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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,
I have been reading as much as I can find on the Bolt and how it’s range is affected by cold weather...and I still am struggling to make a decision on whether to purchase one or not. I’m hoping those that own the car and have long commutes in cold weather (northern New England cold) can share their opinions/experience on the matter.

My situation:
I live in central NH and commute to northern MA each day for work. Total commute is 130 miles per day...all of it at 60-70 mph highway speeds. We get quite a bit of snow each winter, but, I’ll hopefully be working from home on most of these snow days. Our typical winters will have a handful of days where the low can go below 0 degrees, but they are rare. A more typical really cold day may have a low in the single digits and a high in the mid-teens for example. And even more common may be a 15-25 degree range for the night-day temps. As a backup, I can drive my wife’s Honda Odyssey to work if the cold makes the Bolt’s range too much of a concern...but I’d prefer this to only occur a couple times per winter. When the car is at home, it will be in a garage connected to a level 2 charge point. However, at work, there is not a place to plug in at this time, it may happen in the future, but I need to plan for that not being the case.

All that being said, do you think the Bolt will work for my commute?

And one final question, will charging it to 100% often during the winter months harm the batteries...enough so that it would prevent you from buying the car to begin with? (vs. trying to not charge them past 80% as much as possible)

Thank you in advance, your input is greatly appreciated.
 

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My bolt arrives in 2 weeks, just ahead of the start of Ottawa winter (which can stay at -30C for extended periods. I will be posting my experiences here. I plan on keeping it plugged in and pre-conditioning all winter. I have one long drive planned, so we'll see how that shakes out!
 

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Before I read your post Mr Bimmer, I said to myself "cut the EPA range in half, that will be a safe bet for worst case cold weather ops".
EPA combined range is 238mi, so figure worst case bad weather 119mi range. You need 130mi... you may experience some serious range anxiety driving home during terrible weather. Not something anyone wants to go through during a snowstorm.

If you have already decided that you'll WFH or alternate transportation will be available on iffy days then the Bolt should be fine 99% of the time.

Cold weather is really not a problem for EV's, range drops happen when it's cold and you're pushing through snow/slush/slop, fighting a headwind, need the heat on, need the defroster on, need headlights and wipers on, etc.


All-in-all, if I were you... I'd wait it out a bit till we have some decent winter user data on the Bolt under our belts before deciding.
Unfortunately, the Bolt was only available in warmer climate areas last winter when it was introduced and there were hardly any on the road in the JAN/FEB either. so there's just not much data on cold related range loss available yet.
 

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I can't comment on the range in extremely cold weather, but I think you will be fine. Preconditioning in a garage will have you start on a 86% battery on hill-top reserve, the closest thing we have to charge the battery to about 80%. I commute 140 miles each way and have about 70 to 80 miles left after driving over 70 mph 90% of the way. This is with hill-top reserve. If your speed is lower, the range will be better. One recommendation I have is to buy the Bolt with the heated seats and heated steering wheel. You can use those to heat the local area of your cabin and not use the heaters in the car as much. Using that heat is a big drain on the battery.

I would also charge to full capacity on days where it is super cold. No one knows how long the battery will last, but based on the Volt and Tesla I hope we don't have anything to worry about. Active cooling the current generation of lithium ion batteries may allow us to drive 200,000 miles or more before we even get below 90% degradation of the battery. We also have no idea if our battery is actually 60 kWh or is actually larger to allow us to charge to what we believe is 100%.

I love my Bolt for a commuter car! I have over 16,000 miles and need to rotate my tires again. This maintenance schedule is pretty tough to keep up with, just waiting for cars that can auto rotate their own tires.
 

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you'll be fine, but on iffy days take the odyssey - however I think you will develop a keen sense of what the car can and can not do pretty quickly and you'll soon be able to make your own judgments - as others have said you'll be fine 99% of the time.

On the coldest days you can charge to 100%, on days where you don't need max range "hill top reserve" charges the car to 88-90% - which should be fine and is the only choice you have for battery charge percentage with the Bolt.

Also - even an L1 charger at work (normal household plug) at work would be awesome and take the edge off for range and distance and keeping the car conditioned - also there may be public chargers you can use that are on your commute - I've attached a plug-share screen shot that shows chargers the Bolt may be able to use - since I don't know your exact commute I don't know which chargers would be applicable to your situation.

but I think the Bolt will be a fine choice because

1. on days it's not super duper cold/awful the Bolt will do fine (spring/summer/fall)
2. make liberal use of charging/conditioning the car at home prior to departure
3. try and find a normal plug at/near work where you can leave the car plugged in during the work day
4. become familiar with public chargers in your area and have a plan for how to use them on your way home from work
5. use the gas car on the truly awful days and leave the bolt at home for the daily errands

I think some minor planning and awareness on your part is all you'll need - and the Bolt will only be unsuitable a few days a year - but the rest of the year it will easily handle your needs.
 

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One other piece of advice. Don't let your wife drive the Bolt. My wife never drove a car that could accelerate like the Bolt and now she bothers me all the time to take it to work.
 

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If you are itching to get the Bolt, get it .. there is no better way to overcome a temptation than succumbing to it and declaring lasting peace with yourself.

On a regular cold day, I think the Bolt should be able to pull off 160 miles ... that's my guess of course.

On a bad winter day (snowfall and/or poorly plowed roads) you'd drive the Honda

On a terrible winter day you'd, like you said, work from home.

At work, do they have a 240V outlet you can get access to? If yes, you could get yourself a portable EVSE with an appropriate plug and replenish half-battery in about 4 hours.
 

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I think David makes an excellent point about L1 charging. Your Bolt comes equipped with a portable L1 EVSE and I would be shocked if there is not at least a regular plug you could use at your workplace. That would not only keep the battery conditioned, it would give you an extra 20 to 30 miles of juice for the ride home.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Fantastic everyone! This is just exactly the information I needed to make an informed decision of whether to purchase or not. I really appreciate all of your input! I work in a large office park, and the property management has been quiet when asked by my company (on my behalf) if they?d install a EV L2 charge station....unfortunately, I?ve been told to accept their silence as a ?NO?. However, I haven?t yet asked if the property management would provide me with a L1 charge point where I could plug the car in...I was leaving this final request in my back pocket...so it may be time to submit this question. I do understand that the ability to plug in to L1 would solve all of my problems...both for miles gained (about 4 per hour) and for battery conditioning during the cold months.

Thanks again for all of your help!
 

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Leaf battery in winter

I live in Midcoast Maine and drove a 2015 Leaf through 3 winters. At 20F the range dropped to 70% of summer values. (Don't have enough data below 20.) I suspect that the Bolt is even better. The Leaf dropped to 80% at 43F while so far the Bold does not seem to have dropped at all at 43 degrees. I really need more than 2 data points to be sure the conclusion is correct. It had to have dropped some.
 

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Nothing conclusive, but here's my experience so far this winter. I have a weekend commute of 190 miles each way, from northern Vermont to Western Massachussetts. Leased my Bolt in early October, and the first couple of trips in dry 60 degree weather the Bolt made it each time with about 35 or 40 miles left, driving 60 or 65 mph most of the way, sometimes speeding up to 70 mph towards the end when it was clear I had plenty of juice left to make it. But then a week and half ago, drove home through a wind/rain storm in about 40 degrees, and had to blow a lot of heat on the windshield to keep it clear. Tried to charge 3/4 of the way home, but all the chargers where I stopped were occupied, so I slowed to 55 for the rest of the way. I made it, but the emergency reduced power mode kicked in as I rounded the corner on to my home street.

I decided I don't need that kind of drama, and so resolved that for the rest of the cold season (through most of March), I'll just plan to make a pit stop and charge up at least once on each trip, so I'll always have plenty of juice and nothing to worry about. I don't like driving in really bad weather anyway, so I'll try to avoid doing so, perhaps take a train or bus when I can. A zen approach to getting from here to there. Now all I need is DCC fast chargers at every freeway rest stop in the Northeast; then my life would be complete ;)
 

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At work, do they have a 240V outlet you can get access to? If yes, you could get yourself a portable EVSE with an appropriate plug and replenish half-battery in about 4 hours.
Even if you can only get access to a 110 volt outlet at work (where no one will steal your EVSE) you will be fine. You are not looking to add TOO much more range. Rather, just be able to get out all the range that is still in the batts. Let your Level 1 add a few miles (24-30) over 8 hours, but, more importantly, keep the battery conditioned (warm) with grid electrons, not battery electrons! You can even precondition the cabin before entry for the journey home.
 

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A data point for you. Around the Seattle area it's been fairly cold (31F to 36F lows overnight, 40F to 50F highs) with some wet snow thrown in. For my 100 mile commute with net elevation change of 50 ft and elevation variation of 150ft (hilly) and 90 miles at 60+ mph freeway driving in light traffic so I stay at 60mph 3/4 of the time, my range is 190 miles.

Also note for the above commutes, my HVAC is set to 74F, RECIRC, FAN speed 1, blowing air on just my feet. I precondition for 20 minutes before I leave to clear my windows of fog/ice.

I use up 35 kW and get 2.9 mi/kWh by the time I get home.
 
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I live in central Vermont and have had my Bolt since May. While it has been great to enjoy > 4 mi/kWh even into October, I've just recently gotten a sense of the big range reduction that winter in the North Country will bring. My daily commute for work varies, but I frequently drive 80 - 100 miles per day (Montpelier to Burlington area), which shouldn't be a problem even under worst case conditions. I do, however, have a 140 mile round-trip once every two weeks. Fortunately, a little more than half of the drive is on secondary roads, at 50 - 60 mph, so I've been able to make it home with more than 100 mi remaining in summer weather (even while using Hilltop Reserve). Like you, I also have the option of swapping cars with my wife if needed (definitely no arm twisting required, as she loves driving the Bolt). Over the last two days, with temps in the 30s, I've been lucky to get 3 mi/kWh in highway driving at 65 mph. I'm not really counting on more than a 150 mi range (with a full charge) once real winter weather is here, and I'm anticipating quite a bit less under worst case conditions (snow and below zero temps). Those who talk about not using the heat (only using the seat and steering wheel heaters) clearly don't live around here. While I really appreciate heated seats and am glad to have the heated steering wheel in the Bolt, there's no way I'd consider an hour-long commute without cranking up the heat in our winter weather. Given your 130 mile highway commute, my sense is that the availability of the charging option at work may be a key consideration in whether you'd really be able to meet the goal of only needing to use your wife's Odyssey a couple of times per winter rather than a couple of times per week during the worst of winter, without having to resort to uncomfortable driving (being cold or suffering from range anxiety and a slow drive home). I may be overly pessimistic, and I don't yet have real winter range data, but it seems that a conservative approach will serve you well. If you're not in a rush to make your decision, we'll have a lot more real-world data to report fairly soon.
 

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Even if you can only get access to a 110 volt outlet at work (where no one will steal your EVSE) you will be fine. You are not looking to add TOO much more range. Rather, just be able to get out all the range that is still in the batts. Let your Level 1 add a few miles (24-30) over 8 hours, but, more importantly, keep the battery conditioned (warm) with grid electrons, not battery electrons! You can even precondition the cabin before entry for the journey home.
Park your tire on the cord and they can't steal it unless they have a jack :eek:
 

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Those who talk about not using the heat (only using the seat and steering wheel heaters) clearly don't live around here. While I really appreciate heated seats and am glad to have the heated steering wheel in the Bolt, there's no way I'd consider an hour-long commute without cranking up the heat in our winter weather.
You'll still need the heater if you wear a toque and gloves, but you won't need it as much.
 
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