MotorWeek’s Quick Spin In Chevrolet Bolt – Video

10 months ago by Steven Loveday 53

MotorWeek test driver, Greg Carloss, says that the Chevrolet Bolt lives up to its “practical yet fun” claims. He says that “mashing on the throttle” provides instant torque (enough so to throw you back in the seat).

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

The low center of gravity makes for adequate handling. However, he makes note of the skinny tires being noisy if you push it too hard.

Video Description per MotorWeek on YouTube:

“Not surprisingly, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt was named “Green Car of the Year” at the recent LA Auto Show. Since Chevy first showed the production Bolt EV at last January’s Consumer Electronics Show, it’s created a lot of buzz, mostly for its EPA-certified 238-mile range, and with federal and state incentives, under 30-grand starting price…”

Other Notable Information (according to MotorWeek):

  • 9.5 hours for a full charge at 240 Volts
  • 2 hours will get you 50 miles on L2
  • 30 minutes at a DC fast charging station gets you 90 miles
  • Standard 10.2-inch color touchscreen
  • Standard 8-inch color digital dash display
  • Rearview camera monitor built into the rearview mirror
  • Easy to load, five-door hatchback crossover configuration

Quick spin is right. MotorWeek didn’t have anything else to offer at this point, but the Bolt videos and reviews keep pouring in.

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53 responses to "MotorWeek’s Quick Spin In Chevrolet Bolt – Video"

  1. Scott Franco says:

    Gunning the Bolt on dry pavement can easily spin the tires. I can’t do that with the Spark. I’m already getting a feel for just how much I can push it and maintain traction.

    1. Trollnonymous says:

      So then there’s no traction control on the Bolt?

      1. bro1999 says:

        There is, but the Bolt’s chief engineer had it programmed so it would slip the tires a little.

        Same with the Gen 2 Volt.

    2. SparkEV says:

      If you had 2014 SparkEV, Bolt may feel faster. 0-30 for Bolt is only 3% quicker, and you’re not likely to notice. Only when you go over about 35 MPH will you notice Bolt’s power. Bolt’s power doesn’t seem to let up while you can tell SparkEV tapering after about 40 MPH.

      As for “feeling”, SparkEV feels quicker due to twitchiness. Yes, it’s artificial, but having to fight the steering wheel on full throttle gives a sense of quicker acceleration unlike the dead smooth Bolt.

      1. WARREN says:

        Yes, I read somewhere they had to limit the torque due to the traction limitations. Thus the drawback of FWD. In my testing of my i3 BEV, the acceleration:
        .70 sec 0-10 mph
        1.7 sec 0-20 mph
        2.7 sec 0-30 mph
        3.7 sec 0-40 mph
        4.8 sec 0-50 mph
        6.5 sec 0-60 mph

        Is almost identical to the Bolt to 50mph, with superior HP of the Bolt pulling away after 50mph. But the i3 does it with no hint of wheel spin or torque steer in wet or dry.

        Also, the bigger battery definitely allows quicker charging, which makes a huge difference on longer trips.
        With my 33kWh i3, the charger showed 22.5kWh from the ABB DCQC dispensed in just 30 minutes. That’s an average of about a 45kWh rate from the charger. Not bad at all. One person on the forum with a 40kWh RAV4 (equipped with a Jesla adaptor) said he picks up around 19kWh in 30 minutes, so I am pretty impressed with the smaller 33kWh battery i3 picking up well over 20kWh in the same 30 minute period. So with a 30 minute DCQC I too can pick up a similar 80-90 miles as the Bolt in the 2017 i3. But alas, to charge a 60kWh battery, you will be waiting well over an hour at the DCQC charging station. As the stations become more congested, the is definitely a need for 3 or more DCQC charging stations per site.

  2. AlphaEdge says:

    The quick charge rate is the biggest negative about this car. I think the Model 3 will destroy it in that regard.

    1. Trollnonymous says:

      I don’t think it will ~destroy~ it in charge rate.
      I think it will be faster to 80% but not by that much.

      With the larger form factor cells it better be faster than the S60 (not the 75Ah soft limited) SC rate.

      1. cmina says:

        I don’t know if it will “destroy” it but you have to admit that the bar isn’t set that high to begin with.

        http://boltev.blogspot.se/

      2. AlphaEdge says:

        Elon has been hinting at a much higher Supercharger rate (His Twitter: A mere 350 kW … what are you referring to, a children’s toy? 9:18 AM – 24 Dec 2016), and also there has been some talk, that the new “2170 cell” will be able to accept a really high charge rate, which will be used in the Model 3.

        No point in coming out with a much higher Supercharger rate, if the cell cannot support it.

        1. Spider-Dan says:

          Might there be a trim level of MIII that is capable of charging at >350kW? I suppose. However, that configuration will not be anywhere remotely near the same price as a Bolt.

          There’s no way a 55-60kWh MIII is going to charge at even 350kW.

          1. No way. Even if it was possible (and it’s not) to charge at 350kW, all the Superchargers are currently not that fast, regardless of what might happen in the future.

            1. Anon says:

              I kinda suspect the crazy high SC rate hinted at, is more likely for the much larger capacity Tesla Semi?

              1. Of course it’s for a truck.

                The scuttlebutt is 750kW, but I think it may be 1MW.

                500 amps * 1500 to 2000 volts

      3. The Tesla Superchargers are limited to 120kW DC worldwide (contrary to what gets spread around the internet), so I think it’s safe to assume that the Tesla Model 3 will charge at least that fast for a time.

        My Tesla S-70D can only hold the full 365 amps (116kW) to about 17%, where the charge rate reduces. I find it highly unlikely that the Model 3 with a base 50-55kWh battery will beat that.

        I will speculate that you can charge the Model 3 from 20% to 80% at about 70kW average, which is less than double the charge rate of the Bolt EV. The Model 3 is grossly more aerodynamic than Bolt EV, so that’s adding about 150 miles in 30 minutes at 4.3 miles per kWh (232Wh).

        The Bolt EV is currently limited to 45.6kW MAXIMUM at 125 amps, with a “typical” charge rate of about 43kW between 20% and 80% (see my notes below).

        It may be possible that the Bolt EV can charge up to 200 amps (about 70kW MAXIMUM), but no public DC fast charger in the US has that power yet.

        You’ll note that there is a HUGE difference between the 365 amps that Tesla uses and the 125 amps into the Bolt EV!!!

        1. AlphaEdge says:

          So we can disregard Elon’s tweet?

          A mere 350 kW … what are you referring to, a children’s toy? 9:18 AM – 24 Dec 2016

          1. You know they are actively building a semi-truck?

        2. Spider-Dan says:

          On what basis are you comparing the aerodynamics of the Bolt and the MIII? You certainly can’t use looks; the Prius line doesn’t look aerodynamic at all.

        3. Robert Middleswarth says:

          Actually I remember reading that all the Bolt EV dealerships had to install 80KW chargers they are basically the 100kw at 400v instead of 500v in the standard. If they are rolling out 1,200 80kw chargers for the 1200 dealers getting the volt I bet the DCFC that will support the 80kw standard it a lot cheaper and we start to see new deployments using them.

    2. agzand says:

      If Tesla manages to build and sell Model 3 profitably at $35k, it will destroy a lot of cars. But that is a very questionable assumption. I think Model 3 will be closer to $45k to $48k, about $10k more than Bolt. Alternatively they can start selling fully optioned cars at $55k-$60k range and drag roll out for a year or two and see if costs starts to drop. But I don’t think Tesla can sell significant volume of Model 3s below $50k until the end of 2018.

  3. Warren says:

    GMs website now shows 12 out of 24 dealers in Virginia as “Bolt EV Sales & Service” ready.

    1. Werner says:

      Interesting, how/where do I search the GM site for dealers that are Bolt ready?

        1. Werner says:

          Awesome, thank you!
          24 dealers in the Seattle area are Bolt ready, yay!

          1. bro1999 says:

            25 dealers within 40 miles of me in MD. 🙂

        2. WadeTyhon says:

          Very useful! I did not even realize you could specify Bolt certified.

          Looks like 15 out of 25 in D/FW area are already Bolt certified. 25 out of 25 are Volt certified. So I expect the remaining dealers will catch up as the Texas debut arrives.

      1. Trollnonymous says:

        Take pics of the sticker prices and post them here.
        Especially the stickers that show no stealership markup.

    2. Yogurt says:

      Both dealers in Tucson are Bolt ready and 15 out of 16 dealers in Phoenix are also Bolt ready…
      One dealer not planing on offering it just goes to show that this is clearly a vaporware compliance car offering that will not be available in non CARB states like AZ…

      1. James says:

        Did our dealers say if they are installing fast chargers? If all Chevy dealers would install them then we might be able to drive to LA from here.

      2. Arizona is a CARB state.

    3. Kdawg says:

      Does “Bolt EV Sales & Service” mean they are going to put in a DCFC? I know that originally was a requirement by GM.. just wondering what the nitty-gritties were.

      1. Trollnonymous says:

        Probably at best 30-45KW DCFC.
        Better than nothing though!!!

        1. Robert Middleswarth says:

          Chevy spec call for it to be a 80kw charger.

  4. Texas FFE says:

    I saw this on MotorWeek. I save MotorWeek episodes that are significant on electrification and this episode is a keeper because of this Quick Spin.

  5. Trollnonymous says:

    “Rearview camera built into the rearview mirror”

    So if the rear seats are occupied the camera is blocked?

    1. Richard C says:

      The rearview camera is at the back of the car. The rearview mirrot is only a monitor, so it is not blocked by back seat passengers.

      1. Trollnonymous says:

        So then it should say….
        “Rearview camera MONITOR built into the rearview mirror”

        ????
        That makes sortof more sense. But wouldn’t it be better to use the larger 10.2″ monitor?

        1. MTN Ranger says:

          It’s not for backing up. When you back up, the center display shows a surround view and the backup view (forward too if needed). The rearview video mirror is for driving and removes blindspots and blocked rear window due to passengers or seat headrests. It’s much easier ergonomically to look at the mirror than down at the lower display – you’re already conditioned to use the mirror too.

          1. Larry says:

            Cool! Wish my Volt had this!

  6. Trollnonymous says:

    Napkin math….
    If 9.5 hrs at 240VAC gets you 60KWh….
    Then Charge amperage = 60KWh / 9.5 = 6.3A and/or 6.3A * 240 = 1512W charge rate.

    If 2hrs gets you 50 miles and it is spec’d to charge at 7200W AC L2….
    Then Wh per mile = 7200Wh / (50Mi / 2hr) = 288Wh per Mile

    The above seems fine, not precise but close.

    But…..
    If 30min gets you 90mi and you get 1 mile per 288Wh…
    Then 90mi * 288Wh = 25920W

    That doesn’t seem right. I may be doing something wrong?
    Can anyone confirm or correct?

    1. David S. says:

      60KWh / 9.5h = 6.3 kW not A
      The max charge rate on 240V is 7.2kW (30A). Average of 6.3kW is lower for a full charge because of tape at the end.

      1. 30 amps * 240 volts = 7.2kW, but the onboard charger is only 90% efficient (or less), so that’s about 6.3kW DC into the battery.

        The battery is:

        288 cells * (3.65v * 60ah) = 63kWh total

        Probably 58-60kWh usable

        9.5 hours to charge * 6.3kW DC = 60kWh

    2. Jeff N says:

      “Napkin math….
      If 9.5 hrs at 240VAC gets you 60KWh….
      Then Charge amperage = 60KWh / 9.5 = 6.3A and/or 6.3A * 240 = 1512W charge rate.”

      60kwh / 9.5 hours = 6.3 kwh per hour, not 6.3A and 6.3 kWh per hour is simply 6300W.

      In any case, 60 kWh is the wrong starting point. The 9.5 hours is for AC charging and there is going to be charging overhead for converting the AC into DC that typically amounts to 10-15%. The actual AC power to fully charge a Bolt is around 67 kWh which is just slightly over 7 kW AC and your 6300W estimate is a rough approximation of the DC power actually flowing into the battery pack.

      “Then 90mi * 288Wh = 25920W

      That doesn’t seem right.”

      The answer should be 25920 Wh, not Watts but the 90 miles was recharged in half an hour so to convert that to an average Watt charging rate you need to multiply by two which would be 51840W.

      But, the 288Wh came from your earlier calculation based on GM’s rough estimate of adding 25 miles for every hour of charging. A more precise approach is to start from the EPA numbers directly.

      The Bolt EV is rated as 28kwh per 100 miles or, in other words, 280Wh per mile but this number is rounded to kilo-Watt hours so it isn’t very precise either. EPA also rates it as 119 MPGe. EPA assumes the equivalent gallon of gasoline has 33.7 (33.705, maybe) kWh of energy. Therefore, adjusting the 119 down to 100 miles gives us 33.7 / 1.19 = 28.32 kWh per 100 miles or 283 Wh per mile.

      Thus, 90 miles * 238 Wh = 25470 Wh. And 25470 * 2 = 50940 W or about 51 kW average charging rate during those 30 minutes.

      Note that since we are using EPA numbers that includes charging overhead so this is essentially a measure of the AC power going into the charger rather than the DC power going from the external charger to the car. External DC chargers can be a little more efficient than the lower-power builtin chargers in cars and have a typical overhead of 5-10% which is different than the EPA overhead assumption (based on the Bolt’s actual builtin charger) but these numbers get us pretty close. The bottom line is that the average DC power going to the car during that half hour period is probably around 47 kW or thereabouts.

    3. David S. says:

      90m/30min * 288Wh/m = 25920Wh/30min = 51.84kW

      1. Trollnonymous says:

        Got it.
        Forgot to account for the .5.

        Thanks for the correction!

      2. The car will charge at about 41kW average from 0% to 80%, and much slower above 80%.

        41kW will add 0.68kWh per minute, so 30 minutes will add 20.5kWh.

        To add 90 miles / 20.5kWh = 4.39 miles per kWh (227Wh per mile), which is likely 55-60mph on a level dry road with no headwinds and no cabin heater use.

        More realistically, people will drive at 3.5 miles per kWh (285Wh) which might be 70mph on freeways, cabin climate control on, not perfect driving technique, etc.

        So, a typical 30 minute DC fast charge won’t start from 0%, so we can bump up the average charge rate between 20% and 80% to about 43kW average (0.717kWh per minute):

        21.5kWh added = 30 min charging * 0.717kWh

        *********************************

        30 minute typical charge at public DC fast charger:

        75 miles added = 21.5kWh @ 3.5 miles/kWh (freeway driving)

        90 miles added = 21.5kWh @ 4.2 miles/kWh (careful driving)

        *********************************

        Just like the Volt and most new electric vehicles, the GM Bolt EV will have 96 cells in series, with a maximum of about 400 volts (plus or minus 5 volts). It’s the same for a Nissan LEAF, or the new Tesla Model S-100D, or a BMW i3, and many more.

        So, please understand that the battery will NEVER go over 400 volts (plus or minus 5 volts). When the battery is “empty”, that will be around 300 volts. That’s the voltage extremes.

        For amperage, current DC fast chargers located in the US are limited to 125 amps. There is speculation that the Bolt EV may be capable of up to 200 amps, but the chargers currently are not.

        *************************************

        Power (Watts) = volts multiplied by amps

        W = V * A

        So, the absolute MAXIMUM power available is:

        50kW = 400V * 125A

        But, when you drive in with an empty battery, the power will be:

        37.5kW = 300V * 125A for an empty battery

        As the vehicle is charging at 125 amps, the voltage will rise until reaching 400 volts, but at some point, the amps start reducing… it appears to be around 65% SOC in the Bolt EV.

        The voltage of the battery is about 365 volts at 65%, so the MAXIMUM charge rate will be:

        45.6kW = 365V * 125A

        From this point, the charge rate will reduce. So, we can surmise that the AVERAGE charge rate between 0% and 80% is going to be about 41kW.

        Finally, not all public DC chargers will be 125 amps. Some will be 100 amps, or 120 amps, and almost all of the stand alone (that don’t have two different plugs) are only 63 amps. Obviously, the charge rate is half at 63 amps, and charge time is doubled.

        1. Because there are hundreds of the 100 amp (30-36kW – BTC (manufactured chargers on the eVgo network), I will add the 30 minute typical charge at those DC fast chargers:

          60.0 miles added = 17.0kWh @ 3.5 miles/kWh (freeway driving)

          71.5 miles added = 17.0kWh @ 4.2 miles/kWh (careful driving)

          *********************************

          30 minute typical charge at public DC fast charger @ 120-125 amps (most public dual plug chargers that aren’t BTC units):

          75 miles added = 21.5kWh @ 3.5 miles/kWh (freeway driving)

          90 miles added = 21.5kWh @ 4.2 miles/kWh (careful driving)

        2. SparkEV says:

          Bolt taper seem to occur at 50% and 70%. Taper at 70% is severe, almost down to 25 kW. So it’s probably more meaningful to talk about 70%, not 80%.

          http://boltev.blogspot.com/2017/01/dc-fast-charge-data.html

          Not sure why Bolt tapers so badly. I mean, it can’t even keep up 1C charge rate? Something must be wrong.

          1. I really don’t know… it seems very conservative, which is not surprising from GM.

            I think it’s safe to tell folks that the car can add 60-90 miles in 30 minutes.

  7. Mart Shearer says:

    throt·tle
    ˈTHrädl/
    noun
    1.
    a device controlling the flow of fuel or power to an engine.

  8. Peter Thorsen says:

    What a truly annoying speaker voice…

    1. DL says:

      My wife will not tolerate Motorweek audio being played in the house, can only use closed captions. That guy’s voice is so annoying, he talks like a valley girl with testicles.

      BTW, what the heck is that woman wearing, a wetsuit?

  9. Bill Howland says:

    Its been Davis’ voice for the last 3 decades.. Its his baby…..The animated nature of his speaking makes the show sound like a 30 minute commercial, which is exactly what it is.

    I thought we were talking about the BOLT.. This Greg guy seems normal enough, and he calls the call ‘roomy’ and ‘fun’. No hint of any discomfort with the ‘hammock’ seats. That’s probably good enough of a review for me.