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GM Bolt Test Drive Experience

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by MDR SEA, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. MDR SEA

    MDR SEA 2015 Model S 85D...& loving it!

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    We’ve had 2 Nissan Leafs since 2013 as it was the first affordable EV offered on a grand scale.

    They are a nice tight, smooth and zippy package for a local cruiser.

    This experience made the decision to get a Model S ea$ier….

    Our Leaf lease is coming due soon so I went shopping for more range.

    The only real option immediately available is the Bolt, so I took one for a test ride.

    Wholly unimpressed.

    What were they thinking?

    Did they not examine their competition?

    Acceleration was punky even in “Sport” mode.

    Why even have a non-sport option?

    Leave it in sport mode and be done with it.

    We’re talking a $40K car here, not a golf cart!

    Acceleration was also noisy and felt rough compared to Leaf or S.

    I don’t know if this was a mp3 added to make it sound/feel like an ICE vehicle.

    The interior finish was typical GM tawdry.

    No auto pilot or adaptive cruise control (Really GM?) but plenty of useless gee whiz video cams all around the exterior and even in the rear view mirror..

    I am an EV advocate and I applaud anyone bringing EVs to the market – the more, the merrier, the sooner the better.

    However if the Bolt was my first exposure to EV I would go back to ICE and pronounce (as we tend to do) “EVs suck and aren’t ready for prime time”.

    It’s a disappointing situation and I’m at a loss to understand managements’ motivation for such –

    1. Is GM still clueless in an echo chamber of yes men (women)?

    2. Are they purposely offering a lame EV to push customers back to ICE?

    Soo now I'm scouring the used market for a Model X.
     
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  2. FutureShock

    FutureShock Member

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    Anything's possible. But maybe it's more likely that they're just not good at EVs yet. :oops:

    If the Model 3 embarrasses them in the same price range (which it probably will), perhaps GM will learn from that.

    .
     
  3. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    >
    We’ve had 2 Nissan Leafs since 2013 as it was the first affordable EV offered on a grand scale.
    They are a nice tight, smooth and zippy package for a local cruiser.

    Whoa, so you find the Bolt completely non [ nice tight, smooth and zippy ]??

    Color me quite surprised and very curious. :confused:
    --
     
  4. PeterHG

    PeterHG Member

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    Sadly, I'm not surprised. If you're used to European or Japanese cars, any Big 3 vehicle is going to be disappointing.
     
  5. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    I too had two Leaf leases before I jumped into S. I had an opportunity to drive a Leaf last week, and I was very surprised how zippy and comfortable it was. With a higher seating than S, I actually liked it a bit better.
     
  6. mtndrew1

    mtndrew1 Member

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    While I agree with many of your points on the Bolt I found the acceleration to be quite stout, much more so than a Leaf. Maybe something was wrong with the example you drove?
     
  7. bro1999

    bro1999 Active Member

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    Man, how did the Bolt win all those awards then? Based off OPs review, it's worse than a 1996 Hyundai!
    GM has 20 EVs coming out in the next 5 years. Maybe one of those will fancy you. ;)
     
  8. FutureShock

    FutureShock Member

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    Let's not get carried away... there's plenty of crappy European and Japanese cars out there. :(
    .
     
  9. MDR SEA

    MDR SEA 2015 Model S 85D...& loving it!

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    Yes.
    As I mentioned it was disappointing but you might go see for yourself.
    I'm assuming that you drive a Tesla, if not, then go drive all three and share your thoughts.
    MDR
     
  10. MDR SEA

    MDR SEA 2015 Model S 85D...& loving it!

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    I don't put a lot of stock in "awards".
    But once again I urge everyone to go see for themselves.
    Yes, I hope there's better EVs to come.
    The more, the merrier.
    The sooner, the better.
    I'm on a crunch timeline, soo...it's Model X for us.
    MDR
     
  11. MDR SEA

    MDR SEA 2015 Model S 85D...& loving it!

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    Agreed.
    Cadillac, Corvette, Pacifica, F-150, etc...
    There's plenty of great ICE tin available from this side of the pond.
    I'm just through with ICE on wheels.
     
  12. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    For some reason quite a few people here seem to like the Bolt. I made a similar thread of my Bolt test drive, with similar conclusions to yours (BTW, DC Fast charging is an option, and the one I tested did not have it. A 'long range' BEV without DC Fast?!?- of course the earliest Model S did not have it and it was initially an option until Superchargers took off)

    I really do not understand why anybody would buy a Bolt when they also have Leaf and i3, both of which seem much better deals to me. I have not driven the Ionic BEV, but I;ll wager that one is probably pretty decent too.

    Under all circumstances I hope we get more options quickly, as is happening. I'd vastly prefer that those options would be competitive. The Volt has been, why not the Bolt. When mary Barra talks of the new BEV's she also talks about Bolt derivatives. As the Cadillac Volt showed, pure derivatives at a much higher price produce slugs with sound-deadening. It is not good news for anybody to have a competitor failing top produce competitive product. At best they'll sell with deeply discounted prices touring them into pure loss-makers.

    I really hope the competition gets better quickly.
     
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  13. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    #13 Jeff N, Oct 8, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    I’ve driven a LEAF for a few days but it has been ~5 years. I liked its open airy cabin and it drove fine for my limited purposes on the highway and on city streets around Portland. LEAF owners will typically say that it is zippy at low speeds but not on the highway and it’s handling on twisty curvy roads is not the best. I don’t recall it being any better than my Bolt although perhaps my memory has faded after 5 years.

    Okay... I think it’s reasonable to guess that they did.

    Sport mode just remaps the accelerator pedal to react more with less pressure. It doesn’t actually change vehicle performance.

    Acceleration is hardly “punky” unless you have reset your performance expectations based on an S 85D. A Bolt is far quicker to accelerate than a LEAF especially at speeds above 40 mph. The Bolt has good passing acceleration at highway speeds and does 0-60 in 6.5 seconds which is relatively strong compared to many cars and much stronger than a LEAF or many non-Tesla EVs. A Bolt beat the laptime of any other production non-Tesla EV at Laguna Seca recently including all Tesla cars in the previous year’s race. That requires both good handling on twisty turns and strong high-speed acceleration between turns.

    2017 REFUEL EV Race Sees New Track Records - HybridCars.com

    What do you mean by “rough” acceleration?

    I agree that acceleration has a bit of motor whine but I don’t recall it being more than a LEAF.

    I find the cameras in the Bolt quite useful. The surround vision option is great for parking and is notably missing from Tesla cars. The rear view mirror camera is great during daytime driving for giving a wide unobstructed view. The change of focus between looking forward through the windshield and then to the rear view display does take a few weeks to fully adapt to.

    Adaptive cruise control most likely just didn’t meet their tight development schedule. I think it’s likely they will make it an option in the 2018 model year but that hasn’t been announced yet. It has pretty much all of the other camera/radar/ultrasonic advanced safety features available other than ACC and AP. Of course, Tesla’s AP2 is still a work-in-progress but getting better.

    Really? I think the Bolt is great and quite a few Bolt owners have made the direct transition from ICE to EV because they were holding off waiting for improved battery range at a better price point.

    I’ve driven the following “modern” electrified cars and prefer the daily driving experience of the Bolt to all of them:

    2004, 2012, 2017 Prius (Hybrid and PHEV)
    2017 Ioniq (Hybrid, PHEV, Electric)
    2011 LEAF
    2011 Volt
    2016 Volt
    2016 i3
    2017 Chrysler Pacifica PHEV
    2017 Honda Accord Hybrid
    2017 Toyota Mirai
    Roadster Sport
    S P85

    The S P85 has stronger acceleration, of course, but for my personal taste it is too large and the seating position is too low. I also dislike having to constantly use the brake pedal to come to a complete stop or brake stronger-ish during turns.

    The greatest feature in driving the Bolt is the excellent one-pedal driving mode along with occasional use of the regen paddle on the steering wheel. The i3 has a similar system but it’s a bit weaker on one-pedal regen and lacks the regen paddle to strengthen regen further. The new 2018 LEAF promises to have a similar one-pedal system but I haven’t tried it yet.

    I love driving the Bolt and take it on road trips as well. I’ve put 18,000 miles on mine since I got it in January. I’m presently in SoCal about ~400 miles from home and have done similar LA trips 4-5 times this year. Although slightly less convenient and slower, the overall road trip experience is not that different from driving the S 85P as long as ~50 kW CCS charging is adequately available as it is in Central and Southern California where I do most of my longer trips on US 101 or CA-99. Highway corridor CCS charging availability should greatly improve in California and nationally within the next couple of years while Tesla’s network fills in and greatly scales up.

    The Bolt is also very efficient in city driving and even pretty good on the highway at 70 mph in spite of its taller shape which provides flexible storage access through the rear hatch.

    In summary, your characterization of the Bolt as a “lame EV” doomed to push potential customers back to ICE driving strikes me as being unfair and rather bizarre. But, to each his own...
     
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  14. PeterHG

    PeterHG Member

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    I agree that these are all fine vehicles, but you've sort of supported my case that Big 3 autos are disappointing. Of the ones you've mentioned, only the F-150 is a high volume vehicle. The others are niche products. Cadillac used to be the "Cadillac of the industry", it's now an insignificant afterthought to BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Pacifica is a cool design that's never really taken off. Corvettes are awesome, but not really representative of the brand.

    When I wrote that buyers of Japanese and European vehicles would not be satisfied with Big 3 cars, I meant bread and butter cars such as Honda Accord and Odyssey, Toyota Camry and Prius, BMW 3, VW Golf, etc. I'm not sure there's an American car that can match any of these.
     
  15. MDR SEA

    MDR SEA 2015 Model S 85D...& loving it!

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    Your 5 year old memory of the Leaf seems foggy.
    Perhaps you should revisit.
    Amen, to each his own.
     
  16. MDR SEA

    MDR SEA 2015 Model S 85D...& loving it!

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    No worries.
    I didn't aim to support nor refute your post.
     
  17. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Sport changes tip-in rate.

    A db meter app for your phone is really cheap. What readings did you get at 75 mph in the Bolt vs the Leaf? I think you will be surprised.

    50-70 mph passing - 6.9 seconds for the Leaf. 3.5 seconds for the Bolt. These are 2 different types of vehicles that share only number of tires, doors, and method of energy storage. One has a sport suspension, one as a 'don't bother trying' suspension.
     
  18. MDR SEA

    MDR SEA 2015 Model S 85D...& loving it!

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    Could be.
    I found Bolt to be noisier when accelerating and not as smooth and quick as our Leaf.
    Overall disappointing...to me.
    I haven't see many on the road up here but there are plenty in the local dealers' lot so ....
     
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  19. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    #19 Jeff N, Oct 9, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
    Yes, I should also drive a 30 kWh 2017 LEAF and a new ~40 kWh 2018 LEAF.

    In any case, here are the raw track notes taken by Car & Driver on their test track for the 2011 Nissan LEAF and the 2017 Bolt EV. Guess which is which... :)

    074CD01D-537C-450F-85AC-B309FEDB23C4.jpeg 9A5D624E-0487-474A-A77D-43B7CEC8BB89.jpeg

    In a side note: the track driver noted that there were some ”heavy” headwinds during 2011 Nissan acceleration testing that “probably” hurt the higher mph numbers but he attempted to average the wind away by testing in both directions.
     
  20. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    Car & Driver does agree with you about noise levels. I don’t know, but it’s possible that part of the noise at idle and lower speeds is due to the 2017 Bolt EV having a pedestrian noisemaker whereas the older 2011 LEAF did not.

    2011 Nissan LEAF:
    7FBDE695-0B75-4328-84CC-33A6E491F524.jpeg

    2017 Chevrolet Bolt:

    48B51767-448C-468E-8A55-3070B0DC2530.jpeg
     
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