Chevy Bolt EV Survey Hints At Cold Weather Package With Heat Pump

Chevy Bolt EV


Greater EPA range is suggested in the survey as well

Earlier this week, new Chevy Bolt EV owner and user jvandonsel posted about a survey he received from Chevrolet. The options presented in the survey hinted that a cold weather package might be in the works:

I just took an interesting survey from Chevy asking about cold-weather performance of the Bolt and how much I’d be willing to pay for various cold weather packages.

What’s interesting is that this is a peek into some of the technologies that GM is working on or considering working on. Some of the interesting ones from the survey are:

  • Radiant floor heating
  • Wiper parking heater
  • Heat pump
  • Cold weather battery pack
  • Heated front windshield

Having only owned my Bolt for a month, I didn’t have much wisdom to impart, but it will be interesting to see how it makes it through its first New England winter.

But jvandonsel was not the only Bolt owner to receive the survey. Several other members on the site did as well. Forum user cleavet was kind enough to provide screenshots of the survey options:

Chevy Bolt EV survey winter package options 2Chevy Bolt EV survey winter package options

The Bolt has decent winter range but it can absolutely be improved. A heat pump and heated windshield would surely increase range in cold weather. At moderate winter temperatures many other electric models outperform it in efficiency.

Interestingly, a 300 mile EPA range is listed as well as a 200 mile EPA range. This might materialize as multiple Chevy Bolt battery pack options. Or it could represent a currently unreleased model.

These types of surveys do not guarantee a feature makes it to production. But they can hint towards future product changes.

For instance, in late 2016 and early 2017 several new Bolt owners received a survey on preferred options for a hypothetical user defined maximum charge level.  This feature ended up in the 2019 model year of the Chevy Bolt.


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71 Comments on "Chevy Bolt EV Survey Hints At Cold Weather Package With Heat Pump"

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Option five! Top row, second from the right. I just can’t figure out why it’s so cheap, even with a big battery and a heat pump…

Beware, it took me a second to notice that there were two different battery sizes here, one with 200 EPA summer and one with 300.

It looks like the packages are randomly generated… They don’t need to make sense. With a large enough data set, statistical analysis can be used to determine which options are considered most valuable.

300 mile range for $300.. SIGN ME UP!!!

I think this survey is silly. Supposedly a resistance heater and a heat pump are the same price. If so, why not put in the heat pump as standard?

Heat pumps do not work at sub-zero F temperatures, so heat pump cars also need to have the restance heater for backup. Just like home heat pumps have restance heater or natural gas furnace for “emergency heat.”

What difference does that matter? Even here in Minnesota, there aren’t that many days when the temperature is cold enough. The heat-pump in Prime works great for delivering cabin warmth in a more efficient manner. Here’s a video of that from a drive I filmed last winter:

There are places that exist outside of the USA – like Canada – where temperatures sub-zero F are common.

…Or like Minnesota. I don’t think most southern Ontario winters can hold a candle to the weather they probably get in Minnesota. If it works there, I’d be happy to have it in Canada.

Devin, there are also places in the US outside of of Los Angeles and New York City, but those are the only two places in the US that non-US citizens seem to know. I live in one of those places, called Wisconsin. For reference, it’s roughly between LA and NYC, but a little to the north and east. We have Sub-Zero temps here too.

I didn’t follow what your video is showing (keep in mind I have no audio).

The Prius has a benefit of having an efficient combustion engine heater as well, so it could do without a resistance heater. A BEV without that luxury would have to have an auxiliary heater. PTC or coolant loop and a heat pump if it wants to be more efficient. That heater might add $500 to the cost of the vehicle or more depending on what they have to add for it.

It demonstrates the efficiency of using a heat-pump.

Here is that same drive under mild conditions, with the temperature at freezing… note the additional data:

I guess I was interested on your comments on the data, is the difference that you arrived with 22% battery at 32 F and 7% at 18 F (or whatever it was?). How does it do at 0 F? What % does it arrive with when temps are 70 F? (curious to see difference in range of 70 F and 32).

I think Prius made a good choice to use a heat pump as it will dramatically reduce engine running for heat (or battery drain from resistance heat) in those mild temperatures like your videos show. Does Prius also use a resistance heater? Most PHEVs seem to go this route since they can use the same coolant and interior heat exchanger that the engine uses, but heat pump allows sharing with the AC so either would work.

The Prius Prime uses an innovative ‘vapor injection’ heat pump that extends it’s heating ability substantially in cold weather.

The Electric heater is for Maine and Alaska.

Yeah I wonder sometimes what planet you guys are on…. I’m in Western NY and it is sub-freezing (sometimes much more than that since 32 deg F is HOT during the winter months around here) for much longer than a month at a time where 33 degrees has NOT BEEN SEEN at any time of the day. Bad for my solar panels that are totally non-functional 4 months out of the year due to the frozen snow on them.

As far as heat pumps go, you guys are talking about ancient history. Modern Mitsubishi HYPERHEAT systems put out over 3 times the heat they use in electricity at 5 degrees F, and still put out over 2 times the heat they use in electricity at -17 Degrees F, a cold temperature even around here. If they haven’t been used in cars as of yet, they will be as their performance is even more stellar at slightly warmer temps. The only down side is their cooling performance is not quite as efficient in the summertime.

Off topic, but why not run a little electricity though the panels in the morning to melt off the snow? If that’s not energy effective, I wonder if you’d come out ahead with a fancy heat pump circulating warm water under the cells?

I’m not sure why its not offered for sale generally, and most homes are probably not Colonial styled as mine is, but if the panels were mounted on an assembly that was hinged at one end and a tiny gear motor (clock motor) raised the whole assemblies from east to west throughout the day, that would increase my solar production by at least 35% annually. Too late for my house but it is such a simple idea that I don’t know why more solar installers don’t offer it.

Oh I don’t know I remember when the temperature did not get above 0*F for a month.
Unusual to be sure, but it does happen.

Any heat pump will have a resistance coil included for super cold days, rest of the year you’ll gain from the pump. Honestly, a heat pump should be standard in all EVs.

I had a house with a heat pump, and it was useless below 32F – Even when it got below 40F outside, about half of the heat came from the resistance coils.

How old was the heat pump.
This was true in the 1970’s.
Today, even Canada can use air source heat pumps successfully.

I live in Canada and have a air source heat pump. It will make heat down to -35. However it’s almost the size of a car and was very expensive. So these systems come with compromises.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

You idiot, the $150 package is much better value!

The options are so silly. Seems like they’re trying to see whether people are suckers and will pay way too much for radiant floor heating.

yeah, i’m not sure if radiant floor heating would even work well. Given that up north we put down thick rubber pant saver mats on the floor to catch melting snow. Also, even with the mats, water and road salt soak the carpet. Which can lead to premature corrosion of any wire running under it.

Did you notice that, despite the heat pump, your $300 option maintains only exactly *half* of its summer range in the winter? Not sure how they managed that. Main difference to the $150 one I’d choose is the non-insulated, non-heated battery…

Also, no heated seats is a dealbreaker. Are they not standard in the current Bolt?

With the relatively mild winter I experience in east-central PA, I could skip the heat pump, but what I most want is a directly heated windshield. That would eliminate most or all of my need to use cabin heat during fall and spring when cool rainy days fog up the car.

I’ve considered picking up an eGolf for that reason, but newer ones with automatic emergency braking are rare than hen’s teeth.

A heated windsheild would be great. Windsheild fogging is the thing that forces me to use the heater in my Volt, I’m comfortable with just the seat and steering wheel warmers. I hate having to use the heater because it drastically reduces the range and avoid it as much as possible, a windsheild heater would allow me to keep the heater off on most winter days I would only need it on the coldest days.

Ford had thin film electrically heated windshields on some of its Mercury models in the 1980s. I believe it was called Instaclear. Insurance companies squealed like wounded pigs and slapped high premiums on the Mercury owners becuase the windshields cost something like $500 to replace (back then). I live in Ohio, land of as little road maintenance as possible, and there is a lot of broken croncrete around to be flung up at windshields. Almost every car I have owned has had one or more broken windshields due to being struck by road debris.

It really like the idea of an electrically defogged windshield, but I have a feeling insurance companies will make sure it is a D.O.A. option. … unless GM figures out how to make it inexpensive.

I would argue that mild winters are where you most want a heat pump. in Iowa, Minnesota, etc it is often cold enough where the value of the heat pump is reduced. They are most beneficial when you run the heater at warmer temperatures, maybe 20-50F is a rough range they will be notably more efficient than resistance heaters.

In the scenario I’m thinking of I don’t need the air heated since I have a jacket on/seat heater/heated steering wheel in my Pacifica hybrid. I just need to see through the windshield and don’t want to run the ICE/kill my AER to do so.

I looking for heated socks, so I can run without heat too.

Modern heat pumps can extract heat at -20 F.

Could you link to one? I don’t believe this is correct. The efficiency of heat pumps goes way down as you approach freezing, so you may as well use a heating coil at very low temps to save wear on an expensive pump.

They’ve put two pumps in series to increase the fluid compression: Higher Efficiency.

Ancient History. Search on Mitsubishi HyperHeat

I have a very modern Mitsubishi Zuba unit at my home. It does make heat with a decent COP down to -35. However the exchanger unit is half the size of a car and it is very expensive. There is a reason why these have not yet made it into most cars.

It depends on what kind of refrigerant it uses.

GM ev are really junk compared what is out there

That’s pretty funny. Screw efficiency or performance or range. Imiev da best EV ever made!

Please elaborate.

Not really. The Bolt is one of the better ev choices.

One thumbs up and 40 down so far.

Added cabin insulation would be great for the winter but worse for the summer if you have to park in a sunny area and keep the windows closed tight for security. I’d go for the package with a battery heater, heated seats and steering wheel and windshield. My experience is like another comment where you need to clear the windshield of fog on rainy/snowy days.

If given the chance, I would strongly encourage GM to make a heat pump an option or standard equipment. My Leaf has one, and where I live we get a significant amount of weather every Spring and Fall (including right now) when you need/want a little heat for comfort or to clear the windshield, and a heat pump works great and minimizes the impact on your range.

Problem is heat pumps don’t work below certain temperatures. And get less efficient as temps drop.

That’s why there is a cutoff temperature, since you are dealing with diminishing returns.

But in the case of Prime, it offers an advanced heat-pump featuring vapor injection to increase efficiency. So, you get more bang for your buck while it is being used.

The difference is with the Prime like the Volt they have gas engines when it gets really cold.

Even today the Bolt EV is heavily incentivized, they should back away from the discounts and get an EPA 300 mile option for $39,995 which could be compelling enough to steal a handful of Tesla reservations…Overall, kudos to GM to experimenting with the Bolt EV; my only disappointment is that it appears no AWD option…

I think I would choose Option X: 75 kW charge rate capable up to 75% of pack capacity.

This would be better if they broke out the battery size changes.

Also, the first thing to fix is that rear suspension.
They need a real independent rear suspension STAT.

My wife would love the radiant floor heating, currently with the seat and steering wheel heaters, only need for air heat is to keep her feet warm. Added insulation would also be great as it would further sound insulate the already quiet car. Wiper heater-yes!

Yeah. I really hate when ice builds up on the wipers. Besides causing them to not work very well it will destroy them.

There’s a solution for that: move to CA, specifically to Bel Aire. That’s what Musk did.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Yeah, he was out shootin b-ball when a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in his neighborhood.

One little fight…

Front and rear radiant floor heating: EV LUXURY.

Heated windshield and wiper should be standard:

Added insulation: Do It: Again, quieter car turns into EV LUXURY car.

Insulated cargo cover: Keep the cold back there contained, and quieter car: LUXURY. Yes. do it.

Heated battery with insulation. Should have been standard at launch.


Not really. This is still compact hatch Chevy at $38K sticker. It can be $23K on sale and subsidy (or $17K using Tesla pricing model), but still a compact hatch Chevy no matter the “luxury” dressing.

Perhaps some of these options are destined for future Buick/Caddy EVs. Actually, I bet on it.

I took the survey. They made it very clear that the packages were algorithmically generated, and were to be taken at face value regardless of plausibility.

I saw it as trying to determine a set of customer inclinations, rather than trying to figure out any specific option configuration for future models.

The battery selections don’t make much sense.. “Cold Climate Battery” vs “Heated Battery” should be the same thing since the battery pack can power the car below 0F, albeit not at full performance and the Bolt and Volt have a heater in the coolant loop.
“Heated battery with insulation” could be different but they are already insulated by the enclosure?
“standard battery” is the same as the 1st two.

Would like to see a Heatpump on more EVs, even the long range ones (Bolt, Tesla, Kia Niro, Hyundai Kona, etc

The survey indicated that the “cold climate battery” would be so because of a different chemical formulation.

I’m glad to see improvements being made annually on EV’s, but they’re not ready for prime time yet and won’t be until solid-state batteries arrive. One that is mostly solid state is in the works. Perhaps that will be good enough to start the EV revolution.

I installed radiant floor heating in our 2014 Smart EV by using an aftermarket seat heater kit. This should be standard on ALL EVs. It is cheap and hugely effective. That plus a heated steering wheel.

The heat pump is nice, and I’d like one, but give me the others as standard.

How about a real cold weather option: AWD.

Good winter tires are far more effective than AWD. AWD doesn’t help you stop better. It’s only good if you might get stuck in snow and even then winter tires on a FWD car are 99% as effective as AWD with winter tires. An eLSD might also be a more economical alternative.

Whenever I hear a “solution” like N’s, I sigh. Where I live we have Winter. We also have these things called mountains and hills. When I drive down them, I like all 4 wheels to contribute to stopping (like all cars are supposed to do). When I drive up them, I like all 4 wheels to contribute to going (like only some cars do). I’ve driven in all kinds of winter weather with all kinds of equipment: FWD, RWD, 4WD, AWD, snow tires, all seasons, studs, summers, bald, open diffs, lockers, standard, automatic, truck, SUV, car, cinder blocks/bags of sand in the back, etc. You can get by with good winter tires and FWD, but you have to make important compromises that you would not have to make in the same vehicle with AWD, for example “Can I get up the hill to my house after it snows?”. Good winter tires and AWD, just like ABS and traction control systems, are technologies that have proven themselves valuable over several decades on these snowy hills and mountains. The lack of AWD in reasonably priced BEV options is a compromise situation for me. It could mean I have to keep an AWD… Read more »

Does the survey explain the difference and pros/cons between heat pump and electric coils? I’m thinking most people would have no idea.

A direct heating windshield defroster would be huge. If the side windows on the front seats could also be direct heated that would also be great. The seat heaters in the current Bolt EV are not warm enough – the e-Golf and the i3 have excellent seat heaters. A heat pump would be very good, too. As would LED headlights. They need to put a smooth belly pan on the Bolt EV, with a rising angle at the back. They should also have wheel strakes (fairings ahead and behind the wheels). They can make a small Kamm back that decreases the Cd substantially. If they can use the cameras they already have in the side mirrors (Driver Confidence II package) as video side mirrors – and drop the optical mirrors altogether, then they would get more range “for free”. I hope that they can program in an option to have coasting in D, but keep it on the steering wheel paddle and on the brake pedal. This would increase the range significantly, I think. My family is averaging over 5 miles / kWh most of the year, by coasting. We put it in N, and we have to put it… Read more »

A couple of times this summer, we had an indicated range >350 miles. I drove 201 miles mostly at highway speeds, on a route that climbed up in elevation, with 3 people and a lot of luggage – and I finished with 69 miles range left.

Should all be standard upgrades if they want to be competitive. Already overpriced.

It would be very useful if manufacturers of all-electric vehicles offered a travel planning service where the traveler would indicate start and finish locations and be given a route map showing available charge stations. To be useful, the service would need to take the weather into account, and the usage of the charge stations along the route. Knowing a station’s location is not all that helpful if it is out of service, or if the usage is so high a long wait would be encountered in a long queue of cars waiting to charge. And there are some journeys that just can’t be done at all, if you live far enough back in the boonies. Where I live in northwestern Minnesota, the closest 240V public charging station is over 50 miles away, and winter is no joke.

The myChevrolet app allows you to plan a route and it will provide charging stops. You can add charging location or use the selected ones. If doesn’t know if they are in use or not and even if it did it wouldn’t know if they would be in use by the time you need it.

Need FULL LED headlights,add fog lights for road safety,and efficiency.Not sure why GM dimmed the current Bolt EV headlights if they met regulations as they’re not bright enough beside good LED (eg.Leaf, Etron). Truck, SUV headlights blind you daily. Subaru Forester has an element where the wipers rest on the windshield. GM can do something like this without excessive cost. An insulated cargo cover also isn’t expensive versus the cloth like one that doesn’t assist with thermal efficiency. AWD should be part of the premium package.Things like range,and charging (adjust rate to 75%),this should be updated via software (OTA).