Chevrolet Bolt Highway Range / Efficiency In The Rain – Video


Our new Chevrolet Bolt friend, News Coulomb, is at it again.

This time, our favorite Bolt owner drives a similar trip to one in the past, give or take a few miles, but now it is cold and rainy. He has the climate control engaged, but not on full blast. A viewer requested in the comments section after the last video, that he run the test with the climate settings on. He makes an attempt to maintain the same highways speeds from the previous video, however, he is driving more cautiously due to the weather conditions.

As you can see, with this trip added to the mix, the Chevrolet Bolt is now getting 3.7 miles per kWh

As you can see, with this trip added to the mix, the Chevrolet Bolt is now getting 3.7 miles per kWh

As expected, the heat sucks up some extra battery juice, and range is down.

  • On the first trip he went 89.3 miles and used 22.2 kWh.
  • This second trip totaled 91.1 miles and he used 29.9 kWh.

With the two trips considered, his total range will still exceed 220 miles. However, if you were driving freeway speeds in the cold and rain at all times, you could hypothetically see a 190-mile range.

It seems we can expect that News Coulomb will be keeping us up to date with his findings on a regular basis.

Video Description via YouTube channel host and new Chevrolet Bolt owner News Coulomb:

This is the same A to B to C to A trip made the previous day in this video.

The Bolt EV handles the wet pavement well, and the climate draw is very predictable. The 15-20% efficiency loss matches what most cars can expect to lose in rainy conditions, and the climate control used about 5-6 kWh over a 1.5 hour span.


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71 Comments on "Chevrolet Bolt Highway Range / Efficiency In The Rain – Video"

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What are the three colors of energy usage being plotted? One isn’t easily visible in the image.

Also of interest, the battery conditioning seems to always be 0%. I wonder at what temperature (high or low) that starts being used more?

It says “Climate Settings”.

(It’s clearer when you play the video, than in the freeze-frame.)


Blue is energy spent to move the vehicle. Purple is climate control. Green is energy spent on climate controlling the pack.

The screen says it is recommended the car be plugged in overnight if it is below 32F or above 90F. So we can expect the pack conditioning kicks in outside that range. But it might kick in earlier when you are moving, we don’t know that yet.

Thanks. Can’t wait to see when it does start conditioning. I wish I had this kind of data view on my 2013 Volt. I think the Gen 2 has some more detail similar to the Bolt EV here.

Oh, I didn’t look. He either is using an alternate color scheme (there are two choices) or his car is in night mode. So he has different colors than I described. The 3 things I speak of are the 3 things top to bottom in the list but in his picture not the same colors.

Wouldn’t battery conditioning be when it was heating the battery?

never mind I see unlucky’s response.

You certainly don’t need any battery conditioning at 55 degrees.

I’m sure you’ve seen somthing in one of your newer Volts in cold weather.

My ELR starts drawing 2kw – at around a 35 degree soak point – rising to 3 kw when it is
around a 20 degree soak (assuming they use a PTC heater).

Getting colder still – into the teens when the engine is running of course since it does it under 33 degrees all the time, is i’ll lose the ‘hold’ option since the car has been automatically put in this mode, and the car will refuse to discharge the battery.

This raises an interesting anomoly since, my car, after a 19 degree soak, will refuse to let the battery even discharge, whereas on the newer volts (both gen1 and gen2), you can run at, say 17 degrees, pushing the car and using the electric cabin heater solely on the battery.

So to ensure equal treatment of the batteries, do later GEN 1 volts, when the setting for Engine-Runnin-due-to temp is set to 15, only allow the 15 deg setting AFTER the battery is sufficiently warmed?

Hi Bill,

On all Volts, the engine running at the outdoor temperature threshold has nothing to do with battery conditioning.

The slight exception is when the battery is very cold (I’ll say around -5F but I don’t know the exact number) the engine will come on and that will be used for a bit until the battery is warmed up. The battery rarely sees these types of temperatures though since it is well insulated.

This is a point between the cabin-comfort “Engine Running due to Temperature” set point, and the point where the battery is so cold that it says “Battery Too Cold, Plug in to Warm”

In this “limbo” of sorts, the battery is too cold to provide full power needs of the car, but not too cold to use a small number of kW to spin up the motor-generator and use the engine.

Hey Bill! Are you still considering adding a Bolt to your collection? If you do end up with one, I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences with it.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m getting a Bolt because my metalic red 2012 volt I’ve already promised to a neighbor who wants to buy it when I get the BOlt.

Email me and let me know if u feel like doing lunch 1/20/17.

Nice to finally see some real world data, thanks for that!

I guess a 30kWh Leaf would have had serious problems making that trip, so the Bolt, probably, was the only choice for this guy to go full EV.

If he does this on a daily basis, we also have the chance to see how bad degradation is, fairly soon.

I doubt you will see any degradation “fairly soon”. Check back in a couple years.

His Bolt battery degradation data will be interesting to see after about 9 months in, and around 18 months of driving. Probably will only lose between approximately 3-6 miles of range during the first 18 months. Really hard to know for sure.

The Bolt battery degradation will be stellar. Probably the best we’ve ever seen. Considering the drive units’ power needs It isn’t under much stress to begin with, and when DC fast charging it doesn’t go much above 45kW. For a supposedly 66kWh pack that’s pretty damn degradation proof right there.

The bolt has resistance heating no? This is going to be far less efficient than a heat pump (leaf).

Ugh.. not the “heat pump” debate again.

There is a debate?!

What’s the question? Are heat pumps much more efficient at heating and cooling the cabin across a large temperature range? Answer: obviously yes. Duh?

I don’t even want to get into it.


What is there to debate, a heat pump is more efficient than resistance heating. The difference decreases at lower temps. But in some applications the decrease at lower temps is small and there can still be a meaningful difference at -10 degrees F.

True that the average automotive application is not that good yet. We are pretty early in automobile heat pump development. Compare the Tesla A/C efficiency to a typical ICE.

The question remaining is whether or not Bolt EV recycles waste heat from the drive unit and power electronics like the Model S.

We already know the Bolt does not have a heat pump

The Bolt’s cabin heating system ties into the A/C compressor and other coolant loops. So it perhaps uses a heat pump. But Chevy has not said it has one.

For that matter, Nissan never said the LEAF had one either. The 2013 update people ascribe to being a heat pump was only described as increased heating efficiency by Nissan. The only car confirmed with a heat pump is the Renault Zoe.

Nissan absolutely says that the Leaf has a heat pump.

My guess all along with the Bolt was that my real world driving would yield an actual range of around 3 miles/kwh in the Bolt (or roughly 180 miles total range). My previous cars are the Honda Fit EV and my current car is the 2015 E-golf. The Fit EV tranlated to about 55 miles of range on my daily commute driving 70 miles a day doing 75mph on the freeway. The E-Golf I’m driving now has about 67 miles of real world range in my case. I average 2.8 miles/kwh. As long as I could get the same efficiency with the Bolt, i’d be right around 180 miles real world range. That is killer right there for my 70 mile round trip commute. Really wish I could get one as cheap as my E-golf ($0 down $220/mo isn’t happening anytime soon with the Bolt).

Wow, I’d be excited to get half that range in those conditions with my leaf.
(I get 35mi range at 55mph now)

I hate it when people claiming the Leaf only gets 35 miles at 55 MPH without clarifying.

Do you have a severely degraded battery (<10 bars battery health), are you driving with heat full blast when the battery is cold soaked and outdoor temp is -30 F?

I had a 2013 Leaf 24 KWh in MN – when the temps were -30F I would get 50 miles driving with the heat on for just short periods driving 55 MPH – adjust for having the heat on full blast that would be struggling to get 40 miles. But let's get real – even in MN you'll average 3-8 days per winters with those temps. At 40F it would be right back up to 70+ miles.

Usable range to me is range before the low battery warning comes on and I start to panic. I know I still have 7-10 miles, but I don’t appreciate the cold sweats and worry. That said: In my 2012 Nissan Leaf with 10 bars of battery and winter tires, if I was going 55 miles per hour with the heat on and an ambient temp of 10 degrees F… probably less than a 30 mile usable range. Last winter there were 3 or 4 days when I had to find a charger to be sure I’d make it home (38 mile round trip on 55 mph roads, but with congestion I’m usually going 35mph). This winter I expect 10-14 days will require a charge in part because last winter was mild, and in part because the car is a year older. I normally drive with the heat off, a blanket on my lap, pre-heat at home, and take a mug of something warm to heat me from the inside. When I do use the heat, I’m bundled up enough that I iny set it to 62F. If I set the heat to 72F I would have to charge any day… Read more »

Why do you go through all that?

Probably a combination of great aerodynamic efficiency and drivetrain efficiency. The Ioniq is lower and sleeker than an e-Golf and at highway speeds, most of the energy required is used to overcome aerodynamic resistance.

He has the thermostat set to 73 deg!!! Buy a nice wool sweater and hat and set it to 65. Better, pay the extra $555, get heated steering wheel and heated seat and set it to 60. Do you care about this planet or not!

Or man up and realize that 55F outside is not *cold*. At that temperature, I would not even grab my coat, let alone turn on the heat in the car.

I can’t wait to see data from cold climates. But it may have to wait until next winter between the rollout and the incredibly mild winter much of the country is having.

How cold “cold is” depends on where you live and what you are used to. Here in AZ 55 deg. is usually uncomfortably cool to native Residents. I keep the heat on in my Volt set at 75 deg. (auto) “comfort setting” year round.

Of course that affects how cold feels. I’ve seen native AZ residents huddle in their cars with the heat blasting when it is 55F outside. I understand that. The first part of my post is mostly meant tongue-in-cheek.

But I’m serious about the second. As a cold-climate resident, I care about what happens to the car when temperatures drop below freezing. What about below zero F? I don’t think I’ll get an answer this year. That will probably have to wait until next winter.

I think the person that made the video purposely ran the heater because people had asked him to, to get the data.

(disclaimer: I only turn on the heat in my Volt below 15 degrees because ERDTT means the engine is running, Or to defrost the windshield. #puremichigan)

CC didn’t answer yet so perhaps you’d tell me Kdawg..

MY ELR, if the battery has been sitting out in the cold and is ‘soaked’ at under 20 deg F, will REFUSE to discharge the battery, and will automatically put the car in “HOLD” mode where the engine does everything.

Since your engine doesn’t turn on until it is 14-15 deg F, suppose it is left outside at a constant 17 F to the point where the battery is 17 deg throughout…..

Will the thing continue to use the electric cabin heater, besides pushing the car on the battery alone?

Hi Bill,

I responded above, hopefully it clarifies.

Sounds like the Volt behaves similarly, but I’m not quite sure what the true set point is for the “engine to do everything”

Above, I estimate it’s around -5F. I think people on the Volt forum familiar with GM engineering have confirmed this.

No,no, I’m not asking about extreme (-5) cold. I’m asking about disparity of operation at Plus 18 degrees.

There’s no difference in operation on my Volt at 15F, 26F, or 35F. Everything behaves the same.

With the “Very Cold” engine setting, the engine only comes on if the outdoor temperature is below 15F, or when it’s even colder than that and the battery has been “cold soaked” requiring a pseudo-bypass of the HV battery until it’s warmed up a bit.

The battery conditioning is active at something like 18F though. I do see the power usage tick between 1-2kW every now and then even with no climate control. But the engine still doesn’t run and vehicle performance in acceleration and deceleration is unchanged.

Yeah thats a key difference between
‘identical’ cars then… My ELR will run the battery heater up until the high 30’s, and as I mentioned will force the car into ‘hold’ mode if the battery is under 20 degrees through and through until the electric heater has had enough chance to warm it up.

Yeah, that sounds very much like the Gen 1 Volt before the “mid-generation” change to include 15F “Very Cold” setpoint… The “ERDTT” would basically act like a hold mode until the coolant for cabin heating was sufficiently warmed, then it would turn back off. At the same time the single set point was changed to be selectable between 15F or 35F, the new ERDTT is just a muted engine run that runs for longer but at much lower RPM. The former implementation is good (read: more efficient) for a trip greater than, say, 5 miles, because you can also “game” the system by reducing cabin heat fan speed and keep the engine off longer. The engine is also running at a more optimal RPM. The later implementation is better for shorter trips (I suppose) since you’re using more of the battery and less gas, though the engine is even more inefficient at this lower RPM. Of course, all this is still for cabin heat only. It has nothing to do with the battery needing to warm up. I suspect the same is true with your ELR’s operation, which seems to mirror the Gen 1’s initial implementation in most ways (including… Read more »

No, at this point the car is acting NOT on outside temperature, it is acting on battery temperature only – this may be circumvented by hooking up the changer jack (on or off – just to keep the engine from starting) – and waiting for the electric heater to warm the battery more (to re-enable hold mode choice), and if warmed further, to stop using electricity to warm it. At this point it is independent of the ambient temperature.

“No, at this point the car is acting NOT on outside temperature, it is acting on battery temperature only”

What is that conclusion based on?

With my Volt, this only happens in sub-zero weather when the Volt has been left unplugged for several hours.

ERDTT (based on temperature) does have the battery act like hold mode on 2011 and some 2012 model year Volts, and the ELR. But it’s still based on ambient temperature and cabin heat coolant loop temperature, until you get down to the real cold 0F type temperatures. In these earlier model years, it just did this to heat the coolant up faster for passengers, not because it couldn’t use the batter. It was a trade between how fast it heats up and how efficient it is (isn’t) with all that battery sitting there unused.

Yikes! He says he stopped the car to talk with a friend with the heat going for “I don’t know maybe 15 minutes”. So, maybe it was 30? Which means this is not a test of anything. It does a grave disservice to the reputation of EVs to exaggerate the loss in range on a cool day in LA. If you are going to publish test drives then do a full set of scientific based test drives and measure time, speed, and temperature.

The guy didn’t make any money doing the video. It probably cost him money.
It’s data point
get over it.

It is not a useful data point at all. The video would claim a 7.7/22.2 = 35% drop in range when the temperature drops to 55 F and rain. If this guy is not getting paid by the oil industry then they owe him big time. My Leaf has never shown a 35% drop in range, even at 15F with heater at full blast. So either the Bolt battery is crap or Coulomb sat talking with his friend with the window open and the heat and defrost on for half an hour, in which case the video is crap. I think it is unlikely that GM overlooked battery specs so … the conservative press is about to have a great time with this video.

That confirms that in real world cold climate that Bolt lives up to the 200 miles claim.

Great job!

It was 194 right?
but that’s Ca weather not michigan.

But I don’t even set my house to 73 degrees…

So, there is that.

If you want the cars to lose range for the “worst” case as in MI or MN, then yes, you won’t get the full range. But I know ICE cars that don’t get their full MPG which is range also in those conditions.

I don’t know what you are trying to say here since as EV owners/supporters that you should have known that already.

It was 194 right?
but that’s Ca weather not michigan.”

What is Tesla S60’s range in “your Michigan weather”?

What is Tesla S85’s range in “your Michigan weather”?

Beats me,
I don’t live in Michigan:)

I’d be surprised if the climate control really used 5-6 kWh in 1.5 hours – its likely to use no more than 4 kW at full blast, and shouldn’t run full blast all the time. Rolling resistance however increases a lot on a wet road, so I think the result is encouraging.

I’m sure in Norwegian winter on a really cold day – that’s anything below -20 Celsius for me, though I did see a guy driving his i3 in -40 C on the news the other day (!) – the range will drop to 150 miles. But that’s not really a problem for me as I wouldn’t want to go on a road trip in such weather anyway! 🙂

Defogging can.

In my experience, defogging is the worst enemy because it uses AC and HEAT to dry up the air.

I wonder how heat pumps would handle that or revert back to resist-heating for backup.

They COULD decrease the cabin fan speed and run the outside ‘radiator’ (in this case evaporator) fan at full speed thereby increasing the condensing temperature and increasing the Heat of Compression to be removed since this is the Hottest Gas. That should be enough to defog the windshield.

There’s no law saying they couldn’t run the heat pump AND the resistance heat in an emergency.

“There’s no law saying they couldn’t run the heat pump AND the resistance heat in an emergency.”

In that case, then heat pump would offer ZERO efficiency gain over conventional resistive heating+ AC then?

Oh no I don’t mean that it would be regularly done. But most heat pumps at 45 degrees F have a COP (Coefficient of performance – to convert to eer multiply all numbers here by 3.413) of about 3, at 55 deg F a cop of about 4.

What I mean is the output temperature at the compressor outlet (“Hot Gas”) is around 50-70 degrees hotter than the boiling point commensurate with the condensing pressure, which will increase if the compressor is running and maximum speed with the cabin fan running slower. In otherwords, the discharge hot gas is SUPERHEATED beyond the boiling point due to the Heat of Compression due to the compressor’s work done on the refrigerant gas.

My Tesla has resistive heating….but it has to dehumidify its air so sometimes it turns on the A/C.

“I wonder how heat pumps would handle that or revert back to resist-heating for backup.”

I’d have to defer to HVAC man but I think they flip between heat and cool mode.

They do regardless to defrost the evaporator. Still bummed the BoltEV doesn’t have a heat pump. Are we sure about that?

When defrosting the evaporator using reverse mode they also don’t blow any warm air inside. This is not desirable in a car where the air from the vents blows directly at you.

Oh, that didn’t stop them from doing it in the Volt all the time. It keeps you awake (and shivering) for sure 🙂

Volt doesn’t have heat pump…

Is “News Coulomb” the new Bjorn Nyland? Name sounds fake. How many banana boxes and large people will fit into a Bolt? Bjorn set a high bar on EV reviews.

How many people can you stuff in a Bolt? I bet it’s more than that 1 video of people cramming into a Model S. 🙂

FYI, he’s longtime member Ladogaboy.

This is interesting but what I’d really like to know is how fast going uphill drains the battery. I like the car, but we live in a valley so for me this is critical data to have before I plop down my hard earned money.

What “extra” you use climbing the hill, you save coasting down.

Unfortunately, the laws of physics aren’t that generous. You get back some on the descent, but not nearly what you expend, and what you expend is usually considerable. I’ve driven enough hills to know this from experience.

Bolt is relatively light (not as light as i3) so it shouldn’t be too bad. Test drive it and see…