Chevrolet Bolt EV California Coast Test Drive Review – Video


General Motors has announced that the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV will land this December at select dealerships (think California), and when it comes, it will be packing 238 miles (383 km) of real world/EPA rated range.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is taken out on a loooong test drive

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is taken out on a loooong test drive

As part of the Bolt EV’s range celebration party, GM invited some media to take the all-electric car on a ~240ish mile trek along the California coast.  Specifically from Monterey, California, to Santa Barbara, mostly on coastal Route 1.

Chevy called this one of the most “frustrating” routes in the world to travel and can be quite congested at times. And we would of course be remiss to not note that it is the “long way round” between the two cities, avoiding a potentially higher speed journey on the main highway…but we digress.

Thankfully, CNET’s Roadshow brought along more than just their camera and pen and paper on the 5+ hour journey, as they filed the (above) video report. How did they like? Did they make it to the end? Just watch the test drive already.

Bonus Video (below): Wired also filed this condensed report from its Route 1 drive

Category: ChevroletTest Drives

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110 responses to "Chevrolet Bolt EV California Coast Test Drive Review – Video"
  1. Kamran says:

    I think I will put my order in for the Bolt. The partnership of LG and GM has turned out a legitimate daily driver electric car. I expect the LG DC inverter and motor in the Bolt are of a higher efficiency than Tesla. GM made the right call by letting LG and its engineering expertise take the lead on the battery, inverter and motor.

    1. Neromanceres says:

      Um there is not a whole lot of LG engineering in this. This was GM engineered. LG had some input but it was mostly from a manufacturing perspective. I find it amazing that people have a hard time believing that GM can have brilliant engineering and feel they need to create an excuse for the Bolt EV to be a great car.

      1. wavelet says:

        This was explained in some interviews. Basically, GM did the engineering (LGE participated in the battery casing and design the cells — battery chemistry is what they do), LG is doing the manufacturing of electric drivetrain components, plus some additional non-drivetrain ones.

        This isn’t really surprising — it’s been decades since carmakers have been actually producing anything except the stamped-metal bodies, chassis and metal engine parts. Everything else is by outsourced suppliers.

        1. All-Purpose Guru says:

          This is true. Even GM has subdivisions within the company that handle driveline, engine, suspension, etc. Farming out the HV electrics to LG (with input from GM) or vice versa would only make sense.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I see a very non-trivial difference between GM having its own factories which specialize in making their gas engines, and farming out the entire BEV powertrain to a spanking new, untested outside company like LG Electronics’ new automotive division.

            I think most reasonable people would agree that is a significant difference, both in the matter of GM’s degree of control and the matter of experience.

        2. Neromanceres says:

          This is still not true. GM owns the battery chemistry not LG. Certainly GM worked within LG’s capabilities. But there are a lot of GM patented components in the battery cell design and chemistry that LG cannot use for anyone else.

          LG is basically a tier 1 supplier. GM deos the engineering and design then contracts LG to make it for them. What is interesting is that many people are treating LG as one company which it is not. LG Chem is making some parts. LG electronics are makeing some parts and they are two seperate companies (though related on a very high level).

      2. All-Purpose Guru says:

        I’m guessing that LG had at least advisory input in the Battery Management System; you would expect them to have good ideas about how/why/when to manage the power, cells, and temperature.

        No harm in letting your engineers talk to other engineers, you end up with a better car.

        1. bro1999 says:

          Plus LG knows a thing or 2 about displays and software for infotainment systems too, as they are a major smartphone manufacturer.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Sure. Making the display screen is well within LG Electronics’ area of expertise and experience. EV powertrains… not so much. It will be interesting to see if LG Electonics can pull that off without any major problems in the production cars, and without any major delays in supplying GM all the Bolt powertrains it wants.

            1. Neromanceres says:

              As long as LG manufactures the GM designed components within GM’s specification as per TS16949 and GM’s other internal production procedures then they should do just fine. Which so far to date they have proven to do.

            2. theflew says:

              What’s so special about EV components? LG already produces millions of motors a year. LG has been building the cells for the Volt for 5 years. Controllers and inverters aren’t rocket science. The work there is efficiency. Everything LG is producing is or will be commodities in the EV space.

    2. Timmy says:

      LG + GM = LeGitiMate!

    3. James says:

      No doubt the Bolt battery system will be robust. I have 3yrs on my Phoenix-based Volt and it’s held up well. Neither are sexy cars, but hard to beat price and utility of the Bolt. Also, kudos to Chevy for giving conservative range numbers.

  2. jim stack says:

    or buy a Tesla model 3 in 2017 and get Super charging anyplace in the USA, made in the USA, powered in the USA.
    VS Bold partner with Korea, Chevy sells gas and diesel too. But Tesla is all Electric, solar PV, Geo-Thermal and Wind.

    1. Neromanceres says:

      Don’t worry Tesla imports a lot of components for its cars too.

    2. SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD says:

      Some trolling corrections: 2018-maybe; Pay for supercharging; assembled in the USA (parts mostly Not USA); most EV energy is powered in the US these days.

      So Jim, what’s YOUR carbon footprint and Made in USA wardrobe?

      1. Rob Stark says:

        Some trolling corrections

        Model 3 will be one of the highest American content cars sold in the USA. Model S is 55% USA and most of the foreign parts are battery cells from Japan. Model 3 cells will be made in Nevada.

        You always pay for Supercharging. Sometimes included in the price of the car. For Model there will be an option for a one time charge of ~$2k for unlimited lifetime use or blocks of charges. Something like 10 full charges for $100 for those that think they will never use anywhere near $2k of Supercharging.

        1. SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD says:

          Yes, Tesla is pretty good in USA Made, coming in #13.

          GM dominates the Top 10 — including both cars out of the Orion Plant at or above the Tesla.

          Give credit where credit is due.

          Don’t understand why people insist on throwing shade on a quality US car that’s making incremental improvements in a growing US sector.

          1. erik says:

            LG is also building a US battery plant

            1. Kdawg says:

              It already exists and has been producing cells for years now. LG Chem in Holland MI.

              1. SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD says:

                Makes sense to use that at the Orion Plant for assembly if so.

                IIRC – GM Korea were the main developers of the Bolt since they were the primaries for the Spark EV (assembled in Korea).

                The Bolt however, is assembled stateside at the Orion Plant and believe probably most parts will be sourced here too because of that like the other two Orion plant vehicles.

          2. floydboy says:

            Throwing shade like you just did regarding Tesla??

            1. Zooba says:

              Exactly. It’s clear where his biases lie.

              1. SJC says:

                Grow up, you sound like children.

      2. Rob Stark says:

        Another trolling correction

        Model 3 starts rolling late 2017 or early 2018 at the latest.

        1. Steve L says:

          I do hope the Model 3 will be ready when you say, but I think its more realistic to say end 2018-early 2019 at the latest. Don’t think all the parts manufacturers will ready to roll in July 2017.

          1. Nix says:

            Elon Musk recently stated in an internal email that was leaked to the public, that 2017 is still the planned release date.

            1. Taser54 says:

              Musk also admits he sets unrealistic goals for employees

              1. floydboy says:

                So? What makes the current stated timeline undoable?

                1. Matt says:

                  “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

                  I reference all of Tesla’s other stated product launch timelines.

                2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  floydboy asked:

                  “What makes the current stated timeline undoable?”

                  The fact that 100% of Tesla’s suppliers must meet Tesla’s aggressively accelerated schedule for getting the Model ≡ into production. That doesn’t make it mathematically impossible, but it does make it highly unlikely. In fact, Elon himself admitted it’s basically impossible; see link below.

                  It would be more reasonable to ask just how much of a delay the Model ≡ is likely to have in getting into production, rather than making it a binary, either/or question. Personally, I think it’s reasonable to hope it won’t be more than 1 or 2 quarters later than the accelerated schedule calls for. But it wouldn’t surprise me if there is as much as a full year of delay.


        2. kubel says:

          At the latest? Tesla has never met a deadline on any product. What makes us think they will meet the Model 3 deadline?

        3. Darren says:

          Every single Tesla model released dating back to the Roadster was late making the planned release date, Model X 18 months late.

          Every single Tesla model released had quality issues and reduced volumes as a result on early cars.

          Model 3 will likely not deliver in 2017. They may be able to squeeze out a few in 2018 but quality issues will likely hamper production and push real volume into 2019.

          Just based on historical facts.

          1. floydboy says:

            Completely disagree with that assertion. I believe the entire paradigm has changed with regard to Model 3. Scale and manufacturability is the main point of this car.
            I believe Musk will move heaven and earth to make this a success and be on time as close to humanly possible.

            1. RM Becker says:

              Misuse of “manufacturability”.

              That’s design speak for designing something to increase its ease of being manufactured. Tesla suppliers on the die molds for just the body panels have spoken to their complexity and the struggle to even make the die correctly.

              Tesla does quite the opposite with many of their designs. Innovation – yes. Appealing – yes. Awesome – yes.

              Ease of repeatable fit, finish, reliability – not so much.

              People get angry when others speculate on Tesla being late with the Model 3. Considering what they are doing with coefficient of drag,alone, and the design to achieve their lofty goal is just one example of a ramp up challenge. The assertion that Tesla will be late with the Model 3 is not only justifiable – but may be crucial for Tesla’s success and survival. Putting out buggy vehicles in that demographic would be a death nail. Delay it until it at least has initial quality/reliability that’s middle of the pack, let alone that of Honda or Toyota.

              Early adopters, willing pay way more money for the environment, change, etc .. and with $100,000+ to spend on a car are a lot different than those who are counting on this car just to make it to work so that can pay for it and have a spare Jag/BMW sitting around when needed.

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                RM Becker said:

                “Tesla suppliers on the die molds for just the body panels have spoken to their complexity and the struggle to even make the die correctly.”

                Hmmm, complex due to a more complex shape than is usual for a car body panel?

                It can’t be because it’s all that difficult to make a stamped steel car body panel. That tech is very well developed. Stamping steel body panels is much less troublesome, and quicker, than stamping the aluminum body panels which Tesla uses for the Model S.

                So, are the Model S’s body panels really that difficult to make? Or is that supplier just making excuses because he’s having difficulty meeting the accelerated schedule?

            2. Scott B. says:

              As much as I’m biased towards and love Tesla. EM can’t even make good on his promises to send a tweet out on time. Until Tesla proves otherwise, they’ll be late on the M3.

              I still think it will be worth the wait 😉

      3. HN says:

        “parts mostly Not USA” ?

        According to “Without giving specifics, Tesla Motors says that 55% of the Model S’ parts content is made in the U.S. and Canada, which qualifies as “domestic” under the American Automobile Labeling Act that requires that this information be provided on the Monroney sticker.”

      4. Scott Franco says:

        Please put a “made in USA” sticker on your car and show your complete ignorance of basic economics.

      5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased… said:

        “…assembled in the USA (parts mostly Not USA)”

        I’d like to know the source of your assertion that the Tesla Model ≡ will have parts mostly not made in the USA.

        It has been said that the Tesla Model S will be the “most made in the USA” car, once the Gigafactory starts supplying U.S.-made battery cells. (Caveat: How “made in the USA” percentage is calculated seems to be a matter of choice, not fact; reportedly it’s based only on prices for the various parts, not on other factors such as weight, size, or number of people employed in the manufacture.)

        I know there was a recent article here at InsideEVs that indicated some Model ≡ parts will be made in… as I recall, made in S. Korea. And so what? Some Model S parts are made overseas. Just not as many parts as on other “American made” cars.

        It may be that the Model ≡ will have a higher percentage of imported parts than the Model S. And maybe it won’t. I doubt anyone outside Tesla can say one way or the other with certainty at this time.

        But if someone has an authoritative source of info stating otherwise, then please cite it.

    3. Kamran says:

      Supercharging will cost extra on Model 3 and some locations are already starting to get quite busy with just the current crop of S’s and now X’s. I have owned several Mercedes and a Lexus. The Tesla has an electric drivetrain but not the top tier quality. My 2015 Model S is not anywhere close to the build quality of the Mercedes and the Lexus was every higher in fit and finish. The fact is that I am able to judge from a experienced viewpoint rather than being myopic in regard to Tesla love.

    4. JyKiaNiroPHEV says:

      Let me see. The model 3 will have the touch screen, tire, steel, suspension, braking, and steering. All made in Korea.

        1. All-Purpose Guru says:

          GM has said that much of the vehicle is coming out of Daewoo, GM’s Korean subsidiary. They also are responsible for the Spark and SparkEV, and one other small car I can’t remember at present.

          GM will be doing much of the final assembly in the US, and that INCLUDES the Opel version that will ultimately be sold in Europe. (not sure if they will have a separate Vauxhall version for the UK or if it will just be a RHD Opel.)

        2. All-Purpose Guru says:

          Further research confirms that final assembly of the Chevrolet Bolt and the Opel Ampera-e (the EU version) will take place in the Orion Assembly plant in Michigan. Unfortunately, they didn’t plan for RHD when they designed the car so there will not be a Vauxhall (UK) or Holden (Australia) version at this time.

          Probably there will be some grey-market cars in the UK from Europe but I wouldn’t fancy driving around London in a LHD car. (I hate doing it in a RHD car.)

        3. JyKiaNiroPHEV says:

          Please don’t say source, when you have Google.

          1. PHEVfan says:

            You actually trust everything you find on Google?

          2. Nick says:

            Source is code for: “After searching Google and finding no good hits, I’m formally challenging your assertion. Please provide a source which backs up your claim”.

            It’s quicker to say: “Source?”


    5. All-Purpose Guru says:

      I admire and appreciate Tesla’s in-country content (but you do realize the batteries, at least for now, come out of Asia) and I like their cars. Heck, I have friends who WORK at Tesla and most of MY company used to work there.

      I don’t really have a problem with people building products in other countries, though. It’s a global market now and if Daewoo (now called GM Korea) can bring their talents to making the Bolt (and the Spark EV, for that matter) I don’t have a problem with it.

      Keeping GM alive, even with foreign workers, STILL employs a lot of people in this country, too.

    6. All-Purpose Guru says:

      Chargepoint just enabled fast charging (CCS Combo with some CHAdeMO and J1772) charging along the US West Coast (from Portland, OR to San Diego) and East Coast (from Boston to Washington DC)

      Fast charging is coming, give it time.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Sadly, it’s only 50kW charging.

  3. bro1999 says:

    Cali deliveries only in Dec?? That’s a bummer if true.

  4. Acevolt says:

    I am really impressed that Chevy would give reporters the car and tell them to go on a 240 mile road trip. I was expecting some of them to run out of charge just for a good story. I would not take my Model S 70D on this trip without planning for a supercharger stop.

    An excellent start for new affordable long range EV segment!!

    1. erik says:

      I can pretty much guarantee they had people do that exact route a dozen times and at least a few times driving like animals with the AC on blast to make sure they could make it.

      The LATimes writeup also mentioned that they basically had a “bail out” point before the last mountain, presumably with a DCFC set up to boost anyone over the mountain – people were told to stop there if they had less than 30 miles estimated remaining

      1. floydboy says:

        BINGO! They couldn’t just drive around anywhere!

      2. no comment says:

        you bet that gm had the route planned out. it would have been a terrible story had the drivers run out of charge. even still, that the “road show” reviewer got into “reduced propulsion” didn’t produce the best story, because it suggests that the trip was not done with ease.

        the funny thing about icev’s: have you ever had the experience of having the “low fuel” indicator come on and you responded by turning down the volume on the radio? in an electric vehicle there is actually a good reason to do so!

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:


        “I can pretty much guarantee they had people do that exact route a dozen times and at least a few times driving like animals with the AC on blast to make sure they could make it.”


        Anyone who thinks these Bolt “road trip” reports, made by driving on the exact route very carefully chosen by GM, is anything more than a publicity stunt by GM designed to exaggerate the car’s range, has been taken in by GM’s advertising.

        Now, that’s not to denigrate the Bolt. It looks to be a compelling BEV, and kudos to GM for being the first to market with a “semi-affordable” American-made BEV.

        But let’s also recognize that this “road trip” was in no way a real test of the Bolt’s real-world driving range. People who take a trip of 240 miles rarely take the scenic route, as these drivers were forced to do.

        1. theflew says:

          Stunt or not – would an S60 try the same and make it?

      4. Jacked Beanstalk says:

        If GM hadn’t planned out the route wouldn’t that be rather inept on their part?

      5. Neromanceres says:

        Odd many reported having less than 30 miles range at that point and nobody stopped. Including the top video in this article. They made it over the hill and regenerated a bit on the far side.

  5. Dan C says:

    200 Miles to Santa Barbra – nicely played GM go down 1 instead of the 5 knowing the traffic will keep the average speed down.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      You wouldn’t take the 5 from Monterey to Santa Barbara. Fastest route is 101. I used to take Hwy 1 whenever I could, though, the scenery is worth it. I also took the San Marcos pass most times, as they did.

      No question they chose this route to minimize range-sapping 70 mph stretches. Most of these roads are 55-65 mph, except the curviest 30 miles or so near Big Sur which varies from 15-45 mph.

  6. SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD says:

    Smart on several fronts to use US-1. Traffic, weather, beautiful scenery. perfect setup for nice reviews on all fronts – Kudos to that PR team.

    1. no comment says:

      what was probably not so helpful in the roadshow video is that the driver got into a “reduced propulsion” situation and had to turn off the a/c because of low charge. that kind of stuff reminds people of the kinds of range anxiety issues that go along with bev’s.

      even with an icev, people tend to not like driving on fumes (granted tom moloughny apparently doesn’t mind doing this with his bmw i3rex, but he’s an ev enthusiast and not a typical driver) and it reminds you that the implications of “low fuel” and “low charge” are very different when it comes to the amount of time that it takes to recover.

      from a marketing perspective, trying to sell this car to the general public as being suitable for long range travel might be a bit of a mistake.

      it was good, though, to show that once the driver got over the mountain that he recovered range as he was traveling on the downside of the mountain.

      the bit about the driver fearing that he might miss his flight if the bolt had run out of charge was a bit of an unnecessary contrivance.

      1. SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD says:

        Totally agree on the near term marketing of this.

        The target for CA drivers — suburban commuters: HOV stickers with no range anxiety that’s affordable.

        Leave the distance hauls to the minivan market.

        1. Scott Franco says:

          That is exactly right. This is a commuter car that can run any errand during lunch and still make it home, even with a long commute. My leaf could not do that without a QC on the route.

      2. Jean-Marc Laurin says:

        The first time I drove an electric car I was panicked because I only had 6km left on range when I got home. After a year and a half of daily electric driving up and downhill, I got used to the idea that distances don’t change when you take the same route every day. You get used to the warning lights and the bells. And then you know that some days you make it home with more range and some days you have less. It’s all part of a new way of driving and you have to know you can’t behave like in a gas car and that it only takes 3-4 outings to “get it” (a handle on your car battery behavior and the road itself) Google maps becomes your best friend and copilot.

        But you get used to it. Sometimes it forces you to get off the highway and enjoy the scenery. Sometimes you drove just like normal. Sometimes you need to plan the stops ahead of time. I wouldn’t go back to gas driving unless I really need extra long range away from charge points and a big car for family road trips.

        1. no comment says:

          you sound like an ev enthusiast. i have had my chevrolet volt for over 4 years, and i still don’t “get it”; i keep a couple of gallons in the tank (no sense in carrying unnecessary weight around) so that i don’t have to worry about how much range i get in charge depletion mode. i really like the volt, but i do not consider myself to be an ev enthusiast.

          as far as marketing an automobile to the general public, it’s not that people are dissatisfied with icev’s the way that ev enthusiasts are. if you try to sell them on the notion of buying a bev with the suggestion that they should adapt their driving to the vehicle, that is probably not going to be a very strong sales pitch.

          1. Jacked Beanstalk says:

            What color is your Volt? I’m in the market for a used one so if you “don’t get it” and want out then I’ll be happy to take it off your hands.

            1. no comment says:

              your comment makes no sense to me at all.

  7. sault says:

    There has been no confirmation on GM’s part on exactly when and, more importantly, where the first Bolt deliveries. So we need a source for the tidbit about California getting all the Bolts that will be made / delivered in 2016.

  8. no comment says:

    overall, i kind of like the appearance of the bolt. i don’t think that it is as well designed as the gen1 volt, and the “bug eyed” tail lights are a mild turnoff, but if i were to buy a second car, this would certainly be on the list.

    if a person were to buy a volt and a bolt, you would have the flexibility and convenience that the volt offers for “anywhere, anytime” travel, and you would probably massively reduce your usage of gasoline.

    i’ve noticed that gm appears to have ditched the shiny “grin” grill of the gen2 volt in the bolt; i suspect they will probably do the same in next year’s volt.

    1. Kdawg says:

      I don’t expect the Volt to be refreshed in 2017.

  9. Brett says:

    A 5 hour trip condensed into a 6 minute video? Is there an unfiltered/fetered dashcam video to go with this? I’ll believe they drove this on the coast for 5 hours when I see 5 hours of video. 😉

    1. All-Purpose Guru says:

      So, you think they loaded the cars onto car transporters just south of Big Sur and trucked them and the reporters to just north of Santa Barbara, paying off all the reporters to NOT talk about what would have been the story of the YEAR?

      Yeah, right.

      1. Kdawg says:

        I think he was making a joke, thus the wink.

    2. no comment says:

      don’t forget; you’re also going to want a split screen view showing the instrument panel readout for the entire 5 hour drive! that way you can follow the the instantaneous power usage, state of charge, battery temperature and available range at each time instant of the trip.

      1. Nah, too easy to fake for these denialists. You want a chase plane taking video from just off the coast so that the conspiracy theorists can believe it with their own eyes.

        I’ve made the trip on a bicycle, in a Model S, and in the air. It truly is one of the most beautiful roads in the world.

        Pushmi, although you’re right, these are not freeway speeds. But the road is just one long undulating series of grades and descents. There are no convenient charge points, although there are about a dozen delightful parks right on the coast to stop and enjoy.

        This was a very well chosen road to show off the Bolt’s capabilities. Brilliant actually.

        Bravo, Chevy!

        1. no comment says:

          that is a pretty brave trip to take on a bicycle. i assume you stayed in the northbound lane side of the highway.

          when it comes to driving it, it is a really nice drive, but some of the best looking vistas occur where the road is fairly curvy…KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD (as there is not much of a shoulder)!

  10. tosho says:

    If GM got as many orders for the Bolt as Tesla for the Model 3, they would need 8 years to fulfill them.
    I recommend buying a Bold only for very patient people 😀

    1. theflew says:

      Optionally, GM would just increase production and LG would use some of its 70% idle capacity. It might take a year or so to increase capacity, but it wouldn’t take LG as long as it has taken Tesla with the Gigafactory.

      LG has buildings and the ability to manufacture their own battery cell making machinery.

    2. Jacked Beanstalk says:

      Word is that suppliers could ramp up production within a year to 70,000/year. Can’t say how I know this but it’s for real. GM doesn’t expect this but they aren’t unprepared either.

  11. steven says:

    “…and I can guarantee you’ll be able to buy one of these sooner than a Model 3…”

    But probably not in Pennsylvania.

  12. bro1999 says:

    Hey Jay, any info on when can we ORDER a Bolt?? Will California dealers really be the only ones to get them by the end of this year? How about other CARB states, like MD?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Just as a disclaimer, I have no “special” knowledge on this – and offer no guarantees of accuracy, but we “heard” that order books are expected to open in California (some other ARB states) in mid to late October.

      Again – grain of salt on that one…if we were 100% confident in the report, we’d have published it, lol.

  13. Vexar says:

    Well, I know that route. If they put a bunch of media folks into these Volt-B’s, then had them drive it, I believe the range. Given that Tesla has the superior gravimetric charge density on its batteries, a drag coefficient of below 0.20 on the Model III (versus 0.32-0.33 of the Volt-B), and only this summer stopped designing the car, I await the other shoe to drop, as Elon promised.

  14. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    One very important number is missing from this article: The trip time.

    I see someone in a comment above said “five hours”; a report from Green Car Reports says “six hours” for what appears to be the same scenic route, which was selected by Chevrolet (link below).

    Let’s split the difference; call it 5.5 hours. A 238 mile trip in 5.5 hours would be an average speed of only 43.27 MPH!

    Or to put it more succinctly: Chevrolet chose a route which would force slow driving for most of the trip, thus driving up the range far beyond what most drivers would experience when driving such a long distance. When driving that far, most drivers choose a route that minimizes trip time by driving mostly on high-speed highways.

    This is just one more example of how car review magazines give mostly milquetoast reviews of cars, to avoid upsetting any auto maker which might want to buy ads in their magazine or on their website.

    Real tests of the car’s driving range, and its energy efficiency, would be to drive it non-stop on a freeway at 60 MPH, and another test at 70 MPH, to see how far it would go. That would separate the men from the boys in the PEV (Plug-in EV) field!

    1. bro1999 says:

      There was a lunch stop included in that 5-6 hour trip.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Okay. But the trip time (not including stops) is an important factor.

        Let me just underscore that most of the trip was a “scenic drive”, not taken at normal highway speeds, despite the mention in various articles that part of the trip was driven at 60 MPH and 70 MPH. So, again, this is not really a test of the car’s range.

    2. Stuart22 says:

      Oh how the Tesla fanbois are spinning around in shock, trying their best to find some evidence of conspiracy & deception ‘a la Donald Trump. It’s rigged! It’s rigged!

      PP, your ‘trip time’ attempt to show how slow the average speed supposedly was does not take into account any stops taken during the drive, so your estimates are beyond meaningless.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Your comment is B.S. If this road trip report was about a new Tesla car, I’d point out the same thing. You’re showing your own bias… not mine.

    3. Scott Franco says:

      Ok, lets get off this. PCH more than makes up for the speed thing by up and down hills and extra rolling resistance due to curves and wind.

      Give it up.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        More B.S. This trip was literally “taking the scenic route”.

        I did mention the ascent to 2000 feet in a comment on another article here on the same subject. Yeah, that is a factor. It’s just not a very important factor in a trip of ~240 miles. If the figures given in the post linked below are fairly accurate, and assuming 1/3 of the lost energy is recovered on the way back down from the mountain, then the ascent to 2000 ft. only cost about 4 miles of range. Call it 5 miles on the assumption that coming back down was to a higher altitude, not to the near sea level of the coastal scenic highway.

    4. HN says:

      Your linked article states: “Remaining range clearly falls faster when driving at 75 mph than at 60 mph, a function of inescapable physics: the energy used to overcome aerodynamic drag increases exponentially with speed, rather than proportionally.

      Even at that mix of speeds, our Bolt EV delivered 4.1 miles per kilowatt-hour used. Over our 240 miles, we had used 58.7 kwh, or 97.8 percent of the total stated pack capacity of 60 kwh.

      Another less aggressive driver achieved 4.8 mi/kwh, and a third came in at 4.5 mi/kwh. Anything over 4 mi/kwh has to be considered a laudable figure for a journey that averaged at least 40 mph and had frequent stretches at much higher speeds.”

      I agree, so far only Bolt can achieve above 4.0 mi/kWh.

      Same route, this author got 4.1 mi/kWh and anther got 4.8 mi/kWh which is about 17% better.

      If a Bolt is driven on interstate highway at 80-85 MPH the power consumption will drop to 3.0-3.5 mi/kWh.

  15. Lou Grinzo says:

    Holy crap. Can we lay off the Tesla vs. GM (or Nissan or…) slap fights that break out in almost every article? Please?

    We all know what various companies are doing, have promised, etc. on this site. Heck, this is probably the best informed community online in terms of electric cars, so it’s the last place where anyone benefits from such tangents.

    As for the Bolt, even though I’m a devoted Leaf driver, I’m thrilled to see what GM has done and that it will be in show rooms this year. The range and price will put a ton of competitive pressure on other companies, which will lead to good things for consumers and the overall transition to electrified cars. Bye bye gasoline, hello electrons!

    1. Kdawg says:

      Wait til the next gen Leaf comes out. Then it will be Leaf vs. Tesla vs. Bolt EV.

      1. Nick says:


        … vs stock shorts.

    2. abc123 says:

      What do you expect? Tesla got b****-slapped in the range department and now the Tesla fanboys have to come in and run down the Bolt any way they can…

      You’ve got ugly comments, econobox, no supercharger access, glorified chevy spark, etc. etc.

      My favorite was the Model S has 55% american content… lol. Are we grasping at straws yet?

      Fact is, non of this is going to matter to your average buyer.

  16. Scott Franco says:

    I have to admit they read my mind here. PCH 1 is a hard trip in a gas car, there are stretches that don’t have anything, including gas stations.

    In the north (for CCS at least), there is point Reyes, San fransisco, Santa Cruz then Monterrey.

    North of point Reyes, there is nothing on the coast (for CCS at least). South of Monterrey is Pismo beach, then Santa Barbara.

  17. poetinsf says:

    I’d consider Bolt instead of Tesla if they come up with charging infra comparable to Tesla. And 50kw won’t do when Tesla is up to 145kw. If it’s going to be jjst a daily driver with overnight charging, Spark is just as good as Bolt.

    1. mxs says:

      Hmmm … but you can charge the Bolt at many Chargepoint chargers, not just the few SC’s Tesla has …. a couple years down the road, there will be just chargers which payment services like Chargepoint will use to offer such service to anyone.

      Hint …. Think Airbnb, Uber … these guys own nothing. Look at their size and spread ….

      Car manufacturers should not own charging stations or battery manufacturing facilities … this was OK, five years ago, it’s not very OK very soon …

      1. HN says:

        “Car manufacturers should not own charging stations or battery manufacturing facilities … this was OK, five years ago, it’s not very OK very soon …”

        Without supercharger stations on main interstates highways for travel from west coast to east coast I don’t think Tesla can sell many cars the last 3-4 years.

        Little off topic, not many people are buying Toyota Mirai Hydrogen car, part of the reasons is not many hydrogen refill stations in California, only few in San Fransisco and Los Angeles area.

        As of now, can you drive a Bolt across country from California to New York ?

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        mxs said:

        “Car manufacturers should not own charging stations or battery manufacturing facilities … this was OK, five years ago, it’s not very OK very soon”

        I certainly agree that all major auto makers will need their own battery manufacturing plants, just as they now all have their own gas/diesel engine factories.

        But I don’t at all agree on the need for auto makers to each build its own nationwide (or in Europe, continent-wide) network of EV fast-chargers. Ford, Chrysler, Deusenberg, et al did not build any nationwide networks of gas stations. Those were built by the gasoline refiners: Standard Oil, Exxon, etc.

        Tesla built the Supercharger network mainly as a selling point, to reduce range anxiety and to help promote its cars. In that, it has been very successful. That doesn’t mean it makes economic sense for a legacy auto maker to follow suit. 100% of Tesla’s cars are PEVs (Plug-in EVs), and aside from the older Roadster, Tesla’s cars can all benefit from DC fast charging.

        For legacy auto makers, only 3% or less of their cars are PEVs. They have no rational reason for a similar investment. This is doubly true since they make a lower profit margin on selling PEVs than they do on selling gasmobiles.

        Seems to me that it’s the electric utilities which should have the motive to build for-profit EV charging stations. Legacy auto makers certainly don’t.

      3. Jacked Beanstalk says:

        Meh, car companies don’t own gas stations either.

        Why shouldn’t it be the public utilities who set up charging stations? Except of course that the fossil fuel lobby owns congress.

    2. SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD says:

      Driving radius for my Spark is pretty tight. A good commuter car, but weekender car is limited.

      Bolt will replace any range anxiety with its legs.

      If I’m leaving beyond the metro area, it’s usually with family and that calls for the MiniVan.

  18. Klaus says:

    As a model 3 reservation holder, I really like what I’m seeing with the Bolt. I’d get one this fall, except it’s starting to sound like only Cali and some CARB states for this fall/winter, so who knows when I’d be able to buy one in Colorado. The other reason I’m hesitant to get one is the CCS charging network is crap outside of my main area, so it’s usefulness is still only within charge range, which is really compromised in the winter and in the mountains.

    Had GM put some money into CCS charger installations I’d likely get one. If, unlike me, the Bolt would not be your only car and/or you don’t travel outside of range, it seems like it could be a great choice!

  19. Bill Howland says:

    A lot of the hangups seem to depend on GM setting up a charging network.

    Tesla has a unique financing scheme that allows them to set up their own network.

    I’m not sure any other company could afford to do so.

    1. no comment says:

      unless the “unique financing scheme” involves tesla growing money from trees, tesla is sinking money into a charging network which therefore can’t be used for other activities.

  20. Model S Guy says:

    One note about range: EPA range is based at a speed of 65mph. A Model S 60 has an EPA range of 208miles @ 65mph. I drove the exact same route as the bolt this weekend in my Model S 60. At the end of my trip I still had 42 miles of estimated range left. That is better than both examples of range described in these two videos.