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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm hoping to get some input from the Forum members. I'm close to pulling the trigger on a Bolt LT. I've test driven both the Premiere and the LT. But my concern is my commute, which is a 175-mile round trip of mixed travel from fast, open back country roads (central Virginia - elevation and directional changes), to dual lane rural highway, then about 25 miles of urban stop and go. All that is just one way to work, with the opposite coming back home. No ability to charge at work, so I'll have to make the whole run on one charge.

I currently use a 2006 BMW 325i for the commute and average 27 MPG. On the fueleconomy.gov site you can personalize your use to figure out what your expected real MPG is based on a mix of the EPA highway/city ratings for your car. You can compare any of 4 cars against each other on the website. So matching up my BMW 325i to a Bolt and configuring the personalization (you just adjust the percentage of stop and go miles) to get a 26 MPG estimate for the BMW, the Bolt comes back with a 221 mile total range and an MPGe of 112. The range estimate leaves me about 45 miles of margin. I'm assuming the 112 MPGe is based off of the EPA EV range test, which keeps a comfortable cabin temperature and driver environment. With the understanding that seasonal temperatures and weather affect the total range of an EV, I was wondering what you guys thought. My concern with my EV range modeling using the fueleconomy site personalization is it is tailored for ICE and not EV where stop and go would improve EV range. I have to set the personalization at 10% stop and go to get the BMW at 26 MPG, where as the rear percentage of stop and go is about 25%.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Based on my experience you have a solid 220 miles of range with a fully charged bolt - however this is close to the limit - but you can always extend an ev's range with some modest reduction in speed and optimization of regen braking - also you might find there are more charging options than you realize once you look around. However if you do get a bolt you will need a solid 9 hours each day to make sure it's charged for the next days use - you will need to install a 240 volt 32 amp charger on a 40 amp circuit to use the car on back to back days...

It will be tight but once you get in the groove you'll be able to easily make the trip.
 

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According to plug share there is a good smattering of chargers in Virginia both fast and L2 chargers that maybe accesseable to you for days when you need a boost

Recommend you check out the plug share app and see for yourself - 30 min at a fast charger will give 90 miles should you need it!
 

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Beware of colder temps. I've not got enough data to help, but I have seen a significant improvement as Spring warms up.
 

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It's going to be close. If it's cold really close. I drive in Nebraska 130 miles round trip. When it's been below freezing the GOM is around 160-180. It's been getting warmer (50-70)and I am getting 190-210. I drive 20 min city commute then 23 min on interstate at 75-80. Then another city commute 20 min. Each way I use 21kwh so about 1/3 of a tank. Hope this information helps you out.
 

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the stop and go driving will greatly help your range - if you drive it modestly
country roads is 65mph? highway 75mph?
you might have to adjust your driving habits depending on conditions. definitely get the heated seat and wheel to keep energy use down.
most of my driving is at high speeds and normally "i don't care" about the consumption/range - and I have yet to be under 3miles/kw = 180 range


I think it's very doable - the charging turnaround might be an issue? also are you sure you can't even "trickle charge" at work that would give you an extra 8-12kw as a cushion
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
the stop and go driving will greatly help your range - if you drive it modestly
country roads is 65mph? highway 75mph?
you might have to adjust your driving habits depending on conditions. definitely get the heated seat and wheel to keep energy use down.
most of my driving is at high speeds and normally "i don't care" about the consumption/range - and I have yet to be under 3miles/kw = 180 range


I think it's very doable - the charging turnaround might be an issue? also are you sure you can't even "trickle charge" at work that would give you an extra 8-12kw as a cushion
The turnaround charging at home is not an issue because I'll install a Level 2 EVSE at home.

My average speed per tank for the whole trip, depending on traffic, is anywhere between 45 - 51 MPH. 16 miles is back country roads with elevation changes. 1 mile from the house I cross over a 1,000 foot mountain it's about a 500 foot climb in just a mile; it's a more gradual drop on the other side, and I'd say one could average 50 MPH - 11 miles of that 16 is a two-lane 55 MPH road. The next 26 miles is 55 MPH divided dual-lane highway, the police keep you in check at 65 - 70 MPH - all of this miles with no traffic. Then a small town, light traffic, 3 miles, then another 8 miles of dual lane divided highway with a constant elevation change of maybe 3% rise. Then Route 66 in Northern Virginia, with the first 10 miles of 80-plus MPH (and that's the low-end speed in the right lane). Then 17 miles of heavy stop and go (most times).

The idea behind a Bolt is to get a better car for the heavy traffic part. Better car means more fuel efficient and an easier drive. The BMW is a manual trans (I'm old school) and sitting in traffic with a manual is not my issue, because shifting and clutch work is second nature for me; but the trick is to leave a 1-car cushion between you and the car in front to let the clutch fully out, but most people don't realize you're in a manual car and don't understand the cushion, so you constantly get other drivers stuffing their car in front of you. What I found about EVs is the 1-speed transmission/motor torque pretty much acts like a properly-driven manual transmission car, where it is always in the "correct" gear. Sadly, manual transmissions are a dying breed, but 1-speed EVs are here to save the day IMO. All of this so I can get home earlier in the day rather than wait until traffic clears to get at least one leg of the round trip not in heavy traffic.

The idea NOT behind the Bolt is the need for a 30 minute, 90-mile top off at a DC fast charger, because the commute now is already 1 hour and 50 minutes typical. I've checked the garage at work for 120V plugs, but there are none. Before we moved a year ago to a new building, the old building had just installed two EVSE's... Grrrr. I spoke with the new building facilities guys and to get 208V- 240V power to the garage requires trenching. My new company (not employee friendly - they bought us, then moved us) I doubt would spend the money to install an EVSE in the garage.

Thanks to everyone for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Beware of colder temps. I've not got enough data to help, but I have seen a significant improvement as Spring warms up.
Yeah, winter mileage is my main concern. The car sales guy will not tell you the truth and GM probably knows the exact effect of cold weather driving down to the degree, but doesn't want to publish such information...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
And I do want to say to you people smart/brave enough to be first adopters of the Bolt, my two test drives leave me highly impressed with the Bolt and GM's execution of it. GM did masterfully with the 1st gen Volt, and the 2nd gen Volt seems to be no less of a great car. I expect the same from the Bolt.
 

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I think you can do it, but I'm not sure. I have a 160 mile round trip commute, which is primarily freeway miles with some stop and go traffic for the last 10-20 miles. In general I have about 70 estimated miles left when I get home, sometimes a little less (if cold and rainy). However, I am in a much warmer climate than you- commuting to Sacramento from the Bay Area in California. I drive about max 70 mph. We did have some cold temps and lots of rain this winter but it's still not perfectly comparable as really cold temps do drive down the range significantly it seems.

I have access to charging at work but have never felt like I needed to use it. I do want to reiterate what someone else said- that your stop and go miles will help you- I generally have the same estimated mileage left when I arrive at my destination that I had about 20 miles out due to regen and slower speeds in traffic. Who would have thought traffic had a purpose? Good luck with your decision, they are great cars.
 

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Efthrreoh,

Manual transmissions and clutches are a dying breed because the gas engine (ICE in EV terms) is also dying. Mechanically it is highly inefficient because the engine has to keep turning at a minimum RPM (due to its internal heat source from burning gasoline) at stopped or slow speeds or else it will "die". Steam engines, using an external heat source, can run at almost a standstill or zero RPM (watch a steam locomotive engine in real life or in a documentary/movie) and need no transmissions or clutches. That is how the old and large steam ships and submarines run: their heat source is external (fuel or nuclear power) and their heat power is transfered by a liquid transport.

The electric motor is more simple than a steam engine, and run in a similar way, because it develops torque at zero RPM. The electrical energy source is much more cleaner and more compact, so it will continue to displace the gas engine. "Refueling" or recharging the battery is where the electric motor is still limited, but as newer and faster charging systems are developed (DC charging is one step), we will soon see the gas engine as another museum piece next to the steam engine. And your left foot can finally rest!
 

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I agree with the comments above about temperature. I live in relatively balmy bay area, but I see the mileage per kWh improving from January (about 3.8) to (4.4) in March. I can only attribute that to a difference in average temperature of 10 or so degrees. OK, I do use the regen paddle to slow down and or stop, stay light on accelerating and don't get above 70 much. One of the big efficiencies of the electric motor/battery is the energy recovery, especially if you live at the top of a hill.
 

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Unless you have another vehicle you can take in the winter, the Bolt is probably not a good choice. Virginia gets COLD. Throw in the steep climb and snowy/wet roads and there will be days where you will not have enough range for the round trip.

If you are willing to run it with no heat and drop your speeds by 10-15 mph, you could make it on most days, but those rare near-zero degree days will still leave you a little short.

Unless you can get some way to charge at work (120 V might do it), there are days you will need to stop and top off (or go to lunch somewhere near a DCFC).

The Bolt will work round trip probably 95% of the time. If that is good enough, then by all means go for it. Another consideration is degradation over time. It is still a complete unknown on the Bolt. It is almost certain that you will have less range over time, and in a year or two, it will likely drop to working for you <90% of the time.

To do 175 miles EVERY time (winter or summer) you should likely be looking for something pretty darn close to 300 miles of range.
 

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I agree with the comments above about temperature. I live in relatively balmy bay area, but I see the mileage per kWh improving from January (about 3.8) to (4.4) in March. I can only attribute that to a difference in average temperature of 10 or so degrees. OK, I do use the regen paddle to slow down and or stop, stay light on accelerating and don't get above 70 much. One of the big efficiencies of the electric motor/battery is the energy recovery, especially if you live at the top of a hill.
The temp absolutely makes a big difference in the ability of the battery to do the job.
During the warmer months, especially during the summer, I had no problem getting from home to work in my C-Max. 19 mile drive, theoretical 19 mile range.
In the winter (here in VA, where it can get down to 20 or lower a lot of the time) I'd get close but end up running on gas for at least a mile or more. No way to stretch it. Cold hurts. Having the car sit in the cold (waiting for the trip home after work) also hurts as the car uses power to keep the battery temp up.
 

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The turnaround charging at home is not an issue because I'll install a Level 2 EVSE at home.

My average speed per tank for the whole trip, depending on traffic, is anywhere between 45 - 51 MPH. 16 miles is back country roads with elevation changes. 1 mile from the house I cross over a 1,000 foot mountain it's about a 500 foot climb in just a mile; it's a more gradual drop on the other side, and I'd say one could average 50 MPH - 11 miles of that 16 is a two-lane 55 MPH road. The next 26 miles is 55 MPH divided dual-lane highway, the police keep you in check at 65 - 70 MPH - all of this miles with no traffic. Then a small town, light traffic, 3 miles, then another 8 miles of dual lane divided highway with a constant elevation change of maybe 3% rise. Then Route 66 in Northern Virginia, with the first 10 miles of 80-plus MPH (and that's the low-end speed in the right lane). Then 17 miles of heavy stop and go (most times).

The idea behind a Bolt is to get a better car for the heavy traffic part. Better car means more fuel efficient and an easier drive. The BMW is a manual trans (I'm old school) and sitting in traffic with a manual is not my issue, because shifting and clutch work is second nature for me; but the trick is to leave a 1-car cushion between you and the car in front to let the clutch fully out, but most people don't realize you're in a manual car and don't understand the cushion, so you constantly get other drivers stuffing their car in front of you. What I found about EVs is the 1-speed transmission/motor torque pretty much acts like a properly-driven manual transmission car, where it is always in the "correct" gear. Sadly, manual transmissions are a dying breed, but 1-speed EVs are here to save the day IMO. All of this so I can get home earlier in the day rather than wait until traffic clears to get at least one leg of the round trip not in heavy traffic.

The idea NOT behind the Bolt is the need for a 30 minute, 90-mile top off at a DC fast charger, because the commute now is already 1 hour and 50 minutes typical. I've checked the garage at work for 120V plugs, but there are none. Before we moved a year ago to a new building, the old building had just installed two EVSE's... Grrrr. I spoke with the new building facilities guys and to get 208V- 240V power to the garage requires trenching. My new company (not employee friendly - they bought us, then moved us) I doubt would spend the money to install an EVSE in the garage.

Thanks to everyone for the input.
if your 90 mile commute takes 1hr 50mins each way I don't see how you could run out of juice ... that stretch going 80mph+ might have to be adjusted to lower speeds depending on temps.
you'll need a solid 8 1/2hrs at home to get a full charge again.
I can't comment on low temp driving ... best to maybe check on a tesla forum?
 

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Efthrreoh,
I-66 in the areas where the limit is 70 MPH I drive at 75 because I've been told that the State Police are pretty aggressive.
Note that 80 MPH or above is always "Reckless Driving" regardless of the speed limit. Maybe slowing down a bit will help. :)

I'm going to be doing a run from home (Fairfax county) to Staunton in a couple of weeks. 150 miles one way, almost all highway (I-66 to I-81). Sure hope the Bolt is up to the full run at least one way.
 

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Note that 80 MPH or above is always "Reckless Driving" regardless of the speed limit. Maybe slowing down a bit will help.

While I agree slowing down will help with range please note that the above quote is your OPINION only.
I-80 was designed to handle speeds of 120. This was discussed in the Nebraska papers when the speed limit was raised to 75. Not that I am saying to go 120 but 80 is NOT reckless driving, during the day with good weather and paying attention. If YOU don't feel safe at those speeds then please drive in the right hand lane at what speeds you feel safe.
 

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From a legal perspective, driving at more that 80 MPH is considered to be reckless in a lot of jurisdictions.

Given the traffic density on a lot of highways, typical condition of cars being driven on those highways, and the general skill level of most of those drivers, I don't think going 90, much less 120, is the smartest thing for most drivers to be doing. That and your gas mileage sucks. And this is coming from someone who drives I-5 between SF and LA on a regular basis. I keep it around 80 because every time I've gone 85, I've gotten nailed for speeding.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Efthrreoh,

Manual transmissions and clutches are a dying breed because the gas engine (ICE in EV terms) is also dying. Mechanically it is highly inefficient because the engine has to keep turning at a minimum RPM (due to its internal heat source from burning gasoline) at stopped or slow speeds or else it will "die". Steam engines, using an external heat source, can run at almost a standstill or zero RPM (watch a steam locomotive engine in real life or in a documentary/movie) and need no transmissions or clutches. That is how the old and large steam ships and submarines run: their heat source is external (fuel or nuclear power) and their heat power is transfered by a liquid transport.

The electric motor is more simple than a steam engine, and run in a similar way, because it develops torque at zero RPM. The electrical energy source is much more cleaner and more compact, so it will continue to displace the gas engine. "Refueling" or recharging the battery is where the electric motor is still limited, but as newer and faster charging systems are developed (DC charging is one step), we will soon see the gas engine as another museum piece next to the steam engine. And your left foot can finally rest!
I think the gasoline engine is still underdeveloped and used in an inefficient manner for vehicle transportation. I'd like to see more R&D to bring the combustion process in an engine to a higher state of efficiency; it will take new materials, advanced manufacturing processes, and even better computer control. Unfortunately, political thought has pretty much stifled any real further development of the carbon fuel combustion process. I think petroleum is a better fuel for automobiles based on its energy density. Petroleum will be in use for a long time since commercial and private aircraft have no real alternative because gasoline is about 0.18 pounds per kilowatt and lithium-ion batteries are about 14 pounds per kilowatt.

Electric engines are about 65% efficient in energy conversion, which is about double of gasoline engines and on top gasoline engines develop power differently as you stated, which give electric and advantage in traffic. But batteries are far too heavy, I doubt chemistry will allow batteries to get to the energy density levels of petroleum, but as we can see with the Bolt, it's almost good enough now. My interest in the Bolt is because it does use energy a bit more effectively, and can save me about $3,500 in fuel cost per year when gasoline gets back to $4.00 a gallon. And electric is just so cool to drive.

That said I agree with you that manual transmissions are a bit antique in a way, but some people still enjoy riding horses, so there's that. And every bit of exercise does a body good ;). And I found the advantages of electric vehicle operation long ago when my father purchased a GE Electrak in 1973. If I get a Bolt, I'll post a picture of the two together just for kicks. The Electrak should be in a museum.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
On I-66 coming out of Marshall, VA east towards Gainesville, VA, driving less than 80 MPH is reckless driving because you are in the way of traffic, and that's in the right lane, not the left. The tractor-trailers go 80 MPH in the slow lane. Driving less than 80 is not an option. And I'm not willing to drive around for 4 hours a day in a cold car wearing a coat and hat. If the Bolt can't provide a temperate driving environment equal to an ICE vehicle, then perhaps it's not ready for my commute.

Thanks again for all the replies.
 
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