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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a 2019 Bolt and completed a 1300 mile road trip. This was in the midwest, and must say was very unprepared for what I experienced. First let me start that my research led me to believe that charging times would be about 30 mins to get to 80% and I would have decent range. The reality was quite different. I was aware that using climate control had a huge affect on battery life. At any rate, this trip took 2 days and literally spent about 12 hours at charging stations charging. The charging stations were exclusively Electrify America. What I did find that the car would take about 50kw for a short time then throttle down to the 20's or 30's and this was observed at all stations and not sure if this is normal or an issue, and this was with battery well below 80% charge. All stalls I used were either 150kw or higher. Reflecting on this trip, there was some elevation change, but mostly a decrease, and cold weather. I had my family in the car and some luggage.

With respect to Electrify America, I was very disappointed with their network. Every station looked brand new and in excellent condition, but almost without fail had to either move to different stalls to get them to work, and in one situation, had to skip the one station as completely down and white knuckle it to the next one over 50 miles away and almost didnt make it. At any rate, my impression, at least for the route I took, is that for EV's. the infrastructure is definitely lacking, and for long distance travel they are not the way to go. I do believe this will improve in the future, but for today, much improvement is needed and definitely more expectation setting for the consumer for such endeavors. Overall I am happy with the car, and as a city commuter car is fantastic. But for over the road, not so much.
 

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You've run into tapering and EA's growing pains. If you're interested in how your car tapers, I did a video you can find here:
But yes, many users have run into problems with EA hardware. Generally on a road trip, I always have a backup station or two in my sights.
 

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So what was your average speed and efficiency?

What was the outside temp?

What temp did you keep the HVAC at?

Factory tires and rims?

Do you have a map showing the route?

I鈥檓 trying to gather experience data before I take my own trip requiring only three stops to charge, and it will be over Xmas. Already? The middle leg looks impossible due to winter efficiency losses.
 

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Before there were 150kW, and higher, stations, there were many 400VAC, 100 amp, 40kW plugs. Their cables were larger than a AC Level 2 cable, and much heavier. However, these cables were not "liquid-refrigerated" all the way to the plug. 150kW EVSE cables ARE cooled and, therefore, much, MUCH heavier. Electrify America cables are notorious for not making a successful "handshake" with the Chevy Bolt EV. At these stations, you must "lift" the weight off of the Bolt EV plug-in port until the actual charging has begun. You cannot plug, let go, push start, and walk away. In MOST (not saying ALL) instances, this will begin a satisfactory charging session. I have been in contact with EA to provide a support (like a garden hose coiling rack) attached to the yellow, vinyl-covered, baluster pole protecting the station from being struck by a vehicle, to take the weight off of the cable. I think since it is (primarily) only the Bolt EV which has this problem, they are not inclined to make such a change at many hundreds of stations..
 

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Your education was fortunately relatively painless, but sort of predictable to those who've done the assigned reading.
for the route I took, is that for EV's. the infrastructure is definitely lacking, and for long distance travel they are not the way to go. I do believe this will improve in the future, but for today, much improvement is needed and definitely more expectation setting for the consumer for such endeavors.
Said the Victorian maiden after the honeymoon.

Overall I am happy with the car, and as a city commuter car is fantastic. But for over the road, not so much.
For true. The Bolt is the best urban assault vehicle available in the US today. The more you use it, the more you'll love it. Road trips are still for those who enjoy the challenge.

jack vines
 

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I agree, I feel the same way. After a small road trip, even though there were many more options than OP on my routes, I still felt that advance planning is really needed to make your passengers feel secure about the trip. White knuckling it to the next station is no fun when your wife looks at the blinking amber DIC and starts panicking. o_O
 

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Eljefe, You might look at "abetterrouteplanner.com" to plan your route. It is a little bit more difficult to plan than the plugshare route planner (which I prefer). However, you can plug in the minimum % SOC at your final destination (home?) and it will calculate the minimum charge you need after each charging stop. I just planned a trip and it told me I needed to charge to 38% in order to make it home with a 25%SOC.
Pfrost, Thanks for your video. You did an excellent job explaining taper--like your suggestion of 55%
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So what was your average speed and efficiency? I believe i was in the 3kw average. Speed initially was 70-75, then i started to do 65 as very limited charging options

What was the outside temp? i would say 30's

What temp did you keep the HVAC at? when running kept it comfy, i do not recall the temp but think low 70's high 60's

Factory tires and rims? yes

Do you have a map showing the route? yes, the route we took CO-UT-MT-ID had very limited charging options, so def planned it out ahead of time.
thanks for other feedback, much appreciated.
 

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First let me start that my research led me to believe that charging times would be about 30 mins to get to 80% and I would have decent range.
What kind of research did you do? I've never seen anyone make these claims. (FWIW, it would only take 30 minutes to get to 80% if you arrived with 56% left in the battery.)

Chevy's website gives a claim of 鈥90 miles of range in about 30 minutes鈥犫 鈥溾 Charging rate varies based on output of the charge unit, vehicle settings and outside temperature.鈥. Wikipedia says 鈥淟evel 3 charging with the factory-option 55 kW SAE Combo DC fast charging system can add 150 miles (240 km) of range, or fill the battery to 80% capacity in an hour. The Bolt user manual suggests fast-charging to only 80% charge to ensure consistent 50 kW charging. The fast charge rate steps down to 38kw at 56% charge and again to 24kw at 68% charge. Above 85%, the charge rate varies from 16kw to 0kw.鈥

Neither of these are perfect, but close enough. Beyond these sources, the Bolt's taper and charging performance are reported in article after article and in various forum discussions.

The Bolt is fine for driving 150 miles in most conditions without needing to recharge at all. Reasonable 200 and 300 mile trips can be done without huge compromises when the charging network is there and functional. Also, 350鈥450 mile trips are do-able, but it starts to feel less fun. Going beyond that is possible, but we're outside of what the Bolt is remotely good at, and requires commitment that most people wouldn't have (unless you're happy to take it easy and spend multiple days on the trip).

For future reference, although Chevy recommends not charging beyond 80%, the taper means its usually better to stop sooner if you can:
  • 10% to 55% takes 32 minutes
  • 20% to 65% takes 35 minutes
  • 30% to 75% takes 41 minutes
  • 40% to 85% takes 50 minutes
 
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