Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner

1 - 20 of 72 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
Bought a very gently used 2017 Bolt LT with fast charging about 6 months ago. I am planning to do my first roadtrip in June, southern Rhode Island to Fredericksburg, VA. I currently have a trip planned, the full distance is 438 miles with the stops I planned on PlugShare. I have 3 stops no more than 133 miles between stops (that stretch is home to first stop so no problem at all even in winter). I have noticed that highway (65-70mph) driving is generally quite a drain on the battery in my use though.

For reference going forwards my route is shown below (exact destination and start omitted for privacy).

My big concern is that my second longest stretch (~120mi) is the Jersey turnpike where going under 70 is flirting with death with the way folks drive. I plan to charge to 80% before getting on my way for that stretch. Is 80% sufficient to go 120mi at 70mph in your experience with AC running gently (72 degrees or higher)? I am just nervous about hitting traffic at the Delaware Memorial bridge or something and having my battery not make it to Maryland where I plan to stop last.

Most of my longer trips have been in winter where my battery struggled to pull off 150 miles of mostly highway (65mph) driving on a full charge, but weather will be nice and warm for this trip so I’m not sure what to expect.
Any input from EV roadtrip vets appreciated!
29374
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Good morning.
I too bought a very gently used 2017 Bolt with fast charging (18k on the odo) only mine was purchased about 9 months ago. Since then i have put 17k of my own miles on it between daily driving and a couple of road trips. My farthest was 700 miles round trip. The bolt can certainly handle the trip you referenced without issue and plugshare is a great resource. You should also check out abetterrouteplanner dot com. Enjoy your trip and stay safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
I drove a similar route last year---Charlottesville Va to western CT. What I learned was that I was too conservative with planning. I could have made fewer stops. I-95 has plenty of charging stations. Using A/C uses nowhere near the electrons that the heater does. Cruise at the speed limit. Hopefully the cops will be out. You might also try "A Better Route Planner" and play around with the speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
You should not have a problem. I regularly drive a work route from Portland, Maine to New Brunswick, New Jersey with a 2017 BOLT. About twice a year I will continue down to Gaithersburg, Maryland. Within 5 miles of I-95 there are at least 90 DCFC chargers on your route as other board members have noted.

Some guidance
  • A quick rule of thumb is to divide the distance you want to go by the number of kWh that you want to spend. That result is the minimum efficiency you need to drive the leg. Here is your example:
    • 117 miles to Maryland House, charged to 80%, will recharge at 15% (your choice of recharge point)
    • (80%-15%)=65% of battery or 65% x 55 kWh ~ 35kWh to spend (note-I assumed a bit of battery aging)
    • 117mi/35kWh ~ 3.4 mi/kWh minimum efficiency (Warm weather at 70mph should not be a problem)
    • Before you leave Molly Pitcher Rest Area, zero your display and watch your efficiency. (Don't panic at 2 miles into the leg; think hard if you are below the requirement at 50% of the leg.)
  • Plan your charge stops in triplets: A target DCFC, one before, and one after. If you are running short of energy, stop at the 'before' charger. If your target charger is occupied, go to the 'after'.
  • Because you are using PlugShare, you probably have hand selected your stops. Try ABRP to get some different ideas. Even the MyChevrolet app does a good job of finding good charging stations a bit off the Interstate.
Have fun, keep social distance, and enjoy the weather.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
I find that every road trip is a bit of a head game. It looks like you're doing way better than you predicted at certain times and then 20 minutes later you wonder how you got so low on juice. But an 80% charge should be plenty to get your 120 miles. If it isn't too hot you can always drop the A/C if you get worried. And hitting traffic isn't all that bad since that will likely drop your speed to one that is more efficient. I find that plotting out some 'just in case' charging stations takes some of the worries out of a trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
You should not have a problem. I regularly drive a work route from Portland, Maine to New Brunswick, New Jersey with a 2017 BOLT. About twice a year I will continue down to Gaithersburg, Maryland. Within 5 miles of I-95 there are at least 90 DCFC chargers on your route as other board members have noted.
Thanks a ton for the super helpful tips, this is great info to have!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
688 Posts
Looks like you are off to a good start. The Bolt is plenty capable of road trips, but it requires planning and patience. I have taken my Bolt from Syracuse NY to Virginia Beach VA a few times - 550 miles each way. That's the longest I've gone so far.

When it comes time to take the trip, stock up on things to do. A good book is a great companion for waiting at a quick charger. Bringing food and making a meal of the stop is also good. Check and see what is nearby - you may need to spend 45-60 minutes at each of these stops. On one regular I take with the family, I hit a Starbucks and McDonald's just before the DCFC. Then the kids eat when we get there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,062 Posts
You should not have a problem. I regularly drive a work route from Portland, Maine to New Brunswick, New Jersey with a 2017 BOLT. About twice a year I will continue down to Gaithersburg, Maryland. Within 5 miles of I-95 there are at least 90 DCFC chargers on your route as other board members have noted.

Some guidance
  • A quick rule of thumb is to divide the distance you want to go by the number of kWh that you want to spend. That result is the minimum efficiency you need to drive the leg. Here is your example:
    • 117 miles to Maryland House, charged to 80%, will recharge at 15% (your choice of recharge point)
    • (80%-15%)=65% of battery or 65% x 55 kWh ~ 35kWh to spend (note-I assumed a bit of battery aging)
    • 117mi/35kWh ~ 3.4 mi/kWh minimum efficiency (Warm weather at 70mph should not be a problem)
    • Before you leave Molly Pitcher Rest Area, zero your display and watch your efficiency. (Don't panic at 2 miles into the leg; think hard if you are below the requirement at 50% of the leg.)
  • Plan your charge stops in triplets: A target DCFC, one before, and one after. If you are running short of energy, stop at the 'before' charger. If your target charger is occupied, go to the 'after'.
  • Because you are using PlugShare, you probably have hand selected your stops. Try ABRP to get some different ideas. Even the MyChevrolet app does a good job of finding good charging stations a bit off the Interstate.
Have fun, keep social distance, and enjoy the weather.
Areas where you need to maintain a certain miles per kWh to make a leg of a trip are the only time the 50 mile running average miles per kWh display on the big screen is useful. I reset it, and you can see how you are doing in 5 mile increments and what your average is since the last re-set up to 50 miles. Personally, if experience showed that you can maintain 3.4 miles per kWh at the speeds you will be traveling I would only charge to 65% instead of 80%... save a lot of time that way. If you plan to "go with traffic" and will be hitting closer to 3.0 miles per kWh then I would go ahead and charge to 80% :D

Keith

PS: I mainly use ABRP to check estimated power use between charging stops that I have chosen in plugshare. ABRP takes into account elevation changes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,239 Posts
A 120-mile gap at 80% battery is pretty easy to do in the Bolt EV, and you'll most likely arrive with about 20% battery left. My heuristic when driving ~75 mph is that each 25% battery represents about 45 miles of driving, so 75% battery should be good for about 135 miles at freeway speeds.

AC doesn't really have much of an impact on range. Outside of obvious winter weather, the two biggest factors you need to account for are elevation and wind. Elevation is easier because you can plan for it ahead of time. Having a net elevation decrease makes trip planning easy. Cresting a mountain isn't a big deal as long as you come back down to a similar elevation as you started. Finishing your journey at a higher elevation requires a bit more planning.

Wind, on the other hand, is something you need to assess while driving. While driving 75 mph in the Bolt EV normally results in about 3.4 to 3.5 mi/kWh efficiency, I've had my efficiency drop to 2.2 to 2.3 mi/kWh when driving 75 mph into a 25+ mph headwind. In fact, wind is the main reason I stopped relying on route plans and route planners. You literally cannot know how it will affect your trip until you're out there.

Outside of that, as a general best practice, try to stretch out your first leg (on a full battery) as far as possible. Doing so reduces the total number of stops you make and decreases the amount of time you spend charging. Traveling with an EV today is a bit of a balancing act, so you'll need to assess your risk appetite as well as how much you value your time. The more you're willing to dip low in your battery (arriving at a charger with 5% to 10% left), the faster your trips will be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
Driving under 70mph is flirting with death. We are a bit exaggerating, are we not?

There are plenty of slow traffics in the slow lane, trucks, trailers, etc. I routinely drive at 65mph during road trips. I am seldom on the fast lane though, and I speed up if I am impeding the flow. My cruising speed for in-town driving is 63mph. Many years now. Haven't seen any middle fingers yet.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
688 Posts
In some parts of the country. FAR from it in all parts - even some that are pretty heavily populated and heavily traveled interstates (like southern Arizona).
Oh absolutely true. But that is no fault of the car. The only fault of the car is the slow “fast charge” rate. Hence the patience.

The OP and I live in the Northeast where coverage leaves a lot to be desired, but you can get most places that people travel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
I really leased my Bolt as an around town commuter, for which it is perfectly suited. If I need to take a road trip, it's likely I'll be pulling my pop-up camper anyway, so the Bolt isn't in that picture, and I'll take my Tacoma. But for what I bought it for, I couldn't be happier with the Bolt and the L2 charger in my garage connected to my solar array. :)

My first and only road trip in the Bolt was getting it from Fontana, CA to Tucson back in March when I picked it up from the dealer. Yeah, that's a head game for sure, especially when the last DCFC station you were planning to use before the long dry stretch is out of service. Range anxiety is a real thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
It doesn't matter if you're mellow or antsy if the last charging station for a very long way is out of service and there's nothing but empty desert between you and the next charger. I had planned to stop in Blythe, CA on my way to the next charger on the west side of Phoenix, in Buckeye, AZ (there being exactly NOTHING in between the two), to find that the Blythe station was (and had been) out of service. I had to stop at the closest one prior to that, which added 70 extra miles to an already dicey proposition. When I got to the one in Buckeye, I had 14 miles left on the meter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
688 Posts
The Bolt is a great car for mellow road trippers.
But it's an awful car for antsy ones...
Yup. Again, the car is capable of the trip (if the infrastructure exists). The driver needs to plan (A, B, and C. Maybe a plan D to be sure). Then you need an abundance of patience. But the car itself will get you there. I’ve proven that to myself and my wife to the point that we are both willing to give up gas completely for another Bolt. I’m mostly waiting to see the EUV in person first but even an EV would do today if I was in the market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,239 Posts
The Bolt is a great car for mellow road trippers.
But it's an awful car for antsy ones...
I frame it a little differently. The Bolt EV is fine for road trippers and travelers. It's not appropriate for cannonball runners. So when considering a Bolt EV (or really, any EV), the person should consider how they travel.

If getting to the final destination as quickly as possible is the only concern, no current EV should be in the running.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
I have friends who are pretty big on saving the earth. And yet they absolutely refuse to slow down. How does it work? My poor pea brain can't process the information. Running they flashy teslas at 70 to 75mph and getting something equivalent to 3.3 miles per kWh or less. How much faster for a 30 min commute? No more than 5 min. Even on a road trip, it is about 10 min for every 100 miles.

I'm doing alright in my crappy bolt. Actually even better in my crappier former spark EV. Kicking butts and saving money. I'm not big on saving the earth though, or I should have been riding a bike or a donkey, or even walking.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,239 Posts
I have friends who are pretty big on saving the earth. And yet they absolutely refuse to slow down. How does it work? My poor pea brain can't process the information. Running they flashy teslas at 70 to 75mph and getting something equivalent to 3.3 miles per kWh or less. How much faster for a 30 min commute? No more than 5 min.

I'm doing alright in my crappy bolt. Actually even better in my crappier former spark EV. Kicking butts and saving money. I'm not big on saving the earth though, or I should have been riding a bike or a donkey, or even walking.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
On long freeway routes, I understand it a bit better. On my typical 70 MPH posted freeway routes, I'll try to go with the flow of traffic, but I have a hard ceiling at the 10% rule (i.e., 77 mph). Even then, I regularly get passed by people doing around 90 mph, and yes, this includes many Tesla drivers. I don't know whether their behaviors changed from owning an ICE vehicle, but my assumption is no.

Ironically, I tended to maintain a slower driving speed in my Volt (rarely if ever over 75 mph), but when you're burning an expensive, non-renewable fuel, it feels more important to conserve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
My cruising speed is 63mph, traffic rules allow. Probably for 6 years, since our 1st EV. Before that I had been doing 65mph in car with gasoline engine. No problem. I stay in the slow lane with the other slow crow Joes. The other guys flying by don't bother me if they stay in their fast lanes. Occasionally they try to promote whatever agendas they have by tailgating me in the slow lane while the other lanes are wide open. Again my poor pea brain hurts whenever I try to understand.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 
1 - 20 of 72 Posts
Top