Tested Drives The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt – Video

3 months ago by Steven Loveday 32

Tested’s Jeremy Williams has bought his own loaded Chevrolet Bolt, and he has now been driving the 238-mile EV about two weeks. The video is designed especially for those with a “need to know” about electric vehicles.

Driving the Chevrolet Bolt

Driving the Chevrolet Bolt

He pops the hood and shows that the car has a “normal” 12-volt battery, in addition to the lithium-ion battery, and he points out that there actually is fluid to add (wiper fluid). Of course, he mentions that there are a few other fluids that come into play down the road (like coolant and brake fluid).

The duo does a quick walk around the vehicle to point out the Bolt’s cameras and cargo space. Williams doesn’t believe that GM is calling the vehicle a crossover (he says that’s a bit generous). He doesn’t like the fact that there’s no spare tire, but he loves the heated steering wheel above all else. It’s pointed out later that the heated steering wheel, in addition to the loaded model’s heated front and rear seats, affect the battery charge.

Both reporters have a chance to drive the vehicle and share their on-road experiences. They discuss the regenerative braking, the touch screen, and the rearview camera.

Video Description via Tested on YouTube:

We ditch the gas station and go full electric with the Chevy Bolt, the new electric vehicle that just hit the roads. Our own Jeremy Williams picked up the Bolt as his first EV, and we go for a ride and test drive to learn about his experience driving it for a few weeks.

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32 responses to "Tested Drives The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt – Video"

  1. Josh Bryant says:

    It would be interesting to know what % of Bolt buyers are buying their first plug-in. My guess would be low.

    Might be the first BEV for a large % of buyers though. Can see a lot of Volt/PiP/Energi owners upgrading.

    1. no comment says:

      the Bolt is more of an EV-enthusiast offering, so i don’t think that GM is expecting this car to sell in huge volumes right now. so, yes, i agree that the primary market for this car is people who have previous experience with plug-in vehicles.

      1. Mike says:

        That seems like an odd assumption when you consider 300,000+ people put down 1000$ for a car that nobody has driven/reviewed and wouldn’t even be available for another 2 years.

        None of the traditional car companies are going to admit that they completely missed an opportunity be leaders in the EV market. Nissan probably had the best opportunity, but they underestimated the pace that they needed to increase range,

        1. no comment says:

          color me skeptical on the 300,000+ deposits and the number of people that that number of deposits actually represents. i am even more skeptical of the number of orders that will result from those “deposits”. too much about that whole media event comes across like an apple ipad launch. it’s just hard for me to believe that hundreds of thousands of people would actually make deposits on a car for which they don’t know exactly what the delivered product will be, how much the car that they presumably want to buy will actually cost or when they will receive it. the idea of camping out in line overnight to make a deposit, as though they were buying tickets to popular show, just seemed ridiculous to me and not something that a serious car buyer would actually do.

          the move to zero emission vehicles is a marathon, not a sprint. being the “leader” today, with the market in such an early stage, has no real significance.

        2. Doggydogworld says:

          Mike – 300k+ people put a refundable deposit toward the promise of a fast, sexy, autonomous, cross-country-capable, high tech model from a company who makes cars the rich and famous love to drive. None of that remotely applies to the Bolt or any GM nameplate.

          The Bolt is a well-built utilitarian “greater metro area” car designed for Uber/Lyft and EV enthusiasts. It’s not a sexy moon shot like the Model 3. It should sell 30-50k units/year, depending on government incentives and mandates.

  2. TBD Bolt leasee says:

    Looking forward to future Tech packages for Bolt to really throw down the gauntlet vs tesla. Curious to know if the current sensors are enough to do some of the autopilot 2.0 does — autopark, summon, adaptive CC.

    Would be a nice Driver III package.

    1. Neromanceres says:

      The current Bolt EV’s have a number of ultrasonic sensors and camera’s. But for GM this isn’t enough for their supercruise system. I have seen pictures of Bolt EV’s with different grills with LIDAR systems. These will be the future Bolt EV’s with more advanced self driving technology. Likely within the next year.

  3. William says:

    No true coasting in neutral on the shifter? GM, what no down hill freewheel burning? At least everything else is top notch. No mention of steering wheel paddle regen, like on the Volt.

    1. unlucky says:

      Why would you do that in an EV? I don’t get it. You can coast downhill like any other car, but instead of putting it in neutral you just capture the energy in the battery.

      The car has a paddle like the Volt.

      1. Doggydogworld says:

        Regen is great on a steep grade, but many US highways have gentle grades ideal for freewheeling. I used to coast almost 2 miles on a downgrade leading into a downhill exit. Regen would have been nice once I reached the stop sign at the bottom, but up to that point it’d just be wasteful due to round-trip battery losses.

  4. TM says:

    Nice video. I think the Bolt is going to sell really well, but I’m guessing the Prime will see more sales, perhaps because of the wider availability and higher production numbers. Guessing the Bolt will easily sell every car GM makes and there will be a waiting list if they don’t increase production. That would be awesome.

  5. Harry Welsch says:

    I think the Bolt is interesting, but that GM is intentionally limiting the market so as not to compete with its conventional vehicles. The Tesla Model 3 will destroy the Bolt just as the Model S destroyed the Cadillac ELR. Bottom line – it appears that GM is still playing the compliance game. When CAFE standards are relaxed or eliminated by the new crew in the White House, I expect all Detroit BEVs to vanish.

    1. Kdawg says:

      Oh God.. not again.

    2. Thomas Greene says:

      OMG you are so right!!

      GM is limiting sales by rolling the Bolt out in 50 states starting with the biggest EV markets first. They are also advertising it heavily and are the first to market with a car that has 200+ mi range at this price point. They have made it really hard to find and buy this car – you can actually go to a store, look at & try different ones and actually buy one and drive it home! Then they have audacity to give you a discount off the list price and all buyers this year will qualify for the Fed tax credit too.

      If they were seriously interested in EVs, they would only have a vaporware peoduct, release it without fully testing it (a la Mod S & X), and make it so you cannot select the car you want from existing ones at a store.

  6. Bill Howland says:

    Pretty good review, but they continue the fiction proferred by IEV’s and others that the coolant only has to be changed at 150,000 miles as if that were somewhat ‘special’. Both my cars get the coolant changed at 150,000 miles, and for other then techies or traveling salesmen its a meaningless figure because of the time contraint.

    The fly in the ointment is that the car has as many isolated ‘fluid’ systems as the most complicated cars ever made – the Voltecs – which all require a change every 5 years.

    So this car seriously doesn’t have much fewer maintenance requirements compared to a Volt or ELR – ok the one thing is you don’t have to change the oil and filter every other year – but big deal – what is that?

    Beyond that I have to change 4 spark plugs at 97,500 miles, and have to INSPECT, not change, the water pump fan-belt at 150,000 – but then that thing will last forever since it is a simple wide radius drive belt under little strain. And the evaporative canister which has already been replaced under emmissions warranty in both cars.

    There is the engine air filter at 45,000 miles, but I’m teneing to let that one go since the engine runs so infrequently.

    But since I like the concept of a BEV, I’m getting a Bolt anyway.

  7. Vinny says:

    Stupid question here. Why does an EV need a 12 volt battery? I ask because my Zero SR doesn’t have one. There is a circuit off the main battery that provides 12 volt power for all the systems that require it. I would think you could do the same on a car.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Yeah, about the only thing the 12 volt battery in hybrids, phevs like the volt, and BEV’s is keep the onstar stuff on, and unlock the car when you’re ready to get in it, along with any optional headlight action.

      The rest of the time the DC/DC converter ((around 140 amps or so in the VOLT – as per ClarksonCote), it would be interesting to see what size it is in the BOLT, I’d assume its somewhat similar) is on anyway,- so for those few people who are pulling a trailer, or hook up 120 volt ac inverters off the thing (sneakely – it probably voids the warranty if chevy knew about it) for ‘poor man’s’ ‘off the grid’ usage, which I admit I use a lot, then for most people the 12 volt battery doesn’t do much.

      The Plus side is it is cheap and lasts a long time.

      I’m still waiting for a good answer as to why the modern Teslas go through their 12 volt batteries every year, or at least per all the “S” owners in the Canadian ev club I attend.

    2. unlucky says:

      Every EV so far has one, even Tesla.

      Some say it’s because the lead-acid batteries are good to lower temperatures and so the car can at least do something at low temps, like turn on the traction pack heaters.

      Others believe it is because the accessories in the car run off 12V. The electric steering boost, brake booster, heated seats, stereo system, headlights, etc. You obviously need a converter to charge the 12V battery off the traction pack but it doesn’t have to handle peak loads with the lead-acid battery to take up the slack.

      1. theflew says:

        The main reason to use a 12V battery is the fact you don’t have to keep the main battery energized just to unlock doors and flash your lights. These things aren’t necessary on a motorcycle.

        1. Jason says:

          If the traction battery gets to this stage you probably have a lot more problems than being able to flash your blinkers. If the Lithium pack have a low safety of even 1%, that is still 600w on Bolt, you can run four 5W globes a long time on that. A 12v battery with 50Ah will be 600w, so basically the same amount of power.

        2. Carsten says:

          Just found out, what happens, when the 12V battery on a 2012 MiEV is dead: I parked it for a week and id wouldn’t open with the remote nor start. The car had to be jump-started like any ICE with a dead battery. It runs now, since I use it every day. I will get the battery tested/replaced.

      2. Jason says:

        Just as a guess it could be something in the regulations. Personally I think all the accessory systems are already designed for this 12v system so why reinvent something that is proven so reliable? Also, it isolates these critical systems from the traction system. Comments about peak loads is a bit ridiculous when the motor demand can go from 0kw to 150kw at the instant press of the accelerator.
        Personally, I would have thought an inverter to use the main battery and scrap the 12v battery would be a good idea. No doubt it will happen at future date when manufacturers keep cost cutting and realise this is a redundant system.

    3. SteveSeattle says:

      I don’t know if the jump start statement was true. My Volt manual says damage may occur if 12V battery is used to jump start.

      1. no comment says:

        i agree, providing jump starts from a lead acid battery in a BEV sounds like it might be a bad idea.

        i was surprised to read that providing jump starts would be a problem in the Volt since it has a gasoline engine, and the engine would be running when you open the hood. maybe GM is concerned that you won’t think to power the Volt on before trying to give a jump (since the engine would only run when the hood is opened if the traction motor is under powered).

    4. Nick says:

      You can flash your four ways while the high voltage system is deenergized. Safety first.

  8. JIMJFOX says:

    “Heated steering wheel”. Hilarious.

    “Can I interest you in a pair of zircon-encrusted tweezers’?

    1. M says:

      in places where is gets cold, the heated steering wheel is really nice. Don’t knock it.

  9. jimgord says:

    Video suggests that you could jump an ICE car with the EV battery. But would not an EV battery have much lower cranking amps because they are not needed in an EV?

    1. Loboc says:

      Power is supplied through the APM when the EV/PHEV is ‘on’. Cranking power is not limited to the 12v.

  10. Bill says:

    I am looking forward to when Chevy Bolts enter the used car market. If the Bolt follows suit like other electric cars, it will have a 60% depreciation coming off a three year lease.

    I currently drive a 2011 LEAF, which I bought off-lease, for my local commuting and I am due for a refresh. The Bolt is a nice size for a city car, but would be pretty cramped on a road trip with anything more than two adults, a smallish kid and a modest amount of luggage. I live in the Midwest, and the ~200 miles between charges is somewhat moot because 200 mile round trip commutes are rare here. On the East and West coasts, I believe longish commutes are more common and perhaps a Bolt is more sensible there.

    The problem for GM is that GM has already burned through a large number of its US federal EV tax credits and it soon start to enter the phase where the tax credits taper off. Bolt might be acceptable with after-tax-credit prices around $30K, but sure is a lot less appealing north of $40K.

    Another EV acceptance problem that needs to be worked out is the ability to have reliable recharging that does not cost an arm and a leg. EVgo has a few chargers in this area that collect almost $6.00 for each $1.00 worth of electricity. Even though the federal government does offer an altenative energy tax credit for EVSE installation, as far as I know, not a single apartment complex in this town has installed EVSEs. Effectively, EVs sales in this town will be limited to home owners that can install an EVSE and have space to park next to the EVSE.

    Lasty, EVs are going to take a publicity hit as states are starting to roll out road use tax surchsrges for EV registrations. The surcharges will be in the few hundred dollar price range (an unfairly huge number versus the wear EVs cause to roads). Of course an EV is probably still less expensive to fuel, but consumers will see the lump sum road tax as a big gut punch, instead of hidden like gas tax. People who lease EVs might be shielded from seeing road use taxes since the car is still titled to the dealer who pays the vehicle registration.

  11. Loboc says:

    I can make up stats too:

    – Commutes on coasts are less than fly-over.
    – GM tax credits will last a while. Longer than Tesla’s. The tax credit is $7500 not $10k.
    – More than half of all car owners have a garage.
    – Dealers don’t lease cars directly. The leasing company is the owner.

    Oh wait. Mine are closer to truth.

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