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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia! I am very interested in the Bolt, I would like to see current Bolt users opinions on what to expect with an EV/how annoying the trade-offs/sacrifices are. I have a 15 year old 2002 Prius (the first gen model!), which is still in good shape, but it is getting up there in age so I'm intrigued by going all electric.

My commute to work is 18 miles R/T (add 5-6 miles for running errands after work), so I am sure the Bolt is great for commuting. However, my SO and I do like to "get out of the sticks" and drive to Richmond, VA or the Washington, DC area (100/160 miles one way) fairly often to catch a show, go to museums or enjoy the larger variety of restaurants and shopping. So, I was wondering if the Bolt could be used for these kinds of trips with minimal hassle, especially in winter. We often just do these trips as a day trip. Overall, I only drive around 10 K miles per year.

I would like honest opinions/reality check about:

1) Winter heat. I hate hate hate being cold and I do love the hot blast one gets from the ICE heater. I have read tales of EV users driving with the heat off or with blankets, etc. Such an arrangement would be a deal killer for me. Can the Bolt still go 160 miles in 25 F weather at 70-75 mph with the heater at 73-75 F?

2) Electric consumption and heat. The car would be parked in an open carport. In winter, nights in the teens/single digits are common. Factoring in the electricity to pre-heat the cabin to 73 F, will the Bolt's electric consumption then be equivalent to driving a hybrid/compact car?

3) Charging station etiquette. Since we often do these trips as a day trip (especially to closer-by Richmond), what are the "rules" for leaving the car at a charging station while eating dinner/at a show? I see in downtown Richmond there are a few garages with L2 chargers. Would it be OK to leave the car parked at a charger for 4-5 hrs or does one have to interrupt dinner and walk 6 blocks to unplug the car as soon as the battery is full? How accommodating are hotels to allow parking and charging in their lots if one is not an overnight guest (I see most chargers are in hotel garages).

4) Charging station reliability/availability. I see a lot of reports on plugshare of chargers being out of order/a long line. What is it like if that happens and then having to find some out of the way charger in some dark dealership lot and sitting there for a few hours bored and hungry while a few electrons flow back into the battery? Is this really a frequent occurrence?

5) Road trips. We went to Asheville, NC (320 miles) to see the eclipse. From what I can tell, such a trip would not be possible in 1 day from Staunton, VA as there are no DCFC between Roanoke and Asheville (250 miles). Is it reasonable to expect in a few years there to be more fast chargers in rural areas?

6) Road trips and traffic jams. On the way back from the eclipse. We got stuck in a 4-5 hour traffic jam. Waze routed us through ~70 miles of rural roads, and then those became all blocked up too. It was hot and we had to run the a/c. What would be the reality of taking the Bolt on a road trip during holidays, etc?

7) Build quality. From what I can read here, the Bolt is a well made car, but I still have painful memories of crappy GM built cars in the 90s and early 00s that needed to go in the shop at least 2x per year. SO had a Chevy Aveo back in the day that was made of tin foil and everything started rattling and shaking after 2 years. By contrast, my SO's old Civic, my old Corolla and my current Prius asked for very little in terms of repairs. From what I can tell from discussions here, the Bolt is an economy car with lots of cheap plastic parts, so while the battery may last 10 years, will the doors and wheels be falling off even before that date is reached? Or, can GM build quality be compared with Toyota now?

Thanks for reading and any feedback. I am debating whether I may be better off just waiting a few more years until the EV technology matures and and buying a Honda Fit instead, especially since I don't drive that much to begin with. :)
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