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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK...a bit of quick background. I am looking to buy something to replace my '95 Buick Riviera. Back in the day, the Buick was surely a luxury class car. While I always planned to stay at or near the (equivalent 21st century) level of the Buick in terms of replacing it with a typical ICE car, of late I've been really getting interested in exploring either going into a hybrid (Avalon Limited is high on the list) or else EV. I've been researching Jaguar I-Pace and also Tesla Model S. I recently came across the Bolt and a few other EVs that aren't available here in PA.

A big concern for me - since one of the things I like to do is occasional long car trips (often 1,000 miles+) besides lots of shorter trips (60-200 miles), and of course the local (5-20) jaunts around town and so forth - is the availability of charging stations and the time required at them. I would definitely plan to have a home charging unit put in as well.

I really like the idea of going gas-free, thus eliminating the continued maintenance and repairs associated with the usual ICE components. Or, as mentioned, the option of hybrid - gaining some of the advantages of electric but without the potential misgivings of charging concerns - is also very attractive.

I'm on both a Tesla and I-Pace forum, and so have been acquiring info from owners of both. Admittedly, it is a reasonably steep learning curve, coming from my perspective of driving nothing newer than either 1980s or 1990s vehicles over the past 35 years! Tesla seems to have the lion's share of the charging network, and probably charges the fastest. I-Pace appears to only use the CCS/SAE option (as selected on the plugshare.com website). The Bolt (and correct me if I'm wrong) appears to only use the J-1772 public chargers which, being a level 2, would appear to require the most time of the 3 cars (?)

So I'm looking for any and all advice. One thing I'd like to know about the Bolt is the relative advantages / disadvantages of the two available trims - LT (our local dealer has one in stock) and Premier. Not sure if I'm right about this - but I read that the Premier does not have a rear camera? Doesn't seem to make sense...

Thanks for any and all thoughts / advice!
 

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You can't compare the Bolt spartan interior to the 3x more expensive Model S or Jag I-pace.
That being said, you owe it to yourself to take the Bolt for a test drive, you may just fall in love with it.

If you want to see if one of your 1,000 mi trips is possible using Tesla's Supercharger network go to tesla.com/trips and input your car model and your start and end points.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting...thanks. I agree, definitely worth a drive - especially since the dealer is 5 minutes away from me. I checked out the link - pretty neat tool, although even with as little as I know thus far, the supercharger network is certainly the best out there - lots of them and faster charging. I'm a bit gun-shy of Tesla after hearing about several issues - especially the sudden acceleration concerns that resulted in accidents. Over a half-million of them are being investigated. Of course, mentioned this to a Tesla owner and he immediately downplayed the significance of the reports. Another thing about them is the lack of service centers in my area - only 1 basically and it gets horrible reviews (including not so great comments from the (same) owner I talked to). Then, too, is the concern of local garages not really wanting to work on them. I'm assuming such is not the case with the Bolt, and that the dealers would service them? Tesla is over an hour away from me. Jaguar about 30 minutes (and they told me they do service the I-Pace).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thought of another question...how is the ride in these cars? It's reported to be "stiff". I'm used to the rather soft, cushy ride of the big Buick....
 

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If you are doing any kind of long-distance travel, more than 200 miles, go with Tesla. Much more comfortable and the Supercharger Network is unbeatable at the moment, not to mention a large network of free Level 2 chargers at plenty of Hotel and Motel locations.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Bolt for what it is, a great 200 miles commuter car. I did a lot of Dallas to Houston trips in the Bolt, utilizing the DC fast chargers from EVgo. It can be done but looking back, it was a lot of time wasted at said charging locations. Also, the seats in the Bolt, while ok for my daily commute, I don't consider them feasible for long trips. I have a Honda Clarity as a travel car and the seats are better in every way. I also have "seat time" in the Tesla Model 3 and the same is valid there, they are much more comfortable vs the Bolt.

If you can afford the Tesla Model 3, go for it. If you don't have Tesla money, then the Bolt is as good as it gets at the moment, the best of the rest with said limitations above. The good news is you can get it at a steep discount from MSRP, about 18k off.

Don't bother with the LT, go for the premier if you go the Bolt route, and make sure that it has the DC fast charging as it is, unfortunately, an option on the Bolt.

Hope this helps.

PS: I owned a 2017 Bolt Premier and currently drive a 2019 Bolt Premier.
 

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Answers in no particular order...

Many but not all Chevy dealers can service the Bolt, but in any case there are more Bolt service locations than Tesla service centers.
Local "garages" can do simple repairs on the Bolt, but honestly.... there's not much for them to do... the car is that good!

The Bolt ride is certainly not that of a luxury vehicle or older Buick, it's not really "stiff" either... you really just have to try it for yourself.

Of course there are many things the Tesla has that the Bolt doesn't have, but the Bolt (Premier) has some things Tesla doesn't have: the "birds eye" overhead view for parking which is awesome, it has Apple Car Play or Android Auto, it has a heated steering wheel and SXM sat radio on both trim level Bolts. Tesla does offer SXM on the Model S and Model X, but not on the Model 3 and we don't know if it will be available on the Model Y.
 

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And yes the ride is somewhat stiff but was tuned and improved a bit in the 2019 model year forward.
 

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NY-Rob brought up a good point concerning the dealer network, it was partially why I stuck with the Bolt besides the steep discounts offered. But then again, usually, electric cars don't need much concerning maintenance items. On the Bolt in particular, change the Battery heating and cooling fluid at 120k miles and do your tire rotation ... compare that to an ICE car maintenance schedule ...lol
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great and helpful info!!! I really appreciate it. What about the rear view cameras? Do both the LT and Premier have them? Can't imagine the higher priced trim would have fewer features somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you are doing any kind of long-distance travel, more than 200 miles, go with Tesla. Much more comfortable and the Supercharger Network is unbeatable at the moment, not to mention a large network of free Level 2 chargers at plenty of Hotel and Motel locations.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Bolt for what it is, a great 200 miles commuter car. I did a lot of Dallas to Houston trips in the Bolt, utilizing the DC fast chargers from EVgo. It can be done but looking back, it was a lot of time wasted at said charging locations. Also, the seats in the Bolt, while ok for my daily commute, I don't consider them feasible for long trips. I have a Honda Clarity as a travel car and the seats are better in every way. I also have "seat time" in the Tesla Model 3 and the same is valid there, they are much more comfortable vs the Bolt.

If you can afford the Tesla Model 3, go for it. If you don't have Tesla money, then the Bolt is as good as it gets at the moment, the best of the rest with said limitations above. The good news is you can get it at a steep discount from MSRP, about 18k off.

Don't bother with the LT, go for the premier if you go the Bolt route, and make sure that it has the DC fast charging as it is, unfortunately, an option on the Bolt.

Hope this helps.

PS: I owned a 2017 Bolt Premier and currently drive a 2019 Bolt Premier.
Any thoughts on the I-Pace at all?
 

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Great and helpful info!!! I really appreciate it. What about the rear view cameras? Do both the LT and Premier have them? Can't imagine the higher priced trim would have fewer features somehow.
Both trims have the backup cams, the Premier has a cam under each door mirror and a front bumper cam to complete the 4-cam set needed for the birds-eye view feature. The Premier has an additional rear cam for the electronic wide angle rear view mirror, and another cam at the top of the windshield for the pedestrian warning/lane departure system.
The Premier has six cams altogether.
The Model 3 has eight cams.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would have thought the Premier would have backup. I have to drive this thing...would be a great (and most convenient) way to get started with EV and then go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
it has Apple Car Play or Android Auto, it has a heated steering wheel and SXM sat radio on both trim level Bolts. Tesla does offer SXM on the Model S and Model X, but not on the Model 3 and we don't know if it will be available on the Model Y.
The folks over on the Tesla forum downplay this (lack of apple compatibility), but it's one of the things sort of steering me away from Tesla. They tell me the navigation interface, etc. on Tesla is very good so really would not miss CarPlay. But, we have iPhones and always use them when traveling, so....
 

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I think that first, you should decide what kind of vehicle do you want and need, and how will you be mostly using it. Do you want a sedan? A crossover? An SUV? Will you be using it primarily locally with occasional longer trips, or the opposite? I didn't want a sedan, so that eliminated most EVs in my price range. I spend 90% of my time in local commutes, so I wanted a car that excelled at that, but also allowed those occasional long trips. Any long trip takes a little planning in an EV. In PlugShare, filter for CCS chargers >= 150 kw. I think you will find very many, and for most areas it shouldn't be an issue. How many miles do you usually travel in a typical day? If not too many, a PHEV could be a good choice, and would be a great choice if you travel to areas without many charging options or if you want to take trips with no refueling concerns. As for the Premier vs the LT, I don't think the Premier has much extra for the higher price. It has the 360 degree camera view, which I thought was cool but not worth $3-4K. It has an electronic rearview mirror (didn't interest me), it has back seat USB ports (I never need that), it has roof rails (I would like that for my dreams of kayaking which I have never done). I only miss the roof rails, nothing else, and even those, not much. I like the package that the Bolt offers. It excels around town, 200+ mile day trips, and the occasional long trips (with some comfort issues with the seats.) You might like something else. The model Y will be out soon and could be interesting. It all comes down to what you want, how you will be using it, and how comfortable you are relying on charging networks when on trips.
 

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I don't have an EV yet. My intention is to buy a Bolt. That said, some other vehicles have been gaining my attention. Used Model S prices have come down a bit, but still more than I'd want to spend on a car. Then there's the RAV4 Prime, which is a plug-in that gets 40 miles in EV mode, and 40 MPG running on petrol. It's due out this summer, and it looks to be quite a compelling car considering it qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit and starts in the low $30s.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Sly...very good thoughts. All along I've been thinking of a 4-door sedan (to replace the large 2 doors of the Riviera), plus I must say I like the idea of a trunk to secure luggage and belongings while traveling, and so started my car research from that basic premise. Then, however, I started to become a bit dismayed by how so many new cars don't seem to get significantly better mpg than my Riviera. That, in turn, led to an exploration of the hybrid idea - and I do in many ways still think this to be a good option - such as the Avalon which I mentioned in my initial post. The thought of EV came next after doing some research on Tesla and talking to an owner. I'd really like to go a bit 'greener' than I have been over the past 2.5 decades. I'm not as comfortable with the thought of leaving valuables in a car without a trunk although we have taken road trips with our Jeep hatchback. We are both retired and so there is no longer the daily commute to work. That being said, most of our driving is indeed shorter distances (the approx. 5-60 mile range I mentioned), then next would be road trips that could average in the hundreds to a bit over a thousand. It really varies. As already stated, if we do real long trips we generally have been flying and renting a car. Also entering into the decision (and this is likely more subjective than anything else) is that I'd sort of like something different and somewhat unique in terms of replacing the Buick which, at the time, really was sort of a niche vehicle. So many cars today just look basically the same - especially the sedans. I was talking to the owner of the local auto parts store about all this, and he had a good point in saying that he could recall when he could look at nearly any car on the road and know exactly what it was, but not anymore. Then I have my auto mechanic / owner of the local shop where I get all my work done who harps on me about only buying BMW!! Everything else, in his mind, is seemingly not worth it. Yet another factor is that my wife has never really felt comfortable driving the Buick (visibility issues out the long sloping back window for one thing) but loves driving her Jeep (Grand Cherokee), so that led me to thinking that whatever replaces the Buick should be something she feels comfortable in as well for cases where she'd need to drive it. Still another thought (sorry to go on at length here) is preferring to be fairly close to the dealer where we buy the car in the event of having to take it back there for service.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
it qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit and starts in the low $30s.
How does this tax credit work? I came across a chart that shows the various cars that qualify but then there is also reference to a phaseout amount. I assume this is similar to the energy credits that can apply to federal income tax based on certain qualifying home improvement projects.
 

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Interesting...thanks. I agree, definitely worth a drive - especially since the dealer is 5 minutes away from me. I checked out the link - pretty neat tool, although even with as little as I know thus far, the supercharger network is certainly the best out there - lots of them and faster charging. I'm a bit gun-shy of Tesla after hearing about several issues - especially the sudden acceleration concerns that resulted in accidents. Over a half-million of them are being investigated. Of course, mentioned this to a Tesla owner and he immediately downplayed the significance of the reports. Another thing about them is the lack of service centers in my area - only 1 basically and it gets horrible reviews (including not so great comments from the (same) owner I talked to). Then, too, is the concern of local garages not really wanting to work on them. I'm assuming such is not the case with the Bolt, and that the dealers would service them? Tesla is over an hour away from me. Jaguar about 30 minutes (and they told me they do service the I-Pace).
Count me as a Tesla owner downplaying the report.
The sudden acceleration petition is just a short seller that doesn't even own a Tesla's attempt to crash the stock (pun intended).


"This petition is completely false and was brought by a Tesla short-seller. We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input, and in every case where we had the vehicle's data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed. In other words, the car accelerates if, and only if, the driver told it to do so, and it slows or stops when the driver applies the brake."
So please stop perpetuating the FUD. Consider the source. Study the data. It's a non-issue.

Skimming through the responses, I didn't see anything about this being your only car or just a primary. If you tend to have more than one car which each serves a more specific duty, that plays heavily on what your next car should be based on your "other" car, if it exists.
If this is your only car, and you want to go electric, and you venture beyond the 100 mile umbilical cord regularly, there is nothing else that can fill those shoes better than a Tesla.
The Model S is also a hatchback with significant storage capacity. Enough that some sleep two comfortably in the back.

As to service, for every horror story you will find 10 glowing reviews. This is true with Tesla too. There's a good reason that more people would buy another Tesla than any other brand and they are top of the list of customer satisfaction the past 3 years.
But, if you are gun shy about service, and expect that to be a regular snafu, move on to a hybrid Toyota.
Try to get an extended test drive/rental, preferably a 1,000 mile weekend rental would be great way to judge whether some of the issues you hear about really matter to you such as seats, charging speed, handling, comfort, build quality, navigation, TACC, etc.
The fire sale on Bolts could make it worthwhile to have two vehicles when you really only wanted one. Save the road trips for the Buick.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Thanks for the views on Tesla. We really should replace the Jeep as well - rust developing under the one rocker panel (otherwise it is still in great shape and no visible rust anywhere else) - but just invested close to $2k in it to replace all 8 control arms - huge difference. It had been getting really noisy and creaky (metal on metal). Apologies for not having mentioned that we do have a second vehicle and always plan to have two - at least for the foreseeable future.

Don't even tempt me to keep the Buick LOL I've been toying with the idea of keeping it anyway regardless of what we buy. Could put classic plates on it (but then you can't use it much). We have a 3rd garage space (a bit smaller than the main 2-car garage) and so another thought is that a smaller, shorter car (like the Bolt) would lend itself well to the idea of having 3 vehicles. For all practicalities sake, we likely don't really NEED 3 vehicles, but, once again, it's a bit of a subjective thing with the idea of casting off the Buick. Been through alot together (sheesh...starting to get anthropomorphic here about a car :)
 
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