
That's definitely reassuring to know.

How has your experience been with visibility/wipers/ice issues while driving in a storm and overall winter handling?

I verified on NYSERDA's website that the dealer I'm test driving with is participating.

Thank you for the feedback.
 

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Not the same person here, but I've driven in just about all of the storms we've had this winter. (Western & North Central Mass and Northern Connecticut for reference.) I haven't had any major problems getting from point A to B. I keep it slow as conditions warrant. Drove in L, no problems, it's not that hard to manage the braking with single pedal driving. You do have to overcome some instincts of letting off the gas if you slide at all. Stock tires too. One trick I've found is to keep the front window defroster on. As long as that glass is warm then I didn't have any major problems. That being said... The stupid window washer nozzles aren't heated so they like to freeze up. I fixed that with some Prestone washer fluid which was rated for crazy low temps.

tldr; Car does fine in the winter in the snow as long as you're smart about it.
 

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How has your experience been with visibility/wipers/ice issues while driving in a storm and overall winter handling?
If you clean the windshield prior to departure and keep the defroster on it's good.
It's not like an ICE car that sheds extra heat as a byproduct of running the engine, so you can't clear an inch thick layer of ice by simply turning the defroster on.. you have to stay ahead of it.

For traction, I have proper winter tires on their own rims. Knowing your area... it strongly recommend you do the same!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not the same person here, but I've driven in just about all of the storms we've had this winter. (Western & North Central Mass and Northern Connecticut for reference.) I haven't had any major problems getting from point A to B. I keep it slow as conditions warrant. Drove in L, no problems, it's not that hard to manage the braking with single pedal driving. You do have to overcome some instincts of letting off the gas if you slide at all. Stock tires too. One trick I've found is to keep the front window defroster on. As long as that glass is warm then I didn't have any major problems. That being said... The stupid window washer nozzles aren't heated so they like to freeze up. I fixed that with some Prestone washer fluid which was rated for crazy low temps.

tldr; Car does fine in the winter in the snow as long as you're smart about it.
That's all good to know. I drive a 5spd now and rely heavily on engine braking and downshifting in crummy weather - one pedal driving sounds similar in concept. My wife is commuting in an '05 Elantra now so regardless of the things I've read about the stock brakes, it should be a huge upgrade.

Thanks for the insight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you clean the windshield prior to departure and keep the defroster on it's good.
It's not like an ICE car that sheds extra heat as a byproduct of running the engine, so you can't clear an inch thick layer of ice by simply turning the defroster on.. you have to stay ahead of it.

For traction, I have proper winter tires on their own rims. Knowing your area... it strongly recommend you do the same!
Keeping it garaged should help with staying ahead and I'd definitely get a set of snow tires.

Thanks again
 

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Greetings from MN

New member here myself - 2017 Kinetic Blue Premier Bolt purchased in Feb, 2018.
My winter range so far has been at least 160 miles (even with negative temps) and I now charge with hilltop reserve as my daily needs are generally less than 80 miles.
The car has done well in the snow with stock tires - I mostly drive in Low mode as single peddle driving.
Love the car, seats don't bother me - thanks to all who have contributed to this forum, lots of great info here.

-max
 

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Welcome Marc,

I'm still a few months behind you, but I think I know where you are at. Lots of questions and probably a long list of unknowns. For me it is not so much the EV concept, but which one is the best way forward. I think you are making a great choice in the Bolt. I have always been a purchase guy, but in the end, go with the path of least resistance and do what works best for you. As a starting point, I think you found the right place. It is a great forum with a well informed membership. Good luck with your decision.
 

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Hi Marc,

I've been driving my Bolt in northern Vermont since last May (> 16,000 miles so far) and have no regrets. I purchased mine given my expectation of 20,000+ miles/year. You will experience the significant loss of range (50% is realistic) during extreme conditions as others have noted, but that will still leave you plenty for the scenario you describe. I regularly travel 80 - 120 miles in a day on both highways and secondary roads here and haven't found any real trouble with winter driving (I have Nokian Hakka R2 snow tires). I've noticed some snow buildup in the wheel wells but not significantly worse than my old VW Golf. Defrosting and windshield wipers haven't been a problem. I've found using the brakes provides better control than using L and regen when driving on hilly, snowy roads (but I almost always use L in other conditions). The Bolt's utility has been good for me. I commute alone, but often travel with my wife, our Australian Shepherd and sometimes my son as well, and I carry a fair amount of computer equipment in the hatch. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the torque of the Bolt in comparison to the acceleration of the Fit. I hope the test drive goes well!

Todd
 
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