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Old 02-21-2017, 10:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Chevy Bolt EV - 238 Mile Range $30K after incentives

I test drove the Bolt EV Premier with my brother Nathan and my son Nick yesterday. I am 6'-4" and ~225, Nick is 6'-6" and ~245, and Nathan is 6'-7" and ~265.



Some impressions from seeing and sitting in the Bolt EV Premier, and brief test drive:

The seats are upright and comfortable, and firm. The Premier has leather seats, and the LT (which we didn't see) has cloth, that are apparently slightly softer. The seat base is narrower than typical, but they still support all three of us.

The rear seat is also upright, and only Nathan's head touched the roof if he tilted it back. We had to duck a bit getting in the back seat. The floor is flat all the way across, so the middle seat would be better than most.

Nathan fit in the backseat behind Nick in the driver's seat - this is most impressive, indeed!

The front door openings are great - there is NO rise at the door sill for your feet, so the floor is essentially level. There is a shallow storage bin on the floor between the front seats; otherwise the floor would be flat.

The vision out of the car for the driver is excellent, with even the windshield continuing up high enough to see traffic lights when you are at the stop line (which is much better than many cars for us tall folks). The side window sills are nice and low, making it feel quite open and airy.

Shifting is very similar to the Leaf, but regenerative braking in L (which is called B in the Leaf) is MUCH stronger, and it offers true "one pedal" driving. You can drive normally using only the accelerator pedal. If you use D, there is a regen switch on the back of the left side of the steering wheel. And regen is integrated onto the brake pedal, as well.

Acceleration is strong - even for a seasoned EV driver. My extended family already has SEVEN EV's. We are familiar with the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i MiEV, VW e-Golf, and BMW i3.

The Bolt EV apparently has a "safety" noise maker, so that people outside the car get a subtle warning. The good news is this is not noticeable to the people inside; as it is on the Leaf and the e-Golf.




They have a variable regen paddle on the back of the left spoke of the steering wheel. This is only needed in D; because L already has full regen. I found that coasting in L was not really feasible - you can get close, but it easily "slips" to either accelerating or regen. The i3 has a noticeable "detent" when you can feel it coasting - the Bolt EV does not do this.




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Old 02-21-2017, 05:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Seems like you could easily top 300 miles on a charge depending on your commute and driving habits.

Is there any trunk space at all?

A lot of your description sounds like you're describing my Volt, other than the Volt having way less headroom getting in the back seat. I think everybody who has sat in my back seat hit their head the first time! The Volt also can't be coasted in "L", usually I drive in "D" and switch to "L" when I know I need to slow or stop.
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes there is decent hatch space. The Premier comes standard with a panel that sits level with the rear seats when they are folded down. Below that is a space nearly a foot high, and below that, there is a foam storage unit that can hold the 120v charger, and the tow loop, and a few other things. This bottom area is where the spare would be. If you take out the panel and the foam container, you get quite a bit of space.

Pictures from: http://insideevs.com/a-closer-look-a...ailed-gallery/





The Volt has much lower seats and a large hump in the middle for the battery, while the floor in the Bolt EV is flat.

I think 300 miles is possible in the Bolt EV - one journalist had ~42 miles left at the end of a ~240 mile drive, that was some highway speeds, and some A/C. It is possible to shift it into neutral, and coast.
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This article says at least one driver has gone over 300 miles on a charge. https://electrek.co/2017/02/17/chevy...0-miles-range/

I hope they can crank a bunch of them out and people will buy them. Right now a used Volt is the only roadtrip capable "EV" in my price range, but a 200+ mile range full EV would fit the bill. My Prius isn't going to last forever.
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Old 02-22-2017, 02:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What's the best EV you've driven, Neil?
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
What's the best EV you've driven, Neil?
The three best EV's that I have driven are the VW e-Golf, the BMW i3, and the Chevy Bolt EV.

I have not driven a Tesla, nor the Soul EV, and also the 500e and Smart ED.

The e-Golf is nearly perfect as an ecodriver - it coasts by default, and it handles very well, and it fits my tall family comfortably.

The i3 has the exact opposite regen design from the e-Golf, with its 1-pedal driving. But you can coast it fairly easily, and it is the lightest EV. It has the most front seat room of just about ANY vehicle.

The Bolt EV has - by far - the best range in "affordable" EV's, and that alone would make it very desirable. But it also has the best overall interior space - the front is slightly less roomy than the i3, but the rear seat is the best for any EV I know of. It has more interior volume than the Model S, believe it or not.

The Bolt EV is more efficient than the i3 - I think they got the drivetrain losses down to a minimum. Only the upcoming Ioniq Electric has better efficiency. And the motor of the Bolt EV is the most powerful of all other EV's - except the Teslas, of course. The Bolt EV has a 150kW motor, and they have tuned it for very linear acceleration.
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I test drove a base model Bolt yesterday. I think Chevy has a winner on their hands. Range and efficiency seem to be great. We left the dealer with 218 or 219 miles remaining and after a ~6.5 mile drive with AC and some quick acceleration (but otherwise eco-driving), it was still showing 218 remaining. As Neil said, the regen in L or with the paddle is strong. The salesman even had me try them out before leaving the parking lot because it's so unexpected. Not sure how I would drive it if I had one, probably a mix depending on the situation, like L for going down long hills. The acceleration is amazing and there's something wrong with you if it doesn't put a smile on your face. Not as good as a Tesla, but not bad for being half the price of a Model S or X.

It was difficult to leave without one. Issues were 1) Prius is paid off, just liability insurance, and pretty close to being fully depreciated. Would be really difficult to financially justify getting a more expensive car. 2) Payments on a $40k car (because we wouldn't be able to use much of the tax credit) just wouldn't fit in the budget right now. 3) I would want a little more than just the base model, like fast charging and at least the package that includes the heated seats and steering wheel (orange would be nice).

I'm hoping they depreciate like a rock, but I think the ~240 mile range will help protect them from that.
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ah but the auestion is: can they go from Sacramento to Reno on a charge? The # 1 cause for tow truck runs are currently running out of charge in your tesla just outside of Truckee
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm hoping for major depreciation, too.

I want to go electric, but I can get twice the range and only paid half the sticker.
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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When the Model 3 starts production, the Bolt EV will get less expensive. And shortly after that, we should be seeing the new Leaf (with hopefully 200-250 mile range!), as well.

The new e-Golf and the Ioniq Electric have ~125 mile ranges, and the new i3 is ~114 miles - so that also puts market pressure on the Bolt EV.

My spouse wants to go test drive a Bolt EV - soon - so we may be getting one sooner than I thought. And if the new Leaf is not improved enough in the backseat - we probably will be getting a second Bolt EV early next year, when our e-Golf lease expires.

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