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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I'm not an owner. In fact, I'm kind of here hoping someone can help me decide if this is a car I should be looking at.

Up until a few days ago, I sort of dismissed the Bolt but now I'm starting to take a harder look. I've never owned an EV, but I've been a long time shopper/researcher and I consider myself fairly informed... however, there's some things that can only be known through experience and I understand that.

Infrastructure isn't that great where I am and on the routes I travel. Until Tesla came along and started building out their SuperCharger network, I couldn't really consider any pure EV. With the SuperCharger network, their models would work for me... but their $100k+ prices didn't. When the 3 was announced, I jumped on board with a reservation, but that keeps getting pushed back (date wise) and up (price wise).

Even though I was aware of the Bolt's range, I still didn't think it was suitable... but maybe I'm wrong there. What I'm really hoping is that there's a member here who has driven the actual route I'm concerned about and if they can confirm if I'd make it comfortably on a full charge. Failing that, perhaps there's someone with similar conditions. The route I'm talking about is Kelowna -> Merritt -> Abbotsford, which I'd like to do with no stops. The distance is 312km (194 miles). So on paper... it works. But the issue is a) the terrain (high, long mountain passes), b) speed (120 kph / 75 mph the whole way), c) temperature (I travel in the winter @ -30c / -22F and summer @ +35c / 95F), and d) loaded (300kg/650lb+ cargo)... all of which wreak havoc on efficiency no matter what I'm driving. With a Tesla I can top up in either Merritt or Hope at the SuperCharger if I have to. For the Bolt? There's a few J1772 chargers in Merritt and Hope and a couple of CHAdeMO DCFC that get very poor ratings. All in all, not much in the way of confidence building that a charger will be working and available when I need it.

My first choice overall is still the Model 3 - I'm sort of in love with that thing. But "Late 2018" is my estimate and that sucks. The price is WAY higher than I wanted (thanks to their mandatory "options"). And... despite my love for it, the utility of a sedan isn't that appealing.

My second choice until this last weekend was the Chevy Volt. No range issues, available now, good price... but on that test drive I discovered just how useless that back seat is! Plus, its still using gas, which I'd like to avoid. I'm still considering it though.

The Bolt may or may not be a contender based on what you guys have to say, but also availability. I've been told I can't get one for at least a year here, although a lot of that was a pressure sales guy trying to get me to buy a 'Vette (I wonder how far those go on a charge?).

Thoughts? Thanks.
 

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See if your dealership is willing to lend you a Bolt for a day long test drive and you can give that route a try. Looking at the numbers alone, you should be able to make the trip in one go.

I know of one other BC owner on here, but jostafew may not be in the Kelowna area.
 

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Hi Steven! Can't comment on your route, but there are a couple of members on the Facebook Canada Chevy Bolt EV Owners Group that have done some distance driving in BC. I don't know if they're on this forum, but you could try getting on that group and asking.

The wait for a new Bolt will be long. It doesn't sound like the sales guy was exaggerating too much about the wait, maybe by a margin of a few months. Funny thing is when I was dropping in on a dealers here in the Toronto area to talk price and availability, one sales manager said he could give me a good price on a Corvette, but just MSRP on the Bolt.
 

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Hi Steven, when I had my ICE car I would take that route from Abbotsford into Kelowna as well, but for the moment you're right the infrastructure (DF FastChargers) isn't there. However, you should be able to do the route through manning park as there are two DC FCs along that route. I live in Abbotsford and my company has a sales branch in Kelowna which I'll likely have to visit in the near future. Also I have family and friends in the Okanogan, so that's the route I plan to take.

I'd suggest taking a look at an app called PlugShare, then selecting the "EV Plug" and "CCS/SAE" plug types. Those are the ones that apply to the Bolt. Specifically for road trips you'll be interested in the "CCS/SAE" which is a Level 3 / DC fast charger, unless of course you're parked somewhere for a long time and can afford to charge more slowly with EV Plug (level 2).

I'm planning to do the Abbotsford to Manning Park run one day just for fun to confirm my range calculations and to see exactly how much the rise in elevation is going to cut into my range. Of course the way back down into the Okanogan valley will be a free ride, but getting up to the summit will take some juice, and will be my longest stretch without a charge.

Good luck, you came to the right place for answers :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
See if your dealership is willing to lend you a Bolt for a day long test drive and you can give that route a try.
Unfortunately, not a chance. The local (crappy) dealer says I can factory order one sight unseen... they won't even "ever" (in his words) have a unit to test drive, let alone take for a day. He also says there were only 4 available for all of 2017 and another 4 for 2018 and all are spoken for. Other dealers - particularly in Vancouver - are more optimistic but I can't see any of them being so generous with a test drive when demand so vastly outstrips supply (mostly due to minuscule allocation by GM). No harm in asking, of course, but I really doubt it.

Facebook Canada Chevy Bolt EV Owners Group
thanks, I'll try that.


The wait for a new Bolt will be long. It doesn't sound like the sales guy was exaggerating too much about the wait, maybe by a margin of a few months.
I actually need to wait until January 2nd to make the deal, but I want to pull the trigger as close to that date as possible. Reason: Incentives. There's a $6k incentive available but not until January. They are limited though, so I will want to jump on it ASAP.

However, you should be able to do the route through manning park
That route can add 3 hours to the trip depending on RV/Truck traffic and/or (frequent) construction. Minimum 1 hour extra. And either way, its still a stop - which I'd really like to avoid in case a charger is down.

Does the Bolt come with Road Side Assistance in Canada? :) Does it include free towing if you run out of juice? If so... lol... COME ON DOWN! Find out the good ol' fashioned "try it" way >:)
 

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That route can add 3 hours to the trip depending on RV/Truck traffic and/or (frequent) construction. Minimum 1 hour extra. And either way, its still a stop - which I'd really like to avoid in case a charger is down.
I can say pretty confidently that you are not going to make it from Kelowna to Abby non-stop via Merritt. Not unless you want to do 80kph the whole way. Cruising along at 120+ will yield a burn rate around 25kW, nevermind running heat if it's anything other than summer travelling. Factor some loss for climbing hills (it's not all regained on the downslope), and some safety factor. 60kWh will not do it. You're going to have to stop at least once. Fortunately on the Manning Park route there are 2 DCFC not too far from eachother so if one is down the other should be available.

With all that being said, I really hope we do get a CCS DCFC in Merritt. Another one in Kamloops would be nice. I'd like to road trip into my hometown Clearwater but it'd be painfully slow with the lack of charging up that way.
 

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I took my Bolt on the first long (over the range of the vehicle) road trip this past week. I will be honest with you and say that I don't think expecting 312km of range at 120kph is going to be reliable for you. For me, I think I would have gotten about 300-320 km (I charged around the 250km mark) travelling at approximately that speed (sometimes slower, sometimes faster) and probably a similar load. My terrain in Ontario is probably flatter than yours. I didn't find DCFC to be a problem for me*, it does add time to your trip however. I would say you almost definitely will not make that trip in the winter without charging.

If you were willing to adjust your driving style - it could work for 3/4 seasons, but I still think you would be stopping to charge in the winter.

remember, you need CCS combo, not Chademo fast charging too. Chev dealers have started adding DCFC at their dealerships and many of them are not actually shown on plugshare type apps, possibly there is a dealer along the way where you could grab a charge?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There's nothing along the way :) Just beautiful scenery.

OK, thanks guys. Knowing I probably can't make it... disappointing, but very helpful. Cheers.
 

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The route I'm talking about is Kelowna -> Merritt -> Abbotsford, which I'd like to do with no stops. The distance is 312km (194 miles). So on paper... it works. But the issue is a) the terrain (high, long mountain passes), b) speed (120 kph / 75 mph the whole way), c) temperature (I travel in the winter @ -30c / -22F and summer @ +35c / 95F), and d) loaded (300kg/650lb+ cargo)... all of which wreak havoc on efficiency no matter what I'm driving. With a Tesla I can top up in either Merritt or Hope at the SuperCharger if I have to. For the Bolt? There's a few J1772 chargers in Merritt and Hope and a couple of CHAdeMO DCFC that get very poor ratings.
The CCS network is being built out across BC, and when I've visited the BC Hydro booth at the auto show and pointed at those holes in their nice EV charger map they've claimed that chargers in Merritt and Hope are coming. There has been a lot of very encouraging progress with new chargers in the past year, but I wouldn't count those particular eggs until they've hatched.

A non-stop winter drive from Kelowna to Abbotsford is wishful thinking, IMHO. Between the grade, the temperatures, and the added drag of any compact snow or slush on the road you're going to need to top up somewhere along the way. Even if you end up not needing to, you'll have to plan for it in your trip to be safe. So you're not really going to be able to do it without those missing charging stations.

I've pretty much resigned myself to plopping down a deposit and getting in line on the order books for a 2018 model and then making my final decision when it arrives in 6 to 8 months. There simply doesn't seem to be any other way to buy a Bolt in Canada.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks.

Am I correct that the CCS charger is an option for USA customers but it is standard for us in Canada? I didn't see it listed as an option, but "DC fast charging" is listed under standard features.
 

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Alright... so... now the big question. Bolt or Volt... or wait for the 3 or suck it up and by an X?

None are ideal. They all have one or more glaring disadvantages that makes me hurt a little inside.

The X... well... that's obvious. Price. Otherwise it ticks all the boxes.
The 3... indefinite wait. High price. Lack of utility (sedan). Otherwise, I love it.
The Volt... Lack of utility and rear seating sucks. Still uses gas. Otherwise, no range issues.
The Bolt... can't... quite... get... there. That problem probably improves over time.

A huge reason I'm buying a new car is that I don't feel comfortable with my family in our current car on that route in the winter. We crashed a few winters ago (nobody hurt) and it constantly feels like its going to break out at any moment with even a little snow (yes, I have quality proper winter tires). Really, I hate my car in the winter. Tesla with the dual motors should be superb. Hows the Chevys?

I don't expect answers to the above... just questions I need to resolve (but feel free to answer if you feel particularly insightful!)
 

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Hows the Chevys?

I don't expect answers to the above... just questions I need to resolve (but feel free to answer if you feel particularly insightful!)
I ran my Bolt in a couple inches of snow when I first got it, running on the stock Michelin energy saver tires. It handled itself surprisingly well. The car is heavy, and the weight is evenly distributed. Add to that full stability control and ABS etc. and it's just fine. I intentionally pushed it around, because that's what you do with a brand new car in the snow, was generally tuned to be pretty docile and hard to upset. Put some winters on it and I'd have no concern about safely taking it over the Coke (Coquihalla). There are other drivers here from back east that will have more winter driving experience than I do.

Regarding the Volt, how often will you need to exceed the range of the Bolt? Is it worth the hit in electric efficiency and added maintenance of having a whole secondary powertrain in addition to the electric one for the occasions when you need to drive more than 300km? If it's not very often I would question whether a range extended hybrid is really worth it. Maybe buy a pure BEV and then fly or rent an ICE car when needed if the very long trips are not very frequent. As you say the need for this supplemental travel will go away in time.

Tesla M3, pretty hard to comment on as we really don't know what it'll cost in Canada, or as you say when it will get here. And dollar for dollar the Bolt will likely get you further on a charge than the M3. Not knocking it, just making a point as it seems range is a key factor here. I respect Tesla for making their cars RWD first, then AWD if you want it. I wish the Bolt was RWD.

If you want to see a Bolt, I'm sure there are some BC owners around you somewhere that could stop by so you can check it out. Not so many in the OK as there were very few allocations out there, but I'm sure something could be arranged if you threw up a new post asking for help.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I got to briefly check out the Bolt in person on Saturday at the Abbotsford Airshow. They had an EV awareness booth with a Bolt there and I got to sit in it, but that was all. The back seat is certainly better than the Volt's, at least.

That back seat notwithstanding, I think the Volt is pretty ideal to my situation. You asked how often I need to exceed the range of the Bolt? Pretty much exactly as often as I'd have to exceed the range of the Volt, or the Leaf or the Smart EV for that matter. Easily 90% of my driving is < 40km in a day. So the Bolt's range is a gross waste in that regard. Its the times I have to go further... which is almost always through the mountains down to the Lower Mainland. My family is in Abbotsford and Vancouver Island. That's only maybe 6-10 times a year, but I don't want to rent/fly for something I'm so accustomed to just driving my car to. The Volt makes it (obviously). The Tesla should make it, but if not there are SuperChargers on the way. The Bolt sounds... iffy to me for this particular scenario. I'd like for it to work. It physically fits my needs better than the Volt (or 3) and I like the styling better than the Volt (but not the 3!) and I am keen to doing away with gas completely... but if I'm considering this as an in-town car, then the Bolt's out anyway because I should get a much less expensive lower-range EV that suits the commute. We are a single-car family and I want to keep it that way. So I'm hoping to settle on a one-size-fits-all solution. Honestly, I know that's the Model X, but the price! Yowza!

I also appreciate value and the Model X doesn't get any incentives. The 3 will get me $5k off, while either Chev will get me $11k off. I really like a discount :)


At this point, I think I'm leaning toward the Volt but I'm still playing with trip planning estimators and spreadsheets to see if the Bolt can make sense.
 

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Hi,

I have no idea if you can make that trip. I'm in a similar position as you here in Ontario as rebates are likely to disappear in 2018 when the Tesla might be available. My advice is to make a trip to Vancouver to a dealership that is open to selling you a Bolt and make a deposit that is refundable and will get you in line at the very least. I have a reservation for a Model 3 and a Bolt. I was leaning towards the Bolt originally but then got totally turned off because of the fact the company really isn't interested in selling me the car and their continued lobbying of gov'ts to reduce emissions. But with the Tesla reveal and the expected pricing and the high probability of losing rebates - I'm back on the Bolt.

Hopefully, you will be able to go gas-free! Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
hmm... just got off the phone with a dealer's resident "expert" on the Bolt. As far as I've been able to tell, the Bolt does *not* have adaptive cruise control available. He said that it *is* part of the Convenience package with the Premier. Is that correct??
 

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I've had my Bolt since April. I live in Chilliwack and commute to Abbotsford daily.
The drive to Kelowna has always been on my mind. My family and I are leaving on Tuesday for Kelowna but I'll be taking the #3 (Hope-Princeton). I know the drive alone will add at least another hour but I'll (hopefully) have the piece of mind of knowing there are a bunch of chargers along the way. Once they add a DCFC in Merritt, that should fill a big hole for people like yourself wanting to take the coque. Another issue is space to pack enough gear for 4 people for 5 days:)
 

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As far as I've been able to tell, the Bolt does *not* have adaptive cruise control available. He said that it *is* part of the Convenience package with the Premier. Is that correct??
It's available on the Premiere model of the Volt, but you have to top it up with other options as well in order to get it.
 
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