At 17,000 Miles, This Chevy Bolt Predicts 272-Mile Range – Video

Chevrolet Bolt EV


According to General Motors, the Chevy Bolt EV gets an EPA-estimated 238 miles of combined range.

Of course, the automaker adds the standard disclaimer:

“Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and driving technique.”

This disclaimer acts as a safety net so that people who don’t achieve the 238 miles of range will have no grounds to complain. It’s basically a fancy way of saying that if it’s cold, or you drive on steep or rough terrain, or you tend to “drive it like you stole it”, you’re probably not going to get the range you’re hoping for. Just the same, it can be read to mean that you may be lucky to go further than 238 miles on a charge.


2017 Chevy Bolt EV

We recently shared that Tesla may be under-reporting the Model 3 range. The company has under-reported the EPA’s estimate for the Model S in the past, but only by a slim margin. The EPA method rated the Model S 100D at 341 miles but Tesla under-reported at 335 miles.

Recent EPA documents show the Model 3 tested at a combined 334-mile range, although Tesla says it’s 310. This is likely so that more people will actually achieve the expected range, or even exceed it, rather than the opposite situation, which leads to unhappy customers and range anxiety.

The above video is surely not the first time we’ve heard of people exceeding the Chevy Bolt’s EPA range. It’s definitely nice to see, though, at over 17,000 miles the car is predicting 34 more miles (or about 12 percent more range) than advertised. This is especially true since, unlike the Tesla models, we’re fairly confident that GM is not under-reporting the Bolt’s EPA range. Consumer Reports says the Chevy Bolt has more real-world range than any vehicle it has ever tested (including the base Tesla Model S 75D, which the EPA puts at 259 miles, whereas CR ran out of juice at 235). Of course, Tesla disagrees with CR’s findings.

Video Description via Eric White on YouTube:

Chevy Bolt EV 2017 Secrets range update!!!! This car is like fine wine it gets better over time.

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86 Comments on "At 17,000 Miles, This Chevy Bolt Predicts 272-Mile Range – Video"

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So, in summary YMMV.

What makes IEVs fairly certain the GM is not under reporting the bolt’s range, when CR says it has matches up to the range estimate better than any other vehicle ever tested?

It seems like, generally speaking, both the Volt and the Bolt EV have been great at reliably predicting and meeting expectations of EV range, unlike most Plug-ins.

Unlike other cars (Hyundai Ioniq, smart fortwo, Tesla Model S), there’s no mention of voluntarily lowered range for the Bolt EV in the EPA fuel economy data files.

Nice, thanks. It’s impressive then that their range estimate holds true so well without any lowering of the EPA test methodology.

EPA numbers are provided by the car manufacturers and only a fraction are tested by the EPA. So it’s entirely possible that GM was conservative during its range testing.
All it needed was a range sufficient to get the maximum ZEV CARB credits 😉

I don’t know if CR made this mistake, but everyone else sure do it routinely: they compare their own testing of real world range with EPA *combined* range. It’s a pity the combined range is the de facto preferred measure, because the relevant measure is highway range. This is more true the more range you’ve got. I recall the WLTP range table for Ampera-e, which had a low of less than 100 miles! This was over at pushevs, and many readers were clearly shocked range could fall this low. But in fact it was in minus 20 C ambient temperature at some ridiculously low average speed. Pay if you sit in a non-moving EV running the heater at full blaze you can empty the pack without moving at all – it just takes awfully many hours! My point is in real use you don’t care if you have six or nine hours of city driving on tap. You need the range on long trips. And that in practice means highways. None of this explains the Bolt vs Tesla results in CR; in fact it moves the lever the other way, since Tesla’s highway EPA is relatively higher than the Bolt’s,… Read more »

Why is the relevant measure highway range? I can see why someone always on the highway would say that, but what about someone always driving in the city?

The combined statistic, on average, is the most relevant to everyone’s driving.

It hardly matters. There are many reasons to lower the estimate.

If you feel the car you had tested was not representative you will lower the figure.

Remember when Musk said he had the only Model S 100, when the cars capped out at 90? Batteries do vary in capacity despite efforts to make them the same. And if you choose the higher-capacity ones you can end up with a longer range car. Tesla may have had larger capacity cells in the car they tested than the ones they eventually planned to sell.

I routinely got 260-280 miles of range during the spring/summer/early fall months in my Bolt. And that’s just driving it regularly, not driving like a typical Prius driver.

In the winter, I expect the full charge range will come down closer to 200 with heater use and all, but overall still well above the 238 mile EPA rated range. 😀

Oh, and of course I went 313 miles on a single charge once driving at highway speeds. Could have gone 320+ if I had depleted the battery all the way.

You must be driving really slow..

I definitely think that some manufacturers under report their range more than others. I could barely reach 72 miles in my Focus EV, which was a little under the EPA rating. However on my 2017 i3 I can easily exceed the 114 mile rating. Even with city driving mixed in, I average almost 50mph on a 148 mile trip on a single charge. Had I of left at 100% charge, I would definitely have exceeded 150 miles. This exceeds the EPA range by over 33%. This would be the same as a Bolt getting at least 316 miles while averaging almost 50mph. So not unxepecte3d number with the Bolt.

And here you can see how even though the EPA rates the Ioniq as beating the BMW i3, the actual head to head comparisons indicate otherwise:

“Even with city driving mixed in”

Unlike a regular car, city driving is far more efficient in an EV. The most efficient your i3 will be is at 25 mph. You get exponentially worse range at highway speeds.

That’s why I indicated the 3 hour 150 mile trip average was almost 50mph. Obviously not mostly city driving. At 25mph I can average over 200mpge, bUT that’s not the comparison here.

Not true. Braking remains the biggest energy waster even with good regen. Driving the i3 at 25 mph constant speed may be more efficient than at 35 mph, if the heater is off, but not by much and no longer if the heater is working hard.

So B-roads with little traffic – the kind of route Chevy chose for journalists initial test drive – tend to maximize real world range. City driving involves way too much braking and too much standing still to be good for high range.

It’s just YMMV in action.

Driving slower gets you more range. Drive 40 on the highway and I’m sure you could get a Bolt to go 300 miles.

City driving also gives better range, although not as much as constant-speed slow highway driving.

It’s just how EVs work. All of them.

You drive 50 mph on the freeway? Am I reading that right? You might be the reason people hate seeing EV’s on the roads. I drive in the HOV lane in my E-Golf everyday going 75mph or more just to keep up with traffic. My EPA is like 84 and I get about 55 miles total range the way I drive.

Actually I am quite the opposite of you, as I routinely set my cruise control at 75mph-85mph. Usually no one passes me on the freeway. And I routinely dust people from every intersection. So more often than not, I surprise people with how much performance an EV can have.

However on this particular drive on an early Sunday morning I admittedly wasn’t my usually speed demon self. Was curious to see the range I could achieve. And anyone knows that if you are averaging 50mph still after driving through the city, stopping at traffic lights, and going to the charging station, your actual highway speed will be considerably higher than trip average speed. Try it, common sense. .

Car and Driver mag. did their steady 75 mph out and back highway test w the bolt and got 190 miles range. Sounds right, you probably get the rated range at about 55-60 mph and nore at lower numbers. E=mv2

That is entirely the wrong formula. It’s not at all applicable here. No one is smashing the car into anything and measuring the kinetic energy.

The amount of power you need to put in to overcome the friction drag on the car to maintain a constant speed on a level road is proportional to v2. To go twice as fast (say 70 rather than 35 mph) takes 4 times the power. So using 4 times the power to go twice as fast you get 1/2 the mileage. Or said another way, since energy (kwh) = power(kw) x time(h) and you are using 4x the power to go 2x as far (in the same time) you use 2x the energy to go a given distance. This of ignores parasitic energy use by the vehicle and energy used for gaining altitude.

According to an article published (here I think) the most efficient speed for an EV is typically around 25 mph. Below that the parasitic losses counter out the benefits of going slower.

“The amount of power you need to put in to overcome the friction drag on the car to maintain a constant speed on a level road is proportional to v2.”

This is also wrong. Power to overcome aerodynamic drag is proportional to v^3. Power to overcome rolling resistance is proportional to v. Power to overcome accessory loads is constant.

Something is wrong with your car. I drive my eGolf at 75 all the time and still get over 90 miles on a 65%-35% freeway/city mix. Maybe with the heater on?

Maybe Chevy isn’t so crazy to skip DC fast charging on some of them as I thought. For a lot of uses it might end up being pretty useless.

I drive very aggressively and routinely get 250 mi per charge. Also the Bolt mileage calculation is very accurate, unlike my Model S.

While Tesla under reports the Model 3, it over reports the Model S.

All EVs are tested on the same driving cycles and then get a multiplier of .7 to get to the EPA range. Today’s Model S still has a .738 multiplier and early Model S even had a .798 multiplier. So an early Model S has 14% more range, than it should have.

What multiplier does GM use for bolt ?

Chevy doesn’t use the GOM from the Nissan 2011-2017 Leaf, that much is a fact.

Like most, Bolt EV uses 0.7
On the UDDS testing procedure, it got 364.4 miles x 0.7 = 255 miles EPA city range
On the highway test, it got 310.63 miles x 0.7 = 217 miles EPA highway range

Lies! As reported in the story, Tesla slightly underreports range.

BUT it’s important to remember that EPA range does not mean the range is assessed by the EPA! It just means according to the EPA test cycle. Each manufacturer is responsible for carrying out the tests, and so there’s little guarantee their tests are identical. The same is true of fuel efficiency for gasmobiles by the way.

All OEMs self apply the EPA published tests…and as such that can very much be effected by their motives, or the person (s) application of the test. There is no standard baseline…but you can get into big trouble (ask Ford, Hyundai) if you go to extremes to exaggerate the number aggressively.

Some automakers clearly hedge on the side of being conservative…so if your benchmark is to take the most conservative of the group and compared them to the others, well then, the assumption will be everyone else is not applying the test properly (when that is not necessarily the case).

Moral of the story: the EPA should be testing all plug-in cars, that way the comps are valid…it really isn’t that hard. Heck, I’ll volunteer to do it for nothing, just tell the OEMs to drop their EVs off at the office, lol

Oh how I like it if the clueless Tesla fanatics call me a list because my post sounded too critical.

No, Tesla really over reports the range of the S, but under reports the range of the 3.

If they would have used the same multiplier for the 3, as they did for a 2012 Model S, even the SR would beat an 85.

Just look up their EPA tests. Or read the thread „Tesla has created a monster“ on TMC. Troy did a good job collecting all the data.

Consumer reports did a review of SpaceX rockets, which read about the same as their Tesla reviews: lukewarm and a mixture of due praise with stinging criticism. I’m not sure I care what they say about cars. Upstate New York klatch of retired Humanities professors with a constipating lack of fiber to their character, despite a healthy diet of tweed jackets and kale shakes.

CR called the Model S the best car they’ve ever reviewed, and you categorize that as “lukewarm and a mixture of due praise with stinging criticism”?

While true, the rest of the review has the same, critical tone. Little things like reliability concerns on a vehicle they’ve never driven… extrapolating manufacturing quality based off the Model X falcon wing doors, that adds up to a lukewarm mix of high praise and high criticism.

Reminds me of when they decided the Suzuki Samurai looked so narrow it might tip over, so they tested it in a way that MADE it tip over and announced it was “dangerous”.

Again, if a review that declares a vehicle the best car they’ve ever reviewed is considered “lukewarm,” you need to recalibrate your expectations.

I have a very gentle commute and can handily beat EPA gas mileage.

It’s all driving style, weather and terrain. Other folks are just as likely to be falling short of the rated range and upset that they can’t meet it. A lot of factors that must be considered. Chevrolet has been realistic in what the average driver can expect, though.

Is everyone in California? I should post a video of my 9000 mile Bolt fully charged showing 160 mile range in Seattle in the snow where I have the heater, seat warmers, and steering wheel heater going at full blast. We are entering cold weather season so I would be more interested in understanding how cold weather effects range.

If the car is capable of 160 miles in the situation you describe I would call that impressive. That is basically a worst case scenario.

A Seattle winter is hardly a worst case scenario. It may snow in Seattle but it won’t snow all night, leaving you a foot plus of snow on the ground, and then have a cold snap move in dropping the temps below zero for several days. That kind of a day is fairly normal for people living anywhere in that vast stretch of land between New York City/Boston and Wenatchee WA.

Northern states get and stay cold for 3 or 4 months a year. It is going to take BEV’s a little longer to really hit the big time in the more extreme cold weather regions.

Any EV would benefit from a liquid-fuel heater for severe cold climate users. A half gallon of kerosene with a small burner, integrated into the heating system, would do wonders for them.

“Seattle in the snow where I have the heater, seat warmers, and steering wheel heater going at full blast. ”

It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside. If the heats are on max, that is effectively the worst case assuming the battery is properly warmed up and car is garaged when the drive starts.

You’re example is child’s play (J/K). Add to it high winds and steep mountain roads with lots of elevation gain. My Bolt is new to me, but it fared well in a cold, windy, snow and ice covered drive going from 6k to 10k in elevation. I’ll need to test longer winter routes, but given the energy used on a shorter tough winter test I think it very well could cover 160 winter miles in your area.

hah. ha, my old Honda Fit would have about 35 miles of total range if I had to use the heater during my commute. God I hated that thing in the winter. I learned to drive with gloves, hat and jacket during the winter, and I’m in the bay area.

So what you’re saying is in the worst conditions the Bolt will have the same mileage as the new Leaf in ideal conditions – not bad Chevy.

Just moved from a Leaf to a Bolt. So far, I’d say in terrible conditions it’s quite a bit better than optimal leaf range. Really pleased so far with the efficiency and high regen capability.

When it finally cooled down where I live my predicted range dropped. It was lower last winter too, so it wasn’t expected.

In the (temperate) summer I see about 245 predicted, for the past month when it would be cooler at night and morning I saw about 235. Now that it’s cool day and night I see 225. And that’s where it’ll stay all winter if last year is any indication.

Thicker air and higher hotel loads reduce range. It affected my Leaf too, but with only 75 miles on a good day the number of miles lost was minimal. On a 240 mile car you lose a lot more.

I’m on the other side of WA state where it’s much colder and very hilly terrain and I do better than 160mr!

The comparison should be miles/kw. My Bolt was 4.2 but has dropped to 4.1 with a cold fall. I expect to drop to under 4.0 lifetime by spring! Check out Tesla’s efficiencies!

Under-promise and Over-deliver. That’s the name of the game for GM’s EV/PHEVs.

I’ve said it before…I think the Bolt will give the long-range M3 a run for its money in real-world tests.

Yes – GM calls the battery in the BOLT ev a ’60 kwh’ battery – which is the most honest figure since I’ve gotten 59.9 kwh out of it while discharging it. To get ’60 kwh useable’ in a Tesla you have to get a 72 or 73 kwh battery. The latest I’ve heard the experts guestimate, a short range ‘3’ is 55 kwh and a long range ‘3’ is 75 kwh. So then, this means the BOLT ev is far closer to the future 3LR than to the current 3SR. Of course reading articles such as $/kwh tilt the playing field in favor of those that use the MUCH HIGHER listed figure. The BOLT ev’s CONSERVATIVE (read: Realistic) kwh capacity of the battery puts it at a false disadvantage, and when combined with the heavy discounting a REAL customer would get at the dealership, compared to the 100% list a Tesla buyer will pay for a new vehicle, means that the BOLT ev is not ONLY the clear winner in the value/kwh race, but also for the FUTURE Tesla vehicle as well. So these articles that claim that the future 3LR will be the price/kwh leader are totally false,… Read more »

It’s already been shone that the opposite is the case from every analysis I have read.

Tesla has yet to release an M3 without an NDA, so there are no objective 3rd party reviews or comparisons. We’ll know soon, hopefully.

FFBJ: Congratulations on reading the first realistic analysis.

Bill: How about a comment on the range drop in cold Buffalo weather? My Gen I Volt gets about 25 miles in very cold weather, so a drop of about 1/3. How does the Bolt compare?

Not sure: I do notice that the range drops when it cools, in the ELR and the BOLT, before any battery conditioning.

My friend Brian says this is due to the cooler, more dense air.

I’m not sure about percentages. I’m driving tomorrow and friday ‘on sparks’ since I know I’m going to be short of juice even without running the heater.

I was disappointed initially, since I initially did a long trip in the BOLT ev early last march when it was 10 deg F outside. The car may still have been being broken in as well. But i’ll know more by this friday night.

I’ve gotten 61.1 kWh used before my wife demanded that I stop driving in circles in the driveway and come in.

That Consumer Reports test was a joke. I generally like and respect them, but they handicapped the Tesla two different ways in that test.

The S 75D has significantly more range than the Bolt if you 1) Leave the car’s regen mode in ‘Normal’ so that the car recaptures braking energy as intended, and 2) charge the car fully in ‘range’ mode like anyone would who has more than 200 miles of driving to do in a day.

Personally I think that the epa test cycle should be more severe as 238 is not achievable at highway speeds. I am at 10k now on my bolt and I am lucky to show 170 miles at a hilltop reserve charge. Usually it is low 160’s now. The best during summer was 210.

I average around 3.5m/kWh. I don’t drive it like I stole it. I tend to drive 3-4mph over the posted speed.

Discussing battery size as range under ideal conditions will turn off a lot of people when they don’t live in places with ideal conditions. Really sucks when you never really know if you will make it depending on weather, headwind, speed, hills, etc.
I would really like another 20-30 kWh which would allow for easier day trips that currently require stopping to charge for 30+ min.

I drove from the SF Bay Area to Tahoe and back and for the highway portions I achieved 4 miles/kWh at highway speeds (which is 238 miles range) driving at 65. It has to be ideal conditions though. The weather was perfect for that trip, that’s where I found out the car actually likes it to be warm out. It likes 85F better than 50F. If you turn off the climate control you can get more than 238 miles range at highway speeds, especially in the hotter temps.

Most important is that you cannot speed. And no, I’m not counting the downhill sections for this.

I’m not sure why you are complaining that your range is short when you have hilltop reserve on. Of course it isn’t going to get normal range when you have it not to charge normally.

Either of you want to let us know what % capacity the “hilltop reserve” mode sets the charge completion to? Kind of meaningless to discuss range when we don’t know what the hell you’re starting with for the battery capacity.

The Hilltop Reserve is between 10-15% of the battery capacity.

Supposed to be 90%, but I’ve routinely seen 87% after a “full” hill top reserve charge in the MyChevy app.

What is the posted speed limit? Driving at 75MPH takes almost 2X the energy as 55MPH. And if it is cool, that adds significantly to the aero drag, so driving faster in the cold has an even bigger penalty.

Speed limit here is 75, so I usually drive 78. Also hill top reserve takes off 3 bars on the battery, so maybe 9 kWh. At my average of 3.5 m/kWh that is another 31 miles which would put my full charge range at about 190- 200. It has not really got cold yet, so I expect it to drop even further.
Last winter our volt averaged 2.5 ish m/kWh. It has done as well as 4.5 in warm weather.

How does hilltop reserve take off 3 bars? Hilltop reserve charges to 90% instead of 100%.

Does the Bolt have 30 bars on the battery display?

But on the other hand if you drive faster in the cold then you get there sooner and so you spend less energy on heating the car. The weird interaction between air thickness with temp and hotel loads (climate control) was surprising to me on long trips. See, I have been disappointed the Bolt doesn’t have a heat pump. My Leaf did. But the Teslas don’t either. But note that the Bolt also has a graph which shows where your energy is going. i.e. what percentage goes into hotel loads versus moving the car. And surprisingly, the hotel loads are a lower percentage of usage at low temps (presumably until it gets very cold, I barely got down to freezing) than they are at high temps. When the A/C comes on the air is relatively thinner and the lubricants in the car are thinner so the A/C takes up a huge percentage of the power. It can be at 20% or even a bit above (as I saw when it was 108 outside and I was driving on the highway). But when the heater comes on the air is relatively thick and lubricants are too. So even though the heater… Read more »

‘So even though the heater is thermodynamically less efficient than the heater it doesn’t get up to over 20% of your total usage, again, at least until it gets terribly cold.’

That sentence should say the heater is thermodynamically less efficient than the A/C.

If there is any significant friction from the lubricants they will quickly heat up so that,s only an issue in the beginning of the trip.

There is always significant friction from lubricants. And they will heat up, but they won’t heat up to the same temperature as they will when the car is in a warmer climate. Your wheel bearings do reach a higher temperature when running in 80F weather than 40F weather.

238 miles is the combined (city/highway) range.
EPA highway range for the Bolt EV is 217 miles

Car and Driver mag. got 190 miles range in their out and back (to at least significantly even out tail/head wind effects) highway test at 75 mph. Sounds about right. Don’t remember the temp. when they tested.

Bolt has a great drive train, no doubt about it that LG makes good stuff. Range on EVs is highly weather and temp/climate dependant as well as driving style dependant in my experience. We have 15,000 miles on ours already and we average around 200-230 in normal mixed driving with significant freeway miles in the nicer months of spring and fall. My wife who drives it like a normal ICE-type vehicle gets about 20-30 miles less then I do as I drive it to maximize regen and range. In the Winter with the heater/defroster blasting, my wife averages about 170-190 and I get 200ish. Hot Summer range isn’t too bad as she gets 200ish and I get 220ish. We also have a 2012 Volt with over 100,000 miles bought new. I simply don’t believe Breitbart Bill’s repeated inflated range claims on his vehicles. NorCal has a much milder climate then Buffalo and I never get 50 plus on the Volt unless I hypermile it and stay off the freeways. GM makes great EVs but I think the GM fanboyism range claims on display here should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism since these fansboys want to exaggerate in… Read more »

GM does make evs. They put together the main components manufactured by others, the drive train and batteries.

Manufactured by others using designs supplied by GM. Perfect use of 3rd party suppliers to accelerate production timelines.

Now on the flip side, what happens when you try and do everything in house? You get massive delays like one silicon valley auto manufacturer has constantly experienced.

Are you saying you’re in NorCal and using your defroster a lot? Someone in Buffalo is likely to have a garage. I’m in NorCal and I don’t use the defroster much because I put my car in the garage. But a lot of NorCal people don’t.

There can be some unexpected contra-effects of location you might not consider.

I could never get my Bolt down to 170 miles. I think the lowest I’ve seen predicted for a full battery is 155 miles and that was climbing the Sierras. And since I got to the top before 155 miles I ended up with a lot more range than that, in fact I drove back down before the end of the day and the downhill of course has much lower energy use.

I’m guessing among other things your wife drives faster than me. Any time I actually care about the range I’m driving the speed limit, no higher.

“I simply don’t believe Breitbart Bill’s repeated inflated range claims on his vehicles. NorCal has a much milder climate then Buffalo and I never get 50 plus on the Volt unless I hypermile it and stay off the freeways.”

Here in Central NY, we don’t have nearly as many freeways as you do. Most roads here are 55mph or less, unless you’re on the Thruway.

I’m certain the percentage of driving on roads 55mph or less is much higher here than where you are, based on your comment. And that can have a drastic affect on range.

We have over 4,000 miles on our Bolt EV (in less than 2 months) and yesterday after a full charge, the average range estimate was 314 miles.

And that is about half at highway speeds. We are averaging 5.0 miles per kWh, with 3 different drivers.

WTF is this “underreporting” thing? a difference couple of miles is NOTHING.

To be fair they go over the top on range figures on the Model 3 too. See the multiple articles about how Tesla might be underreporting their range on the 3 (going from some EPA data).

I don’t know why people get so overexcited about predictions higher than average. Average is average, not max. Some people will do better. YMMV.

Schweet. And the Bolt’s rockin’ it on the sales front too!

Totally expected with the relatively small car. That is a good thing.

Keep it going and let us know how much range is left when it has 170K miles…

I suspect that GM estimates range using “well seasoned” batteries to account for more aggressive temperature/charge scenarios in which the capacity of the battery will be negatively and permanently affected over time.

NEW batteries in GM products always overperform but after some period of time settle closer to the EPA estimates. My 2011 Volt (before battery improvements) has dropped to 34 miles of range in the summer in mixed driving (it used to be closer to 40). Perfectly acceptable, but certainly shows some predictable level of degradation over time. Mine also gets two full charge/discharge cycles per day…so definitely more than average.

My 2012 Volt still gets 40+ miles of range in the spring/summer/fall and 10.2-10.4 kWh used on a full charge after 5 years/54k miles.

And of course 10.2-10.4 kWh on a full charge in the winter too. Just less range due to heater use.