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Robaroni 08-07-17 09:36 AM

Chevy Bolt Electric Vehicle (EV)
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As some of you know I'm keen on renewables. My ultimate goal has been to be completely off fossil fuel (FF).
In that progression I have gradually worked up to eliminating gas and internal combustion engines (ICEs) from our life.
The latest advance has been the leasing of our Chevrolet Bolt and I have waited until we had a few thousand miles on it before my reviews. I wrote one for our local newspaper on EVs in general and one for Clean Technica specifically on the Bolt.

We picked up our Bolt May 8th of this year on a three year lease. We leased for several reasons. First, this was a completely new car and I'm always hesitant to buy untried products. Technology is advancing very rapidly in EVs an in three years they will be better than they are today. Leasing afforded us to drive an EV now and in three years simply return it for the latest technology.

Let me say right off the bat this is an extraordinary vehicle. The more we drive it the more we love it! Like its sibling the Volt hybrid GM has really thought out the Bolt. Ergonomically it was easy to learn and use. The regenerative braking is the best I've seen in an EV and I drive this car in what's called 'L' mode. In this mode if you take your foot off the throttle the mass of the car generates power that is stored back in the batteries. It's so effective that I've often driven 50 to 100 miles without using the brakes, regen also brings the car to a complete stop. There's also a paddle on the back of the steering wheel to increase regen if you need to slow down and stop faster.

There have been complaints about the seats but we did not have any problem even after several hours in the car. The seats sit high like an SUV so getting in and out is very easy and now that we are getting older the height is easier on my wife's bad knees.

The car is rated at 238 miles per charge, we get around 270 to 300 miles which is plenty for us as we don't really take trips any longer than a couple of hundred miles once or twice a year. The furthest we have gone so far is 225 miles. Some of that in the rain and most of it with the air conditioning on. We had about 65 miles left when we got home - not bad at all.
The ride is good and the hatch means we get to load all our winter food stores from the farm 60 miles away without any trouble. Having the car sit high also means better ground clearance for winter driving.
The Bolt is quite peppy and it easily gets to highway speeds faster than most cars.

With almost 3k miles on the Bolt we have not had one single problem, not one squeak or rattle either. It has been perfect from day one. The hidden beauty of EVs is their low maintenance, the Bolt's maintenance for the first 150k miles is to change the cabin filter and rotate the tires! That's it and the batteries are expected to last a couple of hundred thousand miles or more. (GM guarantees them for 8 years or 100k miles). We chose white thinking that our air conditioner will work less on hot days.

What don't we like? There's no GPS, a car that needs to know where charging stations are should have one. We use Android Auto, it works fine but GM should have a GPS. There should be a light when the charge door is opened, the visors are too small and we would like to have a tow package for a small trailer for those times when we need materials for our local big box store.
The interior is plastic but it's very well done, we don't even notice it anymore but there is a thin strip of chrome below the vents that reflects in the passengers eyes at certain times of the day.
There's not much to complain about. Smooth, quiet, handles and rides well and we figure charging it from our already paid for PV array we'll be saving about $3,200. over our 30k mile lease.

Why didn't we wait for a Tesla Model 3? I think Elon Musk has done some extraordinary things and I hope the 3 does well but it's not for us. First, we live in rural America, Tesla is 150 miles away, GM is 15 minutes away. We wanted a hatchback and we wanted to know that if we ever hit a deer GM could fix it without expensive body panels.
Now the 3 is out. It doesn't have a key FOB, you use your cell phone. To open the glove box you have to use the touch screen, I'm glad we got the Bolt.

I highly recommend the Bolt, I think it's the best affordable EV around.

pinballlooking 08-07-17 10:40 AM

Thanks for the review. I was wondering how you were making out with the Bolt.
Love the picture by the solar panels. It looks good in white.

Robaroni 08-07-17 12:58 PM


Originally Posted by pinballlooking (Post 55150)
Thanks for the review. I was wondering how you were making out with the Bolt.
Love the picture by the solar panels. It looks good in white.

Thanks PB.
I you look on the left in the first pic you can see the modules on the garage roof.

Robaroni 09-30-17 05:54 AM

We need a way to flag these posts.

Daox 10-03-17 04:51 PM

There is a little triangle in the lower left portion of each post. If you hover over it, it says 'report post'. That notifies the admins and mods of an issue.

Robaroni 10-03-17 05:19 PM

Thanks, I'll remember that!

Robaroni 10-07-17 05:51 AM

5k mile update
Well the Bolt is still running flawlessly without one hitch. charging from our PV I figure we saved about $500 over a gas vehicle that gets 25 mpg.

Range anxiety? None, we just went to an EV event with the air on and did about 200 miles round trip give or take, much of that was highway speeds. We're getting between 270 and 300 miles range most days now and the regen braking means we go several hundred miles only using the brakes once or twice.
We fill the car with our winter cold storage food supplies from the farms 60 miles away, going and coming for free. We also quickly found that an EV has inherently more room than a gas car of the same size and small things like no hump down the middle of the car add a lot more storage.
As I think back to our first nervous days when we gave up our gas car I realize the doubts we had were completely unfounded.
We went for the first several months with just the 110 volt charger. About a month ago I purchased a 16A level 2 charger for under $200, we didn't need the $600 32a level 2 charger. This is fine and plugging in a few times a week is so convenient that we wonder why we clung to our gas car and pulled into gas stations for so long!

What a pleasure to own and drive, we couldn't be happier!

Wanna Beco 05-16-20 08:17 PM

How's the Bolt holding up?

Robaroni 05-17-20 08:20 AM


Originally Posted by Wanna Beco (Post 62534)
How's the Bolt holding up?

We got a special deal from GM on the 2017 we had leased. We now have a 2020 Premier with the longer range.
I know there's a lot of talk about the Tesla Model Y but it doesn't fit us. First with the deal we got on the new Bolt we couldn't pass it up, out the door for around $31,500 which gives us a very low lease cost and we may buy it at the end of the lease although the updated Bolt may be out by then.

We did have a small problem on the new Bolt, the forward projection low speed camera didn't work, GM changed it out and the car has been perfect since.

It's been cold right up till two days ago (mid May 2020) here in the mountains and with the virus we have been pretty much isolated from the world living on stocked food supplies.

We're going to take a small trip to the farm to get herbs for the summer but our garden food crop is in. Anyway the Bolt will start to get a work out. Even with the cold and only charging to 80 or 90% we're still seeing over 200 miles range and now that it's getting warmer it's up to 220 on the clock but I noticed I got home the other day and added my used miles to my remainder and it was over 230 miles range so I expect easily to go over 300 miles this summer if I charge to full.

The HD cameras are great and they did tweak the seats. We didn't have a problem with the old seats as we're not big people, even after 4 hours on the road.

One thing we really like is that with an EV charging at home we can avoid the public and gas stations. No service centers either for oil changes. If you live a very private life like we do EV's are a great option.

The 2017 ran flawlessly for three years, We did notice a small noise in the front end. There was apparently a recall on the sway bar but we switched it for the 2020 before our scheduled maintenance on the recall.

So no problems and for what we paid we're still very happy with the Bolt, some days I can't wait to drive it even after over three years. I hear that from a lot from people, the Bolt isn't pushed like Tesla and we like that too. Our dealer couldn't have been any nicer to us, really did everything they could to make us happy and this was before the virus broke last January.

The Premier lists for around $44k but you can get it for a lot less, it's still the least expensive long range EV, even after 3 years. I'm happy if people just drive EV's from any manufacturer so go out an drive one and find out for yourselves. If you charge from your own PV like us the cost is really low, our 2017 cost us under $75 to own and run for three years and that's with tire rotations and inspections. Hard to beat in my view, I'll do everything in my power to never drive a gas car again.

Wanna Beco 05-17-20 09:22 AM

I am glad to hear a positive story. I used to work at cruise as a self driving test driver. They used the Chevy volt. When you are training they have you work emergency stop techniques.The bolt looks like a mild mannered soccer mom car but it can get up and go with the best of them.

Funny you mentioned the seats, they were everyone's complaint at cruise.

After spending 8 hours a day in one for a year, I recommended one to a friend that wanted who had put a deposit down on a Tesla. He was a victim of hype and leased a prius for year while he waited. The tesla is great, but he has had it in the shop many times. And he could of had a bolt while waiting, he just didn't think it was cool enough.

I love hearing good stories about the bolt, and I am sure I will have one when finances allow. Thanks for the update.

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