Chevrolet Bolt Set To Become Crown Vic Of Ride Hailing?

Chevrolet Bolt


Chevrolet Bolt from Maven’s lineup

Now that General Motors’ mobility company, Maven, has added Chevrolet Bolts to its lineup, it may become increasingly clear that EVs will be to ride-hailing services, what cars like the Crown Victoria were to yesterday’s taxi fleets.

Maven is offering weekly rentals to drivers for ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber, and adding the Chevrolet Bolt is a big step for many reasons. General Motors gets an additional opportunity to showcase the vehicles, and also collects data pertaining to driving distance and charging habits.

The company can learn a great deal from the cars being used for the service, increase the potential for fleets to begin purchasing the vehicles, and prove to the public that EVs  – with their city-friendly low-speed torque, cheap running costs, and little to no maintenance – are absolutely ideal for city driving. Not to mention that the Bolt is uniquely ideal because of its small footprint and versatile design.

Maven Adds Chevrolet Bolt EVs to LA Line-Up

Only 55 Bolts are on the streets as part of Maven’s fleet in San Francisco and San Diego.

However, data from the first few months shows that they have already collectively traveled 200,000 miles and transported 20,000 passengers. As part of the program, Maven provides insurance, free maintenance, and access to the EVgo charging network, in exchange for driver data collection.

The most interesting piece of information that General Motors/Maven has learned is that the Chevrolet Bolt drivers prefer Level 3 DC fast charging. For this to be an option for Maven Bolt drivers, the vehicles must include the $750 DC fast charging option. Of all recorded charging events, 2500 have been DC fast, compared to 200 Level 2 charges. This makes sense because without it, all-day drivers would be out of luck. Some drivers have achieved 300-400 miles a day, which is the same distance covered by Maven drivers using ICE cars.

Public charging stations, and moreover, those with available fast chargers, are integral to the adoption of EVs. Tesla has been paramount in building and expanding its Supercharger network. A few other automakers – Nissan and BMW specifically – are now seeing the light and moving forward.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with General Motors. But, this Maven data related to the Chevrolet Bolt may change that. EVs, and especially the Bolt, could prove to be pivotal to the ride-hailing/future taxi market. Car and Driver wonders if the Bolt will become perhaps the Ford Crown Victoria of the new generation.

If GM can build a public charging network knowing that it has a viable and predetermined use, aside from solely public charging, it makes a whole lot more sense. Maven says that with just a couple dozen Bolts in daily use, EVgo stations in the area are experiencing double to nearly triple gains in use volume. Manager and senior project engineer at Maven, Alex Keros, shared (via Car and Driver):

“There are a lot of kilowatt-hours being spent here, and it’s helping to drive the business case associated with infrastructure. For the first time we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel . . . to build a business case, so that we’re not totally subsidizing public charging.”

Source: Car and Driver

Category: Chevrolet

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31 responses to "Chevrolet Bolt Set To Become Crown Vic Of Ride Hailing?"
  1. Hans Wurst says:

    Yay. Now bring Maven to Seattle already!

    1. Dan Clark says:

      I’m with you, Hans! Getting Uber and Lyft to listen to individual drivers is tough. Let’s team up. I have an idea.

  2. FISHEV says:

    “Public charging stations, and moreover, those with available fast chargers, are integral to the adoption of EVs.”

    You didn’t finish the sentence “…for commercial use.”

    Comparing a commercial usage like a taxi service to purchase and usage by the general public makes makes no sense.

    For a commercial service, a public charging station is useless, too unpredictable in its availability and location. Commercial services would like run dedicated charging stations.

    The technology of lion batteries is that commercial use with full discharge and fast recharge will shorten the life of the battery. The Bolt’s replacement battery was recently prices at $15,000. It will be interesting to get the commerical use data on battery degradation under the most demanding circumstance to see when that $15K cost will apply.

    Something most non-commercial users will not see as they will not fully discharge and most will charge at home, not a public chargers.

    1. ThombDeBhomb says:

      Comparing traditional commercial taxi service to general public usage makes no sense when the post is discussing a “Gig economy” service like Maven, Uber, and Lyft.

      1. Fi says:

        The “gig” economy is just people working for less with no health care, pension, safety protections, labor protections as we have seen with Uber and Lyft. That’s a labor issue and nothing to do with EV’s.

        For the EV’s this is taxi service level and a good test bed to the Bolt’s and good advertising having Bolt’s on the road in front of the public.

        And the heavy service, full discharges, fast DC charges will stress the battery system and give them good information.

    2. Jake Brake says:

      Assuming these are state of the art cells, the bolt should be able to handle 100kW dcfc all the time. But its limited to 50kW likely to extend the life.

      1. FISHEV says:

        There have been no big changes in Lion EV battery tech. They are still subject to the same constraints. About 500 full discharges and recharges and possibly less if recharges are fast DC as these will likely be in a fast turnover taxi service.

        This will be a harsh duty for the Bolts and it will be a good test bed for GM going forward.

        1. Hans Wurst says:

          “About 500 full discharges and recharges”

          And then what is supposed to happen according to your opinion?

          Don’t tell all the Volts out there (including mine), that have a lot more full discharges and recharges than that, without any battery degradation…

          1. FISHEV says:

            Then the lion battery is depleted. Those are fairly extreme usages and lion battery users are warned not to do it.

            On EV’s rated 240 miles, most people would discharge maybe 20%, 50 miles a day, and slow recharge at night which is very light duty so probably good for 3000/4000 of those cycles, 150,000/200,000 miles or more with very moderate degradation.

        2. SparkEV says:

          Where did you get 500 cycles from? My SparkEV has 20K miles. Assuming 90 miles per full charge, that’s 222 full cycles. About half that’s DCFC. Yet, I see only about 7% degradation.

          Since I don’t run to empty every time, actual number of charging is about 500.

          If 500 is the limit, I better see lot more degradation, yet the most recent trend is I gained a bit of capacity. This is despite even more DCFC use as of late.

          Bolt being 3X bigger battery than SparkEV, it has nothing to worry about.

          1. ClarksonCote says:

            “Since I don’t run to empty every time, actual number of charging is about 500.”

            A charging cycle is defined as a charge from empty to full, so you may have charged 500 times, but your battery has not yet experienced the equivalent of 500 charge cycles.

        3. Doggydogworld says:

          50-60 kW fast DC charging is only 1C for the Bolt, with proper taper and active cooling that shouldn’t meaningfully degrade the battery. I’d be shocked if it didn’t get 1000 10-90% cycles. In practice hitting 10% SOC in a car-sharing application would be rare, so it should do well over 1000 cycles. Lots of people push cell phone batteries harder and they last 4+ years (1500+ cycles).

  3. mustang_sallad says:

    Are they going to run into problems with folks wanting a ride to the airport with a suitcase? The rear seats are spacious, but there isn’t much room behind them. It’d be awesome if they made a station wagon version of the bolt with an extra 18 inches out back!

    1. jelloslug says:

      Stack stuff to the ceiling and drive really carefully?

      1. FISHEV says:

        Bolt has a TV camera in the “mirror” so you can stack luggage to the roof in the hatchback and have no safety or visions issues.

    2. menorman says:

      I was at the airport on Friday and saw someone getting dropped off by an Uber driver in A Bolt and behind the seat is exactly where their luggage was.

    3. bro1999 says:

      Drop the false floor and there is plenty of space for 3 full size luggages.

    4. Dan says:

      Three quarters of airport drop offs are business travelers who only take a small carry on roller board. The bolt is sized adequately for these people.

      I’m sure a different model car could be ordered when more space is required. For example, a mini van when a family of 4 is going on vacation. The Bolt doesn’t need to be everything for everybody.

    5. Tom says:

      They do but it’s called a Prius V. Judging by the low sales volume of the V these days, I bet most of them are going into service as taxis and whatnot. Every taxi driver I ask says the V has literally changed their lives. It uses 1/3 the gas of a regular car they used to use and is absolutely bullet proof on reliability. I realize it isn’t a BEV, but it still is transformational.

      1. Asak says:

        I don’t think most ask drivers are using a V. Where I live they’re all driving the normal Prius. There are entire neighborhoods in communities with a lot of taxi drivers where seemingly half the cars on the street are Priuses painted in taxi livery.

  4. Warren says:

    I am going to guess that most people live in urban environments. Unfortunately, in many US cities, because of poor planning, they need a car. Many, if not most, of those people have no easy way to slow charge.

    1. FISHEV says:

      ‘Many, if not most, of those people have no easy way to slow charge.”

      That is a problem for EV’s in retrofitting older multifamily dwelling parking for EV charging.

      43% of the population lives in single family home where an EV charger is fairly easy. Another 17% live in 2-4 unit multifamily buildings where it would be harder but likely doable to rig EV charging, the other 40% are in multi-family units that would make it hard to have EV charging.

      1. Warren says:

        Yes. It drives me crazy that our kids, living in major cities on either coast, can’t own electric cars, while we old, retired folks, living in the country, don’t drive our one remaining car enough to ever justify a new replacement. I tell myself that one of them would ultimately get a virtually new Bolt, when we quit driving. Hopefully, the DCFC infrastructure will greatly improve over the next five years.

      2. Doggydogworld says:

        I don’t know where you got your numbers, Fish, but in the US roughly 60% of the housing stock is single family detached with another 10-15% in single family attached (townhomes), mobile homes, etc. where charging is easy to install. The 25-30% that is multifamily includes condos and apartments. I’ve lived in eight different complexes, all large, and all but one had garages or carports available where it would be easy to add chargers. (Note, there weren’t enough carports and garages for every car, usually about 30-60%, but that’s a 2040 problem).

  5. Jason says:

    1st in line and waiting Wichita Kansas.

    1. John says:

      I had my Volt in for service at Don Hattan last week…and asked (knowing that national orders are open early) if they were taking orders for the Bolt yet. I got a funny look and was “not for a while.”

      Where are you getting yours, maybe I need to change dealerships!

  6. EVA-01 says:

    I believe in the free market. GM does not have to build it’s own charging network for their vehicles. Car companies never built gas/diesel stations for their gas/diesel cars.

    Where is this entitlement coming from that you all deserve a charging station because you currently using an EV from the company?

    Btw, Nissan and BMW are not building their own charging stations. They both contract other companies to build them and BMW bought into a charging station company. Saying they have “seen the light” is incorrect.

    Now the free market approach to the charging network shortage for EVs is as follows: Tesla supplies charging stations for their vehicles. People see that and purchase Tesla vehicles because they include charging stations for their cars, it makes their lives easier. Car companies start seeing a sales decline for their EVs. They see what Tesla is offering customers so they decide to match what Tesla is doing or better to win back customers to buy their cars. It’s that simple. The market always decides in the end.

    1. John M says:

      I used to believe in the free market, but then Enron and the banks happened, and now I believe nothing.

  7. SparkEV says:

    “access to the EVgo charging network”

    This sounds like free charging.

    “Chevrolet Bolt drivers prefer Level 3 DC fast charging”

    Well, no s***. It’s free to use DCFC while it would cost $$ to charge at home. When you’re waiting for a customer, just plug it in, and keep it plugged in no matter how much it’s tapered and people waiting. It’s free. I hate to be waiting for one of these at DCFC.

    Fortunately, it’s only 55 in this idiotic policy. Let’s hope this doesn’t expand.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      “Well, no s***. It’s free to use DCFC while it would cost $$ to charge at home.”

      Right, people need to be very careful how they read into the statistics. The devil is in the details surrounding that data.

  8. warren trout says:

    How about a compact pickup?