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Alright, being December here I've had a chance to spend some time in the Bolt in the snow and am now able to report on its winter hoonability, or lack of it....

We all know the traditional e-brake has been replaced with an electronically actuated parking brake, which is boring enough on its own, but it seems that when the car is moving and you set the parking break it not only tries to set the parking brake but put the car in Park. It made the grindy parking pawl sound on my first attempt so that will also be my last attempt. No drifty fun e-brake slides happening there.

I have yet to "refer to the manual", but the best I can do is turn the stability control off for about 5-10 seconds, after which it turns itself back on again. Again, not letting me have any fun. Traction control yes, stability control no.

What's left you might ask? I am happy to report that the Bolt will still let you whip reverse doughnuts with very little interference. At least there is still a bit of fun to be had on a quiet cul-du-sac or when exiting a parking stall on a snowy day.
 

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Great post!

It saddens me to think of the reckless fun my children will be deprived of in the future. I'm keeping my 6-speed Acura until then, just to teach them the pointless but fun art of rowing your own gears. I'll have to introduce them to snowy shenanigans too. I suppose safety, while boring, is the greater good (in this case).

Perhaps there are some fuses you can yank to really have some fun in the Bolt?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great post!

It saddens me to think of the reckless fun my children will be deprived of in the future. I'm keeping my 6-speed Acura until then, just to teach them the pointless but fun art of rowing your own gears. I'll have to introduce them to snowy shenanigans too. I suppose safety, while boring, is the greater good (in this case).

Perhaps there are some fuses you can yank to really have some fun in the Bolt?
Our other car at the moment is a '15 Jetta with a 5MT, so unless the market comes out with an affordable electric family car that can do 200+ miles AND tow a trailer for reasonable money the Jetta may just be with us long enough to teach my daughter to drive on. Either way, when my two kids get old enough to drive they will definitely be going out with Daddy to find a snowy (and empty) parking lot to practice regaining control of a vehicle that has been pushed past its limits. There's also a good chance we will also be participating in AutoX for the same reasons. This all leads me to begrudgingly agree with your statement that all this boring safety gear in modern cars is in the greater good as (IMO) driving instruction and testing focuses far too greatly on remembering the rules of the road and not nearly enough on the activity of actually driving... We know driverless cars are coming, but I don't think they will be mainstream and affordable and have replaced most of the manually operated cars by the time my kids are learning to drive so I think there will be at least one more generation in my family that will need to learn to drive (well).
 

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Today I took my Bolt out on snow covered road for the first time in -10C /14F light snowflurries. So much for the gleaming cehjun red paint and shiny alloy rims. Even on dry highways there’s a cloud of dust created by traffic over dried liquid road salt stuff. Yuck.

Anyway, on two separate occasions I scared myself going quite slowly around gentle bends as I routinely took my foot off the accelerator in L mode. NO STEERING, PURE OVERSTEER with car aiming straight at the snowbanks and light standards. Fortunately I was going slow enough so as not to hit anything after realizing I’d better click it into D and hit the brake pedal.

Lesson learned: if you think L mode has ABS built-in and you can one-pedal it as usual in very slippery conditions: think again.
 

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This all leads me to begrudgingly agree with your statement that all this boring safety gear in modern cars is in the greater good as (IMO) driving instruction and testing focuses far too greatly on remembering the rules of the road and not nearly enough on the activity of actually driving... We know driverless cars are coming, but I don't think they will be mainstream and affordable and have replaced most of the manually operated cars by the time my kids are learning to drive so I think there will be at least one more generation in my family that will need to learn to drive (well).
Agree with your comment about driver testing being too focused on rule following and not overall competent driving. I suppose it has to be distilled down to the observable objective criteria of following rules since overall driver competency is a bit subjective. I learned a lot about driver safety from taking a motorcycle class. For instance, it makes sense to look both ways before entering an intersection, regardless of who has the right of way, but many people don't, and I doubt it's a required behavior in testing.

It's important to know the limits of a vehicle when surprised by a deer on the road. Natural instinct is to hit the brakes hard AND steer to avoid, but this is usually wrong. Driving like a hooligan in a controlled environment is one of the most useful ways to increase driving skill and safety. My "training" was unsupervised and resulted in various minor incidents while greatly improving my skill. Hopefully supervised training will reduce the urge to test the limits in unsafe ways.

Anyway, on two separate occasions I scared myself going quite slowly around gentle bends as I routinely took my foot off the accelerator in L mode. NO STEERING, PURE OVERSTEER with car aiming straight at the snowbanks and light standards. Fortunately I was going slow enough so as not to hit anything after realizing I’d better click it into D and hit the brake pedal.

Lesson learned: if you think L mode has ABS built-in and you can one-pedal it as usual in very slippery conditions: think again.
Interesting and important observation. I hadn't thought about how 1-pedal driving would affect loss of control situations.

For maximum cornering capability, you want no braking. Generally I make a split second decision on if I'm better off braking to avoid something, or steering around it. If an object is avoidable by steering, I'll often make that decision, but if I'm unsure if cornering is sufficient, I'll stick to braking to at least reduce the impact speed.

I began fishtailing in a truck once while descending a snowy logging road. There was a corner with a cliff approaching, and gentle braking had caused a loss of control. Even completely off the brakes I couldn't get the rear-end to hook up and stop fishtailing. At the last moment I thought to put the automatic transmission in neutral, which eliminated the slight engine braking, and allowed the rear to regain traction. Using the most gradual steering possible, I made the corner with the smallest of margin, with almost no traction or road available for error. Even a slight tap of the brake motivated by my strong desire to slow down would have sent me over.
 

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Lesson learned: if you think L mode has ABS built-in and you can one-pedal it as usual in very slippery conditions: think again.
That's great feedback, thanks. What are you using in the way of tires?

Also, did you try it in "D" mode? I'm wondering how the response compares when you apply light brake pedal pressure in the range that would normally result in regen.
 

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What are you using in the way of tires?
Stockers @ 260kpa / 38 PSI cold.

Paved road had been plowed poorly a few days ago with snow compressed down by traffic and a couple days of sunshine (high temp -10C to -14C) serving to glisten it up nicely then a light snowfall came on top of that. Then I arrived in the Bolt, I knew it would be tricky. I don’t think snow tires would have helped much. Probably needed studs or chains.

On same stretch of road D mode with light brake pedal pressure resulted in some ABS clicking; best result was obtained by constant pressure on the brake pedal allowing ABS to fully/ constantly pulsate allowing some steering control to return.
 

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It's important to know the limits of a vehicle when surprised by a deer on the road. Natural instinct is to hit the brakes hard AND steer to avoid, but this is usually wrong.
IMHO: Steering to avoid a deer or other animal is usually the wrong decision because of the very high chance that the deer will move. Better to hit it slowly than try to avoid only to hit it at high speed.

The odds are a little more in your favour if you can steer to its "tail end", although from a standstill they can still decide to turn and run in that direction. The odds are most in your favour if they're already bolting off the road and you can steer to the side they're vacating.
 

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Paved road had been plowed poorly a few days ago with snow compressed down by traffic and a couple days of sunshine (high temp -10C to -14C) serving to glisten it up nicely then a light snowfall came on top of that. Then I arrived in the Bolt, I knew it would be tricky. I don’t think snow tires would have helped much.
I've been mightily impressed with the Michelin X-Ice XI3 tires. I drove my Prius C around on them last winter in icy conditions up and down hills and with careful throttle control I was pretty impressed at how well they gripped.

But it certainly sounds like "D" mode is really mandated in the kinds of conditions where even very cautious driving is on the verge of loosing control. I tend to not be driving in those conditions (almost none of my trips are really "necessary") but once you're out on the road you never know what you're going to come across. So this is good to know, thanks for the report!
 

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I've been mightily impressed with the Michelin X-Ice XI3 tires. I drove my Prius C around on them last winter in icy conditions up and down hills and with careful throttle control I was pretty impressed at how well they gripped.
Me too. I've done 100 miles on the HW and backroads during medium heavy falling snow. With my XICE3's on the Bolt I think I heard traction control come on for a second once?

My sis lives in CT 250 miles from me, and this Xmas was my first visit up there in an EV. She is a big fan of AWD and Subies.

I offered her a Bolt test drive and she was not interested. She was very curious how the 'car' would fare on her long, steep driveway which was a sheet of white and black ice.

The Bolt with its winter feets did not disappoint.
 

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I've been mightily impressed with the Michelin X-Ice XI3 tires
Thanks for the recommendation. If I lived north of Toronto (say Newmarket, Aurora, Barrie) and was commuting to work I’d sure get them. But as it stands now if there’s too much snow we don’t take a car out. If absolutely necessary to go somewhere in a snow storm (very rarely) we take public transit, a cab, or we walk.

In 50 years of driving I’ve never had snow tires. With our normal non-winters in Toronto especially the last couple of winters, driving around town on dry pavement you wear out a good set of snow tires/wheels while having to put up with the hassle of installing and de-installing them.

But in Vancouver I can understand there’s nice scenic places to go in the winter with potentially lots of snow where you get good use of those tires.
 

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We're having a bona fide winter in Vermont (plenty of snow in recent weeks and -15F the last couple of nights, with more of the same expected!), and I've reached the same conclusion about not using L while driving in snowy conditions. I have Nokian Hakka R2 tires, and I've found it necessary to alter my normal practice of keeping my Bolt in L for most of my driving. It's hilly here in Montpelier, and I definitely seem to have better control while going downhill in snow when using the brakes vs. using regen to slow down, which I've also assumed means that ABS only activates when using the brake pedal.
 

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IMHO: Steering to avoid a deer or other animal is usually the wrong decision because of the very high chance that the deer will move. Better to hit it slowly than try to avoid only to hit it at high speed.
Agreed. I normally brake only when deer are on the road. I've only swerved once, and that was in a snowy 50ft visibility situation, and I barely managed to get around the rear end of the deer (I swear I brushed the tail). My general comments were considering stationary objects, so the deer scenario was a poor choice. In my many deer on road encounters, I've only once hit one, and that was at probably 2 MPH. Most fun encounter was with 10 people in my Subaru Legacy. I was taking them home from the mountain where their Durango had caught fire and burned to the frame. Coming around a corner, a deer was standing in my lane. I told everyone to hold on while I applied maximum braking, stopping about 5 ft from the deer, which just looked at me and then immediately walked away after I had stopped.

In 50 years of driving I’ve never had snow tires.
I was going to recommend snow tires, but seeing you were from Toronto I figured there was nothing I could possible tell you about snow driving that you didn't already know. Snow tires make a huge difference, even on complete ice. Watch the Tirerack videos on the subject as they are way superior to even AT tires. Running them on dry pavement a couple months out of the year isn't going to wear them out too quickly. Mount them on cheap steel wheels and put them on when the first possible snow/ice hits, and take them off when it's been a few weeks of no freezing temperature. In the Portland area, that means about 3 months of use.
 

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I guess I figured that tires are wear items, and my snow tires cost the same per mile as my other tires....so I'm just in for the cost of swapping them 2x a year, about $30-40/year, and the price of 4 steel wheels divided by the life of the vehicle, for a big safety factor for my spouse.
 

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I’m impressed with the application of the regen paddle, in that it ramps up (seemingly exponentially) once you pull the paddle in. This application strategy works well on snowy surfaces too, as long as you modulate it, and thus permits the use of regen on what would at first appear to be a surface on which you typically wouldn’t want to mess with regen in either L or the paddle. Definitely D when slippery!
 

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What's left you might ask? I am happy to report that the Bolt will still let you whip reverse doughnuts with very little interference. At least there is still a bit of fun to be had on a quiet cul-du-sac or when exiting a parking stall on a snowy day.
Great ! As a teenager in winter with my buddies we took our RWD british sports cars onto a frozen lake. Then the competition ensued: who could get the most consecutive 360° spins after powering halfway down the lake. (no winter tires of course - - who could afford those?).

Glad to know I can return to my youth in the Bolt and try some 360’s, just need to put 'er in reverse.
:laugh:
 

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Me too. I've done 100 miles on the HW and backroads during medium heavy falling snow. With my XICE3's on the Bolt I think I heard traction control come on for a second once?

My sis lives in CT 250 miles from me, and this Xmas was my first visit up there in an EV. She is a big fan of AWD and Subies.

I offered her a Bolt test drive and she was not interested. She was very curious how the 'car' would fare on her long, steep driveway which was a sheet of white and black ice.

The Bolt with its winter feets did not disappoint.
I got xice3's as well and have not had control issues and I drive in L mode in all conditions. The only time i did was when I pushed it deliberately to see what the car does as it my very first FWD in 40 years of diriving.
 

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I think the only fun you can have with a Bolt in the snow is that you are not polluting while driving. And the J turns. Rockford anyone?
 
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