Road-Tripping & Camping With A Chevrolet Bolt, More Cargo Volume Than A Tesla Model 3 – Video


Here’s a perfect example of when that optional rear-view camera really shows its worth it.

Loaded Up

Road-tripping in a small car isn’t easy. Packing for camping can be even more difficult, but as you’ll witness in this video, the Chevrolet Bolt is up for the task (don’t worry the initial VVS – vertical video syndrome is only temporary).

The Bolt, though small in external dimensions, is cavernous inside for its size.  For example, its cargo volume is listed at 16.9 cubic feet, much more than the Model 3, which splits its 14 cubic feet between the trunk and frunk.

If camping is your thing, from the video the Bolt would seem to be a better choice than the Model 3, but how’s charging while on the road? That might be another story.  Watch the video to find out.

Video description:

“How easy is it to take a weekend trip of over 500 miles with camping gear? This was a trip from Culver City, CA to Morro Bay, approximately 220 miles north on the Central California coast.”

“Wanted to test the capacity of the car for packing camping gear and also find out how easy it would be to charge on the road. Checked charging availability ahead of time with the Plugshare app on my smartphone. Plugshare seems to be very accurate each time I have used it. Combination of level 2 charging and DC fast charge on EVgo.”

Category: ChevroletVideos

Tags: ,

59 responses to "Road-Tripping & Camping With A Chevrolet Bolt, More Cargo Volume Than A Tesla Model 3 – Video"
  1. bro1999 says:

    Now that’s a lot of stuff!

    If you want to take 4 people camping, you can also go the “Boltron” route and attach various accessories to your Bolt. :p

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:


      Good info for others to have to help make the decision on which would best fit their needs.

    2. WadeTyhon says:

      Is that one yours? What roof rack carrier/crossbars did you install?

      I didn’t see any suggested accessories when I built our order.

    3. Astros says:

      How much range can you get with all the accessories attached?

      1. bro1999 says:

        I actually 3.8 miles/kWh on my recent trip to Shenandoah National Park. 306 miles total, including a 3,000 foot climb at the end.

    4. Taser54 says:

      Nice, to see campers getting serious.

    5. Elooney Muskey says:

      Wow. Quite a lot of stuff. More than a Model X can do.

  2. Justin says:

    Good info, thanks for sharing your experience. Pretty hard to beat a hatchback for moving lots of cargo, especially bigger items. My Bolt swallowed a Norco Shore MTB with a big ass 888 fork on it, and the bike was completely intact (no wheels or seat post removed). No tools on a last minute Craigslist run, had to get the bike home in one piece. Amazingly it all fit in there.

    1. Brave Lil Toaster says:

      Pics, or it didn’t happen!

  3. Brave Lil Toaster says:

    “16.9 cubic feet, much more than the Model 3, which splits its 14 cubic feet between the trunk and frunk.”

    And that’s still 29% less than the 23.6 cu ft in my Leaf, with the rear seats up. I would hardly describe the Bolt’s cargo area as “cavernous” unless you were only comparing it to some sedan or sports car.

    It’s a pretty small hatchback, now that I’ve seen it in real life.

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      I’m looking forward to see what Nissan does with the next gen leaf. A Leaf would be much better if you have 4 or 5 passengers for sure.

      Although with one or more seats down in the Bolt it has considerably more cargo space than the Leaf. So depends on the use case.

    2. Kdawg says:

      However the LEAF only has 30cuft of cargo space with the seats down vs. the Bolt EV’s 56.6 cuft.

      Why are the spec’s so small on the LEAF? It seems like it should be more than that.

    3. unlucky says:

      It’s very narrow.

      Did you look under the false floor? If you remove that it’s a decent sized space, although still more height-oriented than I would like and too narrow to put your golf clubs in with the drivers in the bag.

      I’ve had a Leaf and a Bolt and with the floor out the Leaf and Bolt cargo areas feel like the same depth and length, just different widths.

  4. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    I would’ve charged at the campsite on a TT-30 or on a standard 5-15 AC L1.

    Anyone know what the max charge rate is for the Bolt on 120VAC?

    Newer Teslas are 24A on 120VAC (2880W).

    1. SparkieVee says:

      12 amp (1440W), same as Volt and Spark EV. Default is 8A, but at least with the Bolt you can use location to default to 12A at home.

      1. unlucky says:

        That’s with the included EVSE I believe. I think he was asking what you could get with a higher-current L1 EVSE.

        1. georgeS says:


          I don’t think GM has said what the max 120V charge rate would be. But certainly the battery could take a bigger charge than 1.4 kw.

          I think my biggest 120 adapter on M S is like 2.2 kw (18 amps).

  5. GeorgeS says:

    Looks like he averaged 2 miles per minute on the evgo charger.

  6. unlucky says:

    He didn’t really optimize for time and I suppose he doesn’t care. But that was some slow charging. I know it’s tempting to keep loading up when you’ve already found a charger but he would have saved a lot of time if he had left after an hour and grabbed the additional amount later if he needed it when the battery was low gain. And he may not have needed it.

    On a 50kW (500V/100A) evGo charger I went from about 25% to 60% in 30 minutes and then from there to 81% in another 30 minutes.

    On a 62.5kW (500V/125A) Greenlots charger I went from 24% to 64% in 32 minutes. That’s about 3 miles per minute.

    Still looking for the hoped-for higher-current chargers.

    1. georgeS says:


      you minimize trip times by getting at the charger with a low battery.

      Also, if you have more predicted battery % than you need you increase speed.

      I know it’s counter intuitive but it makes sense if you think about it.

      The fuel burn might be higher but you reduce trip time.

    2. scott franco says:

      You haven’t done long distance with the Bolt. The rule is: never leave charge behind. You’ll regret it.

      1. unlucky says:

        I’ve done long distance with the Bolt. I drove 650 miles in under 30 hours, including multiple fast charging stops.

        I’ve been driving and fast charging EVs for 4 years.

        As I said, it may be tempting to take the bird in the hand, but it’s smarter to move on. Him charging for a 3rd time at that same location was a very poor use of time. He may not care, but if someone else assumes you have to use your time as poorly as him because he did so then they are making a mistake.

        How did you read a post from a person posting their fast charging times on a Bolt and then assume they haven’t done long distance trips in a Bolt? I did a trip much longer than the one in this video. In a Bolt.

        1. Jason says:

          I think it is a matter of experience and confidence. Your 4yrs has given you that experience (charges faster from lower SoC than higher) and confidence (there are enough chargers and they are readily available). Not sure if this person has driven EV before, but assume not, so erring on the side of caution until they get their experience and confidence is a good thing. Posting a positive comment on how well the camping trip went was also great as it helps others become knowledgeable and confident to purchase an EV.

          I know it took me a few months to get used to the low range of the Leaf and confidence to run it almost empty. It can be a bit nerve wracking, and if you get diverted by road works or an accident, then stress level goes through the roof. But you feel great once you get home Ok.

  7. philip d says:

    The Bolt’s cargo space is arranged a lot like the i3 which is shallow and tall. When packed full you basically can’t see out of the back window. Luckily the Bolt has the rear view mirror camera thing.

    I would bet if you packed the frunk and trunk of the M3 and then stuffed the space between the back window and above the trunk shelf behind the rear seats then you could get to 16.9 cu.ft. There is at least 3 cu. ft. there. But as far as I we know the M3 won’t have a rear view mirror camera.

    Point is I don’t think their cargo capacity is very different just that the Bolt has it all in one volume which is better. I don’t know why in the world Tesla didn’t just leave out the shelf above the trunk and let the trunk space be sort of a demi-hatch space with all the room open above to the back glass.

    I always thought that shelf above the trunk in sedans behind the rear seats was a waste of space anyway. You can’t really use if for anything and it’s just one more space that collects dirt and dust that you have to vacuum.

    1. unlucky says:

      It’s only shallow until you take the false floor out. Then the cargo space is nothing like the i3 space, as the i3 has no false floor.

  8. Klaus says:

    If only I could do that in a Bolt. No 500 mile trip camping from Denver into the mountains for Bolt owners as the only CCS chargers are in the metro area. However, the camping would be nice, while I waited for a flatbed or emergency mobile charge to get home though.

    The model 3 may hold less, but I will be able to do long-range camping trips with it as there is an existing network for long-distance travel. Not throwing shade on those that are on the coasts and have good CCS coverage now, but for much of the U.S., the Bolt is relegated to a city car due to the lack of network.

    1. Nancy says:

      Agreed, the Bolt is pretty limited in its ability to escape from the west coast and head east.

      Would take dealing with a variety of motor home campsites who are sort-of-not-really EV friendly and are likely to charge you for a space to charge ($50+ in some cases).

      The Bolt is great, loved my test drive other than the front seat cutting into my thighs, but that Telsa charging network opens up the world and not at some paltry 50kw power rate.

      1. scott franco says:

        Besides the need for a Visa.

      2. unlucky says:

        In miles per hour several Teslas charge slower than the Bolt does in this video. The Bolt has the advantage of efficiency.

        1. elo says:

          Are you saying that Teslas are 40% as efficient as a Bolt?

          I find that unbelievable. Teslas seem to get around the 3 miles/kwh mark, and Bolts don’t seem to go much higher than the 4.5 miles/kwh mark (both on the highway).

          In addition the vast majority of the country won’t see more than maybe 30-50 kw on their level 3 chargers, and those chargers are stuck inside cities rather than between cities.

          And you’re also comparing a near three-ton sports sedan to a much lighter vehicle. I imagine the Model 3 will be much more efficient than the Model S/X.

          1. unlucky says:

            No. I’m saying that some Teslas don’t charge at nearly 120kW.

            It’s the big battery ones that go that fast. A Tesla Model S 60 can charge to about 170 miles in an hour. A Bolt does about the same on the charger type in this video.

            Yes, the cars are not the same mass. Did I say otherwise?

          2. Bill Howland says:

            I will say that the BOLT ev, in moderate weather, and after breaking-in (mine has 5600 miles under its belt) drove from Buffalo to Syracuse where I am right now.

            147 miles elapsed, and thats with several stints at 65 mph and passing a few cars going 85 mph. Just slight defroster usage. When I got to a ChargePoint in Syracuse (where I am now), there is 148 miles expected range left. Now going back home uses in general more juice than getting here – but the point is if I absolutely had to I COULD do the round trip without interim charging at all (294 miles) just by slowing down slightly. 4.8 miles/kwh on the trip odometer, which beats most other ev’s considering how agressively I was driving.

            When I did the trip in 15 deg F weather, I was somewhat disappointed with the range – but not now – it is obviously fantastic. When I bought the car I was hoping for something that was a bit better than my old roadster. With almost 60 kwh USEABLE capacity, I’m more than satisfied.

    2. unlucky says:

      There are 4 CCS ports near Aspen.

      Aren’t there a lot of places in the mountains less than 100 miles away you can just round trip to with no charging at all?

    3. menorman says:

      Between the VW money and the charging initiative from the NV/UT/CO governors, that problem should be gone within a year.

  9. ffbj says:

    In other GM related news, apparently some cheat devices go into some GM trucks:

    1. georgeS says:


      yeh saw the sad news for sergio/chrysler fiat.

      guess it’s mary’s turn.

    2. Nada says:

      Plus Mercdes is being investigated in US and EU and PSA is being investigated in the EU…
      Being a huge motor the polution is way worse than the little cars too…
      Yes there are no clean deisiel engines and no innocient deiseil manufactures even if they did not break the letter of the law most of the new cars polute worse than VWs cheating deisiels…
      Even if GM and FCA lose they will most likely only be slapped on the wrist and told they are naughty boys since they are US companies…

    3. Neromanceres says:

      It’s a class action suit. Until I see the EPA jump in or solid testing evidence it’s pure conjecture at this point.

  10. Fabian says:

    Wow, he arrived at one of the chargers running on electron ‘fumes’… My range anxiety would have been kicking in since a loaded EV will lose range almost as bad as running with the heater on blast.

  11. Michael Will says:

    And this is important because without supercharger network you will be camping out on your roadtrips quite a fair bit 🙂

    1. menorman says:

      VW is working on installing a network soon, though it won’t be free to use. But it will be available and in combination with the recently-announced initiative to add EV charging points to national parks, the lack of a brand-owned and built charging network isn’t a problem.

  12. Eric says:

    That’s a lovely vertical video there!

    1. Jay Cole says:

      …as noted in the story, it is only temporary (just the first ~30 seconds)

  13. Stimpacker says:

    Despite being a huge EV proponent, I think videos like these do a disservice to EV promotion.

    When ordinary folks see that you’re counting on that one station with just 2 outlets being available when you want it. Then to make things worse, you have to charge for 90mins (and probably paid nearly $30 without a subsidized card) for what would have been a simple tank up.

    It’s great that the videoman’s wife and kids are so tolerant of the wait. I have a camping trip coming up. If I take my EV, only need 1 L3 stop. Great plus is at the camping location, there is a L3 charger too. So local hops and the trip back will be super. Wife said NO. Not gonna wait 30mins in a car stuffed to the gills. So we’ll go gas.

    1. unlucky says:

      You don’t HAVE to charge for 90 minutes. He charged for 90 minutes. He even admits he didn’t have to.

      If you want to spend less time you can do it pretty easily. He didn’t manage his charging well.

      It’s as if you watched a video of a person with an ICE stopping for 40 minutes and then you said you have to stop for 40 minutes to refill an ICE.

      On an evGO charger he probably paid about $25. It would have been $30 if it had stopped after 30 minutes as he mentions they usually do. evGo charges a $5 session fee and when it stops you have to pay it again.

      I’m a little surprised you couldn’t just charge your car overnight at the camping location you speak of. If they have a DCFC then don’t they also have NEMA 14-50s for RVs? You would have to shell out for an expensive portable EVSE though.

      1. Stimpacker says:

        Weather is hot. Wife and kids are in the car. You don’t wanna crawl home and you need the ac running. Of course you’d charge more just to be safe.

        $25 eVgo 60mins vs $20 gas 5 mins. Lol and that’s only if you find an open station. Leafs in my area love to hog L3 stations thanks to the free card.

        For my mentioned camping trip, the L3 is in the nearby town. No biggie. It’s the midway L3 stop that the family can’t endure.

        1. unlucky says:

          No, I don’t want to crawl home. But it’s still a terrible use of time to charge to the level he did. And then he mentions he had a lot of excess range. The point is to charge in the right locations, instead of spending 90 minutes charging inefficiently (time-wise) in one location. He was going from SLO to Culver City. There were plenty of spaces he could have stopped and filled up again in less time. 30 minutes stop at that location and 30 minutes in Ventura or something and he would have been home with range to spare. Even with the A/C on.

          Don’t try to undercut my point by pretending I’m saying you shouldn’t put enough charge in your car. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying this guy put in far too much and spent far too much time doing it. That’s fine for him but if you want an idea of how much time you need to spend charging to do a trip then ignore this video. His method doesn’t give a useful indication of that.

          You’re comparing prices to gas now? You don’t want to do that. Even if you take a long trip every month you’ll still save money versus using gas because you spend so much less when you aren’t road tripping.

          I didn’t say anything about where your DC charging was (it’s not L3, it’s DC) was. I asked why you are DC charging at all. You probably could charge at night (L2) at the camp site and thus add no charging time to your trip at all.

          I also dislike the No Charge to Charge program (the one that leads to LEAFs and BMWs hogging DC fast chargers).

        2. elo says:

          Sounds pretty horrible.

          I’ll stick to the supercharger network my next affordable long-range EV. I can’t see the Bolt as anything more than a Leaf that doesn’t need to charge nightly, where I live it still can’t make it to the next CCS charger for a roadtrip. The slower charge rate, 1-2 stalls per stop at most, and the haphazard maintenance would scare me off even if such stations were properly positioned.

    2. scott franco says:

      When I was a kid in the 1960s traveling in central California you had to be careful about your gas stops, since the towns with stations were few and far between.

      Later in the 1970s/1980s going camping in the Sierras you had to be sure to plan around the fact that most of the mountain gas stations closed at dark and locked the pumps.

      So we have got a bit spoiled, but the relatively recent past was not that much different for gas cars.

  14. scott franco says:

    You really have to wonder how much bad press EVGO is going to get before they alter their STUPID 1/2 hour charge policy.

  15. CDAVIS says:

    “Road-tripping…with a Chevrolet Bolt”

    … an oxymoron?

    1. bro1999 says:

      Nope, simply reality.

      1. elo says:

        I can “road trip” with my Leaf too.

        You can’t road trip with a Bolt except if you live on the west or east coast.

      2. Stimpy says:

        I guess it’s a reality if your trips only head in the direction of a CCS charger. Or you live in California.

    2. Michael Will says:

      I have done it with the VW eGolf, about twice range destinations using evgo quick charge mid way. Not doing that to myself anymore now that the other car is a tesla model X with 257 mile range and 300 miles per hour supercharging, autopilot and more seats and is the default choice for anything when it is not already in use.

  16. Nix says:

    What is the point of comparing the space in a hatchback to a sedan? The space in the Model Y will be the proper comparison.

    Otherwise it is just a statement of the obvious, that hatches beat sedan trunks in space. That’s why the EPA has different classes for sedans and hatches.

  17. CVVH says:

    They were charging while having lunch. So, they would have been spending the time anyway.

  18. Bill Howland says:

    I for one appreciate this article, as it is a real ‘slice of life’ with one of the first at once both practical (extra long range), and low cost totally electric vehicles.

    These cars admittedly aren’t for everyone, as some will say its too small for them, and others will say they don’t charge fast enough, or are still too expensive for what you get.

    But in thie still ‘developmental’ stage of BEV’s – this article is educational in that it shows you that you really can use the car basically the same as you would use a totally gasoline powered car, if you are careful.

    For the time being, most people will be best served by A volt-type vehicle, or, even better, that “Work-Horse” pickup truck with plenty of power for towing a large trailer, and a huge 60 kwh battery for 80 all-electric-miles – the pickup truck will be essentially all electric except when you are on vacation, and life-cycle costs TODAY (not just in the future) are cheaper than the equivalent gasoline powered gas guzzler.

    The Truck is superefficient in EV mode, and 28 mpg ain’t shabby when the juice runs out, which isn’t often.

  19. Excellent to see how well this went. I am looking forward to getting a Bolt EV when our Leaf’s lease runs out. We will consider the new Leaf as well, but the room in the Bolt EV seems to be a much better fit for my family.