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Comparison between Cape Cod~AZ~Cape Cod trip in a Chevy Bolt vs Tesla Y

Nov 3, 2019
244
268
Green Valley AZ
This is a comparison between our Cape Cod to Tucson trip last October (in our 2019 Bolt) and our return this April in a Tesla model Y. This is not a “Them vs. Us” overview, just sharing my observations on the differences we found in both the vehicles and the fast charging infrastructures.

The Vehicles
We own both a Chevy Bolt (2019 Premier) as well as the Tesla model Y we just drove home in. These are very different vehicles. Wife and I like them both, recognizing that they serve different purposes. The Chevy makes for a perfect commuter car, and we use ours now as the “going into Tucson” vehicle. Small enough to be agile and easy to park, yet comfortably large enough inside. It’s also an enjoyable vehicle to operate. Ours has been stone reliable for all of its 12,600 mile life so far. It’s 50 kW charging speed is simply dated now.

The Tesla is the better long-distance traveling machine, for a number of reasons. It’s larger inside, so roomier for both people and “stuff.” The Tesla autopilot system works very well, making for a far less stressful day of tedious highway driving. The Tesla mapping system is excellent as well. Their system guides you right to the location of whatever Supercharger you ask it to send you to (or anywhere else for that matter).

Which brings us to:
Charging Differences
We had some “adventures” when in the Bolt and going from Cape Cod to AZ. We were almost stranded twice at Electrify America sites the first two days of travel and came close a third time but managed to drive over 200 miles from one charger to another working unit. The Tesla Supercharger system, in a word, works. We stopped at twenty-one of their locations (over a 2800 mile distance trip) and never had an issue. I ought to add that we also drove from Tucson to San Diego CA in the Tesla a month or so earlier, using around eight or ten Superchargers and had no issues then as well.

Speaking to a few of the folks we met at Supercharger locations none had had any negative things to say about the charging system put in place by Tesla.

I am confident that sometime in the future there will be a leveling off of the quality of EV fast charging, with both DCFC and Tesla Superchargers working in a similarly reliable and transparent fashion. As of today however my empirically gained view would be that Tesla is the way to go if you intend on doing any significant long distance driving in an EV.

I’d like to make it clear that the way we traveled was not particularly “efficient.” The least amount of SOC we had upon arriving at a Supercharger was 19%. Most frequently our SOC was over 30%, sometimes more. This was because the charging of the Tesla was so rapid that by the time I finished “hitting the head,” walking around or chatting with other Tesla drivers parked nearby it was pretty common for our SOC to be in the +80% range. It just happened that way.

Other travelers we met had a different approach. One fellow pulled in to a Supercharger site stating (bragging really) that for the last several miles his Tesla was showing zero for his SOC. Many of those we spoke with reported being quite comfortable with their SOC being in single digits when coming to the next Supercharger.

My wife and I clearly ascribe to a different philosophy when it comes to fast charging our EV!!

Real-world Road Travel Speeds
My wife and I are in our mid to late seventies. We just don’t like to sit in a car for much more than a couple of hours at a time. This is my way of saying that our driving style will likely be viewed as inefficient and wasteful of time to most folks. We took six days to travel the 2800 miles, with a maximum day’s ride being 541 miles and the shortest being 411. We also didn’t drive all that fast. On the other hand, I’m not sure driving quickly was even all that possible along the roads we traveled.

The route we took from Tucson was; 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 to 81 to 78 to 287, over the Tappen Zee/Mario Cuomo bridge, then on to 95 and to the Cape. We found that most people drove at or near the speed limit. Even when wanting to move along a bit (max continuous speed for us was 75 mph) it was our observation that we didn’t gain much time in trying to jockey in and out of the flow of traffic for that extra five mph of speed. Indeed, in the northeast in particular the speed limits were quite modest, often no more than 65 mph.

Since we were stopping every 150 or so miles racing to the next Supercharger, then hanging out there to take a break just didn’t seem to make much sense.

So, in short, most people would be able to make far better time, stopping at fewer chargers, then was the case with us. I suspect we stopped at around eight or ten more Superchargers than we really had to in order to make this trip. We drove for our comfort, not to make the best time.

As an aside we stayed at five motels along the route, with four having Level 2 chargers available, which was quite handy.

I recorded our trip in a little trip log I published. It's nothing more than 100 lined pages designed so that each page is a separate day of travel. A notepad would do just as well, but my little log worked out nicely for us, keeping all the relevant info in one place. As I self-publish my books, creating this little guy was pretty simple.

xabKnN4.jpg


If I can answer any questions in regard distance travel in an EV, please let me know.

Rich
 

mark95476

Active Member
Jun 21, 2020
1,261
663
Bay Area CA
Thanks for your write up. I've always liked long road trips and having my Tesla do much of the driving for me is going to be a game-changer.

I too chose comfort over minimizing time so I agree with your sentiments. I see people trying to save a few seconds all the time and a lot of the time it just doesn't work or it's not worth the frustration.

We just don’t like to sit in a car for much more than a couple of hours at a time. This is my way of saying that our driving style will likely be viewed as inefficient and wasteful of time to most folks. We took six days to travel the 2800 miles, with a maximum day’s ride being 541 miles and the shortest being 411. We also didn’t drive all that fast. On the other hand, I’m not sure driving quickly was even all that possible along the roads we traveled.

The route we took from Tucson was; 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 to 81 to 78 to 287, over the Tappen Zee/Mario Cuomo bridge, then on to 95 and to the Cape. We found that most people drove at or near the speed limit. Even when wanting to move along a bit (max continuous speed for us was 75 mph) it was our observation that we didn’t gain much time in trying to jockey in and out of the flow of traffic for that extra five mph of speed. Indeed, in the northeast in particular the speed limits were quite modest, often no more than 65 mph.

Since we were stopping every 150 or so miles racing to the next Supercharger, then hanging out there to take a break just didn’t seem to make much sense.

So, in short, most people would be able to make far better time, stopping at fewer chargers, then was the case with us. I suspect we stopped at around eight or ten more Superchargers than we really had to in order to make this trip. We drove for our comfort, not to make the best time.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
2,163
2,134
Maryland
The Chevy Bolt comes equipped with Michelin EnergySaver A/S tires with Michelin SelfSeal technology. Did you purchase a spare tire kit from Modern Spare for the Model Y for your return trip?
 

shingles

Member
Feb 23, 2021
78
56
Texas, USA
i have read several discussions about seat comfort in the Bolt, what are your thoughts? How are you charging the Bolt and the Tesla at home? I am in the process of buying a 2021 Bolt LT. Thanks!
 
Nov 3, 2019
244
268
Green Valley AZ
i have read several discussions about seat comfort in the Bolt, what are your thoughts? How are you charging the Bolt and the Tesla at home? I am in the process of buying a 2021 Bolt LT. Thanks!

>i have read several discussions about seat comfort in the Bolt, what are your thoughts?

I put seat pads or cushions in our Bolt. The seats were reasonably comfortable.

>How are you charging the Bolt and the Tesla at home?

The Bolt was charged using a NEMA 14-50 outlet at our Cape Cod home. In AZ we use the 120v outlet with the OEM connector. Works out well for us so far.

The Tesla always is on a NEMA 14-50 circuit, using the OEM "charger."

Rich
 

shingles

Member
Feb 23, 2021
78
56
Texas, USA
>i have read several discussions about seat comfort in the Bolt, what are your thoughts?

I put seat pads or cushions in our Bolt. The seats were reasonably comfortable.

>How are you charging the Bolt and the Tesla at home?

The Bolt was charged using a NEMA 14-50 outlet at our Cape Cod home. In AZ we use the 120v outlet with the OEM connector. Works out well for us so far.

The Tesla always is on a NEMA 14-50 circuit, using the OEM "charger."

Rich

Thanks. I think I might buy a Tesla to J1772 adapter and use the Tesla Mobile Connector on the Bolt. I am contemplating installing a Juicebox 40 Pro.

One of the things I am a little bummed about is that the Bolt doesn't appear to provide as much detail as the Tesla does when it comes to charging and drive. I am a data nerd, so love things like Teslafi. I know the Juicebox will provide information from the charging side, but I don't think I can get anything beyond what's in the mychevrolet app.
 
Nov 3, 2019
244
268
Green Valley AZ
Thanks. I think I might buy a Tesla to J1772 adapter and use the Tesla Mobile Connector on the Bolt. ...

One of the things I am a little bummed about is that the Bolt doesn't appear to provide as much detail as the Tesla does when it comes to charging and drive. ...

Good idea on using the Tesla connector for charging J1772 EVs.

As for charging detail, yes, you're correct. My best guess is, the two vehicles are aimed to two different "markets" of EV buyers.

Rich
 

TomServo

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
1,247
775
Belleville IL
A new Bolt isn’t “cheap” but they can be had for about $29K today. Not sure I’d take a 50 kW (charging speed) car on a long road trip. GM really needs to fix that, I’m sure they have enough data to make that happen.
 

shingles

Member
Feb 23, 2021
78
56
Texas, USA
A new Bolt isn’t “cheap” but they can be had for about $29K today. Not sure I’d take a 50 kW (charging speed) car on a long road trip. GM really needs to fix that, I’m sure they have enough data to make that happen.
Actually less than $29k. I just paid $22,752 before tax title license fees. total drive out was $25,123 including all of the said fees/taxes. At $23k, I think it's a good value. But I agree, I wouldn't pay $39k for it. I'd much much rather have a model 3 sr for $40k. But at $23k.... hard to beat the value.
 

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