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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a few cars, and the bolt by far has the worst braking when using the actual pedal. My Fiat 500E brakes/regen can cause whiplash with how firm and quick they grab. However, the bolt's brake pedal seems very lethargic. One pedal driving is great, and I use it most of the time. The brake/regen button at the back of the steering wheel grips firm as well. But that **** brake pedal is just so lazy! I can stomp on it, and it comes to a stop decently with good regen power, but it just feels like it's not grabbing tight and wants to continue going forward. Has anyone experienced this or know what I'm talking about?
 

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Yes, I have experienced the same though it is much worse in D than in L. Also, the tires just slide way too easily which gives one less confidence in the brakes. A couple of panic stops and you wonder whether you will stop in time. The pedal feels a bit spongy too so that doesn't help either. Maybe they need to rebalance the braking a bit to put more braking on the rear wheels as that is where the battery weight lies. It feels like it tries to put too much emphasis on the front brakes and the tires are not up to braking or fast acceleration where they spin like crazy.
 

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yea, the brakes do not give me any confidence. i think the problem can be traced to the regen system trying to get back as much power as possible, and delaying or completely forgoing the use of the real disc brakes to stop. on my 500E the disc brakes basically kick in after slowing down to 1-2mph, and feels much more natural and grippy
 

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Good, glad my car is not the only one like this. Thought about bleeding brakes or something because it's terrible in D mode, thought I was gonna rear end the car in front while in a drive-through few days ago. Car has no problem stopping, but the brakes definitely need to be more responsive at least up to modern car standards.
 

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I test drove another one this weekend and it has the same issues. I'm going to go ahead and say it's not a one off thing and the Bolt just has one of the worst braking systems in any modern car. I cannot understand why this isn't being brought up by more reviews.
 

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I don't feel anywhere near the same about the brakes, sure they aren't sports car precise but they do the job they are supposed do and I certainly haven't felt like they are going to fail or work too slow.
 

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I don't feel anywhere near the same about the brakes, sure they aren't sports car precise but they do the job they are supposed do and I certainly haven't felt like they are going to fail or work too slow.
I'm with Pete Blair and Bro1999 on this.
We're not talking about a Ford GT here; the car has good brakes for what it is.
 

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I know it is a VAST oversimplification to say that we need to learn different driving habits with an EV than an ICE vehicle (or should I use the made-up term "PDB" vehicle for "pure disk braking", since it is not the engine we are referencing). But we really should be learning to start more slowly and anticipate our slowing and stopping to use "friction braking" much less. I use the regen paddle as a hand brake and employ it on nearly every stop. Learning how much to rely on regen braking before applying the friction is not immediately apparent to the new EV driver, but comes with experience. Even after 5000 miles, I still err on the side of caution. But I primarily agree with Pete that I really have no ardent complaint.
 

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So I have a few cars, and the bolt by far has the worst braking when using the actual pedal. My Fiat 500E brakes/regen can cause whiplash with how firm and quick they grab. However, the bolt's brake pedal seems very lethargic. One pedal driving is great, and I use it most of the time. The brake/regen button at the back of the steering wheel grips firm as well. But that **** brake pedal is just so lazy! I can stomp on it, and it comes to a stop decently with good regen power, but it just feels like it's not grabbing tight and wants to continue going forward. Has anyone experienced this or know what I'm talking about?
The only time that I don't feel that the Bolt's brakes aren't good is when the battery is full and regen is not available. In that situation, I'm relying completely on the friction brakes, which are a little undersized for that specific application (full battery, no regen). The rest of the time I find the brakes to be fine.
 

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The only time that I don't feel that the Bolt's brakes aren't good is when the battery is full and regen is not available. In that situation, I'm relying completely on the friction brakes, which are a little undersized for that specific application (full battery, no regen). The rest of the time I find the brakes to be fine.
That is a fair point. If you are relying on just the mechanical brakes in the car they are underwhelming. I so rarely charge to 100% I forget about that.
 

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I rarely 'panic brake", can easily stop w regen only 99% of the time. Brakes seem fine to me. The tires are more likely the issue. Low rolling resistance means they will grip less and the ABS is likely to kick in under hard braking. Grippier tires will give you better braking
 

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I'm a little late to the party but I have to agree with everything said here. When driving the Bolt like an ICE car, the brake pedal feels terrible. Stopping power is adequate and is modulated easily enough, but it feels squishy and artificial. However I don't complain about it because it's good enough for the rare occasion when regen in Low and the RoD paddle isn't enough. An AutoX monster the Bolt is not, but I've felt equally squishy brakes on cars that don't have to blend regen into the mix (I'm looking at you Nissan).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The only time that I don't feel that the Bolt's brakes aren't good is when the battery is full and regen is not available. In that situation, I'm relying completely on the friction brakes, which are a little undersized for that specific application (full battery, no regen). The rest of the time I find the brakes to be fine.
i actually use hilltop reserve mode, so i don't think that's my problem. i don't need the full charge, and i've lost almost 0 battery range on my 500e by basically always charging to 90% so I'm doing the same with the bolt. in anycase, i still think the brakes suck compared to every other EV i've driven - bolt, leaf, e-golf, 500e. i'm not looking for performance car stopping on a dime! i just feel very uneasy using the actual brakes. the regen brake button on the steering wheel is great, but sometimes that isn't enough if for example, someone veers into your lane. the actual brakes in that case are to be used, and they are very lackluster
 

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Drum brakes have a natural mechanical boost on leading shoes. The shoe is pulled into the drum by the rotating drum. This worked fine on cars and motorcycles. Disc brakes have no such mechanical boost. Motorcycles get along being much lighter, plus having large discs where the caliper is much closer to the tire contact patch, than on a typical car, and sometimes two brakes on one wheel. Most cars use a vacuum brake booster.


Electric motors don't produce a vacuum. DIY conversions use a vacuum pump to pull a vacuum on the car's booster. The Bolt, and I assume all other OEM EVs use electric assist. The Bolt uses the Bosch iBooster.

http://wardsauto.com/industry/bosch-rolling-out-vacuum-free-ibooster

I assume they could up the boost using more power from the battery, but this being an EV with great regen, that would be pretty dumb.
 

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The Motortrend link above states:

"Using the brakes, the Bolt will stop from 60 mph in 128 feet. Using only Low mode, it stops from 60 mph in 665 feet. Using both Low mode and the regen on-demand paddle, it stops from 60 mph in 528 feet."

I found the quantitative mode comparisons interesting, but what's perhaps most relevant to this discussion is the 128 ft. figure for using the brake pedal.

A quick Google search showed a 2012 article finding:

"During 60-0-mph panic stops, the Prius V had a slight advantage, with a 129-foot stop to the Jetta's 132-foot best performance."

Here's some other numbers I found:

2014 Honda Civic: 118 ft
2012 Kia Rio: 119 ft
2013 Honda Accord: 117 ft
2014 Mazda 6: 121ft
2013 Toyota Camry: 120 ft
2014 BMW i3 eDrive: 108 ft
2015 Honda Fit: 127 ft

These numbers correspond to my Seat-O-Pants impression that the Bolt has decent but not outstanding brakes.

Do they feel as good as the massive racing Brembos run through braided stainless steel brake lines on my motorcycle? No, but they don't cause me any worries.

It really comes MOSTLY down to what I learned in moto safety courses: "SEE". That would be See, Evaluate, Execute. Skillful application will beat out spreadsheet numbers most of the time.
 

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I wasn't really talking about stopping distances, which I think the car stops fine, but the modulation is off especially at low speed in D mode.
I let my wife's friend (your regular suburbia mom, she drives a Honda Fit) try out the car and she nearly screamed when the car didn't stop as she expected into her own drive way. It simply requires too much pressure compared to normal modern cars esp at near stopping speed in D mode on first stomp.
It's a strange phenomenon, with a second pump, it works fine, as sensitive as normal cars, but you really need to stomp harder than normal on the first attempt.
I don't drive exotic cars or high performance cars, but compared to the 2 Toyota's, 2 Mazda's, 1 Honda I've driven back to back over the past month, the Bolt's brake takes some getting used to. In my humble opinion, it needs to be a little grabbier for the size and how effortless the acceleration is for this car.

And maybe the brake pads/rotors are just wearing in, but it certainly has caught me by surprise a few times
 
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