Instrumented Test Of Chevrolet Bolt – 190 Miles Of Range At Steady 75 MPH

OCT 29 2016 BY MARK KANE 140

As the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV is just now entering production (for arrival in a few weeks time), test cars are now more and more available to the media, and as a result we are getting some more substantial data on what the all-electric car can do.

As such, Car and Driver published an interesting test drive review of Bolt EV, deepening our knowledge about GM’s new green flagship.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Bolt EV is rated by EPA at 238 miles, and as we have seen from many early test drives – it’s an achievable range, however further tests shows how that range can indeed vary at higher speeds and different operating conditions.

For instance, a consistent 75 mph (120 km/h) speed (using cruise control) combined with 72 degrees programmed into the climate system on warm day translates into 190 miles (305 km).  Still, a very impressive result.

Clearly, the fact we will soon have an EV capable of a robust ~200 miles range on the market soon, for $29,995 (after federal tax credit), is a big plus to the segment.

Car & Driver finds that the 150 kW motor also provides great performance, with a 0-60 mph result of about 6.5 seconds, while at a lower state-of-charge acceleration fades to about ~6.9 seconds at 60%.

On the less that positive side, C&D discovers that the Bolt EV doesn’t alert the driver that regenerative braking is reduced sometimes during the warm-up period (like Tesla), but that’s a small detail.

According to the article, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is the best all-electric car choice for all those that can’t afford Tesla Model S or X (or maybe just need something smaller).  Although to be truthful, if you are looking for a long range, reasonably priced (at least for the “common” man), the Chevy is really your only choice at the moment.

As a point of interest, here are the EPA tested numbers (full details here) for the Bolt EV in the city and highway (where the .32 Cd of the Bolt EV makes life a bit more challenging):

Chevrolet Bolt EPA Range Ratings - From Left To Right: City/Highway/Combined

Chevrolet Bolt EPA Range Ratings – From Left To Right: City/Highway/Combined

Driving experience is also noted as pretty good:

“It delivers a comfortable ride over broken pavement, anchored by the low-mounted battery and cushioned by well-tuned damping. The Bolt evidences a similar level of chassis-tuning competence to what GM has achieved of late with vehicles as varied as the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevrolet Malibu. Without being punishing or overtly sporty, the Bolt steers tidily, turns readily, and rides amicably.”

Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior - With Some Help From LG

Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior – With Some Help From LG

The interior is appreciated, but don’t expect quality level of $40,000 car, as most of your purchasing dollars go into the electric powertrain and 60 kWh battery.

“From that perch, the Bolt feels much narrower than its 69.5-inch width suggests. You’re always aware that you’re sitting close to the person in the passenger seat, even if the cabin never feels cramped or claustrophobic.

Chevy did a nice job organizing the interior with a center console that accommodates drinks and phones and still leaves room for elbows on the armrest. There’s also a large bin on the floor between the driver and front passenger for a purse or other large items. Exceptionally slender front seats—made by suspending plastic sheets from metal frames and covering them with a fraction of the usual padding—leave ample room in the rear seats for adults. Although not at a compact-crossover level of spaciousness, that back seat is more generous than those of compact hatchbacks. However, the cargo area, at 17 cubic feet, would be on the small side for a hatchback and is less than half that of the typical crossover.”

Fuel economy comparison by EPA (BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Spark EV)

Efficiency comparison by the EPA (BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Spark EV)

source: Car and Driver

Categories: Chevrolet, Test Drives

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140 Comments on "Instrumented Test Of Chevrolet Bolt – 190 Miles Of Range At Steady 75 MPH"

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Awesome! Well that settles range a high highway speeds.

Well, it looks like this beats the range of a Model S 60kWh version traveling at 75mph, according to this story:

So a Bolt EV (which is 60kWh) will beat a Model S 60kWh at a constant 75mph. Yet everyone moans and groans about the Cd of the Bolt and how the Model S is far superior at highway speeds.

Okayyyy! 😉

That’s consistent with the Idaho Lab tests showing that a Model S 85 would go 228 miles. Just doing the arithmetic puts the Model S 60 at 160 miles. And that’s at 70 MPH rather than 75 MPH.

Obviously Cd is over rated or the Cd numbers aren’t comparable or both. And obviously drive train efficiency and tuning for acceleration doesn’t help range.

This is kinda expected. The drag force varies as the square of the flow (effectively the speed) but linearly to the drag coefficient (C(d)) so a different C(d) value will not have as much of an effect as a different speed does.

This is why a small change in speed at a higher overall speed will have more effect than that same change of speed at a lower speed.

In other words, the effect of increasing the speed by 5 kM/h at 40 kM/h will have less effect than increasing it 5 kM/h at 100 kM/h.

…It was my understanding that there would be no math… — Chevy Chase

Well the frontal area, or “A”, is the same for the Model A and the Bolt EV. If the Model S really has a much lower Cd than the Bolt EV, at higher speeds the power needed to overcome the drag force would be much less for the Model S than for the Bolt EV. This is why all the “experts” on this site kept saying the Bolt EV would have very little range at higher speeds.

FWIW I think you may have the effect of a constant speed increases on the drag force backwards. Increasing speed from 100 to 105 increases the drag force by more than increasing speed from 40 to 45. (105^2 – 100^2 > 45^2 – 40^2).

“Well the frontal area, or “A”, is the same for the Model A and the Bolt EV.”

Model A? Did you mean Model S?

It’s CdA that matter, metric that include frontal area that matter. Groaning on Cd was that Bolt could’ve done far better at highway if it had lower Cd with given frontal area. Tesla is lot larger than Bolt, so even with lower Cd, it would have more drag.

Not true. The total drag area of a Model S is quite a bit lower than a LEAF or Bolt EV. Something like 6.2 sq ft vs. 8 sq ft. The Bolt apparently succeeds because it’s powertrain is simply a lot more efficient.

Bolt is less weight. Tesla has a,suoerior power train.

Much larger? Going to Google, the Model S is 77.3″ wide and 56.5″ high. The Bolt EV is 69.5″ wide and 62.8″ high. So while the Model S has a larger frontal area, it’s a whopping 2.85 square inches larger. IOW it’s .0007 larger, which is not really larger at all. Basically the A in CdA is the same.

Yeah, another hint would be the MPGe of the Bolt is superior. No surprise there with the more efficient propulsion.

The other thing that is always mentioned is the BOLT is only ‘semi-affordable’, but nothing is ever mentioned about the affordability of the “S”, or the value of an “X”, especially since you cannot fold the rear seats.

As far as the BOLT’s value goes – i’ll have to see how reliable it is. They’ve apparently had some trouble with the GEN 2 volt which never occurred with the GEN 1 (perhaps Lutz shouldn’t have retired since I am sure he wouldn’t allow anything substandard to be released with his name on it).

This unfortunately brings the sibling BOLT into question – although KOREAN LG I’m quite certain wants their assemblies to assume a ‘flagship’ status for reliability.

Another positive is the continual extensive Testing that the BOLT seems to have received over the GEN 2 volt.

I’m just going to dip my toe into this conversation a little bit down here (not specifically a reply to you Bill). Not sure why the CdA/Cd discussion has come up so strongly in the discussion (or the Model S). The reference to the .32 Cd in the story was about the city/highway splits – just to help explain the ~190 mile @ 75 mph result. CdA is naturally the most important thing when it comes to range overall in EV passenger cars (with the exception of extreme weight, and a couple other odd outliers…none of which apply here). Usually Cd is not a very useful metric, especially without the CdA being given at the same time when talking typical EVs…unless you are referencing the range splits (especially at speed), as the larger the Cd is, then (as a rule) the larger the percentage splits are between the city and highway. Or put another way, that is why the Tesla Model S 60 kWh has far less variance (due to its .24/.25 rating vs the Bolt EV’s .32). The original RWD 60 kWh Model S (which is probably the best comp to the Bolt EV – as opposed to AWD… Read more »

Big congrats to Jay for having by far the best explanation posted here of both the differences in range/speed between the Bolt and Model S and of the factors of CdA/weight between these vehicles regarding range scenarios.

CdA is the 2nd most important factor in total range at freeway speeds of anything else except for used battery capacity:

What is really surprising to me is that so many of the other EVs have really poor Aero and even some of the announced EVs (especially many of the German designs like the MB EQ SUV):

It certainly has what appears to be poor Aero from the pictures displayed.

What I’m really looking forward to is when the Model 3 is released and we can get a range/speed comparisons between it and the Bolt because they will be the closest together in their EV price class.

Jay Cole said:

“…not sure any of all that was necessary to the discussion (or wanted)…”

It is certainly wanted, and appreciated, by me, at least! Thanks, Jay!

I had no idea the subject of a car’s drag, and how it affects range, was so complex, or that when comparing two cars, drag could give better energy efficiency at higher speeds to one car, but worse energy efficiency at a lower speed.

I learned something today! 🙂

That statement about price is laughable. Just about every reviewer who test the Model S or X mentions how pricey they are! I think you’re coming down with ‘Lackofsecondfoldingrowitis’, and it’s clouding your thinking.?

Fboy: 2 points: 1). I’m not talking about serious people like Car & Driver. I’m talking about the Romper Room crowd here.
2). Haven’t seen any great brilliance from you so you might try to say something somewhat intelligent before accusing me, or anyone else, of cloudy thinking.

I’m on my 4th EV so Ive been around the block with them for 5 years now.

Jay Cole:

Very good: Only thing I can add, is that GM products seem to consistently have the much more conservative rating under any type of driving conditions.

And, to date, all GM products don’t lose range overnight even if cold. It will be interesting to see how the BOLT performs.

One new thing for GM is that REGEN is ‘reduced’ during the cold per C&D. Is that totally shut off, or only partially? Will be interesting to see this qualified, and at what temperatures.

Totally with you on that one Bill. GM plug-ins have proved exceptionally durable, and the ratings conservative.

Rare is the day you hear anything not positive about them in this regard. Under-promising/over-delivering…even by a tiny amount, I think goes a long way in this segment.

I’d love to know more about why regen is reduced on a battery as large as the Bolt EV,when it is never reduced on a smaller battery like the Volt.

And the Volt has regen as strong as a Model S. All other things equal, the Bolt EV regen should be less prone to being reduced than the Volt.

I wonder if this is just some pre production limitation?

The Volt is a hybrid, and having the battery “degrade” during it’s service is a big no-no. Please review what Honda went through with that; not pretty. The Bolt is not a hybrid, so their is no emission requirement to hide degradation. They can (and likely do) use about 90-95% of the total capacity of the battery at all times. So, as the battery degrades, you’re going to see less actual range (what the GOM displays could be anything, however). And this is why the Bolt hasregeneration issues when the battery is fully charged. It really is early fully charged!!! That’s not the case with the Volt until is eas over 30% degraded. Cold always affects charge rate. NOTE: if the Volt battery were allowed to have dimished range, then the gasoline engine would be required to operate more, which increases overall emissions. NOTE 2: Of course, the Volt battery degrades, as all batteries do. But, GM wisely only allows the battery to operate with 60% of its capacity when new (from 20% to 80%). As the battery becomes 20% degraded, the battery will charge from 10% to 90%, for example. This method can fully hide up to about 35%… Read more »

Do you know what the Bolt’s fully charged state-of-charge is? The explanation you give only really seems valid if the Bolt EV battery is fully charged. Additionally, to date, nobody has seen degradation in the Volt.

With a Volt, you can do regen on that battery at 3.75C regardless of temperature.

With a Bolt EV, the same amount of regen (60kW) would be 1C, give or take. That is simply not a cause for concern, if both batteries are thermally managed in the same way.

I would love to hear a Bolt EV engineer chime in on this. Perhaps their thermal management system isn’t of the same caliber, for example, or it is but a larger battery has more of a delay to be ready for this regen. I don’t know, but I’m definitely curious! 🙂

The Bolt thermal management is not as complex as what Tesla uses. That’s not good or bad, just the way it was designed.

I don’t know how much regeneration the Volt allows, but ALL batteries are more restricted while cold, as opposed to hot.

Again, Volt batteries degrade. Volt owners / drivers don’t see that degradation because of the EPA / CARB issues with the certification of the gasoline motor. It would have to operate more, and thus pollute more, if the battery range were diminished.

So, the battery was overbuilt in size to compensate for degradation.

Both the Bolt and newer Volt is the same 96 cells in series as virtually all other EVs. (I’ve never actually seen a first generation Volt).

You can safely charge lithium cells to 4.15 to 4.2 volts, therefore fully charged is about 400 volts OCV.

96 * 4.2 = 403 volts

I would like to know in what way the Volt battery management is less complex than Tesla. Like the Volt it has full liquid heating and cooling of the battery to keep it in a narrow band of temp. It was preconditioned by charging. The Bolt battery chemistry is somewhat different than the Volt and can deal with a wider range of temp but is otherwise just like the arrangement from the Bolt. The Bolt had 4 different temp systems. As far as I know the Bolt does not use heat recovery from the gear system (like Tesla) but has no problems with gears as does Tesla, based on the Volt experience (which was more complex than the Tesla OR the Bolt).

The Volt always left some top end cushion on the battery recharge so if you lived near the top of a hill it could regen and absorb it. That feature may exist on the Bolt too! But there was another trick! If regen on a full charge couldn’t be accepted by the battery a Volt software ‘circuit’ caused a purposeful ‘conflict’ between generator and drive opposed each other and the result was heat that was given off. Doubt it even came on much. Nobody knew about it. But in that extreme case regen was reduced! I live in hills and never noticed anything like that happen. Don’t know if a text warning came up or not. But the brakes were never used and fully capable of stopping the Volt. After just a bit of driving it would never encounter that situation anyway!

I meant to say battery and motor conflict. The motor will fight itself to turn regen into heat to be dissapated.

Tony Williams

I think you’re guessing unless you can cite exactly where the ‘volt degredation’ is ‘hidden’. This issue has been rehashed over and over again, and i’ve seen nothing clearcut to indicate any demonstrated degredation.

“All batteries degrade”.

Tell that to Leaf owners. Supposedly, that Volt with 100,000 EV miles on the battery (300,000 miles total) has the same range as when it was brand new. Leafs with a small fraction of that mileage now cannot drive electrically as far as a volt can electrically.

Also, the claim is always made here that Tesla has always had the superior cooling/charging system.

Not so: My Tesla Roadster needed much more electricity from the wallbox than my Volt needed per mile of operation. The Tesla always had to run the air conditioner to cool the batteries.

Of the 3 ways that the battery could be cooled in the volt, only 1 of the 3 ran the air conditioning, (only in hot weather), and it was therefore much more ‘efficient’.

Both were 2011 models.

Volt has, if I remember well, 16kwh, but 10kwh usable only. That’s the reason you cannot see degradation on yours

You’re wrong Nero! The top 30% of battery capacity is reserved for ‘all electric. 40% for assist in hybrid mode and the bottom 30% untouched, as you state. But, the top 30% would show consistent lower range on the read out and charge state estimated mileage on average if there was significant degradation. In 3 years and 36,000 miles I saw no drop in range, readout or real world distance, and many of my trips were destination trips at the edge of it’s all electric mode. I think GM was way too conservative in preserving the battery.

Of course it does, it’s a smaller car

Air on or Air off?

As a data point from 750 miles of real world testing (I-5 central valley) my Mirai has a range of 301 miles at a steady 75 mph. The Cd of the Mirai is .29, but fuel cells are at their optimal efficiency during moderate, but consistant demand such as exists during constant high speed cruising.

All within acceptable parameters, which is positive, though my girl friend took exception to that description of her.

My X girlfriend, I might add.

1. LOL
2. Perhaps a touch of Asperger’s?

Actually you are correct. That is one reason it’s easy for me to recognize it in others.

Me too.

(They say you’re not supposed to do a “me too” post, but in this case, I thought it might be socially acceptable.)

Sure, join the party, hardly a surprise.

But not at 120km/h, damn you physics.

The rule of thumb is 5km/kWh (3.1 miles/kWh) for average size cars, so with 45kWh that car has 225km range..just as now we are realizing that the bolt has 300km range as expected for a car with a 60 kWh battery.

And Bolt can do 700 km with 60 kWh so what? No one wants to drive 30 mph for ages…

Okay. Since I drive long distances at about 80 mph cross country on turnpikes, this is going to suck, with less than 200 miles range between recharges. 😛

And there are no DCC Combo Chargers when I drive. This is not a road car; it’s a city car.


Yeah, I rocket to the moon every Wednesday, this ain’t going to work for me either. Thanks GM.

So, you imply that half a solution is better than someone else’s complete Long Range BEV Solution?

Sad. *Trump Mode Off* /s

That full solution costs 3 times more and is therefore inaccessible to most people. An accessible half-solution is much better than an inaccessible full solution

What unspeakable sin did you commit to be sentenced to such a fate?

Oh, the stories I could tell, would age you…

So when a DC charger is put in your route it suddenly becomes a road car…

It would if CCS didn’t take several hours to charge the Bolt. 🙁

Several hours??
Not exactly as it can get 90 miles of range in 30 minutes which would put it around 1.5 to 2 hours max time asuming charging rate slows down after 80% like most seem to…
Not exactly Tesla speed but liveable if you dont highway drive long distance daily…

Exactly, Yogurt. The Bolt gets around 210-215 miles of AER at 65 mph, so if you are driving 180 miles to the next fast charger, 65 mph vs. 80 mph takes a whopping 30 EXTRA MINUTES! THE HORROR! LOL! 2 3/4 hour vs. 2 1/4 hour.
And once you get to the CCS charger, it would take you 45 minutes to get an additional 135 miles of range/2 more hours at 65 mph.
Is the Bolt the perfect road trip machine? No.
Is it good enough for a road trip every couple months? Absolutely.
And who knows. Maybe these relatively rare fast chargers might become more common now that there are non-Tesla cars that can take advantage of them.
Here is hoping that Nissan brings a 55+ kWh BEV to the party soon! And that the III arrives soon as well!

Yeah, because your model 3 does so much better lol. Seriously, thanks Mark and thanks Car and driver. This was a piece of info that was really missing. All of the sudden, I can imagine myself buying one of these

Christ … so do NOT buy it. You don’t have to tell us though.

C&D Article Quote 1: “According to the article, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is the best all-electric car choice for all those that can’t afford Tesla Model S or X”

C&D Article Quote 2: “The interior is appreciated, but don’t expect quality level of $40,000 car, as most of your purschasing dollars go into the electric powertrain and 60 kWh battery.”

I call complete and utter BS here. With the reliability concerns of the Model S and Model X, the Bolt EV will easily be higher quality/reliability and more of the standard tech (and then some) for a fraction of the price

The Model S is now Recommended by Consumer Reports.
The Model X will be next year.

Will be? That sounds like an opinion don’t you think? Which is fine, but my opinion that the Bolt will have better reliability is equally valid. 🙂 is a Honda Fit..

The ‘don’t expect quality’ quote was from IEV, not C/D. As was the ‘.32 CD of the BoltEV makes life a bit more challenging’ statement. These have become memes in discussions about the Bolt.

Here is the exact quote via Car & Drive on the bolt’s interior compared to other car’s at a similar price:

“The cabin neither looks nor feels like that of a $40,000 car. It’s clear in the Bolt that most of your money is paying for that big brick of batteries developed to live up to an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty rather than luxury trappings.”

I think our summary statement of:

“The interior is appreciated, but don’t expect quality level of $40,000 car, as most of your purschasing dollars go into the electric powertrain and 60 kWh battery”

Was more than a fair synopsis, if anything it was kinder.

And the Cd of .32 is via GM, the reality of which is just as a matter of physics means the city/highway splits is going to make range comps between the two more significant. It was not represented as from C&D, we gave that just as added depth alongside the EPA city/range ratings we provided to again get into the science of the number; as to explain why the splits were so extreme because we felt people might be curious if left unsaid.

Not sure what you want from us on this one.

Agreed Jay….

My 2011 Roadster was $109,000 plus delivery plus 8.75% sales tax. And the interior was rather like a $26,000 Mazda Miata (actually my second choice – as I wanted to drive a nice convertible roadster sometime in my lifetime, as I unlike other kids, wanted a 40-50 hp VW Karman-Ghia evergreen convertible when I was in my early teens.

I bought an evergreen roadster instead.

The price difference was acceptible seeing as batteries at the time (to me, even at the time, anything under 200 miles was unacceptible) were at least $50-60k of the price.

This is what makes the BOLT such an exceptional value *IF* it is reliable. We already know mostly from your articles that the car with do, in fair weather, 300 miles per charge without trying very hard at all.

Yes, I think the tradeoff – interior/finishes vs electric powertrain, is a well-known/implied concession for just about all EVs, and is often even clearly stated even by the OEM.

The basic premise is:

‘hey, this car is priced at $XX,XXX because its electric and what that offers the driver in propulsion – not because it offers luxury or handling equal to a petrol vehicle’

Handling not on par with an ICE vehicle? From your article…

“It delivers a comfortable ride over broken pavement, anchored by the low-mounted battery and cushioned by well-tuned damping. The Bolt evidences a similar level of chassis-tuning competence to what GM has achieved of late with vehicles as varied as the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevrolet Malibu. Without being punishing or overtly sporty, the Bolt steers tidily, turns readily, and rides amicably.”

Again, it just feels like no-win. I said: —— “Yes, I think the tradeoff – interior/finishes vs electric powertrain, is a well-known/implied concession for just about all EVs, and is often even clearly stated even by the OEM.” The basic premise is: ‘hey, this car is priced at $XX,XXX because its electric and what that offers the driver in propulsion – not because it offers luxury or handling equal to a petrol vehicle’ —- I think its clear what I meant. The top quote was a direct reflection of the spirit of what we were talking about, adding in that the “basic premise” overall is that, ex-electrification tech, the raw components that make up an EV are on the whole inferior to a petrol car at this point…which is why EVs need/have needed the federal incentive, extra promotion and other incentives to be elevated to a level where the general population might buy them. Again, no one is trying to ruffle any feathers here, either in the story or the comments. We really aren’t. Not Mark, or myself. Honest…I just don’t see it at all, but maybe that is myself? Anywhoo, I think this might be an endless loop…so I’m… Read more »

Jay, I just read through the comments on AutoBlogreen regarding the ‘profitable’ quarter Tesla just had, and I have to say, anything you and the rest of the Insideevs staff are doing IS WIN-WIN compared to other electric car websites.

The comments there aren’t pointed and somewhat antagonistic, as they are here. They are ridiculous, sophomoric, rude and infantile.

Even the people that disagree with the tone of a comment here do so, generally 😉 in a reasonably polite and collegial manner.

I just have to say good job on the editing and the comment review. And on attracting a knowledgeable, eclectic crowd of electric car proponents.

I remember your comments back in the day when Dr. Lyle was running GM Volt dot com and when I say that you are doing as good a job here and now as Lyle did then and there, I mean that as being about as high a compliment as I can give.

Appreciate the kind words Ziv, it is nice/very encouraging to here.

The staff and myself try to do our best actively keep the spam, off-topic and just plan offensive comments away from the discussions..but NOT for having a particular opinion, regardless of what that might be, or our own opinions. I think those who are given to post in only a certain way…will either move on to another site, or take a more tempered tone to get their point across, (=

The discussions/arguments that always bother me are when someone asks “what’s the payback on that plugin?” As if plugin cars have to pay for themselves somehow, but gas cars do not. Never mind the superior drive and ownership experience, suggesting those features have no value.

FWIW, Unless you spend 100k, Audi leather seems no better than Volt leather, to me. If Volt and Bolt leather are the same, that may check the box for many. Mercedes Benz and VW don’t even use leather, for some of their non-cloth optioned seats. Therefore personally, I don’t go by “EV interiors suffer”. Have yet to see the Bolt.

Hey PJ, Not to debate the point too much, but just as a real world example, my wife has a fully loaded Cruze she picked up late in the model year for ~20k (I know, I know, I’m Editor-in-Chief at a EV site and my wife owns a non-plugin…which it is a terrible thing, but only until the Pacifica PHEV is out I promise, lol. She is another human being, what can I do?). My point being, the Cruze has so many shared interior parts/finishes with the Volt, plus nice things like a sunroof and power seats to boot. Fundamentally, ex-electrification, the “rest” of the car is equal to/superior to the Volt in many ways…for ~$15,000 less. Even if one feels the Volt is superior inside to the Cruze, the margin would be slight, so there is absolutely no way to justify the car’s pricing compared to its peer ex-electrification. Just as a disclaimer: I am not saying the Volt is inferior to a Cruze, you aren’t going to catch me driving around the Cruze anytime soon…Volt? No problem at all – happy to do it. I don’t want to open a can of worms here, but what I am… Read more »

That’s why I’m so jazzed about SparkEV. It is far superior to SparkGas and other comparable gas cars in every way, except for price. But even price is within a thousand when subsidy is applied. With bit of searching for deals, SparkEV comes out less than SparkGas.

As you and the article(s) correctly point out, Bolt is compromise vehicle, much like Leaf and others. It doesn’t surprise me that some call you trolling for bringing out the deficiencies.

EV will be superior to comparable gas cars in the future, even for affordable EV. That’s the message SparkEV the messiah brings us. Shall we pray? 😉

I went back through the C&D article and it doesn’t mention the C/D anywhere; that was a pure IE comment. And frankly, it smacks of concern trolling.

“Yes, it’s a 200+ BEV”
“Yes, it can be purchased for $30K”
“Yes, it has 0-60mph times comparable to BMWs”
“But, man, that C/D? Yeah, that’s going to be a challenge.”

As if the C/D is going to matter to anyone other than car nerds. The “common” people will only care about it’s affect on the highway range and the article answered that question (190 miles at 75 mph). So I don’t understand the author’s rationale for bringing it up at all.

As mentioned it never was represented as such…either in Mark’s story or in my comment:

“And the Cd of .32 is via GM, the reality of which is just as a matter of physics means the city/highway splits is going to make range comps between the two more significant. It was not represented as from C&D, we gave that just as added depth alongside the EPA city/range ratings we provided to again get into the science of the number; as to explain why the splits were so extreme because we felt people might be curious if left unsaid.”

As a point of interest, here are the EPA tested numbers (full details here) for the Bolt EV in the city and highway (where the .32 Cd of the Bolt EV makes life a bit more challenging)”

The article is completely straight forward, there is no “trolling”. That said, Mark, myself, the whole staff quite like the Bolt EV, we all think it is a great step forward…so not sure what/how we are trolling. I think you are seeing something that isn’t there in Mark’s piece.

The story overall was fine. However ‘quality’ and ‘luxury’ are not the same thing. A simple car that has quality is good, but a luxurious car with quality issues is not.

As for cd, it seems to be an accepted assumption that a car with a higher cd number would have worse range capability than one with a lower cd. On paper, it would seem to be true, but not necessarily in practice. Cd is but one aspect that figures in, and to say the Bolt’s .30+ number will make ‘life a bit more challenging’ simply carries on the meme showing up in these discussions, besides being a rather uncharitable thing to say about a car that has shattered people’s notions about electric cars being either affordable yet with low range, or unaffordable but with 200+ mile capability.

I know for some reason we seem to have some sort of “dance” we do from time-to-time…although this being Mark’s piece there should be some degree of separation. And I do get the ‘jist’ of what your kinda going for here…but I just want to take the time to talk this out, to express our objectivity/reasoning here. Let me ask, if the articles were flipped and C&D used our terminology (and vice-versa), would you have been “ok” with our version? If it was us that said: “The cabin neither looks nor feels like that of a $40,000 car. It’s clear in the Bolt that most of your money is paying for that big brick of batteries developed to live up to an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty rather than luxury trappings.” And C&D said: “The interior is appreciated, but don’t expect quality level of $40,000 car, as most of your purchasing dollars go into the electric powertrain and 60 kWh battery” I think flipping the two around shows that, if anything, we underplayed the tone of the interior’s review. It just feels like was have a catch-22 happening at this point. — As for the Cd, I did try to touch on… Read more »

Hey Jay, always great when you find the time to chime in on these threads amidst all the work going on to pump out stories. Thanks for chiming in, and always with an evenly-keeled tone.

Model S is a large luxury sedan and Bolt is a mini-compact CUV, they are different class.

Do you know anyone who try to compare Honda HRV with BMW 5 series ?

The point is that the Bolt is a $40k car with a $20k interior because most of the difference goes to the expensive batteries.

Having sat in one I can attest to GM’s remarkable skill in making small cars feel cheap with low cost interior materials. But it’s as good as it gets for range/$.

Economies of scale will help eventually, but the simple truth is that battery costs make the up front price of electric quite high compared to ICE, even with the simpler drive train. So for the time being every manufacturer skimps on the other parts, like interiors.

Yup, from the previous Monterey test drive, Car And Driver stated:
“Making Sacrifices

While the Bolt’s technology palette is attractive, we were a bit disappointed with its interior quality, which is more befitting a $20,000 car than a $30,000 one. Chief engineer Josh Tavel admitted that priorities for the Bolt dictated more of a focus on innovative tech than it did on soft-touch dashboard materials and the like.”

Also, I still can’t believe Cheby doesn’t over navigation. Many people don’t have generous data plans on their smart phones, but more importantly, don’t want to deal with the battery draw on their phone while using Nav.

Because GM’s only other 2017 PHEV/EV, the Volt, is recommended? (hint, it’s not)…Majority of the problems to the X are the falcon doors including them appearing to be closed but still not sealing…Also infotainment bugs (Volt has those too) and HVAC…However the Volt has a big issue, can die while driving with many claiming a locked up steering wheel and brakes…Many theorize it’s a misaligned battery terminals until GM does the right thing and issues recall every Volt is in danger…

ClarksonCote said:

“With the reliability concerns of the Model S and Model X, the Bolt EV will easily be higher quality/reliability…”

You’re confusing build quality with quality control.

I think most reasonable people would agree the build quality — including finish, interior appointments, and luxury touches — of the Models S & X are noticeably better than the Bolt’s. (See, for example, the description of the Bolt’s seats.) No surprise, as the Bolt is a considerably cheaper car.

For quality control, we have good reason to think the Bolt will be better. If it’s as good as the Chevy Volt, then it will be exceptional. Personally I’m skeptical that it will be that good, because the entire EV powertrain is being built by the brand new automotive division of LG Electronics. However, with GM oversight, it seems reasonable to expect better quality control than Tesla has achieved so far.

In that “efficiency comparison” infographic at the end of the article it says underneath the picture of the Bolt “Automatic (variable gear ratios)”.

I don’t think so. Pretty sure the Bolt has fixed gear, single-speed transmission, just like the Teslas.

It’s a variable gear ratio at ordering, as long as you order black. Hmm one moment, must have been a other car… 😀

Does anyone know yet if the Bolt has to be plugged in to activate climate control from the smartphone, or can CC be turned on from the app on an unplugged Bolt? I would much prefer the latter, as is the case with the Leaf, rather than the former, as is the case in my current Kia Soul EV. It’s wonderful to be able to turn on CC in a cold parking garage in an unconnected car before you reach it.


You would think the car would have ‘remote start’ standard as with all previous GM electrics. The battery in this particular car is large enough that under 95% of scenarios the decrease in range will be acceptable and you’ll still have enough driving miles available to get to your next charging point even with the electric heater usage.

yep, 3 hours @ 70mph, 1/2 hour @ comfy restaurant that offers FC. 3 hours @ 70mph. Stop @ hotel with destination 240V.

Of course, it helps that 6 Hours on the Joy that is Interstate is about the limit for these old bones. My deadhead, see if I can improve on the time of my last run and don’t spill the 64oz coffee days are Long-since past, heheh.

Giant step from an an historically unlikely contender – gj, Mary & team!

Bolt is still 50 kW rated, so to get full range, you’ll need about 1.25 hours of DCFC, not 30 minutes. Add time to get off / on highway of 5 minutes each (10 min), and it’s close to 1.5 hours.

Assuming you meant 65 MPH for 3 hours (~200 miles), 6 hours driving would be 400 miles a day. Plus 1.5 hours = 7.5 hours of driving.

Same on SparkEV would need 5 DCFC sessions at 30 minutes each (20 minutes charge, 10 min to get off/on road) for 2.5 hours of DCFC. Total trip would take 8.5 hours, just 1 hour more than Bolt. If there’s enough DCFC (and no free chargers!), travel times aren’t that different.

A Spark EV charges fully in 20 minutes?

Not to mention now we are including time to get off and on the freeway in the charge times?? LOL

20 minutes is for 80%. You don’t drive down the battery to 0%.

You have to include time to find charger to compute trip time. Otherwise, Bolt and SparkEV would have identical times, because Bolt and SparkEV would be charging at same power. In reality, it’s additional time to get off/on road that makes Bolt to have shorter travel time.

Your calculations are based on chargers are available everywhere on highways.

That what I said. To quote above since you missed it,

“If there’s enough DCFC (and no free chargers!), travel times aren’t that different.”

This car would be perfect for all my needs. I know its not coming to the UK but at least I know a version of it will eventually be sold here. I’m so excited that a proper useable range EV that’s affordable now exists and eventually I will be able to own one… Until then I will keep burning the petrol as much as it pains me to do so.

“0-60 mph result of about 6.5 seconds”

I guessed 6.61 sec when SparkEV torque curve stretched to Bolt parameters are used. I wonder if it’ll turn out that way. Scroll down to “Bolt guess” in this blog post “bolt 75lb driver time” table.

That also means bye-bye BMW i3. I don’t see why anyone would get i3 for more money over Bolt. i3 fire sale might be coming soon.

The Bolt FWD and mediocre handling is one reason. And the econo-quality of the Bolt is exactly what stood out when I sat in one a few weeks ago. People are getting 200 miles combined with the i3 rex, and to get another 80 miles takes minutes compared to charging a Bolt if you can find a charging station along your route. And again the 120 miles people are actually getting AER in their rex i3’s is more than enough for 90% of most people’s driving needs. With the gas being the simpler and more reliable solution for the 200+ mile trips.

I see you are making my point about why people would buy the i3! So funny.

I know that some people will complain about:

1). The econobox look of the Bolt Interior.
2). The “UGLY DUCKLING” look to some of the exterior.
3). The seemingly high price tag for a “CHEVY”.
4). The unknown reliability of a Revolutionary Vehicle, unlike any GM has ever made.

Some people, though, will see the car as a HUGE VALUE considering the 60 kwh battery, the standard 7200 watt charger, and the fact that reviewers have said the vehicle is “Quiet, Comfortable, and easy to drive”.
Many also like the exterior styling just as it is.

I don’t want a Status-Symbol, I want a long-range, reliable, practical electric car.

You could have lodged many of the same complaints at my Roadster.

You legitimately had to be in good physical shape to get in and out of the car. Some people, even those much younger than me, refused to get in the car after riding in it once since they say the car is too uncomfortable.

I disagree – the roadster was very comfortable once you were situated. Getting in or out of the car, with the top on, for a tall, or very heavy set person, was almost an impossibility.

Given that i3Rex is even more expensive and slower than i3Bev (and Bolt), I don’t think it’ll do well. Even with gas, range is shorter than Bolt. BMW badge is worth only so much. Or Chevy badge is only so much distasteful.

If people wanted practical via gas use, they’d probably opt for Volt. I think i3Rex drivers wanted longer range for occasional use, which would be better with Bolt than even i3Rex.

I guess we’ll see. If BMW doesn’t come with an answer soon, I think their sales will tank.

The i3 REX does offer realistic long-range driving, with a quick stop every hour/75 miles to add gasoline.

The Bolt does not offer realistic long-range driving, at least until the DC quick charge network gets built out vastly more than it is now. And even if there are DC chargers where you need them, you’re still looking at driving about an hour or hour and a half at lower speeds before stopping for a 30 minute recharge. 30 minute stops every hour or so would get to be pretty irritating, while a 5 minute stop for gas and a pee is much less intrusive.

As I said, if people wanted long distance using PH and using gas, they opt for Volt instead of i3Rex. i3Rex is for people who take very rare long distance travel and even that’s not thousands of miles. You can only put up with fill up every 80 miles only so much.

But for typical i3Rex who might fill up with gas just once or twice in a rare long trip, Bolt might be a better solution.

Well, both the Bolt and the i3 are niche cars that won’t sell large numbers because of limitations. And yes, I expect there to be cross-shopping between the two.

But I do see the i3 REX filling a niche for people who want a ‘statement’ electric car that lets them drive 95% of their miles on electricity, while also offering effectively unlimited range with the gas tank.

Sure it’s not ideal for long distance traveling to stop every hour and add a couple gallons of gas, but it’s no big problem. It’s recommended to stop and stretch your legs that often anyway for health. 10 minutes every hour to pull off highway and grab gas will slow down your trip, but way, way less than trying to charge at 50KW, and that’s if you can find convenient chargers that are both working and unoccupied.

Yes the Volt is arguably a better compromise for those who plan on doing substantial long distance driving, but with it’s fairly conventional styling and Chevy badge, it’s not the statement car that the BMW is and that some people want.

I think most people who buy BMW are primarily motivated by the badge. Yeah the Bolt EV might be cheaper, faster, have more range, and so forth, but it wears a Chevy badge not a BMW one.

I haven’t compared them, but I would venture the i3 has the tigher turning radius. This is a big plus I notice every day that I turn into a parking spot, parallel park, or make a u-turn. And flooring it out of a corner with nary a tire chirp, makes it an extremely fun point and shoot car through the corners. The i3 comes with 7.4kW level 2, and standard DCQC.The i3 is probaby the highest range BEV you can buy TODAY besides a Tesla.I am sure in the future, the i3 will be quicker and capable of even greater range.
My i3 has nice leather stiching on the dash, active cruise control, parallel parks by itself, and a very good navigation system. I don’t even think you can get all that in a Bolt.

The i3 will get another battery upgrade and possibly a refresh to reduce cost and hopefuly paint it like a normal car but I dont think it is going anywhere…
It is also safe to assume there is a huge difference in interor quality between the two and the CFRP is worth a lot if you happen to live somewhere where they salt the roads…

You can see what happened when i3 got battery upgrade; it became less efficient than Bolt. Simply throwing in bigger battery won’t be the answer; it’ll not only sacrifice efficiency, but handling as well.

Given that most people drive gas cars without carbon fiber in salty area, extra cost for it is dubious now. People generally trade in their cars after few years long before corrosion becomes problem.

It’s pretty common for EV advocates (including myself) to emphasize the energy efficiency, but frankly I doubt many people are making a buying choice based on a difference of .1 or .2 or even .3 kWh/mile. Other factors, including interior space, utility, comfort, luxury touches (or lack thereof), and style subjectively considered, are a lot more important.

However efficient or inefficient any particular BEV (or PHEV in EV mode) is when compared to others, it’s going to be a heck of a lot more efficient than a gasmobile!

That is true. If buying public used objective metric, SparkEV would be far bigger sales than it had been.

But the public isn’t _that_ uninformed. Compared to Bolt, i3 offers way too little to offset BMW badge cost.

Some bought i3 because it is an BMW. I wouldn’t even like to be seen in it because of the ugly styling.

I can’t argue with this since people drive “cute” cars over more functional ones. However, many think i3 is ugly, maybe even more so than Bolt that looks more conventional. I don’t think there’s i3 advantage in looks department.

Personally, I still have a soft spot for i3, but objectively, it lags Bolt way too much.

stating that the set point temperature is 72 degrees is meaningless unless you know what the outside temperature is.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

One less point Chevy haters (or Tesla lovers) can make on the Bolt.

Bolt is really delivering on a quality mass produced moderately affordable product that’s quite remarkable despite all the naysayers.

If VW does its infrastructure $2B right, it will remove the last ‘argument’ that Tesla diehards claim superiority over all other vehicles. — which I don’t believe is a major player in the vast majority of cars current driven.

Bolt is looking a lot more feasible as long as the trunk accommodates our dog, which the Spark sadly does not.

No reason to argue when another high volume EV hits the road…
Hopefuly VWs infasture roll out follows something similar to Nissans letter to the judge…

ALL Tesla lovers?

Except its butt ugly. And thats disrespectful.

“Bolt is looking a lot more feasible as long as the trunk accommodates our dog, which the Spark sadly does not.”

Not much more room behind the rear seat than Spark.

Bolt is 5″ shorter than Honda mini-compact HRV, Honda CRV is a giant CUV next to Bolt.

SparkEV-Fiat500… said:

“If VW does its infrastructure $2B right, it will remove the last ‘argument’ that Tesla diehards claim superiority over all other vehicles.”

Not only is this wildly wrong, it appears you don’t understand the meaning of the term “diehard”.

The Bolt uses a permanent magnet (synchronous) motor, right? So a little better range compared to Tesla is not surprising. However, rare earth magnets are not sustainable. Synchronous machines have a really nasty “Failure Mode Effects Analysis” result, so I applaud Tesla for sticking with the sustainable and safer induction machines. Anyone who really intends on winning in the EV space (at least long term) would do the same.

Of course building millions of rare earth magnets is not sustainable, nor is building millions of lithium ion batteries, or solar panels, or cars of any description, or billions of smart phones. Talking about modern conveniences as “sustainable” is meaningless marketing spin.

The BoltEV is a nice little car. When the used prices come way down, I’d like to get one.

I think it would be a fun little roller skate to drive around town.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

Try the Spark; you won’t be disappointed. Fiat if you don’t mind a 2 door is even more fun, IMHO

75mph is too fast. Nobody who is going on that range-testing trip in their Bolt, is going to insist on that speed. Car & Driver knows resistance goes up at the square of velocity, and was probably just upset at GM’s Bolt “cruise”, when announced. At 70mph, I’d guess Bolt is back at 200 miles, but would that sound good relative to the point they were trying to make? Silly.

“75mph is too fast”

Which highways are you driving that 75 MPH is too fast ?

I set cruise control at 75 MPH on So Cal I5 to San Diego on Saturday afternoon, for every car I passed more than 10 cars passed me at more than 3-5 MPH. Traffic flow is more or less 80 MPH, 70 MPH is causing problem for other drivers around.

Highway speed limits ne me are 70, 75, 80 and (in one case) 85 mph.

I’m impressed by 190 miles at 75 mph. It’s still not a long distance car, especially if DCFC is limited to 50 kW, but the ability to handle 300 mile trips in a pinch is important.

Here is hoping that the Bolt gets an upgrade in charge rate (75 kW charge rate is very doable) when next years model comes out in 10 months. And that the year after that the 75 kWh pack version is released.
GM upped their game with the Volt incrementally, maybe they will do the same with the Bolt.

Tesla Model S 60 has 380 HP motor and weight about 1,000 lbs more than Bolt with 200 HP motor.

Much more powerful motor and weight 1/2 ton more will consume much more energy to move the car at same speed.

The third penalty of Model S is it has wider tire.

Yogurt wrote:
> So when a DC charger is put in your route it suddenly becomes a road car…
Steven Replied:
> It would if CCS didn’t take several hours to charge the Bolt. ?
190 miles range at 75mph isn’t quite enough to make it a road car, but with a one hour stop at the fast charger; the range increases to 320 miles at 75mph. Planning a trip requiring two DCFC stops is really pushing it, but then the range increases to 450 miles at 75mph; 6 hours driving and 2+ hours waiting around. We regularly do 375mile road trips on our Volt, and occasionally do 500+ mile road trips.

The Bolt will be fine if your trip is less than 310 miles. More than that and you have to plan two stops which is a bit more of a pain. But 2.5 hours at 70 mph, then charge for 45 minutes as you grab a bite and then drive for 2 more hours and reach your destination works fairly well.
(90 more miles in 30 minutes, 135 in 45, 160 in 60)

Something I have not seen a thorough discussion about is how the HVAC system and sub freezing weather affect avsilable range. When the system is in cooling and/or dehumidifying mode using refrigeration, the power consumption should about 1/4 as many watts used as heat rejected plus the watts consumed by the interior and condenser fans. Heating is a different story. I drive an older LEAF that has resistance heating using immersion heaters to heat liquid for a heat exchanger. THe LEAF’s HVAC graph is calibrated for up to 6 KW, but I have not seen heating consume more than 3 KW yet. I don’t drive enough distance to know if an equilibrium is reached where consumption would drop below 3 KW at 20 degrees F outside temp. Part of LEAF’s problem is that the HVAC system makes it compulsory to draw outside air in defrost mode; at least heat mode allows override, but the default is to pull outside air evey time. Does the Bolt have the ability to reverse the refrigeration circuit to work as a heat pump? That would be significantly more efficient than resistance heat at outside temps above 40 degrees F. Even if heating were to… Read more »

A detailed technical analysis of how cold weather affects the Model S’s range can be found as part of the long article linked below. (The article appears to have some anti-Tesla bias, but if you ignore the tone and just pay attention to the actual facts and figures, it’s informative.)

I don’t know that I’ve seen such a detailed analysis of any other BEV, but presumably the percentage impact on the Bolt would be roughly similar.

Not every factor significantly impacting range is due to how the car is engineered. For example, if you can leave the car plugged in overnight in very cold weather, so the car can run the battery heater using power from the wall, that makes a significant difference.

The Volt gets terrible efficiency at speeds above 55, at least for the two I’ve owned. So I poke along at 55 in 65 zones unless I have a lot of spare juice, which is embarrassing, but I don’t care much.

My Volt is pretty efficient to 63 mph, slightly worse at 65 and it falls off the table at 70 mph. I generally drive between 63 and 67 and the difference in range is noticeably worse at 67 but it is frequently worth it to stay with the flow of traffic.

Glad to see this real test of the driving range of the Bolt at highway speed. As has been said by many, GM has really raised the bar with this compelling new PEV (Plug-in EV).

And GM should be ashamed for their recent staged “scenic drive” stunt, which exaggerated the Bolt’s highway range.

You should be ashamed of your inability to differentiaite between ‘highway range’, and ‘real world range’.

Wow, seriously? I should be ashamed that you happen to have an opinion different than mine?

Let’s say we happen to disagree on who should be ashamed of what he’s posted here.

lol sorry PP. I was home sick and pretty miserable when I typed that.

Pushmi, it wasn’t staged. It was a real-world example of driving, somewhere in between all out highway and all out city driving. It’s silly to claim that was ‘staged’

It was only a “real world example” if you plan on taking an extended scenic drive.

When it comes to a PEV (Plug-in EV) with a range of ~200 miles or more, then generally speaking, the only time you really need to worry about the range is when on long trips. And if you’re on a long trip, then most likely you’re going to pick the fastest route to get there.

You could claim an even longer range if you drive all the way at 30 MPH. Would you also call that a “real-world” range? To me, that’s a stunt, not real-world driving. Likewise, GM’s scenic highway drive publicity campaign was more of a stunt than real-world driving.

Why is the range shown in the driving test reported in this article significantly lower than the range shown in those publicity stunts by GM? Because Car & Driver’s 75 MPH test is an example of real-world driving, and GM’s “scenic drive” publicity stunts were not.

“It was only a “real world example” if you plan on taking an extended scenic drive”

No, the view has nothing to do with whether or not it is a good example of real world driving. A large majority of Americans exhibit mixed mode driving daily. My commute involves some highway speed, and some slow speeds, as do many, many others.

I think you are trying to see something that isn’t there, with respect to GM’s test drive. It’s silly to claim they were gaming. If they wanted to game it, they wouldn’t have chosen a route that goes up and down so many hills. Flat is always better.

EPA rated range is 238 miles. That’s a fact. There’s no conspiracy theory here.

What I really want to see is a picture of the vehicle specs/price sticker and the dealer added sticker showing the ADM, so we can see if the dealers are really serving their customers best interests like GM, and NADA claim.