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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The dealer I bought my 2021 Bolt from explained to me that his dealership does not charge the Bolts they have for sale until they have a confirmed customer:
"GM tells us its not good for the battery to fully charge it and have it sit. We only fully charge our Bolts after they are sold"
I asked this dealer why GM does not tell owners of Bolts this. He would not say. I found nothing in the Owner's Manual that said anything like this, i.e. something like: "do not leave a fully charged Bolt for more than "x" period of time without driving it, because...."

Has anyone else heard something like this from GM, Chevrolet, or their dealer?

This issue came up because I was very disappointed to find that the new Bolt this dealer sold me only had enough charge to get me home and that's it. Instead of spending the next day enjoying driving around with the first new car I had ever owned, I had to figure out how to find and use a level 3 charger. This was not exactly the end of the world, but it was disappointing.

When this dealer sent me a standard after sale email saying I should tell him about anything I was not happy with, I said I was choked that his dealership couldn't be bothered to charge up their Bolts before they sold them. He asked what he could do to get me to feel better. I said charge up one of your Bolts that you haven't sold yet, send me a picture of its info screen reporting a full charge so I'll believe you did it, and at least one next customer won't go through the disappointing experience I just did.

That's when he came up with the "GM tells us its not good for the battery..." line.

I said I was surprised that GM says a Bolt should not be charged then not used for a period of time. I wanted more details. How long of a period of time? What about partial charges? I wanted a contact number at GM to verify.

I pointed out to him that it looks like Chevrolet is going to include in the price of the 2022 Bolt a free installation of a Level 2 charger for their customers homes, i.e. I'm not the only customer they've ever had who was disappointed they couldn't just drive their new car for a few hundred miles before being confronted with learning about charging.
 

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^^^
There is 0 evidence that being at high state of charge is good for lithium ion batteries, esp. at high temps.

When I bought my '19 Bolt new it end of Jan 2019, my sales droid mentioned to me that they're shipped with not that much charge and that's what they keep them when not sold yet. I don't remember how many battery bars but it was definitely below 50%. Prior to delivery to the customer, they do charge them to full and thus they use their ~24 kW charger to charge them, which ends up taking about 3 hours, IIRC.

I separated my paperwork and pickup phase into two days. I went thru the paperwork and they started charging the car. Was still charging when the droid was going over the controls, getting me to set up OnStar, etc. I picked up the car the next day with them washing it before pickup.

I can't speak to how other dealers do it. But, it sounded like if I were do it the same day, then if I wanted a full charge, I would've had to wait to full or if I wanted to leave sooner, I'd be cutting it off early.

On page 266 of my '19 Bolt manual, it does talk about storage for 4 weeks to 12 months
Four Weeks to 12 Months
  • Discharge the high voltage battery until two or three bars remain on the battery range indicator (Battery symbol) on the instrument cluster.
  • Do not plug in the charge cord.
People often point to BU-702: How to Store Batteries – Battery University (not necessarily the variant Bolt uses).

I've also pointed to device makers starting long ago or more recently taking steps to keep batteries from being a high SoC for longer than necessary like at the below:
I personally do not like leaving any EV's li-ion battery at 100% for even a day, so I wouldn't want to leave that that high for 4 weeks, which is the earlier cutoff in the manual.
 

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Delivering the Bolt to a customer without a significantly charged battery is a dumb move on the dealer's part.

However, leaving a Bolt fully charged for a significant period of time isn't smart either.

The dealer should have a medium speed DCFC such as what @cwerdna described to accomplish this in a reasonable amount of time.

ga2500ev
 

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Although I cannot confirm for sure what your dealer told you, it is a fact that my Bolt was not much charged when I bought it in January.

When I showed to pick it up, it was plugged in but I drove off with only about 50% charge. It was the end of January and quite cold, so the GOM range was really quite low.

:)
 

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...I found nothing in the Owner's Manual that said anything like this, i.e. something like: "do not leave a fully charged Bolt for more than "x" period of time without driving it, because...."
For the 2020 Bolt, it's on page 243 of the Owner's Manual, under "Vehicle Care" -> "Battery, North America" -> "Vehicle Storage", same text that cwerdna quoted above. It depends on how long the Bolt will sit without getting plugged in. If the dealership has several Bolts in inventory, they might be sitting for a long time. If it's going to be more than 4 weeks, then keeping the battery pack relatively low is precisely what GM recommends in the owner's manual.

I had the same experience you did. The dealership only had a level 2 charger, so even sitting there for a couple of hours only added about 20% SOC. I had to stop by a DCFC station on the way home. On the other hand, the dealership allowed me to drive off with the Bolt the same day, with some of the paperwork still pending. Normally, delivery would take place on a different day, and it would have been fully charged, etc.
 

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I drove 400 Miles to pick up my Bolt out of state. I made sure they had it on the charger and would be at 100% before I arrived so I could drive it home. I think you will find that there are very few Chevy dealers that are enthused about selling EV's and looks like they are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face. Their sales people are not trained, their service departments are not trained and most don't want to see them at all. We are basically at a point where the drug dealer is really mad that their supplier / producer is introducing a less addictive drug that allows the user to reduce the visits to the dealer and their chance to sell a new drug.
 

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Mine was delivered to me with sufficient charge to get home. I had about 30 miles remaining when I arrived. That was all I expected. Having to stop at a DCFC on the way home would have been a serious aggravation. Of course, if your distance is greater than what a 90% charge would provide, a DCFC on the way is a given.
The delivery rep should have the courtesy to sort this out before time of delivery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks cwerdna for your reply. It seems they've dumbed down the 2021 Owner's Manual compared to what they were saying in 2019.

In the 2021 Owner's Manual, under Vehicle Care --> Battery - North America --> Vehicle Storage section, i.e. page 205 it says:

34463


By 2021, there is no mention that in 2019 engineers thought they should tell owners that they should partially discharge until "two or three bars remain on the battery range indicator" if the car is to be stored for longer than 4 weeks.

My dealer claims they put my Bolt on their Level 2 charger the instant I told them I was coming in to buy the car. I arrived one hour later to find the battery with 23 miles of charge on it. This appears to mean Chevrolet shipped this Bolt with almost zero charge. To me, this indicates Chevrolet engineers think the best way to store an unused battery is with no charge at all.

The only other relevant thing I can find in my 2021 manual is on page 181:

34464
 

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Some of the advice may be based on lore surrounding batteries. In general, low and high SOC for long durations can be problematic, particularly when temps swing high or low. This is when damage to the internals of the battery are most possible. Rather than going into long, drawn out scientific explanations, the owners manual tries to bring things down to common user language leaving technically inclined folks wanting for more details.

Battery University is a good website to waste thousands of hours if you are curious about technicalities.

So, GM likely provides non-technical guidance to dealers recommending not fully charging. I believe there are DOT regulations regarding shipping with 50% SOC or something like that too.

Unfortunately, many dealers seem ill equipped to sell BEVs. They lack adequate charging , knowledge, or both. Hopefully that will change.

When I bought my Bolt 3 years ago, the dealer joked about not being able to send me off with a "full tank". But they did have the courtesy to plug it in while preparing it for me and while we did the paperwork. Unfortunately, they only had 120V charging so I left with 35 miles of range on the GOM and 25 miles uphill to get home. It was a bit of a nail biter when the DIC started turning colors and giving me warnings to plug in. Add to the issue and my L2 charger and electrician were not yet purchased\scheduled. With my 130 mile RT commute, it took several days before I could drive it to work, and my first DCFC attempt at EVGo failed miserably with a charger fault. Fortunately, I had another car I could use until the L2 was in place.
 

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I had a 2019 and now a 2021. I have not read the manual on the 2021 as I knew how to operate the car. However, the early 2019 batteries are not the same as in the 2021. So this may be why the change in the manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When I bought my Bolt 3 years ago, the dealer joked about not being able to send me off with a "full tank". But they did have the courtesy to plug it in while preparing it for me and while we did the paperwork. Unfortunately, they only had 120V charging so I left with 35 miles of range on the GOM and 25 miles uphill to get home. It was a bit of a nail biter when the DIC started turning colors and giving me warnings to plug in. Add to the issue and my L2 charger and electrician were not yet purchased\scheduled. With my 130 mile RT commute, it took several days before I could drive it to work, and my first DCFC attempt at EVGo failed miserably with a charger fault. Fortunately, I had another car I could use until the L2 was in place.
That's almost exactly the story of how things went for me. If Chevy isn't just including a Level 2 charger and installation in the price of a new 2022 Bolt as an introductory offer but they keep on selling Bolts with it, that will improve the situation.

The first Level 3 commercial station I went to, both machines were out of order. Evgo phone app said so, but the Evgo webpage available to my desktop computer did not say so, and there was no notice on the machines themselves. I went to an Electrify America machine which also didn't seem to work. I called EA and was told oh you have a 2021 Bolt? Lift up on the plug into your car after it clicks into place. It worked after that, although it seems possible that an incantation would have worked as well.

These electric cars are a bit of a learning curve for everyone at first.
 

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These electric cars are a bit of a learning curve for everyone at first.
Yup. And unfortunately, dealers would be the logical place to conduct some basic training, but they tend to be woefully ignorant.

The good news is, in a few months, you will achieve expert level!
 

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...I went to an Electrify America machine which also didn't seem to work. I called EA and was told oh you have a 2021 Bolt? Lift up on the plug into your car after it clicks into place. It worked after that, although it seems possible that an incantation would have worked as well...
Apparently, it's a known issue with EA stations and Bolts (and BMW i3's), such that EA made a video about it:
 

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The first Level 3 commercial station I went to, both machines were out of order. Evgo phone app said so, but the Evgo webpage available to my desktop computer did not say so, and there was no notice on the machines themselves. I went to an Electrify America machine which also didn't seem to work. I called EA and was told oh you have a 2021 Bolt? Lift up on the plug into your car after it clicks into place. It worked after that, although it seems possible that an incantation would have worked as well.

These electric cars are a bit of a learning curve for everyone at first.
Before using any public charging, you should check ratings and recent checkins for it on Plugshare.

Yep on EA. I don't know why EA doesn't add some sort of troubleshooting animation, video or text in the event of a failure to start/communicate on their CCS plugs.
 

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Yep on EA. I don't know why EA doesn't add some sort of troubleshooting animation, video or text in the event of a failure to start/communicate on their CCS plugs.
Great idea! They used to have a suggestion box area on their site. Maybe send this idea there.

ga2500ev
 

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The dealer I bought my 2021 Bolt from explained to me that his dealership does not charge the Bolts they have for sale until they have a confirmed customer:

I asked this dealer why GM does not tell owners of Bolts this. He would not say. I found nothing in the Owner's Manual that said anything like this, i.e. something like: "do not leave a fully charged Bolt for more than "x" period of time without driving it, because...."

Has anyone else heard something like this from GM, Chevrolet, or their dealer?

This issue came up because I was very disappointed to find that the new Bolt this dealer sold me only had enough charge to get me home and that's it. Instead of spending the next day enjoying driving around with the first new car I had ever owned, I had to figure out how to find and use a level 3 charger. This was not exactly the end of the world, but it was disappointing.

When this dealer sent me a standard after sale email saying I should tell him about anything I was not happy with, I said I was choked that his dealership couldn't be bothered to charge up their Bolts before they sold them. He asked what he could do to get me to feel better. I said charge up one of your Bolts that you haven't sold yet, send me a picture of its info screen reporting a full charge so I'll believe you did it, and at least one next customer won't go through the disappointing experience I just did.

That's when he came up with the "GM tells us its not good for the battery..." line.

I said I was surprised that GM says a Bolt should not be charged then not used for a period of time. I wanted more details. How long of a period of time? What about partial charges? I wanted a contact number at GM to verify.

I pointed out to him that it looks like Chevrolet is going to include in the price of the 2022 Bolt a free installation of a Level 2 charger for their customers homes, i.e. I'm not the only customer they've ever had who was disappointed they couldn't just drive their new car for a few hundred miles before being confronted with learning about charging.
I suggest Bolt owners sign up for the Recurrent study of EVs. There's good information about keeping batteries in good condition--that is, unless you plan a long trip, only charge up to 60% and don't drain it below 30% mile range. We've been doing that with our 2019 and our batteries are far above average for maintaining it's range estimate. Very happy. Recurrent will also give other good info about Bolt EVs, like market trends.
 
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