Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently traded my beloved 2015 BMW i3 REx towards a 2017 Bolt. The i3 was a maintenance nightmare over the 17 month I had her, so when the warranty expired, she had to go.

One thing I had done on the i3 was replacing the 12v battery, which I had done with the dealer, as even disconnecting the battery without hooking up a charger to maintain power to the leads during the swap could brick the car, and I didn't feel like risking a tow and reprogramming, which could get very costly.

Now I've got the Bolt. Its battery is date marked 2016, and even though EV 12v batteries can last a long time, I don't feel like taking chances given that I live in the frozen north, where -15F (-26c) temps won't be unheard of in a few months. Do I need to do anything special to change the Bolt's battery to avoid bricking the car, or can I just get another suitable battery (which seems like a challenge of its own, and any advice is appreciated), disconnect the old one, and swap in the new?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,432 Posts
Thanks! I'm pretty handy when it comes to cars and motorcycles, changing a battery is easy enough if I can just treat the Bolt like any other car.
There are folks on this forum who own AGM specific smart trickle chargers, and throw them on the battery in the Bolt on some sort of regular schedule. The theory being that GM wasn't clever enough to design an algorithm for the accessory battery charger to keep the battery healthy. I don't buy it myself. The batteries were sourced from several different suppliers, and some of them were supposedly bad. Also, some batteries were mishandled while the cars were sitting, before the cars were sold. Ours has been in the car since it was built in 12/16, and still as good as new. But it is garaged in central Virginia, so YMMV.

You can search the forum for long discussions of this, and decide for yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The theory being that GM wasn't clever enough to design an algorithm for the accessory battery charger to keep the battery healthy. I don't buy it myself.
I was under the impression that even so, eventually AGM batteries go sour due to age, that they aren't a lifetime part. Is that not correct?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,432 Posts
I was under the impression that even so, eventually AGM batteries go sour due to age, that they aren't a lifetime part. Is that not correct?
Absolutely correct. I have always gotten 5-6 years out of batteries here, and expect about the same from the Bolt. I also grew up in Wisconsin when the winters were worse than they are now, and we went through some batteries.

In the 1950's, before he built his garage, my dad would bring his battery in at night in the winter. In the morning, before reloading the coal furnace, he would put a shovel of hot embers under the crankcase in the snow. After breakfast, he would come out and put the battery back in. If he could here the oil bubbling in the pan he knew it was ready to start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
655 Posts
Power the car off, pop the hood, close the door, and wait 5 minutes for the electronics to power down completely. Then you can remove the battery.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
504 Posts
Absolutely correct. I have always gotten 5-6 years out of batteries here, and expect about the same from the Bolt. I also grew up in Wisconsin when the winters were worse than they are now, and we went through some batteries.

In the 1950's, before he built his garage, my dad would bring his battery in at night in the winter. In the morning, before reloading the coal furnace, he would put a shovel of hot embers under the crankcase in the snow. After breakfast, he would come out and put the battery back in. If he could here the oil bubbling in the pan he knew it was ready to start.
A block heater and a battery charger would have been easier, but it was the 50s. Whatever kept it running...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,432 Posts
A block heater and a battery charger would have been easier, but it was the 50s. Whatever kept it running...
Yes. We both had block heaters by the early 1960's, and dad's car got the single car garage...and the coal furnace had been replaced by an oil furnace. We gained more space in the basement with the coal bin gone too. That oil furnace was eventually replaced by gas, and their bedroom got a walk-in closet addition.

The couple living there now added more addition space than the original house, and have a four car garage, which still doesn't house all their vehicles. And we wonder why were are so screwed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,348 Posts
One thing I had done on the i3 was replacing the 12v battery, which I had done with the dealer, as even disconnecting the battery without hooking up a charger to maintain power to the leads during the swap could brick the car, and I didn't feel like risking a tow and reprogramming, which could get very costly.
This, right here, is a perfect example of how far ahead GM was with Chevy Bolt EV. Not as an EV, necessarily, but as a car. Every other EV seems to have some stupid, weird quirk that you would never encounter in an ICE car. For the Bolt EV, get in. Turn it on. Drive. Treat it like any other car you've owned.

All of the quirks and nuances of the Bolt EV are directly related to the EV battery and powertrain. Otherwise, it behaves like any other car. Other automakers seemed to have missed that memo somewhere.

As for the AGM battery, the lifespan seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. Some people are seeing them die within the first two years (within a standard lease). My Bolt EV is going on 4 years old, and I'm still on the original battery. Batteries in my region also tend to last about 5 to 6 years, so I'm not super concerned. However, it is something to be aware of because the 12 V battery going out will make the car undriveable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
I think GM has taken a step on good care of the batteries, I don't have the exact links, but as long as you Traction Battery has charge, the Bolt will turn on the DC/DC converter to keep the 12v battery topped. If it's plugged in, it will come and do that even more frequently, it shows on my juice box history graphs (available if you want)
If you have a valid concern for the 12V battery status at any time, you can get one of those 12V portable jump starters that can get you out in a pinch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
If you have a valid concern for the 12V battery status at any time, you can get one of those 12V portable jump starters that can get you out in a pinch.
On that note: a reminder that the Bolt does have a mechanical key on the driver door. I've seen more than one person claim to be locked out when the battery died and think they can't pop the hood to jump it. So anybody who doesn't know: there's a key in the fob, a spot under the driver door handle that it fits in to pry up the cover, and a standard keyhole to unlock the door.

And to Eric's comment, I agree 100%. Let my mother and her fiancé take the Bolt for a spin and the only thing I had to really show them was how to shift. Other than that they drove it like any ICE without difficulty. Thanks to blended braking it's not even that inefficient of a way to drive it, either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,348 Posts
On that note: a reminder that the Bolt does have a mechanical key on the driver door. I've seen more than one person claim to be locked out when the battery died and think they can't pop the hood to jump it. So anybody who doesn't know: there's a key in the fob, a spot under the driver door handle that it fits in to pry up the cover, and a standard keyhole to unlock the door.

And to Eric's comment, I agree 100%. Let my mother and her fiancé take the Bolt for a spin and the only thing I had to really show them was how to shift. Other than that they drove it like any ICE without difficulty. Thanks to blended braking it's not even that inefficient of a way to drive it, either.
Yes, the Bolt EV's shifter is about the extent of the quirkiness. It's probably in the top-five on my list of least favorite Bolt EV designs/features, but luckily, GM appears to be adopting a more basic button shifter that still includes the safety controls of the Bolt EV's shifter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
426 Posts
Very easy to test the 12 volt battery. Go to your favorite local mechanic or even some parts store. A load test takes five minutes and are very reliable. I have a cheap load tester at home since I deal with all kinds of batteries and it works great. Also the Bolt’s battery does not have to turn a starter motor so it can have reduced capacity and still work. I would spend my money instead on a small lithium power pack jump starter. Costco has a nice one for $59. I keep it in its case in the tray below the dash. Just remember to charge it up with the cigarette lighter cord every 4-6 months.
 

·
Registered
2020 Bolt
Joined
·
64 Posts
My 2014 Spark EV uses the very same battery as the Bolt and it is still on the original one. We're more temperate northwestern part of Oregon so YMMV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
This, right here, is a perfect example of how far ahead GM was with Chevy Bolt EV. Not as an EV, necessarily, but as a car. Every other EV seems to have some stupid, weird quirk that you would never encounter in an ICE car. For the Bolt EV, get in. Turn it on. Drive. Treat it like any other car you've owned.

All of the quirks and nuances of the Bolt EV are directly related to the EV battery and powertrain. Otherwise, it behaves like any other car. Other automakers seemed to have missed that memo somewhere.

As for the AGM battery, the lifespan seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. Some people are seeing them die within the first two years (within a standard lease). My Bolt EV is going on 4 years old, and I'm still on the original battery. Batteries in my region also tend to last about 5 to 6 years, so I'm not super concerned. However, it is something to be aware of because the 12 V battery going out will make the car undriveable.
I know this is strictly anecdotal (and maybe a bit of confirmation bias thrown in) but in the Korean EV forum I frequent, I regularly see people talking about Kona and Niro having its 12V battery die and needing a replacement. Those models use the traditional flooded lead-acid - unlike Bolt's AGM - and the oldest one came out on the market in May 2018. In contrast, I rarely see Bolt users talk about replacing the 12V battery. All of these models have a so-called "battery saver" feature where the traction battery recharges the 12V battery when it detects low charge, so this may hint at the robustness / longevity of the AGM battery.

By the way, my 27-month old Bolt is still going strong with the factory-installed 12V battery and I have the dashcam on recording mode while the car is parked, so it gets quite a bit of use all the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
Yes, the Bolt EV's shifter is about the extent of the quirkiness. It's probably in the top-five on my list of least favorite Bolt EV designs/features, but luckily, GM appears to be adopting a more basic button shifter that still includes the safety controls of the Bolt EV's shifter.
I remember a GM engineer (or a related personnel) commenting about using the stick shifter instead of buttons to make it feel as close to a traditional car as possible. I can see the logic, but I think we can now move on to buttons these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
All of these models have a so-called "battery saver" feature where the traction battery recharges the 12V battery when it detects low charge, so this may hint at the robustness / longevity of the AGM battery.
AGMs are more tolerant of deeper discharges than the old flooded lead acid, but they're not impervious to the damaging effects. Modern cars with the large number of onboard computers that need power all the time makes me shake my head when manufacturers still put old flooded batteries in their cars (cheaper; more profit for them).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,348 Posts
I know this is strictly anecdotal (and maybe a bit of confirmation bias thrown in) but in the Korean EV forum I frequent, I regularly see people talking about Kona and Niro having its 12V battery die and needing a replacement. Those models use the traditional flooded lead-acid - unlike Bolt's AGM - and the oldest one came out on the market in May 2018. In contrast, I rarely see Bolt users talk about replacing the 12V battery. All of these models have a so-called "battery saver" feature where the traction battery recharges the 12V battery when it detects low charge, so this may hint at the robustness / longevity of the AGM battery.

By the way, my 27-month old Bolt is still going strong with the factory-installed 12V battery and I have the dashcam on recording mode while the car is parked, so it gets quite a bit of use all the time.
AGMs are more tolerant of deeper discharges than the old flooded lead acid, but they're not impervious to the damaging effects. Modern cars with the large number of onboard computers that need power all the time makes me shake my head when manufacturers still put old flooded batteries in their cars (cheaper; more profit for them).
Also, don't ignore the importance of properly programmed 12 V battery charging parameters. EVs don't use their 12 V batteries the same as ICE, and if you set them up to charge like a 12 V on an ICE, you'll decrease their life expectancy. A properly tended flood acid battery should last nearly as long as an AGM. Tesla also uses AGM batteries, and their 12 V batteries appear to have about half to a third of the typical lifespan of the AGM in the Bolt EV.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top