Opel Ampera-E (Bolt EV) Goes 387 Miles On Single Charge – Videos

2 months ago by Eric Loveday 49

It’s official range rating is 520 kilometers or 323 miles on the (very optimistic) NEDC cycle, but this one went 387 miles/623 km on a single charge.

Impressive

The Opel Ampera-E, like its sibling the Chevrolet Bolt, is a long-range electric car, but who would’ve guessed it could go almost 400 miles on a single charge.

YouTuber Bjorn Nyland, while uttering his trademark quote (more than a few times), has hypermiled the Ampera-E to what’s believed to be a record of 387 miles/623 km.

That’s way more than the official EPA figure of 238 miles/383 km for the Bolt. And far beyond what Opel says you should expect.

Nyland states:

“As of May 2017, this seems to be a new unofficial world record for the longest distance driven in a single charge for an Opel Ampera-e/Chevrolet Bolt EV. I did it in Hvide Sande, Denmark. Average consumption was 92 Wh/km. The speedometer showed 42 km/h. But the real speed was 39-40 km/h.”

Now we’re eager to see the first Chevy Bolt or Opel Ampera-E to crack past the 400-mile mark on a single charge. Surely it can be done…if not already.

Videos (below): Some long-version follow-ups by Bjorn on his Opel Ampera-E adventures.   If you have some extra time, why not check out an extended cut of his trip (first video), while the second video is some preparation work for the trip.  Enjoy!  (Hat tip to Jeff N in the comments), the third is the Bjorn’s return ans some fast charging.

Bonus Video (below): Just today Bjorn has added a (more compact) video detailing some of the Ampera-E/Bolt EV’s driver features.

“I show how the regen settings work, how awesome the one pedal driving is, how poor the turn radius is and show some of the nice safety features about this car.”

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49 responses to "Opel Ampera-E (Bolt EV) Goes 387 Miles On Single Charge – Videos"

  1. Jeff N says:

    I think the video shows he still had 15-20 km of remaining range so the car probably would have kept going a bit longer.

    Note that he drove about half of this at night with the non-LED headlights on at 12C or about 54F. If this had been driven during the day at warmer temperatures (where the battery is able to release more energy) he likely would have gone over 400 miles.

    1. mx says:

      Driving that long surely warmed up the battery to it’s optimal temperature. I doubt it’d go further at a higher air temperature.

      1. bro1999 says:

        If the HID lamps are 55 watts each, that’s 110 watts/hour while they’re on. If he drove overnight for 8 hours, that’s basically 0.9 kWh of energy sucked up by the HIDs, or nearly 9 km worth of range, since he was averaging 9.2 Wh/mile. That’s not just noise.

        1. SparkEV says:

          9.2 Wh/mile? If true, my 100 Wh laptop battery could power Bolt for almost 10 miles.

          1. bro1999 says:

            Reading up on the Bolt’s headlights, it seems the HIDs are most likely 35w bulbs. So 70 watts of combined energy usage.

            Over 8 hours that’s still 560 Wh, or perhaps 5 km. Every mile counts when it comes to hypermiling!

            1. SparkEV says:

              You meant 9.2 Wh/mile as lights only? You wrote “since he was averaging 9.2 Wh/mile” which made it sound like the entire car averaged 9.2 Wh/mile.

              Rather than distance, power is more relevant. For SparkEV, 25 MPH would use about 3 kW, and lights are about 150W. Taking inverter into account, total power for lights (plus radio; must have radio) might be 200W. That’s about 8% of total.

              If Bolt lights are only 70W (100W after inverter), and Bolt use more power at 25 MPH due to being heavier and wider tires (rolling resistance), lights would be much smaller fraction.

      2. unlucky says:

        Li-Ions don’t warm up much at all during slow discharges. If that battery warmed up, it was because the car used energy from the pack to run a heater. And that heater would have to fight the constant flow of 12C air going across the bottom of the car trying to cool it back down.

  2. mx says:

    Well, yes, at 24 miles per hour you can get that range.

    1. MIkeM says:

      Yes, I once did ≈ 0.125 kWh/mi in my Leaf on the freeway.
      It was over 15 miles at 5-12 mph.
      The longest hour or two in my life, I’d say.

      Still, can’t fault Bjorn for pulling off another interesting statistic.

  3. Brett says:

    It isn’t a stock Bolt though. It has two racing stripes added. 😉

  4. Jeff N says:

    The video linked in the article is a 3 minute long promo version. His full hypermiling video is at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg1TQoiT3KY&feature=youtu.be

    Another video includes his overall review of the Bolt EV while driving to the area where he did the hypermiling:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV4HhdEizIk&feature=youtu.be

    Note: his problems setting up Android Auto may be due to regional use restrictions imposed by Google. A commenter on Bjorn’s YouTube site said they worked around a similar problem in that area by using a VPN to appear as if they were in the US when installing Android Auto and it then continued working without the VPN enabled.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Jeff,

      Had not seen that follow-up vid-will add both those spots to the story…with a hat tip to yourself.

      Also just noted that Bjorn added and another new one on the Bolt EV regen, one pedal driving, safety features, etc. this morning as well (so will drop that in as “bonus” content too)

      Thanks!

  5. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    I think someone should test all EV’s drained till the system stops.

    Not that anything like this is 100% real world driving, but it would let us see what the absolute 0 to SysShutdown is.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Tony Williams (of quickchargepower.com) used to do it for various EV at 62 MPH (100 kph). Not sure if he’ll do it for Bolt. While 100 mile-ish EV would take an hour or two, Bolt could take 4 to 6 hours. Saddle sore could be a real issue.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        I drained my Bolt EV all the way down and got well over 59 kwh. Trickle charging it (1/10 C) required 67.77 kwh.

        I think Bjorn could have gotten a bit more if he had trickle charged it to start with. I’m not sure fast – charging the car initially was the best way to do an extreme battery test.

        Maybe he’s the nervous type, but I’m on my 5th ev and I never felt the need to cuss in a foreign language when the battery got low. It is fun to hear him try it though.

    2. DL says:

      Ah hah, but there’s the rub with EVs. What do you do if you are truly empty of charge? You can’t have someone just bring you a gallon of gas, or even keep a gallon on hand just for the experiment. This is going to be a major problem once we have many EVs on the road.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        It will be LESS of a problem once more ev’s on the road become more common place. Right now, tow trucks may have a gallon of gasoline, or a spare 12 volt start battery, but don’t have any 120 volts ac to get you 2 miles of charge to the nearest public charger.

        If the tow truck has a 120 volt power take-off, or else a brute force 2 kw gas generator to recharge batteries, – you’ll more likely find that complement of equipment the more call there is for it.

        The most nerve-wracking times I experienced was when I was driving my tesla roadster, but did not have my 110 volt cord in the trunk for whatever reason. Since the connector was very non-standard, the only option was flat-bedding it all the way home.

      2. unlucky says:

        It’s really not that hard to handle this. If it becomes a common problem and DCFC capability is common, then there will just be trucks that can come out with a 5kWh pack and charge your car with it at DC rates (25kWish). They could put 15 miles into your car in 12 minutes, less time than it would take to hook up a car on a flatbed and take it to a gas station (usually). Then you just drive to a nearby DCFC and fill the rest of the way up.

        I’m not sure it will become a common problem though.

      3. Mark.ca says:

        In Cali when you call AAA you can request the charging truck…can’t believe you guys don’t know this.
        https://electrek.co/2016/09/06/aaa-ev-emergency-charging-truck/

        1. DL says:

          ~500,000 assistance requests AAA received last year from drivers who ran out of gas.

          So you think that will change with EVs? I think not.

      4. CVVH says:

        There companies now making portable DCFC for just that sort of issue.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Both my cars accept only alternating current. The AAA truck would have to keep that in mind.

  6. Kenneth says:

    Exactly, who will drive for 600+ KMs at 40KM/hour? It’s one thing to test the limits, but another for practicality.

    I would not give too much kudos for this as it’s not going to fit into everyday travelling. The real range is what has been demonstrated already to be about 240 miles (North America).

    1. Dan says:

      I just got 331 miles from my last Bolt charge here in Phila. No AC or heat used, but some highway driving included.

  7. unlucky says:

    Driving that had to be so very boring. I couldn’t take it.

    His experience with the seats is similar to mine. The issue isn’t the seat bottom is impossible uncomfortable, the issue is the seat back is difficult (or perhaps impossible for some) to adjust correctly because it doesn’t have many adjustments.

    I think if it had been warmer he would have gone even further. It is clear the car was doing better when it was warmer. I find that my car does far better at 70F than 40F. If you assume 55F is the optimal range I would expect the two to be about equal, but it’s not even close. It really seems to like warm weather, even though I end up using A/C.

    Interesting point about the 55W headlights. I’m rather annoyed GM put the lowest-tech headlights possible on their high tech Bolt. My Leaf had LED headlights.

    1. DL says:

      HIDs are the “lowest tech possible”?

      There are still many cars that come standard with plain old incandescent headlamps.

      1. unlucky says:

        I admit I was wrong. I thought they were halogen projectors. Which actually technically still isn’t the cheapest possible tech.

  8. Kdawg says:

    Is there a video showing him charging on the 100kW charger?

    1. bro1999 says:

      He was going to, but something was wrong with the station, so he couldn’t charge. 🙁

      1. SparkEV says:

        Are you worried about your $100 bet?

        1. bro1999 says:

          Not worried about losing. I just want to get paid already!

    2. Neromanceres says:

      My understanding is he has a couple more video’s coming. He has been releasing around one a day.

      1. MTN Ranger says:

        The last part just was released:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XCEJXChF74

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Yupper, big wave of videos every few hours, well add this one into the story as well now so that we have the “complete collection”, thanks MTN Ranger!

      2. MTN Ranger says:

        Bummer, he didn’t have the RFID card for the network on the 100 kW DC chargers.

        1. unlucky says:

          He couldn’t just call the number on the charger?

          I guess I’m just used to California where the law requires you be able to use the charger even if you aren’t a member. Just sometimes there is a lot more hassle involved.

          1. unlucky says:

            I watched. The issue was the charger in question had no connectivity. It wasn’t working properly, it only worked with a card. And he didn’t have a card, he has presumably expected to use an app or something. An app or a phone call wouldn’t work as the system couldn’t contact the charger.

        2. Bill Howland says:

          I like where he says, “I love driving this car, it feels like driving a Tesla!”, hehe.

  9. unlucky says:

    Wow, you can turn the car on while DCFCing and see the charge rate? I never tried! Whoops.

    His estimate of where the car dropped down is a little low. The car had around 60% at that point, but if you watch, it actually jumps to 65% (the bars are 5% increments) as he’s pointing to it, so it was closer to 65% when it slowed than to 60%. I know from this weekend I watched the utility meter on a charger as it charged and I know it was still doing full speed (51.565kW “at the wall”, meaning probably 45/46kW delivered) at 61% (indicated on charger). But I unplugged at that point, for all I know it drops down at 62%. In fact past experience indicates it drops at some point before 65%.

    Dropping from 45kWh to 39kWh is as shown is not a huge deal. Each percent is only 45 seconds of charging at 45kWh. If it drops at 62% instead of 75% it only means it drops 8 minutes early, meaning you charge 1kWh (total) less during those 8 minutes than if it hadn’t dropped. That means an extra 80 seconds on the charger. Huh, well maybe 80 seconds is a big deal now that I think about it.

    Anyway, the bigger issue to me is that past about 80% the charge rate gets very low. By 90% (er, 18 bars, not sure if it was a bit past 90%) it seemed barely faster than AC charging.

  10. unlucky says:

    Some notes after viewing his prep video:

    The steering wheel on the Ampera-e has a cruise control on/off button. In theUS there is no such button, the cruise is always armed, you just set it or cancel it. This button on the Ampera-e replaces the button on the Bolt wheel which turns the lane keep assist on and off. The lane keep assist on/off thus moves to the center stack as he shows. The two buttons next to the lane keep assist on/off in the center stack are blank in the Bolt. You cannot turn the parking sensors on/off with a single click in the US. The Bolt also lacks the button he shows which would seem to activate the backup/front cameras. The Bolt has no way to rapidly access these other than shifting into reverse. This is lame and I’ve complained before. It takes 3 clicks to turn the camera on for nose-in parking on the Bolt.

    The Bolt doesn’t have rear heated seats. The Bolt does however have a false floor in the back (on all models I think, Premiers at least) which is not present in this car. The Bolt cannot read speed limit signs and display the limit on the dash. The Bolt does not (yet) have pedestrian alert noise, so there is no button on screen to turn it on/off.

    He doesn’t know what location-based charging is, but it means that the car knows when you are home versus other places. So you can set charge limits and charge timers for home that don’t apply elsewhere. This is great so you can set your charge to only charge at night at home but when using chargers on the go it’ll charge immediately.

    I have no idea what he is complaining about with the rear seat height. If you want your thighs on the seat you move your feet forward as he did. You have to do this in a Model S also, in fact the seating positions front and back are far more stretched out in the Model S. As the Bolt has plenty of legroom in back for you to move your feet forward (as he did) I don’t know what he’s complaining about.

    The interior floor in the car is higher than cars with no battery below the floor. However, I believe the floor is the same height as on the Model S. And I know (I measured it) that the floor in the Bolt is almost 2 inches lower than in an i3. This despite the fact that the ground clearance in the Bolt is almost an inch more than an i3. So the Bolt has about a 2.5″ less thick battery pack than an i3 despite having 2x the pack capacity!

    There is no 12V socket in the back of the car in the Bolt either. I didn’t find this odd. My LEAF didn’t have one either.

    The Ampera e appears to have front parking sensors. I don’t think the Bolt has them. Or perhaps they just don’t beep I don’t think Bolt parking sensors beep at all, they just show on the dash. I never use them anyway, I use the top-down camera to gauge my position in a parking spot.

    I’ve never driven in sport mode on the Bolt. I guess I’ll have to try it. It accelerates well even in normal mode.

    1. devroot says:

      Bolt Premier comes standard with heated rear seats. And there is a cruise-control off/on button on the steering wheel. Location is on the left side of the steering wheel, it’s the “east” or right button of the 5-button cluster there.

      1. unlucky says:

        Hmm. I guess I got wrong which button changed then. What is the button right button in the left “wing” of the steering wheel controls?

        On the Bolt it is the lane assist on/off. On the Ampera e that is in the center console and some button that looks like it has a speedometer on it is there instead. What is that button? I tried to find the Ampera e manual and couldn’t find it online (lots of fake sites though).

        1. devroot says:

          On the left hand side of the steering wheel the 5-button cluster has the following:

          Center: Collision alert distance (Long, medium, short)
          North: Cruise-control resume/increase speed
          South: Cruise-control set/decrease speed
          East: Cruise control system off/on
          West: Temporary cancel of cruise control, but retain speed in memory

          To the left of that cluster there are 2 buttons right next to the center of the steering wheel. On the Premier, the top button is the Heated Steering Wheel, and the bottom button is the Lane Keep Assist on/off.

          See pages 19, 20, 21, 105, and 215-217 in the Owners manual.

    2. SparkEV says:

      Bolt has the annoying “pedestrian alert noise”. I heard it when Bolt shifted into R and D. SparkEV has labeled as PFAF in fusebox, and it’s annoying as heck in quiet areas.

      1. Raymond Ramirez says:

        To remove it, jusr search for the “sound maker” (speaker or vibrator), and disconnect it.

    3. devroot says:

      The Bolt’s rear parking sensors do beep, and you do get a display in the DIC indicating how close you are to an object. However, the beeps are not loud enough in my opinion.

      And I too wish that you could activate the front camera view a lot quicker, like with a button on the dash, or to have it automatically come on when you drop below a certain speed. I seem to recall that Toyota’s 360 degree camera system automatically activates in certain situations.

  11. Leon says:

    Could GM come out with a 40kWh Bolt to improve sales? A Bolt with 150 mile range that sold under $30k would be very competitive with Ford, VW, and BMW for instance. The Bolt seems “over-battered” for its economy car shell.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Oh please don’t complain the battery is too large. I always try to get the largest battery there is – for a reasonable price that is. If they made a 90 kwh BOLT ev, I would have bought it.

      If the car is too expensive for you, please buy something else.

  12. Raymond Ramirez says:

    I wonder why he posted “how poor the turn radius is” for the Opel Ampera-e when he also drives a TM Model S that has a larger turn radius, which under the same parameters would be “catastrophic”.

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