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Chevy Bolt 24-hour test drive--it's no Tesla, but it's not bad

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Petra, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Petra

    Petra Member

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    I did a 24-hour test drive of the Chevy Bolt last week and, as much as I dislike GM and their products, it really wasn't bad. It has flaws, yes, but my wife and I both were rather surprised by the car overall... so I made a video.

     
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  2. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    I test drove a Bolt yesterday and came away very impressed. GM did a great job and it has potential be a significant step forward for EV's. The one place they failed (and failed badly) is that the car is not compelling, it feels great when you are inside it, but on outside it looks like a subcompact economy car (Ford Fiesta comes to mind). The sticker price of the one I test drove was $49,500, and for that kind of dough, it really has to look good. We also test drove a Honda Civic for half the price ($23,500) and side by side the Bolt's appearance was embarrassing. The way a car looks is not a big deal to me, but if you want to sell EV's it seems like they have to be as compelling as competing ICE's at half the price.

    IMG_1015.jpg
     
  3. Petra

    Petra Member

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    I tend to think of the new Civic as overstyled, but you bring up a fair point. However, one could argue that swinging too far toward understated design is a better decision than not far enough. After all, people complaining about EVs being weirdmobiles is pretty common around these parts... *looking at you, BMW, and that pig-nosed abomination*
     
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  4. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    Agreed, on so many levels the BMW i3 is not in play any more.... GM pretty much just slam dunked BMW.
     
  5. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    #5 Jeff N, Jan 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
    Nice job!

    A few points:

    1. Yes, there is a way to charge less than 100%. You persistently enable Hill Reserve mode. This limits the charge to about 88-90%. The stated reason for this is to preserve full regen ability if charging on a hill and then driving down hill. It's also a way to evade EPA's penchant to reduce the 238 mile range estimate by averaging any perceived "daily charge" setting with the "full charge" setting like they did to the Nissan LEAF around 2012. Nissan fixed that by removing their 80% charging option..... But you are right, GM should have really added a slider control which is how Tesla avoids the EPA's stupidity. Perhaps GM can fix that in the future with an over-the-air software update.

    2. You can get more luggage room by dropping the removable false floor and laying it flat on the bottom of the hatchback cargo area. This allows a wider cargo base as well. The result is that the upright luggage won't stick out towards the hatchback window as much and it won't block the rear mirror view as much although the rear mirror camera (which you didn't mention) avoids any blocked views due to luggage or rear seat headrests. The car's rated 16.9 cubic feet includes that extra floor space and it is actually more cargo room than many mid-size sedans have although it is oriented vertically rather than horizontally. In your case, the floor mats and other dealer "prep" materials in the black plastic bag were being stored under the false floor and you would have had to take them out first in order to demo that aspect of the cargo space.

    As for tire spin during launch, someone who likes to drive like that should definitely consider switching to grippier tires. One nice thing about the stock tires is that they are the first to feature Michelin's new self-sealing technology that is supposed to prevent common sources of leaks like screws or nails in the tread. This is different from "run flat" tires that lose air but continue to ride on stiff sidewalls.

    Finally, it's true that CCS charging is limited today even in California but the state has already issued a flood of new grants last year to fill-in all of the major highways including I-5 with 50 kWh chargers with set-asides for additional future 100+ kW chargers together with transformers and grid connections pre-sized to support them. You can see them on a map here:

    CEC DC Fast Charge Sites

    Also, VW entered into a court-supervised settlement last year that requires them to spend $500 million every 2.5 years during a 10 year period on zero carbon emission infrastructure on things like Tesla Supercharger-style high speed freeway charging plazas. Initial plans will be finalized this spring and construction will begin later this year. VW needs to buildout such a charging network anyway to enable them to compete effectively against Tesla on future long-range EVs such as next year's Audi Quattro electric SUV. All CCS cars from any brand will be able to use the charging stations. It is very likely that most or all of these stations will also support CHAdeMO cars.
     
    • Informative x 6
  6. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Supporting Member

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    Very informative. If I didn't care about looks, I'd buy a Bolt tomorrow. I'm sorry, it's just a very homely car. Call me vain, but I like driving a somewhat attractive car. That's why I'm holding out for a Model 3. My Sonata is nearing 70,000 miles, but the powertrain warranty is 10/100,000, so I've got a ways to go. I'm expecting I'll probably have about 82,000 or so miles by the time the Model 3 comes around (or so I hope). If I have to keep it to 100,000, so be it. I'm still hoping for a delivery date for my car around March-May '18.
     
  7. ricardocabesa

    ricardocabesa STD free

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    It's an $16,000 car with an expensive drivetrain.
     
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  8. bro1999

    bro1999 Active Member

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    $49k??? A fully loaded Bolt should only be $43.9k. What's the deal?
     
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  9. bro1999

    bro1999 Active Member

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    Auto down is on all four Windows, not sure what OP is talking about. Auto up is only on the driver's side. I just tested it.
     
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  10. bro1999

    bro1999 Active Member

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    And teabagged BMW for good measure. ;) If only it was the German national team they were playing...then this gif would be perfect.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. TexasEV

    TexasEV Well-Known Member

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    I think that's the operative part of your post. It's unlikely that GM wants EVs to become so popular as to threaten its ICE business.
     
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  12. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    I drove a Bolt yesterday as well and came away very impressed. No, it is not a Model S. Yes, it's a bit dorky looking-to my eye, it was BMW i3-ish, which isn't a bad thing. And no, it sets no standard for interior design or quality.

    But the truth is, I don't think my P85D has high standards of interior design or quality.

    So in terms of driving, I was highly impressed with the Bolt's driving dynamics. Very good acceleration, nice handling and quite good responsiveness. One of the things I really liked was the driver's display. I find the Model S display to be a pain in the butt for certain things that are better handled by old fashioned buttons or dials (HVAC, in particular), and I much prefer Android Auto over the OEM system in our Model S for nav, music, etc. I also really liked the large hatch opening with the fold down seats. Great cargo capacity.

    Will I buy a Bolt? Probably not. I'm also not going to buy a Model 3, though, and if I were in the market for a smaller EV, I'd probably have a hard time saying no to the Bolt. My cousin reserved a Model 3 and asked me whether she should wait for the Model 3 or go for the Bolt, and today I told her to cancel the Model 3 reservation and get the Bolt. That's how good I think the Bolt is.
     
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  13. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Concerning the Compelling™ argument. The biggest selling cars are not attractive. We dream Ferrari, we buy Camry.

    F150? Not even attractive by pickup standards. The Raptor? Perhaps. Wait. Those sell poorly.
    Camry? Why yes I work in a cubicle, how did you know?
    SUV? For the LAST TIME, I do not want to see pictures of your offspring, capiche?
    Most Common BEV, the Nissan Leaf? We spent a lot of money making this really ugly, does it look Green yet?
     
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  14. Petra

    Petra Member

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    Certainly good information to add, thank you. I did end up having to cut a lot out of the video for the sake of runtime and preventing the video from feeling like it was dragging too much. Though, on the extra cargo space and CCS network stuff... I didn't demo the luggage with the false floor removed mostly due to time constraints but partially because I felt like a lot of owners are just going to leave the false floor in place since it's what allows for a continuous flat surface when the seats are folded, there really isn't any place to put it (aside from tossing it into you house's attic or something), and the isolated space it provides is really the only place to stick the EVSE that isn't in the way (assuming that you want to keep either the included 120V EVSE or your own 120/240V EVSE in the car just in case). I mean, I suppose you could take all of the styrofoam out of the otherwise empty spare tire well and make an EVSE storage organizer to go down there. For DC fast charging, I stuck to talking about the network as it stands right now (more of a snapshot in time approach) since I know that the network will expand with time... and the promise of future expansion doesn't really help people in the next 3-9 months.

    Right, auto up/down is only available on the driver's side and nowhere else... which is exactly what I wrote in the video. Auto down isn't auto up/down, it's some halfway BS that seems to have only been implemented to baffle and infuriate.
     
  15. patrick40363

    patrick40363 Member

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    Dealer add-ons would be a good guess. They are already selling them for $1500 off MSRP in CA.
     
  16. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    As I noted earlier, there is a good place to put the false floor -- you put it flat down on top of the "real" cargo space floor. In any case, I believe the basic LT Bolt EV does not even include the false floor although it can be optionally ordered (I think... this is from memory).

    Nope. The EVSE storage space is below the "real" cargo storage floor down where the styrofoam divider is.

    In other words, moving up from the very bottom of the cargo area there is:

    0. Bare metal bottom of cargo storage area.

    1. Styrofoam divider with tow hook and EVSE storage area.

    2. Real floor that is below the hatch opening.

    3. False floor that is even with the hatch opening.
     
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  17. bro1999

    bro1999 Active Member

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    Yep, the false floor drops right into the "real" floor (that actually isn't real in the sense you can lift it up and reveal the area the tow eye/charging cord is stored), and lays flat on the actual floor. Takes 2 seconds to drop the false floor down.
     
  18. Petra

    Petra Member

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    Ah, okay--got it. The styrofoam cover depicted in the video was stuck and I would have had to pull everything out to look under there. The car I briefly test drove the weekend before didn't have the styrofoam cover in place and I could see the tow hook and stuff but didn't remember there being a spot for the EVSE.
     
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  19. dhcp

    dhcp Member

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    That was a really well-done video and perfect for a Tesla owner curious about that car. Thanks so much for taking the time to do it and covering the things only a regular EV owner would want to know.

    What one earth did you use to film and edit it? The video and lighting was excellent, you must do video as either a serious hobby or profession.
     
  20. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    Dealer add ons, since they only have one on the lot I guess they think they can charge what they want. Supply and demand I suppose.
     

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