Planning A Long Journey With Your Chevrolet Bolt EV or Opel Ampera-e?


Ready to take a long trip in your new Chevy Bolt EV?  Don’t forget your board!

A general rule of thumb is that you will need 30-60 minutes of DC fast charging to go 75-125 miles (120km to 200km) in your new Chevrolet Bolt EV or Opel Ampera-E.

Opel Ampera-e charging

This number may be significantly different than what your Distant To Empty (DTE) gauge, or “Guess-O-Meter” (GOM), might display since GOM estimates are based on prior driving consumption and can vary wildly in some cars, including the Bolt.

Not all cars will have the required DC fast charging port, as it is an extra cost option.

This might be counter intuitive to folks not used to an EV, but the fastest drive between two points is not filling up the battery at each enroute stop. Quite the opposite, since charging above 65% in a Bolt EV will significantly increase your charging time due to the reduced speed with which the battery can accept a fast charge above 65%.

Also, if you are using the fastest 125 amp “50kW” chargers, don’t drive slowly between charging spots to save energy. Drive normal freeway speeds of 65-75mph (105km/h to 120 km/h) to get the fastest overall speed in your journey. Above 75mph is not recommended, due to the relatively poor aerodynamics of the Bolt EV.

The Bolt EV will charge at an average speed of about 42kW at 125 amps while charging from 15% to 65%, which adds about 21kWh into the battery in about 30 minutes, and 30kWh in 45 minutes.

Chevrolet Bolt EV/Opel Ampera-e Optimal Trip Travel Timing Chart

Using 2.5 miles is added per minute at 42kW, while beginning the charge at 0% to 20%, will result in:

*75 miles / 120km added in 30 minutes (42kW average at 125 amps)

*110 miles / 175km added in 45 minutes (charge rate may slow slightly)

*125 miles / 200km added in 60 minutes (charge rate slows significantly)

To add 238 EPA miles / 380km of range would require well over two hours of charging and is not recommended for enroute charging unless there isn’t another DC fast charger (or your destination) within range.

Opel Ampera-e fast charging in Europe

Obviously, the actual range is dependent on how fast you consume it, but we are assuming normal freeway speeds in nice weather on mostly level roads using an average consumption of 3.6 miles per kWh (277 Wh per mile) / 5.75km per kWh (174 Wh per km).

Again, to have the lowest overall travel time, it is not advantageous to drive slower to get improved energy consumption, since the fast chargers can upload power so much faster than you can consume it.

The best option overall is generally to drive at normal speed

Cold weather, cabin heater use, wind, sustained high speed, hills, mountains, rain, snow, low tire pressure, etc, all adversely affect range and increase energy consumption.

EVgo network chargers are all on 30 minute timers. To add 125 miles will take about an hour (again, if starting at 0% to 20%), and you need to interrupt your lunch or coffee break to swipe your EVgo card every 30 minutes. Fortunately, most other networks are on 2 hour timers. Charging above 65% will severely reduce the charge rate, and is not recommended, unless absolutely needed to reach the next charger, destination, or to compensate for adverse weather conditions.

Sure, when you leave your home or hotel, charge up all the way to 100% if you want to. But, you really want enroute chargers to be about 75-125 miles apart for the lowest overall travel time.

The car will charge the fastest from 0% to about 65%. The strategy is to burn down the battery at your first charge location to 10-20% remaining (or lower, if you are adventurous) and then charge for 30-60 minutes to add 75-125 miles of range each time.

In addition, you really only want to use the fastest chargers, and those that are the best are the ones that are 125 amps.

The Opel Ampera-e was recently rated in Europe with 520km/323 miles of range…but if you enjoy travelling faster than you can run (or up hills), you might want to bank on the EPA rating of 238 miles (383 km)

ABB, Signet, Efacec, Tritium and others build fast DC chargers that are 125 amp capable, and may be labeled by their network in the USA as either EVgo, ChargePoint, Greenlots, OpConnect, etc. Of course, you’ll want to have established accounts with each of the networks you plan to use.

The BTC chargers used at some locations by the EVgo network are only 100 amp capable, making your charge time increase about 25%.

The stand-alone CCS ChargePoint units (they won’t have a CHAdeMO plug on them) are only half power (60 amps), so I would avoid them like the plague. They will DOUBLE your charge time, and are really only useful if there is no other option.

With a little experience, you’ll be arriving at chargers with a low battery %, which is why it is wise to pick locations with more than one charger. Just one charger at a location could be broken, vandalized, busy, blocked, etc, and a low battery % limits your options.

Use PlugShare to verify that folks are not having recent problems with the charger(s) at your planned stops. Be sure to filter for “CCS” only.

If the Bolt EV were sold in Japan, it would have to have CHAdeMO, just like both the BMW i3 and Tesla (with a Tesla supplied adaptor). The Bolt EV cannot currently use CHAdeMO or Tesla Supercharger DC fast chargers, nor can it use GB/T in China.

Obviously, this planning only works mostly in the west and east coasts of the USA where there is adequate charging infrastructure, but it works almost everywhere in Europe and U.K.

So, in summary, plan your trips with chargers that are 75-125 miles apart, only charge enough to get to the next charger that is 75-125 miles away plus about 10-20%, and so on. This will take 30-60 minutes on the fastest 125 amp “50kW” chargers. Bump up your reserve to 30% or more in adverse weather, or climbing hills.

Try not to charge over 65% unless absolutely required. Use the fastest chargers rated at 125 amps, and plan to find locations that have more than one charger, or another nearby charger in case they are blocked or broken. Get whatever accounts, cards, apps, or fobs that are required by the various networks. Don’t forget to enjoy the trip!

Categories: Chevrolet, Opel / Vauxhall

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

162 Comments on "Planning A Long Journey With Your Chevrolet Bolt EV or Opel Ampera-e?"

newest oldest most voted

Good article, but this applies to all cars, not just Bolt/Ampera. Something often overlooked is when the charge taper kicks in, which for Bolt seem to occur at 50% and another at 70% as shown by youtuber.

Taking that into consideration, one could generate a plot of driving speed vs average speed. SparkEV is so much easier with one tapering point at 80%, which results in following plot.

It definitely doesn’t apply to all cars. How many cars go 75-125 miles at 65-75 mph?

Maybe a RAV4 EV.

What I meant is general technique of not charging to 100% at each charge cycle, but taking taper into consideration. Someone drove about 650 miles in 16 hours with SparkEV, and he said he probably could’ve done better.

Sure, Bolt could probably do it in about 13 hours. But as the distance gets longer (assuming all DCFC), the gap with SparkEV gets smaller. Problem is 50 kW chargers in addition to Bolt taper and sporadic DCFC which makes Bolt not so good for long journey.

I added a graph in the article to show a 650 mile / 1046km trip being done in 13-14 hours at 65-75mph.

It’s important to follow the ABC rule… Always Be Charging. If you’re not driving 65-75mph down the freeway, you need to be plugged into a 125 amp charger.

In addition, don’t make the newbie mistake of plugging in and walking away. You MUST VERIFY that the charge actually starts and ramps up to full power before wandering off for tea and crumpets.


Great article. Thanks!

Good comment on the ABC principle. It would be great to add that, and the warning to verify charging is working before wandering off.

Also, some new drivers may be confused by the “never Charge past XX%” advice. It would be good to follow up with “if you are not ready to leave yet, by all means continue charging until you are, or to 100%.


You should test a 2017 i3 at 75mph. I rarely go below 75mph on the fwy, and I am still quite certain my BEV i3 will easily do 80 miles at 75mph.

I did test the BMW i3 a couple years ago, but my computer crashed with all the video and story. The shop where I took the computer to be repaired also went out of business, and took my Mac with them :-/

Anyhoo, I suspect that the BMW i3 could got 75 miles at 75mph with the smaller battery, and maybe 110 miles with the bigger battery (with no reserve for either… not exactly what you can actually plan a trip with).

The taper point was 78% on my 2014 Spark EV. Maybe they choose to play safe at the beginning…

IF everything goes well for every battery pack as a fleet, in conjunction with market bringing 100+kW DCFC, maybe magic happens and send OTA update to improve the charging rate?

Who knows, what if your wishes become true 🙂

Unlikely for SparkEV to ever get 100 kW charging. It would be nice to have 100 kW for Bolt. But for now, Bolt taper at 50% dropped to about 36 kW and 70% dropped to about 25 kW. You don’t see that with SparkEV all the way to 80%. Below plot is from boltev blogspot.

I think it’s a foregone conclusion that if the current Bolt EV is only limited to 125 amps, that future versions will go to 200 amps (which is likely where the 80kW number came from in the owner’s manual).

Two other cars with far smaller batteries already charge at 200 amps:

1) Kia Soul EV
2) Hyundai Ioniq

Maybe I should have been more specific, I was referring to the Bolt EV about an hypothetical OTA update & 100+kW DCFC use, not the Spark EV. 😉

Actually, it sounds like the Ioniq carries its fast charging well past the 60% level, more like to 80%, before it tapers. That’s already competitive with the Bolt on some trips and When they come out with the bigger battery version, the Bolt will be in real trouble, especially since DCFC is standard on the Ioniq. Plus by then, the Model 3 will also be out. GM might be first to market, but they’re already about to be behind majorly.

If you watch this video you’ll see it doesn’t taper until around 80%, and even then it’s still charging faster than the Bolt does at max (granted this is a 100kw charger). It doesn’t really taper to very slow speeds until around 88%.

Ironically, this, combined with its efficiency, might mean the Ioniq, even with its smaller battery, would still be better on a road trip than the Bolt. Even adjusting the speed down to say 45kw, it looks like you could recharge the battery to almost 90% in half an hour, which should be enough range to get you to the next charger.

Can you point to data that shows charging slowing down below 50kW above 65%? That’s disappointing, given the Spark’s charge profile.

This is a great guide for getting places as quickly as possible, but from my perspective, I would also see some value in minimizing the Tortola number of stops. In other words – I might prefer a single 1.5 hour charge where I can get something done (eat lunch, shopping) vs two 0.5 hour charges, especially when you consider the overhead time of getting on and off the highway, finding and enabling the charger.

The maximum charge rate is only about 45.5kW, therefore we use an average speed of 42kW from 15% to 65% (half the battery capacity).

Some of that charge time between 15% and 65%, the charge rate might be significantly above and below 42kW, hence an average speed.

Thanks for all the math. You swapped “plague” for “plaque” in your text.

I’ll get that for Tony.

/fixed, thanks

Odd that the Bolt tapers so much even with a relatively slow charge rate (< 0.75C). I suppose an even higher charge rate would taper even more quickly.

I think GM confirmed compatibility with an 80 kW charge rate, peak? Bolt would need a 200A DCQC to reach this power level .. and even then, it sounds like it only really improves charge rates by 20% (75 to 90 miles in 30 minutes).

It appears that it takes an 60 kW charger to charge the Bolt at 60 W, which is its maximum.

As of the time of this writing in February 2017, there aren’t any public DC chargers over 125 amps.

Therefore, the fastest charge rate is 45.5kW at about 50%. We use an average of 42kW whilst charging between 15% and 65%.

Should higher power chargers be deployed in the future, we will know whether the Bolt EV can be charged faster than 125 amps / 45.5kW.

Please show your data that Bolt EV continues to charge 125A all the way to 65%. Multiple sources, using multiple chargers, have seen it reduce to 100A between 50 and 55%.

I did not claim that the charge rate was “125 amps all the ANY to 65%”.

Quite the opposite.While the maximum charge rate is 125 amps (about 45.5kW peak), the average speed is about 42kW from 15% to 65% (half the battery capacity charged).

Some of that charge time between 15% and 65%, the charge rate might be significantly above and below 42kW, hence an average speed.

Above 65% is when the charge rate is severely dimished.

I’ve often said that maximum spacing of intra city fast chargers is ideal around 100 miles. Urban can be less, like 40-50, but between cities in rural areas best to not space much more than 100 miles apart.

Various factors can reduce the number of miles a long range EV like the Chevy Bolt can travel.
These include battery degradation as the vehicle gets older, cold weather, and reductions experienced when traveling after an 80% fast charge.

Reasonable realistic figures of the reduced percentage possible for these three factors are as follows:

Battery degradation in an 8-10 years old car: 10% loss.

Cold weather loss: 30% loss.

Reduction from an 80% fast charge: 30% (adding 10% for a buffer til dead)

Starting with the Bolt’s range of 238 miles and deducting these percentages we get this progression:

214 miles left because of battery degradation

150 miles in cold weather

105 miles after fast charging

Given your data at face value, the Bolt EV can still travel 75-125 miles between chargers in all but the absolute worst case (old, tired battery with horrible weather and the heater blasting)

The only thing that might change is,the charge time may increase somewhat as the battery degrades over the years.

Just as I thought. You are not going to be doing 235 miles between chargers expecting to spend less than 2 hours doing so. Yes, that 65% before major taper is a little interesting. The 94ah i3, with half the size battery as the Bolt chargers pretty damn quick to 80% at least. My 2014 i3 used to be crawling past 80%, my 2017 94ah i3 is still charging pretty strong. Here is a screen shot showing 22.5kWh dispensed in 30 minutes and then I did another 10 minutes and still added a meaningful 6.4 kWh between 72-91%. So basically in 40 minutes of charging, I picked up an easy 100 miles.

You’ll note that the following cars all share 96 lithium cells in series at 4.15 to 4.2 volts each to equal 400 volts DC, plus or minus 5 volts:

Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, Tesla “big battery” cars (85-90-100kWh), Volt, Bolt EV, Spark EV, Soul EV, eGolf, etc.

Therefore, they can all charge at about the same maximum power at 125 amps provided by the public charger, about 47.5kW, plus or minus 2.5kW.

Since the very largest batteries (like a Tesla with a 90-100kWh battery) can maintain 125 amps to a slightly higher voltage than a small battery car, the largest battery Tesla cars have actually hit the magical 50kW (if only for a very brief time at 125a * 400v).

The maximum for the Bolt EV appears to be 125a * 365v = 45.5kW.

The real key to the most energy added at 125a is how long the vehicle can maintain 125a. The big battery TESLA can do this for about 2 HOURS !!! The Bolt EV… less than an hour.

just FYI
2015 e-Golf
Technical Specifications

Type Lithium-ion
Voltage 323 V
Number of cells 264
Weight (lb/kg) 688/312


Thanks for catching that! Yes, the VW eGolf comprises 264 cells in 27 modules (88s 3p).

Therefore, max voltage of the 25ah Panasonic / Sanyo cells is 88 in series * 4.2 volts = 369 volts

The relatively early taper is disappointing. Maybe they’re trying to be conservative on battery wear? However the Spark EV doesn’t taper much until past 80% in my experience, and so far the battery hasn’t suffered for it. I’ve come to really appreciate that on the few slightly longer trips I’ve taken.

We are still planning to buy a Bolt in the next year or so, but this changes my expectations a bit.

I think the Spark EV was pretty much a guinea pig for the Bolt, so GM went extreme with charging parameters (along with that 400# lb/ft motor in the ’14 Spark… Ha!). I guess they found something in the charge data to warrant more conservative numbers with the Bolt?

Yes, kind of interesting in the same 40 minutes, I can add about 100-110 miles in my i3. And yet in 60 minutes of charging, the Bolt is only going to have about 125 miles of range???

So it takes two 30 minute charging sessions to more efficiently get 150 miles of range? Pretty much the same thing I can do in my 2017 i3.

If you must do longer trips in the shortest amount of time, this confirms an i3 irex would handily beat the Bolt to your destination of perhaps 350 miles or so.

I don’t get how you list two different figures, first 125 miles for 60 minutes and then 150 miles for 60 minutes.

From 0%, at 60 minutes of charging the car had 68% range or 160 miles (see link above). And that’s on a 50kW charger a faster charger would be slightly faster.

I’m not sure what you’re trying to argue here. You have to stop twice to put 160 miles in your i3. If you do the same in the Bolt (as recommended in this article) it will at all points have more charge in the battery than your i3. You’ll never have longer range remaining in your car and since it can go further before dipping in to charge the first time it means you will be noticeably behind the whole way unless you use gas.

First of all, I almost never have to pick up that much DCQC on trips anyways. I just charge when convenient. So when the author said the most efficent way to pick up charge in the Bolt was 30 minute sessions yielding about 75 miles, I stated thats no faster than what it takes me to gain 75 miles or 110 miles for that matter in my i3. What’s so hard to understand?? And if you really needed 300 miles trips on occasion, the i3 irex would hands down be more convenient and time saving. This significant charge taper on the Bolt is another reason I will be waiting for the updated i3. As it is, I prefer the current i3 over the Bolt and that is why I ended up not getting the Bolt in the first place.

What’s so hard to understand? When you need to pick up 75 miles the Bolt doesn’t even need to do that because it isn’t flat yet.

The taper on the Bolt isn’t really much of a factor in this case. It doesn’t taper until it has already accepted more charge than the i3 can even accept.

Unless you want to use gas, you can start out a journey with both cars full and charge them as you go and there will never be a point where the i3 has more range remaining than the Bolt. Or uou can start out a journey with both cars empty (presumably right next to a charger) and charge them as you go and there will never be a point where the i3 has more range remaining than the Bolt.

The i3 REx is hands down more convenient if you like using gas. Then again, so is a Prius.

You don’t get it. If you are driving 300 hundred mile trips, the Bolt is going to leave you with range anxiety if driving where they may not even have CCS. And if you are going to drive 75 miles and then charge for 30 minutes to keep optimum time efficiency, like the author suggests, then the i3 can readily do that just as well. And doing it in 75 mile increments, remember, I still have an extra 30-40 mIles of buffer left anyways. So no big deal on a trip. If you decide to keep the Bolt buffer at a high SOC, then you risk extended charge times, so kind of defeats the advantage of the big battery except for the initial charge you leave home with. Again, depends on your needs. With 120 miles of range, I am already putting way too many miles on my i3. If I needed much more range regularly, the irex would still be more convenient than the Bolt. And if you didn’t live in a state with a strong DCQC network, then the irex would even be more advantageous.For me, the updated i3 coming at the end of this year with the… Read more »

Comparing a hybrid gasoline powered car to a pure EV is a given that gasoline is:

1) more ubiquitous than DC fast charging (particularly the unique CCS port shared by the BMW i3 and Bolt EV),

2) gasoline refuels faster by an order of magnitude than any DC fast charger

If you like gasoline, certainly do what works for you. If you want to compare hybrid gasoline cars, the Chevrolet Volt can go over 300 miles between gasoline fillups, top off in 5 minutes, and do another 300 miles… all day long.

+1 for Tony!


If I needed to drive a lot of 300 mile trips with no time to charge I would have bought a different car. And no, you aren’t going to make the same time in an i3 as you do in a Bolt. Not if both start full. Not if both start empty. Unless you use gas you will never be ahead of or have more charge than the Bolt at any point of the 300 mile trip. Yes, you’re right that if you try to keep a large buffer you will find that the Bolt charges slower because it is in the higher range. But all that will do is slow your charge rate until you have less buffer. Let’s say you start both full. 235 miles on the Bolt, 110 on the i3. Using 21kW being 75 miles as above, and let’s assume the i3 never slows down on charging significantly. Let’s assume the i3 is a BEV because the REx can’t go 110 miles at the start. I drive 110 miles and then decide to charge 75 miles. The i3 will charge relatively quickly, adding 75 miles in about 30 minutes, 21kW. The Bolt is “too full”, about… Read more »

Actually, if they both start empty it does sound like the i3 would be in the lead. At that point the bigger battery means nothing for the Bolt, and it all comes down to charging speed. That’s a fairly contrived scenario though.

Well, yes, any car that has a more efficient consumption rate will beat the Bolt on a long trip, assuming they all charge at the same rate and start with a dead battery.

Obviously, a more efficient car *and* a higher overall charge rate (even when both cars are charging at 125 amps) would just beat a Bolt even moreso.

It’s a valid point. The Bolt seems to recharge really slowly. Forget the i3 rex, you might still be better off making a trip using a shorter range EV that recharges faster. If it really takes 1 hour to get 100 miles of range in the Bolt then that’s pretty bad. Other EVs with smaller batteries can do that in closer to 30 minutes. Their overall range is lower, but they are capable of picking up more miles faster.

Maybe GM’s calculation was that the Bolt’s larger battery meant having the fastest charging ability was less important. In some respects, I can see that argument. In others I think it’s a mistake as it really hinders the Bolt’s utility as anything more than a local car.

Good luck finding the CCS chargers

Most DCFC installations include both CCS and CHAdeMO these days.
Maybe you didn’t know that?

Clearly you don’t get out much.

Most do not include them.

Check back in 4 years.

You are dreaming.

Maybe you should get out more, especially to CA. Most in CA are dual head or have dual head unit in the same lot. Many are single CCS unit of 25 kW (no Chademo), which allows CCS cars to go from Mexico border to Washington state even with 80 miles range cars like SparkEV. While 25 kW is poor, it’s better than 6.6 kW of most L2.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Haven’t encountered a non dual head CCS only DCFC yet. Not even in the Bay area. I’m sure there are and I just haven’t found the Easter egg.

All the new ones are Dual with CCS & Chad.

Drive south from the Bay Area on the 101, or north on the I5, and you’ll encounter a CCS-only charger soon enough. BMW and Chargepoint installed them all along the west coast.

Downside is they didn’t do so on the 99 and I5 south of Sacramento, so it’s a coast route only. Also, they’re only 25Kw, so about half the speed of a typical evGo charger. Still, much better than L2.

Not dreaming at all. I live in Atlanta and could easily drive a Bolt right now up the coast all the way to Maine or south all the way to Miami. East and West coasts have pretty good coverage now, and it improves every month. The interior of the country may take another 4 years or so.

I grew up in Montana… expect that state to be at least 10-20 years behind, and North Dakota… add another 10 years.

The core part of the city of Los Angeles (Downtown, West LA, East LA etc.) has mostly LADWP chargers by Nissan (see the Plugshare map). These are 100% CHAdeMO chargers ONLY – no CCS. As stated in other posts, CCS chargers are scarcer than CHAdeMO, so be aware of that if buying a Bolt.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I’d like to see what it can do on an 80KW CCS.

Someday there will be some out there……lol

Right. In the next 1-2 years things are set to change tremendously.

I’m looking forward to the day of traveling without charger anxiety.

It will be like this: check on PlugShare (or the providers map or app) and select to filter showing just 150 kW locations with two or more fast chargers per spot. Likely a setup like the ChargePoint Express Plus fast charger offers. Then travel with confidence and certainty, knowing where you will be able to charge reliable along the way.

Eventually there will be automatic billing when plugging in, like Tesla has now, so it’s an enjoyable seemless travel experience.


We already have that DC fast charging system, and it will be used by the Bolt EV competitor this year, the Tesla Model 3.

Every 100-150 miles is a Tesla Supercharger… coast to coast, north to south. No cards, no fobs, no wondering if one charger is broken or blocked (there are typically 4-8 stalls per Supercharger location).

Currently up to 365 amps (versus 125 amps with current public CCS and CHAdeMO stations).

Awesome. Can’t wait to get my head around this charge tapering stuff.

It’s very simple… if you only charge to 65% with DC fast chargers while enroute, you won’t need to know anything about the charge rate reduction.

Your average charge speed will be about 42kkW.

If you charge overnight at home or a hotel (or grandma’s house), there won’t be a charge reduction. Fill ‘er up!

I would like to see how this compares to a Model S 70 or 60. Until there are 4 or 6 DC fast chargers in one location like the superchargers, taking long trips would be a risky proposition compared to a Tesla.

Yes, Tesla is on an entirely different playing field.

It will be a very long time before the competitor’s charging stations are as well distributed and as powerful as the Tesla Supercharger network is TODAY.

Tesla Model 3 will be a wildly different experience for long distance travel, compared to a Bolt EV.

“Above 75mph is not recommended, due to the relatively poor aerodynamics of the Bolt EV.”

Really? Tony, you had to drop this low to bash the car?

What is the CdA of the Bolt compared with CdA of the Model S and Model X which you love?

Going high speed is bad for all cars even if it is good in aero. Beside EV1, which other EV has significantly better CdA than the Bolt?

Yes, I know you would try to spin it by using Cd. But without CdA, it would be just lying since CdA is what matters.

Should also include drive train efficiency. I think Bolt is better than Tesla S, maybe whole lot better.

As for bashing, I don’t think that’s Tony’s intent, though it comes across that way. 75 MPH isn’t a problem for SparkEV, so it should not be a problem with Bolt. No, I never drove 75 MPH; it’s not legal! 😉

Just as a point of interest the Bolt EV’s Cd/CdA is not very good in relation to other EVs, which is why you see the huge splits on the city/highway ratings – largest gap of all production EVs today

255 city/217 highway (-38)

The Bolt EV’s Cd is .312, and the front area is decent at 25.8 sq ft, resulting in a 8.05 CdA. Even the Bolt EV’s lead designer Stuart Norris. called it a disaster for aero

As a point of reference, the Volt is ~6.7 for CdA, Model S ~6.2 and the LEAF ~7.8.

If we look at the EPA ratings for the now extinct Model S 70 kWh variation with a near identical 234 miles range, it got 234.0 in the city and 234.4 on the highway., or +.4 miles.

So bad things happen to range in a hurry (in relation to the EPA estimated number) at speed in the Bolt EV, but on the flipside, the Bolt EV has a monster city range compared to the official EPA ratings…if that is where you are prone to drive, (=

CdA is only one problem. Sure it dominates at higher speed due to the drag increase at square rate, but weight and tire drag also matters significantly and it is linearity increasing with speed.

To say that Bolt should avoid high speed due to “relatively” poor aero is just wrong. Bolt’s aero is better than most cars.

Also, if Bolt aero is so bad, then why did Bolt matches S60’s hwy range rating?

Not really chiming in to debate/take side, just saying what the numbers are saying. The overall range numbers of the Model S 60 are going to be lower than the Bolt EV (with the same 60 kWh) because of some of those things you mentioned – weight (4,322 vs 3,580), and tire profile (245/45R/19 vs 215/50R17), etc…but definitely not aero. Those factors (weight, tires, powertrain, etc) are effecting the city and highway range proportionally on the Model S, so the argument of saying the Bolt EV 60 is better/more aero on the highway than the Model S 60 is a non starter. The original Tesla Model S 60 RWD is rated at 205.7 city/210.8 highway…or +5.1 miles range on the highway (combined 208), so it makes the point about how much better the aero is on the Model S, or rather how less efficient the Bolt EV is compared to its peers (as the Model S is just an example here, and not really the focus of the original reference to watching speed in the original article). The point Tony is making is that in the case of the Bolt EV, you are going to go a heck of a… Read more »
(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Maybe because the S is a heavier car, a larger car, seats 5 comfortably, seats 7 with a jump seat, has frunk space, has autopilot crap installed, etc….

Most of that didn’t/doesn’t apply to the S60’s rating…

Heavier? yes. So, you agree that weight impacts the range then?

Good, now you can stop your stupid trolling.

“The Bolt EV’s Cd is .312, and the front area is decent at 25.8 sq ft, resulting in a 8.05 CdA. Even the Bolt EV’s lead designer Stuart Norris. called it a “disaster for aero“

As a point of reference, the Volt is ~6.7 for CdA, Model S ~6.2 and the LEAF ~7.8.”

So, two things here. 1. Cd of 0.312 is lower than the Cd of 0.32 measured on the Nissan LEAF. Nobody made the same bashing against the LEAF when it came out.

2. If Nissan has lower CdA but higher Cd (slightly), then it means Bolt is actually larger in FA than LEAF. So, why does everyone insisted that Bolt is a “small car” while they don’t do the same against the LEAF?

There was youtube video featured in IEV that showed Bolt driven at 65 to 70 MPH resulted in 4 mi/kWh. Then the average power is 20 kW (assuming all 70 MPH). That level of power is nothing for a car that’s capable of 150 kW. 70 MPH would still result in close to 200 miles range, probably more. It was bit of a hyperbole of Tony to suggest 75 MPH would be awful.

oops. 17.5 kW. Had typo and used 80 MPH instead of 70 MPH. That’s even better argument for Bolt.

Tony has been a GM product hater for over 7 years now…

And it shows in every POST he makes here.

Cars I have owned (see if you can find a common theme in these cars):

1964 Chevy Impala – 3 on the tree w/overdrive – 283 V8 upgraded to 350/4 speed
1962 Chevy Biscayne – 3 on the tree – 235 six upgraded to 400 V8
1968 Chevy Camaro SS 396 – 4 speed manual
1970 1/2 Chevy Camaro – 350 – 4 speed manual w/ Ford 9″ rearend
1970 Chevelle SS 454 (LS5) auto
1969 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup 4×4 4 speed manual
1980? Chevy Chevette
1985 Chevy Camaro Z28 – 5 speed manual
1989 Chevy Corvette – 350 L82 – 6 speed manual
1989 Chevy 1/2 ton short box step side pickup
1993 Chevy Suburban 3/4 ton 4×4 454 V8
1995 Pontiac Trans Am – LT1 – 6 speed manual
2001 Chevy 1/2 ton 4×4 club cab short box Z71
2004 GMC 3/4 ton crew cab 4×4 Duramax diesel short box

You boys really have your skivvies bunch up tight in you ass crack, don’t you?

Yes, over 75mph isn’t recommended, for the very reason stated. The same would apply to other less than aero cars like my 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, the Nissan LEAF, ANY pickup truck, etc.

But, you drive any speed you like 🙂

The plot you added shows why 75 MPH is recommended. It’s the lowest time needed for long travel when you take DCFC time into account. Before, it wasn’t clear why and how much it was affected. The new plot shows exactly why. Recommended 75 MPH max isn’t a hyperbole at all.

Yup. 65-75mph recommended, over 75mph not recommended.

Your plots shows better time at 80 MPH than at 65 MPH. While 80 MPH would get you there quicker, 65 MPH would save you bit of money, especially since you’re not likely to get a ticket.

Shortest trip time would be 70 MPH to 75 MPH. I think 70 MPH cruise control is safer since most people drive at this speed with 65 MPH limit, and unlikely attract cops’ attention.

When we add traffic like other cars we add another variable which complicates the math. Driving alone in 70mph gives a very different drag than driving in a line with other cars in 70mph, even when keeping a safe distance at 3 seconds. From my own experience i am pretty sure following 3 seconds behind a SUV in 80mph would give you lower energy consumption than driving at you own speed using cruise control. AND you will get to your destination og next charger faster. Additionally it is more efficient use of the raod if more cars follow at the same speed than lots of cars driving at different speeds swithcing lanes all the time.

Norris was calling CUVs in general a “disaster”, not specifically the Bolt.

And the Bolt actually has a .308 CD, not .32

Direct quote from the article (link) and Bolt EV’s designer Norris:

“The Bolt has a drag coefficient of 0.32, Norris said. That compares with a superslippery 0.24 in the Toyota Prius hybrid. But the challenges were steeper given the Bolt’s squat, wedge shape.

“It’s a disaster for aero,” said Norris, who worked for seven years on the svelte silhouettes of sports car maker Jaguar before joining GM in 2004.

Again, I’m not trying to be a hardass/debate, just giving the numbers/quotes as they are stated by EPA/GM directly.

And also, I never said .32 at all for the Bolt EV, the Bolt designer said that in his quote (so I guess you are correcting him?). It was later validated at .312 FWIW – which is the number I used (…and again, these are still small fractions differences on a fairly high number for a BEV)

And for the record, a “slippery” car like a Tesla Model S or Toyota Prius are below 0.26.

The old GM EV-1 was below 0.20.

It’s just a fact that the aerodynamics of the Bolt EV i isn’t very good (and acknowledged by GM as such).

The various Tesla products are quite good, and I expect the Bolt EV competitor, Model 3, to be exceptional.

My daily driver is a 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV with 80,000 miles on it… crappy aerodynamics, heavy, short range compared to the Bolt EV, Model 3, and LEAF 2.0, but a fantastic utility car that can haul all the junk I move around daily.

I regularly do several hundred mile daily trips in it (and reflected in the overall mileage), and even have done a bunch of 500-600 daily trips to San Francisco and Sacramento.

It’s been to Canada once, and Washington state a couple times. I love it… and it still has crappy aerodynamics compared to a Tesla or Prius..

I’m sorry but I don’t like this article. You should do this and you should do that, I find the article very condescending. This information might be useful to someone that has never driven an EV but I don’t charge my FFE like this now and if I ever get a Bolt I won’t be charging anything like what’s suggested here.

Most of the time I would charge it at home, just plug it in at night and unplug it in the morning. For long distance trips I would plug it in for as for as long as I need to travel to the next charging stop plus a reserve. There are no back-of-the- envelope calculations that are a substitute for real world charging experience with your EV.

Author doesn’t even own a Bolt….And I don’t think he’s ever fast charged one either.

But hey, he’s an “expert”.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I know a Rocket Scientist at Aerojet. He doesn’t own a rocket, but yeah, he’s an “Expert”.

I know an Engineer/Scientist at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, she doesn’t own lasers to make 192 beam paths, but yeah, she’s a Laser “Expert”.

I know a Retired Nuclear physicist that used to work at Rancho Seco…..

Yes, those people are “qualified” experts.

What does Tony qualify? Beside his enthusiasm at against GM EVs or the fact that he owns a company that makes stuff for competing standards to CCS or the fact that he is one of those crazy EV extremist with an agenda that is partial to a brand?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Don’t know the author but from the sound of your description, he’s doing ~SOMETHING~ to help move the EV revolution.

What are you doing for the movement?

What do you qualify?…..never mind, I don’t care.

He favors some brand of EVs.

He drives an EV. I drive an EV. So we both are doing something about it.

I have a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering.

You don’t care because you are a troll as your login names have clearly indicated.

Did they teach you name calling in grad school?
Argue the merits, pls!

I learned to call it what it is…

Troll is part of “Trollnonymous”. I am just confirming it.

I am more than glad to argue the facts or merits rather than making up stuff to defend the bias from the author.

MMF – I have read several articles written by Tony and posts he has made on other EV related sites. I don’t always agree with him, but after reading this article I did not at all think he was bashing the Bolt or GM, not at all.

In my opinion you have an anti-Tony bias that is showing up in all of your posts.

Maybe one of these folks should write a nice article to dispute whatever I wrote, instead of acting like lap dogs nipping on heals.

Did they all stay at Holiday Inn Express last night? 😉


I’ll be happy to take my $100 from the !”Bolt EV owner” in the near future. I think I’ll write an article about the test, and our bet. The snarkinesss from you just adds some drama to the story.

Obviously, only an “owner” (all of a few weeks now? … or is it a whole month yet?) could possibly know anything, eh?

What to buy with $100???? Fuzzy dice with gold trim? Deer whistles with $90 mounting bolts?

Texas FFE,

You seem to answer your own complaints about the article.

1) It was never suggested that you shouldn’t plug in at home. I specifically mentioned charging to full overnight while at home or at a hotel (although full probably isn’t required with 238 miles of range).

2) You’re driving a car without any DC charging capability, so you absolutely will be “plugging in for as long as it takes”!!!! You’ll note that is exactly what I suggest in the article… plug in for as long as it takes to reach the next DC fast charger that is 75-125 miles away, plus a 10-20% reserve (and 30% or more for adverse weather). Nothing any different than what you do.

Good article.

This is why the current state of CHAdeMO/CCS is a failure.

“Burn down to 10-20%”. Then what? Pray that the one station you MUST depend on is:
1) Not defective.
2) Not ICEd.
3) Not hogged by an EV driver trying (slowly) to hit 100%.

Coz you won’t have juice left to go to another station.

Only early adopters or EV fanboys will do that. Range anxiety has been replaced by Charge Anxiety.

Here in CA, I’d only risk such a trip if I don’t have to L3 charge in a metropolitan area. Painful lesson.

So yea, tell us the total time your trip took in a Bolt or i3.

To be fair, #3 affects all EV, including Tesla.

I shouldn’t even have to respond to this nonsense. Are you in CA? The 1-2 frigging CHAdeMO/CCS bays are always hogged by Leafs and i3 with their free charge cards.

It takes 8-12 Tesla to hog a site!

Go on, make a trip and report the total time.

Are you saying there’s no waiting for Tesla that charge slowly? That’s a ridiculous argument.

Based on how often I get “ICEd” by Tesla drivers, there seem to be more Tesla idiots than any other EV or ICE driver. I suspect many of those idiots caused much of Tesla waiting (like 15 car wait featured in IEV), and Tesla “parking fee” implementation (slow charging past 100%). If anything, #3 problem is (was) probably worse for Tesla than other EV.

While there may be some Tesla folks (as well as anybody new to EVs) that don’t know the correct etiquette for charging, I suspect most are opportunists, grabbing free electrons because they are free.

This applies to Tesla Supercharger users, as well as BMW i3 and LEAF with their “no charge to charge” cards.

I say it before, I say it now, I say it often.

Free charging SUCKS!!!!!

Thank you GM for not doing it, thank you Tesla for getting rid of it before I get Tesla 3.

yeah watched Bjorn video recently he complained of slow charging at 52kW…

When your car is capable of 120 kW, and you only need few minutes at that power just to get home, waiting for a car charging at 52 kW is infuriating, especially most probably don’t need it at such high %. It’s like SparkEV waiting for Leaf at 18 kW.

I took a trip in my LEAF and it took a long time.

But all 3 of those things apply to Tesla as much as any other EV. I don’t really get your point here.

Right, like you usually find a Tesla site with all 8-12 bays blocked…..

Your silly denials will not help EV growth.

You don’t usually find Chademo/CCS blocked, either. They’re sitting empty probably 20 hours a day. Problem is people have block of time they want to charge, especially free chargers. Same is true with Tesla. Yes, all 12 slots could get blocked.

I suspect the problem is less with recent “parking fee” that discourage people from charging their Tesla to 100%, but the problem is (was) definitely there.

Definitely don’t look forward to finding BOLTs tying up the CCS chargers for over 2 hours!

I’d unplug them accordingly!

Can’t, Bolt locks the CCS plug while charging. Lol

Anyone can hit “stop” on eVgo charger and stop the charger. Then Bolt should unlock.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

lol…….you guys are funny.

So is the lock for CCS ports a bit more robust than for the regular J1772? Even a kid can pick those locks with a drinking straw (YouTube on an i3) and unplugging an energized DC plug is probably not a good idea…

No need to pick it. Just hit the stop button on ABB charger screen, and it should unlock. There’s also a physical reset button you can use to unlock.

It used to be that you needed the card to stop charging. I guess they stopped doing that when people found out about the reset button.

Also, which of the cars with batteries in the 22-33kWh capacity range are able to pick up 22kWh+ in 30 minutes on the EvGo ABB chargers?

Charge kWh received in 30 minutes:

I think the eGolf is less than 19kWh?

RAV4 with the Chademo Adapter: 20kWh?

My 2011 LEAF was below 14kWh at 75% batt capacity.

My 2014 i3 was around 16.7kWh

My 2017 i3 was around 22.5kWh


Not very many cars can get 20-22kWh in 30 minutes, that’s for sure! (Yes, the 2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 EV can definitely do 20-21kWh in 30 minutes with JdeMO equipment).

But, large(r) battery cars like the Bolt EV and any Tesla car can keep on sucking 125 amps well past 30 minutes.

Way too complicated. I get in my model s and hit the next super charger on the nav screen.

It tells me what % battery charge i will have at the destination.

I swear i’ve seen 300 mph on the screen. At around 120 kw.

Just enough time to hit whatever eatery the SC is next to.

Yes, I enjoy that in my Tesla, as well. It’s like these Tesla guys know what makes an EV fo “hummmmm,”.

With a tiny amount of effort, a Bolt EV driver can venture out, too. But, I’d stick to areas with adequate CCS style DC fast charging.

*I am a Bolt owner* Unlike the author.

From *my* DCFC charging experiences, the Bolt (assuming the HV battery is at least 50F.
..possibly higher) will charge at a peak 125amps/~45-48 kW from ~0% SOC to 53-54% SOC. Once it hits 53-54%, it will ramp down to about 100 amps and 37/38 kW. It will charge at that rate till 70% SOC.
From 70 to ~85% SOC amperage gets cut to 60A and ~23/24 kW. After that it will taper down to the teens till 100%.

It is my theory that if the Bolt is hooked up to a 150/175A CCS station, it can reach a peak of at least 60 kW…And maybe a little higher.

The above is assuming a 125A CCS station.

Most talk MPH charging speed. That’s the number you need to know when taking a trip.

So what are you getting : 45 MPH??

MPH depends on your mi/kWh driving habit. For SparkEV in LA, I get about 6.5 mi/kWh, so 48 kW to 80% would result in average speed of 312 MPH.

For your Tesla, you might start off with 300+ MPH, but it will taper down quickly, average might be only 2/3 of that (200+ MPH) to 80%. Because Tesla gets worse efficiency in city traffic, it’s probably worse even if I drive it in LA.

It’s not that Tesla is bad, it’s just that MPH charging speed depends on your driving. Having said that, be thankful you don’t have to drive in LA. Energy savings isn’t worth the aggravation.

yes of course Spark. You have an efficient EV so you get a higher MPH.

MPH is the unit of choice because it combines both charging kw and also the efficiency of your car

Efficiency is not just the car, but also the driving habit. In gas car, traffic would be just as bad as highway speed due to low efficiency of ICE at low speed. But in EV, low speed get almost 2X higher efficiency. Tesla might be different since their highway is rated more than city.

When I drive in LA, I rarely exceed 25 MPH due to Pauli exclusion principle (can’t go through car in front of me). But when on highway at 70 MPH, I only get 4.4 mi/kWh. Had I used highway as an example, it’d be only 211 MPH charging speed.

This is way charging MPH is not meaningful when it can be all over the place. Same car, same driver, even same road and temperature could produce wildly different result depending on traffic.


Reference your claim of “48kW”, maybe you’d like to make a second wager? No current Bolt EV is charging at 48kW under ANY circumstance at 125 amps.

We are all happy that you own the car, but facts might not be your strong point.

The maximum charge rate is well below 48kW, and closer to 45.5kW. You’re welcome to tell us all again that you are an owner, though.

Your quote, “peak 125amps/~45-48 kW”

Interesting. I haven’t been able to find hard confirmation that 60 kW is maximum DC input. That makes sense given the 90 miles in 30 minutes claim.

Where did you find this information?

When the Bolt was first announced we were told it would have a maximum charge rate of 50 kW to 60 kW. Later we were told that it would take a nominal 80 kW charger to charge at 60 kW. That’s enough for me.

“Again, to have the lowest overall travel time, it is not advantageous to drive slower to get improved energy consumption,”

That’s a counter intuitive thing that most have a hard time grasping.

Experience with the S says you should only figure 50-55 MPH average speed. So, if you want to go 400 miles you need to figure 8 hours with charging time included.


I added a graph to the article concerning speed versus overall travel time for the Bolt EV.

Driving your Model S for 400 miles at 50mph takes 8 hours (and is entirely doable).

Driving my Model S at 90mph would take 4.5 hours of travel time for the same distance. That leaves 3.5 hours to charge. Charging for 1 hour every 133 miles would require a total of 2 hours, and still have me at the destination 1.5 hours earlier than you.

The same basic rules apply to the Bolt EV. The fastest long range trip is not the one where you drive slow, assuming adequate DC fast charging.

If your driving a Ford Focus Electric with 80 miles of range and no DC fast charging, yes, absolutely drive slow, since it will recharge even slower!!!

Which EV has the shortest charging time to 80%?
The author is proposing stopping for 30 minutes to pick up 75 miles!!?
Insane…it’s drive an hour, stop for half an hour, drive an hour, stop for half an hour, and on and on.
No one would do that!
Why couldn’t Chevy future-proof the Bolt to accept 100 kW or even 150 kW, which are upcoming CCS standards?
Why is a 2011 Nissan LEAF, able to accept 40-50 kW from Chademo while having only a 18 kWh battery?
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that 80% in 30 minutes?
Which means the LEAF has the all-time best coulomb rate of any EV out there, even better than Tesla.
If the Bolt could do the same, it would be able to pick up 150 miles in 20 minutes!

“Which EV has the shortest charging time to 80%?”

SparkEV, of course!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


It’s a pitty that A123 folded and killed the deal for the Spark EV. Those were the best cells/Chem (LiFeP04 Nanophosphate) and the Spark has a nice kick.

LG Chem battery in 2015 and 2016 SparkEV charge just as quick as 2014’s A123. I have 2015 SparkEV, not the one with A123.

Yes, but in practical terms, the 2017 i3 picks up 22.5kWh in just 30 minutes, and just as much kWh as the Spark even at 20 minutes, etc. I mean if an EV charges to 80% quickly, but it is only a 5kWh battery, its not very meaningful, because you won’t be driving as far on that small battery. You would have just as much range charging a 100kWh battery to only 4% in the same 30 minutes…And in practical terms, no one cares if you charged to 80% or 4%, but rather how many miles you can go on that same amount of charge received in the same amount of time…just saying.

Time to X% is very meaningful, because it tells you the C rating of the battery. If SparkEV has 33 kWh like the i3, it could charge quicker to 80% than i3.

But your 22.5 kWh (68%?) in 30 minutes is 45 kW, limited by the 50 kW charger. Even Leaf in hot summer could do 45 kW to 40%.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“The author is proposing stopping for 30 minutes to pick up 75 miles!!”

Technically, here in the US, with only CCS at best pushing 50KW, that’s the best we can do.

Not till we start seeing some 80KW CCS station we can get a better idea of what the Bolts charge rate can get you.

bro1999 said the documentation said it can DCFC at 80KW, I believe bro1999.

Just can’t test it yet.

I agree. Where are are the charging speeds for 80 Kw charger. I don’t think we have enough data yet.

“bro1999 said the documentation said it can DCFC at 80KW, I believe bro1999.”

It isn’t just “confirmed” by bro1999.

It is actually in the owner’s manual. InsideEV already covered that.


We absolutely can test for a charge request from the Bolt EV to verify either 125 amps, or greater than 125 amps.

I’m betting it’s exactly 125 amps, and I have a bet with “bro1999” for $100 with that position.

I’ll write it up in the near future.

GM didn’t future proof it because they are penny-pinchers. They aren’t the kind of company to put in a capability that has no current value. They can’t advertise it, they don’t see the value in it.

I’m not saying you should like it this way, but that’s how GM is.


Your quote, “Which EV has the shortest charging time to 80%? The author is proposing stopping for 30 minutes to pick up 75 miles!!? Insane…it’s drive an hour, stop for half an hour, drive an hour, stop for half an hour, and on and on. No one would do that!.

Yup. The actual suggestion for lowest overall traveling time is 75-125 miles, which would be up to TWO hours of driving, which would then require 1 hour of charging.

You got it correct.

Your quote, “Why couldn’t Chevy future-proof the Bolt to accept 100 kW or even 150 kW, which are upcoming CCS standards?”

I’m confident that the Bolt EV will ultimately get 200 amp capability.

Your quote, ” Why is a 2011 Nissan LEAF, able to accept 40-50 kW from Chademo while having only a 18 kWh battery? Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that 80% in 30 minutes?”

The LEAF battery is 24kWh or 30kWh through Feb 2017.

I don’t understand what all this whining is about? We are talking about an EV that does 380 real kilometers. Just one year ago we only could dream about it for this price. And now suddenly even with a Bolt charging will be a pain in the ass?

Do you never pee, eat, shop or stretch your legs when you travel? Charge while you do those things. That is in no way time lost; you do them anyway.

And study the comments at websites like ChargeMap, so you know if a charger is working or not, even if it’s a lone charger. I regularly travel across Europe in a Kia Soul EV. You need to do your homework, yes, but then it is doable. A Bolt doubles the range. Don’t whine, be happy!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

What would be nice is if the state of CA put at least 3-4 DCFC 80KW chargers at every “Rest stop” on the I-5 corridor.

That way you can do exactly as you say and take a dump!

The current state of California grants from CEC are for one “50kW” charger and conduit / planning for a second “125kW” charger (250 amps).

In addition, the first 350 amp “350kW” chargers might be in Baker, California, installed by EVgo.

If it happens, it absolutely will happen in California first.

Rest stops are not supplied with a lot of power. And there’s little to do while waiting.

California tends to locate their chargers in the little cities that pop up as “commercial rest stops” with gas stations and fast food stops.

I think that’s a fair argument for a 30 minute charge (“stretch your legs, use the restroom, etc.”), but it starts to push the limit at an hour, especially because with EVgo you have to restart after half an hour.

You’re right though that by combining stops you’d make anyway, the EV looks less bad. On a 600 mile trip, I figure in a gas car you’re probably looking at stopping for at least an hour (two 15 minute gas/bathroom breaks, 30 minutes for lunch), and two hours is probably not out of the question. In that case you still do end up stopped longer in an EV, but it’s not as bad as comparing to “driving straight through”.

So, isn’t the moral of this story (or tips) a simple one?

Simply wait for a Tesla Model 3, with a good, reliable, nationwide supercharging network that charges much faster? Avoid the worries and fairly significant planning to travel long distance in the Bolt.

Chevy, get real and invest in a DC Fast Charging network like Tesla’s, or watch Tesla eat your lunch, chew you up, and spit you out!

We’ve come a long way; driving a Bolt 300, or 400 or even 500 miles a day is possible, depending on the DCFC availability but it sounds risky, especially if you’re optimizing DCFC charging to get 90 miles of range added in 30 minutes. So someone’s going to get stranded. I’ll stick with my Volt, especially in Texas.

I just don’t see electric vehicles being practical yet unless you are just going to drive them around a city. I live in Texas too and take long distance trips often. It doesn’t make sense to buy an electric car when the range is so limited, especially living in a rural area with no chargers.


I’ve driven my electric car from one end of Texas to the other. It worked out great with a Tesla.

Yes, it will be a challenge for a Bolt EV, even in the Dallas / Houston / San Antonio triangle.

Wow. This REALLY shows how much thought Tesla put into designing their supercharger system and their large batteries.

Those Bolt DC charging rates are OK but it would suck to try to drive 1000 miles with it.

I once did 1000 miles a day with my motorcycle, and it too 16 hours. But that was when the speed limit was much lower. Officially, I always kept below the speed limit, but you can do the math.

If there’s enough DCFC, Bolt would take about 20 hours for 1000 miles. SparkEV would take bit under 24 hours. Unlike my bike ride, I wouldn’t be so hungry, maybe not even as tired due to so many breaks.

Great article from Mr. Williams as always. I agree with George S that if you want to road trip EV style, by a used Model S. I am sure to get hammered by the next statement, but I think Tony just made a great argument for why GM made the DCC fast charger and option. Plenty of early LEAFs sold as an urban car. I have driven up the east coast twice is the past ten years. The rest of my really long trips are in a plane. I fit right into the national mean of 35 miles a day. And about four times a year, I drive 220 miles to the beach or 180 to the mountains. The Bolt would actually handle 100% of my driving pattern for the past decade. I therefore think the Bolt is an awesome EV that really fits a whole lot of family’s driving habits. It simply is not a long distance traveler as Tony has shown. For the really long trips, you rent one. If you do it all the time, get serious about a Model S, and with a few more stops, the up-and-coming Model 3. Anyway, hats off to Tony for… Read more »

Oh for an edit button.

Ppl who want the looongest trip , pls consider Volt and just fill up the tank…..

Seriuoly with VV charings as expensive as it is ( $5 for 30 mins DC) , just gas your car….

Pure EVs even with small packs work well with home and office charging….


For long trips burning fossil fuels, a better choice would be a Prius at over 50mpg.

For long trips without fossil, nothing comes close to any Tesla.

The article is about making the shortest time long distance trip in a Bolt EV. Given adequate DC fast charging, it can be a worthwhile endeavor, given that few people make many long distance trips in a year.

I’ve done several long trips in shorter range cars (LEAF and 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV), and I can tell you that range and the fastest DC charging are your friends, but given one over another,mid chose very fast recharging.

Volt only gets 42MPG highway in non-blended mode. A Prius will get 53MPG highway. Volt is not efficient as an electric car, and it’s not efficient as a hybrid. It’s a jack of all trades and a master of none.

The Volt is pretty efficient as an electric car. You’re right, it’s lower than other pure EVs, but still a significant step up from anything running on gas. Assuming you only go on long trips rarely, the Volt is a much better choice than a Prius, because it will run most of the time on electric. But, it’s true for a traveling salesman the Prius would be a better choice.

I’ve taken quite a few longish ICE trips with the Volt (Gen 2) averaging a real world 48-49MPG ( highway) not hanging about either…also passing three Priuis’…. 😉

Heh, My Ioniq adds 120miles worth of charge in 30 minutes. Did 300+ miles just yesterday..

Only two non-Tesla cars are known to be able to charge at over 200 amps:

1) Kia Soul EV

2) Hyundai Ioniq

In addition, it requires DC chargers that have greater than 125 amp capability, of which there are none in North America.

300+ miles in a day is nothing on a Bolt. You can do it with just AC charging.

There are a number of responses in the comment section that really have no reality to the article, which is about how to minimize your long distance travel time with a 2017 Bolt EV… today, with public DC fast charging. Some comments I’ll address: 1) There are no DC chargers over 125 amps in the USA, even if the Bolt EV could accepted over 125 amps. We can speculate, and bet about what might be, but today, that’s what we have. 2) GM has stated quite publically that they will NOT install DC fast charge infrastructure. The rational is that they don’t install gasoline stations. 3) I’m a “GM hater”. That a bit comical, as I don’t even share the hysteria over GM crushing the original EV1. I’ve owned GM vehicles all my life. 4) I’m not an owner of a Bolt EV. Let’s face it, few people are, so if you’re one, congratulations. But, being an owner doesn’t make anybody necessarily smarter on the best way to operate the vehicle with respect to long distance driving. The article is intended for the multitude of folks who are brand new to either EVs, or new to a long range EV.… Read more »

Thanks for writing the article. I found it informative, and good food for thought.

Don’t take the criticism too seriously. It’s easy to criticize, but usually much harder to actually create something better.

What do you think about Tesla going. To a CCS plug in Europe. And do you think. They might make that their. Universal plug. In the future allowing other manufacturers. To be able to use their charging network