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Overall Range

One of our latest members, @discodanman45, is among the many that have been reporting their experience with range, after putting on a reasonable amount of mileage. These go beyond just reporting numbers, instead entire experiences owners and/or potential owners will find real value in.

I decided to get a Chevy Bolt when my Hybrid started to give me trouble. I have a 130 mile round trip commute that is ALL highway, which I will discuss in my review. There is a chargepoint charger at work that charges $0.15 per kWhr and I don't have a level 2 charger at home yet... I bought the standard model, dark grey, heated steering wheel and seats, with driver assist package.

I get anywhere from 180 - 260 miles per charge during my commute. I have been shocked by this variance in mileage. The car gets horrible mileage in cold weather when I run my heater. I also have to drive 70 mph for the majority of my commute which is the posted speed limit. The aerodynamics for this car is horrific, I think a brick on wheels would have the same drag coefficient. Whenever I hit slow traffic my mileage is much, much higher. I once hit horrible traffic on the way home during a 72 degree day that no air conditioning was required. I made it home on 12.8 kWhr for 65 miles.

I am satisfied with the purchase, but not really happy. It is a commute car for me, but on long trips I will use my Ford Explorer. I will put on 20,000 miles a year on the car, so I will be able to give feedback on the battery life. The reason I purchased the car is really for the subsidies and wanting to reduce my emissions in the Central Valley driving 20,000 miles a year for work. I get to max out on the following subsidies 7500 federal, 3000 Valley Air, 2500 Cali, and 500 PGE makes this car about the same price as a Prius. It is a fun car to drive and not worrying about smog checks and oil changes will be a nice bonus. This car would be a perfect fit for someone in the city. You could get 300 miles per charge no problem in good weather and the acceleration is surprisingly fun!
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Cold Weather Range

Range in extreme weather conditions has always been a concern with EV owners for obvious reasons but. If this concerns you then joining discussions like this is where you want to be. Fortunately we have Volt owners like @bxd20 and @jimmyspeed speaking from experience.

Hi CBWN12,

The lowest temp I've driven our Bolt in is approximately 30 degrees F, and it did fine. That being said, your temps of -30 (I assume this in F, not C) appear very extreme for any battery. I've attached a screenshot of a screen from the MyChevrolet app that works with the Bolt. The Bolt will actually send you a text message if it thinks it will be immobilized due to incoming cold weather. That's a sign that it probably won't work in your -30F temps. Hopefully someone else has more precise cold weather feedback for you.
Quote:
Do not allow the vehicle to remain in
temperature extremes for long
periods without being driven or
plugged in. It is recommended that
the vehicle be plugged in when
temperatures are below 0 °C (32 °F)

and above 32 °C (90 °F) to
maximize high voltage battery life.
From pg 231 of the owners manual
From pg 231 of the owners manual
I found on another forum 'mychevybolt' that Chevy Customer Care has confirmed that there wouldn't be any issues with leaving the vehicle unplugged in very cold temperatures, unless repeated doing so below -40F/C. That said, I still plan to plug in as per the owners manual.

I should note that this context is just overnight though, not for a week at a time or anything like that - I'm not sure what constitutes an "extended period of time".
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Charging Stations

@bro1999 is a familiar face around here and once again shares his valuable experience, this time about EVgo. Its not looking good and other Bolt owners are reporting similar experiences. More about that story here.

I decided to sign up for an EVgo plan after I got my Bolt, as even though I wouldn?t be fast charging that often, I still wanted to have an active membership with them to avoid potential headaches down the road.

EVgo has 2 fast charging plans (at least in the MD area) that make sense to Bolt owners: the ?Flex? plan (no monthly fee, $4.95 connection fee per charge session, 20 cents/min. $4.95 initial setup fee) and the ?On the Go? plan (no setup fee, $14.95 monthly subscription fee, no connection fees, 10 cents/min, 12 month agreement required).

I signed up for the Flex plan initially, as I figured that would save me money over the long run. I charged twice the first month I had my EVgo membership at $10.95 a pop ($4.95 connection fee + 30 min * 10 cents). As EVgo does not offer an app to manage billing/charging like Chargepoint does (wtf??), you have to rely on a monthly summary being emailed to you at the end of each month (and hope they didn?t make a mistake?more on that later). My bill for the first month was $21.90. Per kWh, that is......not good.


I then took another look at the On the Go (OTG) plan, and realized that if I charged just twice a month, the OTG plan would actually be cheaper on a monthly basis, since 30 minute charge sessions would only cost $3 ($14.95 + 3 * 2 = $20.95). Once I realized I only had to charge twice a month to save money over the Flex plan, I submitted a request to switch my plan to OTG. I charged twice using the local EVgo station after submitting my plan change request online (and after I received an email saying my account had been successfully updated.

I called up EVgo a couple of days ago to make sure everything was good with my account. I told the CSR that I wanted to confirm my account had been switched to the OTG plan, as I received a confirmation email stating such. The CSR told me that had no record of such a request being received, and that my plan was still on the Flex plan.
I told him I received a confirmation email, but he could not find anything in his systems.

I told him to go ahead and switch my plan to OTG and to make sure it was retroactive to the beginning of the billing month, and he said he could do that. I then asked him if I could be sent a 2nd RFID card, so that I could have a 2nd one for my wife to use. The CSR said that due to limitations with their systems, only 1 card could be linked to an account, and that she would need to open and pay for her own account.
I was like ?OK, forget it then.?

So, to summarize:

The Good:


  • station availability (both locations and operational status)
The Bad:


  • antiquated systems (no standalone app for real-time charge/billing tracking?? Not even a website?? Nothing but a single end of month summary that doesn't even list how many kWh were dispensed?? What is this, 1995?)
    Pricing if you don't sign up for the OTG plan ($10.95 sessions)
The Ugly ? none yet personally, but I?ve heard horror stories of people having to wait days or even weeks to have a billing issue resolved. That would definitely qualify as ugly.
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Maximum Charge Settings

Drilling down on what gets the most power is important for almost any EV owner. So far there's 3 pages of feedback from owners discussing how they improved charge capacity and figured out what works. For any current or future Bolt owner, this will be one of the most important topics discussed.

Hello,
I have a JuiceBox 75Amp charger and noticed the Bolt is charging at 30 MPH on the charger, which is fine. I charge during Edison TOU settings and start at 10:00 PM and the car is ready at 05:00 AM when I leave for work the next day. I use a little over a half charge each day (maybe a bar or two into the third bank of batts). I was curious about my settings and checked with JuiceBox. Here is their reply:

"Taking a look at your charge session, it looks like the Bolt is charging at about 25.6 amps. The Bolt is capable of 31 amps while charging, and you may have the car or circuit limited?

In any case, the Bolt will only charge at it's max charge rate based on it's onboard charger, in this case 30-32 amps, or 7.4kW rate.

The Juicebox will only give the car what it asks for, and limits only come from the JuiceBox if you have it dialed down either via the app (which from what I can see you do not) or the trimpot on the board inside."


Does anyone know where to max out the charge capabilities on the car? I see a setting on the dash that says either 8 or 12 Amp but that's about it.
Thanks
DAVE
I went from 21% to 60% SOC in 30 minutes using a 50 kW EVGo fast charger. Added 76 miles of estimated range.
 

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It seems as if the first Bolt EV owner posted here was expecting a "wonder car". All cars get bad MPG or EV range if you drive fast. Even if the speed limit was higher, you must drive slower if you want better range, be it a BEV, a hybrid, or a gas only car. I drove a 1995 Buick Regal (with a 3.8 L V6) for 21 years. The GM posted EPA rating was only 18 MPG. But careful driving at slower speeds (not hypermiling) and two engine modifications allowed me to improve the MPG up to 22 MPG (a 22% improvement) and the Regal was sold to a second owner in excellent conditions.

As for cold weather range, your range will only be the best if you move south and prevent cold weather all year. So if you don't like how the Bolt EV is giving you less range than expected, the problem isn't the EV, but the driver.
 

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It seems as if the first Bolt EV owner posted here was expecting a "wonder car". All cars get bad MPG or EV range if you drive fast.
I think we will see a lot of complaints like this soon. People that have never owned an EV before (like myself) will be coming to the Bolt and they have never even tried to track their performance in their old cars. Very, very few people track how many miles they get to tank of gas every single fill up. They don't need to, they just pull into a gas station and fill up.

Suddenly with a Bolt they don't have this vast safety net of gas stations. Suddenly every single little detail of their power usage is laid out in front of them. For the first time they find that hills, fast driving, headwinds, using the heater, all have consequences. Driving becomes more analytical and technique.

I'm a pilot, so I'm used to thinking in terms of range and fuel burn, but nearly everyone else is not... until they get a BEV. It would be really nice if it worked kind of like you assume from advertising where you start your day with 230 miles showing, then calculate the distance you will travel that day and by simple subtraction know the reserve you'll have. Unfortunately there are so many variables that that may, or may not really be accurate. It's the uncertainty that freaks people out.

This is a personal example of the dilemma. My best friend lives up in Sacramento and it's an 85 mile trip. That's 170 miles round trip, so if my meter reads 230 miles when I leave my house, that would suggest I have a 60 mile buffer. However, there are so many variables that I don't feel comfortable making this trip with the wife because if we have to go find some place to go charge for an hour just to make it home, she will not be a happy camper. If I do take the Bolt up there, my current plan is to stay the night and use the L1 charger just to be safe.
 

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I recently did a trip from Pacifica to Lodi and back. 96 miles one way. When I left home I had 200 miles of range. When I got there, I had 104 miles of range left. I was doing 70+ and using the A/C the whole way. I had enough to get home with about 8 miles to spare. I had done my research ahead of time and knew that I could get a fast charge in a number of places on the way back. I was planning on trying to get home on that single charge, but with 37 miles left to go, and 42 miles of range, I got hungry and ended up stopping to get food and ended up getting a charge in Lafayette. As stated above, I went from 42 miles of range to 118. By the time I got home, I had only used 34 miles of that range, so I could have made it home on that single charge, but I would've been white-knuckling it for the last 10 or so miles.

I think a 170 mile round trip to Sacramento and back is easily doable if you have 230 miles of range showing. The 60 mile buffer is more than enough to take into account any potential issues. The key to making that trip work is to do a little bit of pre-planning ahead of time to find out where the DC fast chargers are along your route back home just in case something really unexpected happens. If you think you have less than a 30 mile buffer on your return trip, then locate where the fast chargers are and plan on a 30-minute stop along the way...
 
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The trend bars on the distance remaining gauge tell you if your current driving style is doing better or worse than the middle number. If the middle number is enough to get you home and you aren't driving with the trend bar extending below it, then you will be fine. This is true if you are 100 miles from home, or 25.

While the distance remaining is just an estimate, the trend bars give you an idea of how good that estimate is. The trend bars provide extremely valuable information. You can always find some combination of slowing down and reducing the climate control load to keep the trend bars from extending below the middle estimate.

Ed
 

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If the middle number is enough to get you home and you aren't driving with the trend bar extending below it, then you will be fine. This is true if you are 100 miles from home, or 25.
That's dangerous advice - it's a lot more dubious at 100 miles from home because there's still lots of time for adverse conditions to send that trend bar south. The trend bar is useful, but it doesn't know whether the last 20 miles of your trip are up a 5,000 foot mountain or not.
 

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If the middle number is enough to get you home and you aren't driving with the trend bar extending below it, then you will be fine. This is true if you are 100 miles from home, or 25.
That's dangerous advice - it's a lot more dubious at 100 miles from home because there's still lots of time for adverse conditions to send that trend bar south. The trend bar is useful, but it doesn't know whether the last 20 miles of your trip are up a 5,000 foot mountain or not.
However, if you operate the vehicle such that you never let the trend bar go south, you will achieve the distance. You may have to drive quite slowly up that 5000 foot mountain, with the climate control turned off, but if you keep the trend bar out of the south, you will be fine.

Of course this assumes your entire trip before this point isn't down hill with gravity as your motive force and the climate control turned off.

The estimate is based on your driving history, not your future pattern. However, you do know your future driving pattern, especially if you live 5000 feet up a mountain. You may decide, based on this information, that you should keep the trend bar heading north. N.B. This will also adjust the estimate higher making it increasingly more difficult to keep the trend bar heading north. But if the estimate was high enough when you started, you will be just fine.

I believe the original poster was planning on driving the Bolt in normal traffic conditions on an out and back trip over relatively flat terrain. I think the trend bar advice works well in this situation.

I did a similar drive (Fremont, CA to Sacramento, CA) a couple months ago. The round trip was 210 miles over a couple 1000 foot passes). According to the cars instrumentation, I used 53KWH. That meant I had about 30 miles left driving at the same average efficiency.

I'm pretty sure the original poster's trip is well within reason, simply by keeping the trend bar from going south. The proof is left to the original poster.

Ed
 

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The Chevy Bolt will be our first EV, and my wife and I are excited to finally get it. In fact, so are the kids. We are already aware that we need to change our driving habits. The biggest stumbling block I think for any EV is the fact that owners and drivers now actually have to think before/while they drive. I'm a pilot as well, and pre-flight, in-flight, post flight checks/planning etc etc are engrained into our training. Every time we even think about going flying, the planning begins. That doesn't happen in automobiles. With GPS's so ubiquitous in our culture, even that has minimized travel planning in cars. Need gas? Meh. GPS will tell me where the stations are. Most ICE driver's just point their cars and go. Take your average ICE driver, tell them that with EV's there's a lot more thought process that goes into their trips and most will tell you 'No thanks'. While flying there are procedures to maximize range. Same with EV's. You have to think in order to accomplish those tasks. Why do you think Tesla's AutoPilot feature is so popular - it takes more of the thinking out of driving. With good planning and proper on-the-road range maintenance, most driver's should be able to do anything they set their mind to. They just need to think before they act. Set up the optimal conditions within their control to achieve max range. Climbing a 5000' mountain? Maybe turn off the heat or AC during the climb.
 

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However, if you operate the vehicle such that you never let the trend bar go south, you will achieve the distance. You may have to drive quite slowly up that 5000 foot mountain, with the climate control turned off, but if you keep the trend bar out of the south, you will be fine.
OK, I hear what you're saying. But I doubt you'd be able to keep the trend bar in positive territory going up any kind of decent grade. And you may still run into conditions like thunderstorms that leave standing water on the road that would be similarly challenging.

So yeah, pay attention to the trend bar, but use your head too.
 

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Every time we even think about going flying, the planning begins. That doesn't happen in automobiles.
Totally agree. Even for routine flights that you've done many times in the past you still need to be aware of enroute weather and winds aloft. And then there's the adage that my flight instructor impressed upon me: the weather isn't what's written down on the forecast - it's what you see when you look through the windshield.

For me one of the Bolt's biggest benefits is that it brings a "carefree" driving to anything I can conceivably do around town on a regular basis. That kind of "no worries" driving experience wasn't really there with the 100-mile class EVs.

But the range, charging availability and charging speed isn't there yet for longer trips. You can do them, but you need to plan and be willing to live with limitations. I hope that a decade from now these kind of concerns will seem quaint.
 

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If you use the regenerative breaking all the time, stay below 65 mph, and avoid using A/C all the time, you will get really good range.
 

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I think we will see a lot of complaints like this soon...

I'm a pilot, so I'm used to thinking in terms of range and fuel burn, but nearly everyone else is not... until they get a BEV. It would be really nice if it worked kind of like you assume from advertising where you start your day with 230 miles showing, then calculate the distance you will travel that day and by simple subtraction know the reserve you'll have. Unfortunately there are so many variables that that may, or may not really be accurate. It's the uncertainty that freaks people out....
Well said. I'm a pilot too, and it always amazes me how little people think about trips.
 

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This weekend we made our longest trip thusfar. The destination where I was giving a lecture was 240 miles distant and 3000 feet higher in elevation. Fully charged from home, we drove on the interstate for 155 miles @60 mph and minimal A/C (set at 74 degrees). We stopped for lunch at a State Park (145 miles in) and charged (free) for one hour, adding 30 "peace-of-mind" miles. We left the interstate for the last 85 miles, crossing several "mountain" ridges. We were down to 30 miles exp. at 20 miles from the destination, but gained 10 miles going down the last mountain. We arrived with 50 max/42 exp/34 min miles "in the tank".

For the trip over, we recorded data at 15 minute intervals (plus when conditions changed significantly, when stopping for charge and after charging), including: time, trip odometer, ave. mi/kWh, max. range, exp. range, min. range, cruise control setting (on interstate only), outside temp., A/C setting, and energy used. We had used 57.4 kW on arrival. The average mi/kWh was 4.3 for the interstate and 4.0-4.1 for the mountains. OAT started at 82 and peaked at 88.

At our destination was only a NEMA 14-50 outlet on a 40 amp circuit (NO charging stations within 80 miles). We brought our Siemens VersiCharge (NEMA 6-50) and a short, high-gauge cable (6-50 receptacle to 14-50 plug) made for $30. We charged to full in 10 hours. We drove (twice, 22 miles one-way) to the bed & breakfast where they housed us. On Sunday am, we charged back up to 224 miles and left. We again added 25 free miles at the same Resort.

We were fairly confident of our estimates (and gaining the energy from descending that 3000 feet) so we used more A/C. We arrived with 23 miles "in the cells". By 1:45 am, I should again be fully charged.

Next week's trip begins with 220 miles of "Level 2 only" pm driving until a DCFC at the enroute motel. Then 180 miles of am driving with multiple DCFCs no further than 60 miles apart to our final destination. Done with planning, the Bolt CAN be a travelling as well as a commuting EV.
 

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Well said. I'm a pilot too, and it always amazes me how little people think about trips.
I'm also a pilot, so trip planning is second nature... but it seems to annoy my wife and pax when they see me checking the trip odo and elapsed time vs. fuel burn (or in the case of the Bolt electron burn :D ).
It was drilled in to me as a student pilot to continuously scan all the gauges during flight. As a matter of fact... one of the flight instructors used to covertly pull a circuit breaker that would kill some of the instruments in flight... he would then time how long it took you to notice the non-working instrumentation! You quickly got in the habit of scanning all the instruments all the time!

Up to now, regular ICE drivers only had to worry about fuel consumption on trips when the needle hits 1/4 tank or less because then next gas station is never really more than a few miles away. Moving to a BEV will present a whole new set of challenges for some individuals it seems :eek:
 

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Well said. I'm a pilot too, and it always amazes me how little people think about trips.
The range of most ICE cars is so good and the wide spread availability of gas stations makes it easy to not give any thought to your trip. Just jump in the car and go. If it turns out you need gas, just stop somewhere and get some.

BTW, welcome to the forums fellow aviator!!
 

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Thanks. Test drove an LT last week and was instantly hooked. We take delivery of the car after I get back from my end-of-the-month trip. Neat little car.
 

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3.1 vs. 4.0 miles per kW

If you use the regenerative breaking all the time, stay below 65 mph, and avoid using A/C all the time, you will get really good range.
Just to reinforce this comment - drove from metro Boston area to the Berkshires this weekend. We were running late and had a bike on the back of the car using a trailer hitch Allen rack.

Drove most of the way out, due to tardiness leaving house, at 72-75 mph, A/C at 1 or 2. Only got 3.1 miles per KW. In general Western Mass is a bit higher than Boston too, so while the Mass Pike can be a bit hilly the overall gain in altitude was only 650 feet.

When we got there, turned out we did not have a adapter for their 240V circuit plug and so charged using GM 120V charger or my JuiceBox 40 Pro with a 120->240 adapter. So we had a touch of range anxiety, having used 43.8 kW.

Return trip drove at 65mph with A/C at same setting. Also took front wheel off bike and attached it to the bike carrier so it was in the central line of the car, rather than sticking out to the right. Halfway back it was clear our mileage was much much better and upped the average speed to 68 with jags higher to get around bad drivers on the road (July 4th).

Got 4 miles per KW and am sure could have gotten 4.1-4.2 had I kept speed at 65 mph throughout.
Will go to bicycle threads, but I think that while rear racks are better aerodynamically than roof racks, there is still a substantive hit to be taken if you are carrying a bike.

I'll try to provide some data for the thread on the bike issue in the future.
 

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Can't road trip in a Bolt? Psssssh, I did this in less than 3 days. Mostly highway speeds at 70mph to boot.
I think some people are just poor planners and haven`t thought through in what ways it CAN be practical, but that happens easily given the types of vehicles people are coming from, cant blame 'em.
 

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Can't road trip in a Bolt? Psssssh, I did this in less than 3 days. Mostly highway speeds at 70mph to boot.
Don't tell that to Ken/Brad on GCR/Electrek. He won't believe you...
 
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