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My Quick Bolt Review

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Cosmacelf, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    I went to a local Chevy dealer tonight to check out a nice robin egg blue Bolt for a friend of mine who is getting rid of her 7 year old 5 series BMW.

    Handling and performance was great. With four adults in the car, it still felt peppy. Visibility was awesome, especially compared to any Tesla (I have both the S and X). It would have been hard to fit three adults in the back seats, but two adults back there was fine - more than enough leg room. The two side back buckets seats could have been a bit wider though. The $43K sticker price car we drove also had heated back seats!

    The single pedal regen and acceleration handled very smoothly. On the freeway, I saw 53 kW of regen shown on the instrument cluster, which is a lot for this fairly light EV. The regen also takes the car all the way down to a stop (unlike a Tesla, grrrr).

    While the Bolt is actually a shorter car than the Volt, the Bolt has significantly more interior space. It is much taller, and without a front engine, it has a very stubby front end, meaning more room for interior. The Volt backseat isn't good for adults, whereas the Bolt works great. The hatchback is nice with access to a good sized cubbyhole in the bottom - a panel goes over top of it to give a flush back seat cargo area when the back seats are down. No frunk though.

    The car has Apple CarPlay! And Android Auto! No nav, but with good CarPlay integration, you don't really need a nav system.

    One of the competitive advantages I had thought Tesla would always have is their Supercharger network. But I just did a search on Plugshare and found 138 CCS fast charging locations in the LA/OC/Riverside metro areas. Yipes. And new CCS chargers are being installed at a very fast rate (and VW's settlement is only going to help).

    The only included EVSE is a 120V 12A charger, so you'll have to spring for a $500 EVSE for your home, but frankly, that's the way Tesla is going as well. On-board is a 7.2 kW J1772 charger (32A at 240V), and $750 for the 50 kW DC CCS option (a must have in my opinion).

    The Bolt also has the usual array of driver safety options like collision warning and braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, etc. It also sports a very fancy rear mirror that converts into a video screen of the rear camera with the flip of a switch. Compared to my almost useless rear view mirror on my X, this was an interesting feature.

    So let's see, compared to a Tesla we have:

    - almost equivalent long range (238 miles)
    - much cheaper (versus Model S)
    - available now versus three years from now (versus Model 3, assuming you don't have one on order already).
    - Seemingly just as good fast charging network
    - Carplay, Android Auto
    - Decent acceleration and handling, nimbleness of a smaller car
    - Good cargo.

    Dudes, I think we finally, finally(!), have a Tesla competitor on our hands. Of course, it's hamstrung by being sold through clueless Chevy dealers (although the older sales guy we had tonight drove a Volt, so he wasn't completely clueless, only said one or two egregious exaggerations). I predict that once the word starts getting out, GM is going to have a hit on their hands.
     
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  2. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    One thing I'm really curious about is high-speed range degradation. All cars suffer aerodynamically at high speeds, but the Bolt's choice to use permanent magnet motors will likely lead to more loss of efficiency at high-speed-low-load conditions such as cruising at 80mph (due needing to waste energy on the d-axis for field weakening and eddy current losses) compared to AC induction motors.

    It seems like some of the initial Bolt reviews reported some pretty painful losses from going down I-5 (level roads, 70mph speed limit) at normal ICE speeds like 80mph, while my personal experience in a Model S is while you do lose some range compared to the original prediction at 80mph, it's not super drastic.
     
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  3. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    It's hard to say based on anecdotal evidence. When I first got my S, I was freaked out how much more range I lost going 80 mph versus 70 mph. I'm used to it now. A similar thing might be happening to Bolt users. Do these initial reviews have good hard numbers so that we could compare?
     
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  4. mmd

    mmd Active Member

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    Nice review! All GM cars come with Onstar navigation system. On-star also has other stuff, like automatically dispatching emergency service if in an accident, 4G connection, calling service if you forget your phone, live help, diagnostics and so on. I think, after 3 years free, it costs $15-$30 a month.

    Model 3 fans often don't realize, that once you are inside the car, interior is what matters. It doesn't matter so much if it looks really sleek from the outside. Getting in and out of a low profile car can be challenging for some folks. I suppose, it is a different target group.

    But here is the thing. 2017 Volts are leasing for $99/mo. Cheapest Bolt lease I see is around $219/mo in Los Angeles (Rydel). In SF bay area, cheapest is around $249/mo. 53 miles of all-electric range is more than enough to cover 90%+ of the travel gas free, with no concern about long distance travel. Which one will people choose?
     
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  5. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Which will people choose? I agree the Volt is a lot cheaper, but gosh, the Bolt is a nicer car. Faster acceleration, better drive, more room, more cargo, no gas stations, great CCS network. We will have to wait and see what the sales numbers tell us!
     
  6. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Yes, I keep forgetting how low slung the S (and the Model 3) are since I'm driving my X these days. My wife and others remark that they like the X better just because you can get in and out of it easier. That will indeed be a point of differentiation between the 3 and the Bolt.

    Wouldn't that be a sh*t storm, if some Model 3 reservation holders started cancelling their orders and buying a Bolt? If this were to happen, I don't expect we would see much of it until the 3 was shipping and people had the ability to compare the cars.
     
  7. Vern Padgett

    Vern Padgett Proud and Grinning Model S90D owners

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    #7 Vern Padgett, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
    Cosmacelf, thank you for your great review. I wanted to ask you about what you said here:

    >>> Dudes, I think we finally, finally(!), have a Tesla competitor on our hands. Of course, it's hamstrung by being sold through clueless Chevy dealers (although the older sales guy we had tonight drove a Volt, so he wasn't completely clueless, only said one or two egregious exaggerations). I predict that once the word starts getting out, GM is going to have a hit on their hands.

    Really? Help me understand why GM would want to sell a Bolt. Or even a Volt. Where I'm coming from on this is my belief that anything GM says or does to promote, sell, market or otherwise push electric cars poses a direct threat to their main business.

    I'm not a conspiracy nut, I'm just saying that there is only one company that is not in conflict over selling electric cars, and it is not GM.

    P.S. You can go 80 mph? We are lucky often to go 18 mph, or even 8 mph. Or even go at all.
     
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  8. Vern Padgett

    Vern Padgett Proud and Grinning Model S90D owners

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    Mmd, you wrote: "But here is the thing. 2017 Volts are leasing for $99/mo. Cheapest Bolt lease I see is around $219/mo in Los Angeles (Rydel). In SF bay area, cheapest is around $249/mo. 53 miles of all-electric range is more than enough to cover 90%+ of the travel gas free, with no concern about long distance travel. Which one will people choose?"

    I agree with you. I would own the cheapest Volt or Leaf, not two Tesla S90Ds, if cost was my concern. But it isn't. I waited 30 years driving a 1987 Acura Integra, waiting for a car that was better than it was. On March 31st of last year, I put down a deposit on that car. I am sorry I didn't support Toyota or Honda back when they first came out with their hybrid cars, but it never made sense to me to drive around the dead weight of a redundant propulsion system. So I waited. Now I have cars I believe are worth owning. I am sorry I didn't buy a Model S sooner, but I never saw myself as in the market for a luxury car.

    Which one will people choose? If they want a cheap car, they will choose a cheap car. I'm not seeing that that is the primary reason why people choose their cars.
     
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  9. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    I don't agree that the Bolt charging options are comparable to Tesla's.
    • The CCS chargers are mainly around cities, there are not many in the middle of the country, although VW may change that in the future.
    • At 50 kW, using them will be pretty annoying I'd think. They say 90 miles in 30 minutes, but on a trip that's not a good example, how long does 180 miles take? That's about 70% for an S, but about 95% for the Bolt at highway speed.
    • What do you mean that Tesla is going towards requiring an EVSE at home? IFAIK, most people just use the included 50A plug.
     
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  10. slipnslider

    slipnslider Member

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    Bolt might be engineered just fine, but it still looks terrible, like a honda fit, and you can't put a price on ugly. I definitely could never pay $43k for such an ugly car. I mean it's not 2017 prius-level ugly, but it still looks like it was designed by exxon to prevent people from switching to EVs.
     
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  11. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Not buying the equivalent charging until the promised 150/350 kW stations show up in a grid along highways and the Bolt demonstrates the ability to charge at greater than 50 kW for a useful portion of the pack.

    There's a lot of difference between 50 kW and 100 kW, and in my experience, 100 kW (with taper) is just barely fast enough to make long road trips comfortable. If all the stops were twice as long, it'd be almost as annoying as the naysayers think it is. :)

    You didn't talk much about the rather polarizing seats - what did you think of them?
     
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  12. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I'm going to pile on about the Bolt EV CCS fast charging not being equivalent to Tesla. In order to keep the charging above 70 amps, the equivalent MPH to driving at freeway speed, you have to stop every 120 miles after you use up your initial full charge. The taper starts at 55%-60% SOC and drops to 25kW by about 70% SOC.

    However, if you're just driving around the LA basin or going to San Diego, it's no big deal since you don't have to charge en-route.
     
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  13. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

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    The key thing about superchargers is the amount of them in one spot.

    I can't even imagine trying to drive around a city trying to find an unused charging spot. Worst case at a supercharger I just have to wait around for 0-15 minutes for one to free up.

    I'm hoping the VW rollout will consist of sizable installations where they are 8-10+ chargers in a single spot.

    The other drawback of the Bolt is it has no adaptive cruise control right now. Hopefully they'll come out with this next year.

    I'm also hoping GM will rollout their self-driving testing to other cities, and that they can add ride sharing to it. I wouldn't mind riding in a self-driving bolt. The videos of them so far are pretty darn impressive.
     
  14. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    The VW Highway Fast Chargers will have multiple stations at each site. I think it said 4 to 6 chargers per site. Once the VW sites and the CEC sites are built out, traveling in a non-Tesla EV in California will be easy. However, the Bolt EV is not well positioned to take advantage of these future chargers that are over 50kW because of the severity of its charging taper.
     
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  15. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Thanks for keeping the comments civil guys. I'll respond to what I know in this post.

    First, minor mistake - the Bolt on board charger does 30A, not 32A.

    Lease deals - I've seen mention of $299 leases, $349 leases, but the best I've actually seen from real customers with half decent trims is around $400/month, and a friend of mine just got quoted a 36 month lease, $2,000 down, at $648/month!!. Lease conditions vary a lot, but AFAIK the cheaper lease deals aren't real.

    I was a bit loose with implying that the CCS network is comparable to the Tesla SC network. It isn't. But the perception is that it is almost equivalent. I do agree that there are no CCS chargers along the I-5 between the Bay area and LA, and you do have to be careful since some CCS chargers are only 24 kW. On the other hand, The Tesla SC network is overcrowded in southern CA, so no bargains there either.

    I totally forgot to pay attention to the front seats when I was test driving it. So FWIW, I didn't notice the seats being bad or amazing.
     
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  16. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    The Bolt has a bad charging taper using 50 kW charging? What is it?
     
  17. bro1999

    bro1999 Member

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    Bolt's onboard charger is 7.2 kW/32A.
     
  18. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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  19. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    If I wanted a fully loaded Bolt, it would cost me <$30k after all incentives and discounts before sales tax.

    But you can pay $43k if you wish. I wouldn't. If you want a base edition <$24k.
     
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  20. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Supporting Member

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    I still can't get past the looks of the Bolt. I've seen several of them on the road. And this coming from a guy that's owned two hatchbacks. Still holding out for the Model 3.
     
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