Tesla Challenges Bolt vs. Model S Range Eval, Consumer Reports Elaborates




Chevy Bolt EV

How did Consumer Reports evaluate the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model S, which resulted in the Bolt’s range-king status?

We recently reported that, according to Consumer Reports, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt exceeded the Tesla Model S in electric range. It’s important to keep in mind that the test used a 2016 Tesla Model S 75D, and while Tesla offers variants with much more range, this still came as a surprise to many, including Tesla. The Bolt offers and EPA-estimated 238 miles of range, whereas the EPA puts the specific Model S at 259 miles.

Bolt Range Competitor

Tesla Model S

The Bolt is officially the CR’s new record-holder for all-electric range. It pulled off 250 total miles to the Model S’ 235.  Though the original CR publication, as well as the video (below), seemed to do a pretty good job of explaining the testing process, CR has released another, more detailed post since Tesla recently challenged the results.

CR made it clear that Tesla offers longer range models and the Model S is still the publication’s top-rated ultra-luxury sedan. CR’s VP for Research, Testing, and Insights, Liam McCormack, shared:

“CR designs testing methodologies to enable the evaluation of all comparable products in a fair and standardized way. We look at the criteria which in our judgment are most important to consumers to evaluate products in an independent and fair manner.”

The most important point of CR’s defense is that its objective testing process aims to replicate normal day-to-day driving. While the tests include criteria like turning off the AC and heat, keeping tires properly inflated, and starting with a full charge (all things that many people aren’t likely to do), CR has no goal to set range records. Instead, the process is set up to ensure fairness, consistency, and repeatability.

CR points out specific criteria in its EV testing regimen:

  • First, we make sure the car is fully charged.
  • We check tire pressure when the tires are cold to ensure that they are all inflated to the manufacturer’s suggested settings.
  • To ensure repeatability, we turn off the heating and air conditioning system, because hard acceleration and running the HVAC system can cut the range significantly, as can driving in very cold temperatures.
  • We make sure the car is in its version of normal drive mode, not extended range mode, because our goal is not to see what’s the maximum range an EV can get when pushed to its limits, but rather to see the total number of miles a driver should expect under normal circumstances.
  • We put our EVs into their less-aggressive regenerative braking mode; regenerative brakes help EVs recapture some of the energy lost in braking. Many EVs have a mode with aggressive regenerative braking that’s meant to capture more of that energy, but it can be an intrusive experience, making the brakes seem grabby, especially for drivers who are new to EVs.
  • Our EV range test involves some mixed driving, but much of it is done by driving a constant 65 mph on highways. If drivers were to meander on rural roads at 45 mph, for example, they might get even more range.
  • We test cars when they have between 2,000 and 3,000 miles on them to assure similar levels of break-in. This is especially important as the rolling resistance for the tires can change as they wear.

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Chevrolet, General, Tesla

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186 Comments on "Tesla Challenges Bolt vs. Model S Range Eval, Consumer Reports Elaborates"

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They turned down the regen? What?

This still doesn’t provide the mix between highway cruising versus not. Are they considering the split as miles, time, or energy? How do they ensure the testing has the same acceleration and deceleration?

Not possible ..I smell something fishy . Fish Money??.. “GM”.. ?? I wouldn’t be shocked ..GM is Paying Lobbyists to Pass “Crooked Laws” To STOP Tesla from Selling Cars..SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s probably nothing fishy. Their standard is Tesla [and most EV manufacturers and drivers’] version of “why would I ever do that?” In particular, they turn down the regenerative breaking. In Tesla’s vehicles, regenerative breaking is either normal or low. Not normal or high, because you’re expected to one-pedal drive. And because the Model S is like 75% heavier than the Bolt, the regenerative breaking does a lot more in the Model S than it does in the Bolt, even when both are aggressive. This is not to say anything bad about the Bolt. It’s just a byproduct of the Model S being heavier. It gets more electricity back from converting kinetic energy to stop than a lighter car would. So that could explain some of the Model S’ poor performance here. Although, it must also be stated that using the more aggressive regen with the Bolt might’ve pushed it beyond the Model S’ rated 259 miles.


What a heavier car gets back more by Regen it has to spend regardless to accelerate first, that is exactly how they cheated to get the result they wanted.

I don’t know if I agree with you there. When the Bolt is in drive (low regen mode), regen pretty much only happens when the brake pedal is activated. I haven’t driven a TMS but I have to some that they’re doing something similar. I think it would be pretty stupid in Tesla doesn’t make use of ten when the brake pedal is applied, if that’s the case then maybe that’s the point that CR is trying to make.

With that said, they must be trying to drive in a mode that they think applies to most people. Whether that’s traditional drive mode like an ICE automatic car or one pedal mode is debatable.

If I’m not mistaken, Tesla made a conscious decision that the brake pedal would only activate the regular automotive braking system of calipers and pads. The goal was to provide the high quality feel and modulation of braking force that people are used to in regular cars.

You are correct. Tesla’s implementation is 100% of regen is from accelerator pedal lift off. I don’t know about the Bolt but Volt is mixed and regular mode is lower on the lift off to give it a feel closer to an automatic transmission ICE. I believe the total potential regen power is the same just more is shifted to the brake pedal in the Volt but a Tesla significantly reduces regen max power in the low setting. Thus it could be a double whammy for the.Model S due to the much higher weight.

Based on the Bolts CUV shape, I find it very hard to believe a significant amount of the battery energy was used to propel both cars at constant 65mph. That defies the laws of physics based on what battery pack sizes are supposed to be.

YOu mean you can’t gently brake a Tesla to a stop and use the regen feature? You have to use a high regen equivalent of the Low gear on a Volt? That would get irritating fast!
I tried to drive my Volt in Low and one pedal drive when I got it and it was just no fun. I have played with it a few times over the past 4 years and keep coming back to using the brake pedal for regen, it just feels more like driving a car and less like riding a couch. YMMV.
Not having regen from the brake pedal is a negative in my book. I still want a Tesla but I will be mildly irritated with this aspect for the first couple years I drive it. And then I will hit a Supercharger for about 30 minutes and laugh for almost 200 miles of driving. LOL!

Neither car can be regened to a stop. I have both cars and both are good but I prefer Tesla’s implementation. You have much better control over the regen power with Tesla since you control which breaking power is used. It is a very short learning curve since they have done a great job programming the lift off regen. You have good control of the regen power. With the Volt, you don’t know when friction breaks are kicking in and the implementation is a more wonky at slow speed if you aren’t breaking hard enough to engage friction prior to low speed. It’s not bad or dangerous, just a touch wonky.

Either way, regen gives out around 4mph.

To each his own. I drive the wife’s Bolt exclusively in L. Same with my Volt, but going from the Bolt back to the Volt takes a bit of adjustment. since the regen is so much weaker in the Volt. It did take a while to get used to the stronger regen in the Bolt at first too. I was coming up short at stops for a few days, but now I have it down.

If that’s the case and there’s any significant amount of city driving happening in this year then the Bolt should take it as it does about 75% of max regen using the brake pedal alone in “drive”. Not its most efficient mode, but if the MS has zero regen via brake pedal then that would allow the Bolt to take a significant lead in the city portion of the test and an overall win.

If thats true, why are the S/X EPA city numbers lower than highway? Hmm?

Eric, I think you found the reason why the Tesla car was rated low in range: C.R. likely turned down or off regenerative braking, to make the levels of Tesla regen equal to the Bolt regen.

Now since heavy regeneration, one pedal driving is normal in the Tesla, why on Earth would they cripple the Tesla?

You have to ask them. (They aren’t talking). I haven’t trusted them since they first gave the Model S car of the Year and then took it away after Detroit “touched” them (mob slang, see the Untouchables movie) in ways that have never come out. Its really sad. My Mom trusted C.R. when she bought a top-rated German-made dishwasher, and its wheels keep falling off. Now she doesn’t trust CR’s ratings anymore either.

If I loose, it is crooked!

I would like to see CR redo the test with maximum regen for both cars. You know drive them the way real owners of EVs drive them not they way CR thinks people will drive them because of CR’s preconceived notions about customers new to EVs.

The first time I drove our EV I thought regen was a little different but was willing to try it out. The next day I had calibrated to it and preferred it.

I realized I didn’t have to move my foot back and forth from the accelerator to the brake pedal a thousand times a day and it gave me similar control around corners to shifting down in a manual car. People will use it so put it in the test.

Can you say “sour grapes”? Would you like some cheese with that whine, Elon?

No need for sour grapes because unlike GM Tesla has a good answer to the question “what happens when the juice runs out?”.

In Tesla’s case the Supercharger network and 170 miles in 30 minutes of charging happens. In Bolt’s case…well GM advertises this as an urban vehicle, best not to venture too often outside that base range. Because “up to” 90 miles in 30 minutes from 80KW chargers that don’t even exist and being relegated to myriad charging networks/payment systems with questionable reliability and coverage will not make for a very satisfactory long range experience.

In the end the answer to the question “what happens when the juice runs” out will go further to entice people into EV as longer base range, as shown by the fact that people line up for Model 3 while Bolt is already widely discounted.

That’s true, unless of course you have to wait 2 hours for a SC bay when those 500k M3’s are out there on the road !

Tesla is feverishly expanding the SC network, not just many new locations but also a massive increase in stall numbers per location. Maybe things will still get crowded on holiday peaks but don’t even think of taking that Bolt anywhere when such peaks occur.

Why don’t even think of taking that Bolt anywhere during holiday peaks?

Are you implying that the DC fast chargers out there will be in use? If the Bolt is simply an urban vehicle then who is there to use those fast chargers? I think you are arguing out of both sides of your mouth.

BTW, I’ve never seen GM advertise not to venture outside the max range on the Bolt. Where did you see this?

Yes, the Bolt does not charge quickly. But the biggest issue, in my view, is that it is extremely difficult to do city-to-city driving because very few commercial chargers are build in the rural areas where charging is needed to complete such a journey. These are not judged to be financially viable by the commercial companies that install such chargers. This was a conscious decision by GM and suggests that, for now, the Bolt is just another compliance car. For Tesla, having such chargers has been a priority.

Again with is BS about Bolt being a compliance car? If Bolt is a compliance car, Tesla is also a compliance car. Stop it with this compliance car nonsense. There’s only one compliance car at this time, and that’s Fiat 500e. Calling anything else “compliance car” means every EV including Tesla is a compliance car.

Kia Soul EV is also a compliance car. It’s only in CARB states. The Hyundai IONIQ Electric is also a compliance car. The e-Golf is also, being its in 12 states, even if it is available in a few places that aren’t CARB. The Honda Clarity EV is a compliance car.

And both FCEVs (Honda Clarity, Toyota Marai) are compliance cars.

The BMW i3 BEV might as well be, since dealers don’t carry it outside California. There isn’t a single BMW i3 BEV available within a 100 mile radius of Manhattan for example. There are 223 i3 REXes.

All cars except 500e are also sold in areas that do not require compliance, mainly Europe and Asia. I think Mirai and Clarity are sold in Japan where compliance is not required.

Clarity Electric is only sold/leased in California and Oregon. Clarity FCV is sold in these areas plus Japan and some other places.

I also think it’s very easy to fool oneself about what it means for one of these cars which already has limited availability to be available outside CARB areas. Much like the i3 BEV just because it’s officially for sale doesn’t mean you can get one. Good luck finding a dealer to sell you a B250e, Soul EV or BMW i3 BEV outside of a few major metropolitan areas worldwide (even including California).

It doesn’t matter if it’s difficult to get or not. The point is that it is available outside of compliance areas, and that means it cannot be called compliance car.

If you consider difficulty in obtaining, by far the wost is FocusEV. There’s something seriously wrong with Ford corporate. I thought I’m bad at sales, they are worse!

I forgot about ClarityEV, and you are correct. There are two compliance cars: Fiat 500e and Honda ClarityEV. If you include used lease, now-available Honda FitEV would also qualify.

Again, I think it’s easy to fool yourself about what it means for these cars to be available. Typically they are available in name only.

What’s the difference in practice between a car that is officially available outside California and Oregon but not actually available and a car that is not officially available outside California and Oregon? Nothing.

FFE is indeed hard to get. I do know a couple people who have them. The fact that they got them at such a great price surely is connected to why Ford doesn’t make any. If you’re forced to sell a car at a loss you’re not going to sell more than you have to.

In Korea, Bolt is available in name only; they sold out of their allocation on the first day. That doesn’t mean Bolt is a compliance car, no more than IoniqEV being sold out.

As some mentioned, “mostly compliance” is meaningless. CA has about half of all EV, and vast majority of EV are sold in CARB states. That would make every EV “mostly compliance” cars.

Compliance car moniker is simple: they are the cars only sold in compliance states and nowhere else. Tacking on anything else would make every EV compliance cars. Some gasbags would agree that every EV are indeed compliance cars; at least their logic is consistent than EV advocates claiming hodge podge.

And Tesla is compliance company if you want to push this name calling nonsense. It would not exist without government handouts of taxpayer money. These “compliance cars” as you call them at least have reasonable weight, price and battery size and serve their purpose to be friendly to environment. 100 kWh luxury tanks defeat the whole purpose of subsidies by trashing environment through battery manufacturing and substitute dependence on oil by dependence on cobalt, nickel and electric grid.

Very much the TRUTH ZZZZZ.
In addition, …”a driver should expect under normal circumstances.”…….normal conditions are with using heat or using air, since maybe 10-20% of drivers in USA drive around with no heat or air.

I live near Hyundai USA HQ. They just installed a massive amount (35-40) of charging stalls in their parking lot. Why would they waste money on that if it was only for compliance?

I like you SparkEV – I’m a big Spark EV fan, Volt fan and a big supporter of the Bolt EV. Since we usually agree, I hate to sound like the “I have to be right” guy – but even friends must disagree sometimes ( ask my wife! ). I’m afraid every single electric car play short of the LEAF are some form of compliance car today. As has been discussed hundreds of times in here – ICEmakers only make electrified product because THEY HAVE TO, not because they want to. The high margins on crossover SUVs, truck-based SUVs and trucks plus ICE sedans is so high in comparison to EVs, PHEVs and EREVs that they dribble those out in various and sundry ways as “green halo” products ( Volt, Bolt EV ) and ZEV collectors in C.A.R.B. states. I used to work for a car dealership and they readily admit they make money in parts and service and the retail car portion of the business is pretty much break even. Since EVs don’t need brake jobs, filters, oil changes and the like – they’re big losses for the company. My local Chevy dealers admits to me they make no… Read more »

Great post James!! It’s sad that it’s the truth. That’s why I summarily dismiss all the “next Tesla-killer” headlines on the internet. I still can’t take any Tesla competition seriously. Hopefully that will change beyond 2020.

A “compliance car” is a low emissions car to make up for high emission cars in the company’s fleet. Since Tesla has no high emissions cars, only zero emission cars there are no “compliance” Teslas.

Until they sell their compliance credits. Then by your definition Tesla is a compliance company just like everybody else.

Correct, Bolt is mostly a compliance car, it’s the price GM pays for selling highly profitable trucks, not a product that needs to be big and profitable, hence no need for factory support for the sort of infrastructure that would help sell this car in large numbers.

Exactly. Because of Tesla’s success, ICEmakers are sweating the circumstances should they need to ramp up battery production and play catch up with Tesla’s Gigafactory 1. Sure, those companies dwarf tiny Tesla and can build those factories in 2 years or so…But it’s the LAST thing they want to do – because when they make BEVs that make their gass guzzling, smelly oily cars look bad, they know the writing is on the wall – the death knell for the gasoline, fire-burning, high profit, high service, parts hog automobile. Where will their massive parts and service monies go? – Well, they better prepare. The new jobs will be in servicing and replacing gadgets like navigation, auto-drive units, cellphone chargers, touchscreens, cameras and sensors…No more valve jobs, mufflers, filters, transmission overhauls, spark plugs, etc….etc….etc… e Change is hard. Change comes slow to a gargantuan industry like the auto industry. They don’t want to change – Do you? Tell a smoker he has to quit…It’s the same thing with automakers. LG Chem has just announced plans to expand. If I were you, I’d find out how to buy LG Chem stock. Companies like Samsung SDI and LG Chem along with Panasonic and… Read more »

“Mostly” a compliance car? So that means EVERY EV is compliance car. Tesla sell compliance credits, Leaf gets compliance credit.

Actually, Zoe is not sold in US, so going by your definition, that’s the only EV that isn’t a compliance car. That definition makes zero sense.

I watch http://www.supercharge.info regularly, and check details of new listings; it seems that 30-40% of new listings are still 8 stalls per site, 20% are of the 20 Stall size, and the balance are about 10-14 Stalls. Would need to graph the numbers on a spreadsheet for more accuracy, but that is about my sense, as I have seen 3-4 new 20 Stall listings in about the last 4-6 weeks, or so.

Some are even odd numbers, like 9, or 11, amazing enough, plus some older 4-6 Stall sites have recently been expanded to 12 Stalls, as well, or even up to 20!

It would seem some of the odd numbers have been built for – maybe, trailer towing Model X’s?

Lining up for 2-4 hours, fir a Supercharger is Nucking Futs!

Why not drop in on a CHAdeMO charger instead, or even a good L2?

Actually, Not Just I, but I notice many others suggesting that Tesla Put in an Equal Number of L2 Destination Chargers right next to Superchargers, so drivers can fast charge to 80%, then move to the L2 to Top up, and Free Up their Supercharger spot faster, since at that point, the L2 can finish up at about the same speed, especially if it is an 80 Amp or 100 Amp breaker supported unit!!

I also notice that across Canada, their was a comment by Elon that we would have Superchargers covering us by years end along the Trans Canafa Highway, but such a plan is not even shown as coming soon on their Supercharger find us page, so the Supercharger wait would be measured in Months, here, not hours!

However, there IS the installed base of Sun Country Highway branded Clipper Creek L2 chargers that a Tesla can drive from Nova Scotia to Victoria, on, at least!

“fast charge to 80%, then move to the L2 to Top up”

I have never seen anyone actually move to L2 even if it’s tapered slower than L2 rate. Even when I showed them that their car has tapered so much that L2 would be just as quick and cheaper, they continue to stay on DCFC. What you suggest simply won’t work.

You’ve no future in sales or marketing. 🙂

I’ve personally done this twice. Reasonable people will switch to L2 when you point out that they will get the same charge speed.

You need a CHAdeMO station which shows charging power level, and an L2 station which is close (even better if the L2 plug can reach without moving the car).

I’ve been in this situation twice, both times this argument has worked.

Considering many (or even most) people don’t know the difference between W and kW, let alone kWh, I doubt I (or you) can convince too many without going through electricity 101 course. By that time, they’d be ready to leave.

My first job was in sales, got fired a week later when I couldn’t sell anything (literally zero). I admit, I’m terrible at sales. If GM really didn’t want to sell Bolt, they would’ve hired me as head of marketing. 🙂

I’m sorry, I don’t agree.

Generally people aren’t going to move their car an extra time to get charged. They just want to walk away and come back to it done. I’m sure you can find someone who moves their car but it’ll be a rarity.

It’ll be especially a rarity given that for many people DCFC is free but L2 costs money.

Also, depending on the car, L2 is usually going to be slower. For example on a Bolt even the very last moment of charging at 99.99% is at 10kW on a DCFC. Given that you’re only going to get 6.6kW from the L2 that means the DCFC is still at least 50% faster. I think a LEAF is the same way. It looks like the LEAF tapers to 11kW at the end. Whereas AC charging maxes at 6.6kW.

Of course on a Tesla if you have a 72A (17kW) onboard charger and a 72A EVSE you might be able to charge as quickly on L2 as on DC charging (supercharging) for the last bit of it.

Leaf and i3 get 1 hour of free L2. I’ve seen some Leaf as low as 3 kW at DCFC when over 90%. Many are under 6 kW.

An Older typical (2011-2014) 24 kWh Nissan Leaf, charges a lot slower over 90% SOC, on DC fast chargers, compared to the 2015 and 2016 & 2017 30 kWh Nissan Leaf. Newer Leaf battery packs, and the 30 kWh larger batteries are much better DC fast charger electron sponges.

Just think of the complaining, negative news stories and fist fights that ensued when former horse buggy owners bought a new-fangled horseless carraige and had to line up for gas at the one pump existent for 50 miles?

Same thing with the evolution of the EV. The Model 3 will surpass the LEAF as the most common EV and those people will want a plug – and fast! It will be painful to watch as we fight over a very limited number of L3 and L2 charging opportunities. Fights, ripping plugs out of cars – negative news stories – the oil, gas and ICEmaker industries chiming in how EVs are not for today….We’ll see it all.

In the end, however, I believe the same evolution in fueling that happened with gas pumps will happen with EVs until you can walk 3 blocks from your home and find a public charging opportunity that is open and available.

Con Man Musk promised something that hasn’t even begun to materialize? That’s Shocking!

After the Wall Street Journal article on his “Autopilot” fiasco he’d better be preparing for court, because that’s where the little scam artist is going to end up. And he’s going to lose Big Time. He and the company he didn’t start, have without a doubt, and on the record, committed fraud.

Finally some real journalism by people that haven’t drunk the TSLA kool-aide. This is just the beginning too, when the whole sweater starts unraveling it’s going to be spectacular. #Gigglefactory

This troll must have copied and pasted a Tesla basher FUD post from Seeking Alpha from 2-3 years ago. Really, “gigglefactory”?

Does anyone take these childish trolls seriously?

I’m not sure I can be bothered. Yawn, stretch. No can’t be bothered ?

90 miles in 30 minutes is from an ordinary 100A-125A (50kW to 62.5kW) charger. Not from a 200A (80kW) charger.

The cars are discounted because of the dealer system. The dealers have reason to try to get you to their store instead of going to another’s store. It’s not GM’s fault nor is it any kind of problem for them. What’s wrong with cars costing less? Isn’t that very idea the entire thing that makes people like the Model 3?

According to GM it takes an 80KW charger. Surprisingly as 90 miles/30 minutes really is the sort of performance one would expect from 50KW, but for unknown reasons Bolt tapers off real quick.

As for discounting: that’s not rivalling dealers (not that many that are Bolt certified anyway and the way franchise dealer mandates work inter-dealer competition is avoided as much as possible), that’s dealers moving stock that’s piling up. It makes sense though, entry levels Model 3 and Bolt can’t sell for similar MSRP, there is just too much of a value difference.

According to GM they recommend an 80kW charger. But the 90 miles in 30 minutes figure does not require 80kW charging.

It doesn’t even take 60kW to get 90 miles in 30 minutes. The quoted 90 miles in 30 minutes figure is not on a mythical charger, it’s on the normal 125A chargers you can find out there already.

If you start at less than 20% SoC (48 miles remaining) and charge for 30 minutes on a 125A charger you will add at least 90 miles range.

I’m not sure what “tapers off quick” means. Up until an hour charging (starting at 0%) it’s charging at a rate of at least 75 miles per 30 minutes. It then drops down to 50 miles per 30 minutes. I’m not sure that sounds like it’s tapering off quick to me.

Bolt doesn’t “taper” in a conventional sense. It “steps down” to 36kW at about 50%, 25kW at about 70%. Gradual taper as we typically know occur above 90%. It is an oddball.

I hope GM improves the Bolt charging experience by increasing the taper points from 53% and 70% to 60% and 80% respectively. Increasing the reduced charge rates from 36 kW to 44 kW and 25 kW to 30 kW wouldn’t hurt either. These steps could be done via a software upgrade.
They would cause an infinitesimal increase in stress on the pack and it would speed the charge process considerably.
GM engineers are some of the brightest out there. I have a feeling these charge taper points are a bean counters mechanism to unnecessarily reduce wear on the pack.

What is the cooling capacity of the battery pack? Charging longer at higher rates will increase the battery temp.

LG engineers designed the battery pack, not GM.
So much of the GM Bolt was engineered by LG that people are calling it the LG Bolt.

“No need for sour grapes because unlike GM Tesla has a good answer to the question “what happens when the juice runs out?”

Then you have to push the EV off the road. Pushing a Chevy Bolt Ev is much easier than a Model S!!

L 🙂 L Nice, Raymond.

Good to see you!

Yes but do they drive the cars side by side during this comparison test drive? How can the insure equal driving conditions if not?

Volt#671 +BoltEV

the s/b they….

I think stating the ratio of hwy miles to city miles would be useful. 50/50 would not be unreasonable.
And I think that having the HVAC set to low heat for 20% of the test and low AC for another 20% of the test would be a good idea. You could muddy the waters by using seat heaters a certain amount, but I think the heater/AC is more important to include.

CR said “much” of the test was done in highway driving…which suggests the majority was done at highway speeds, where the Bolt should have suffered due to inferior aero.

65 mph is pretty slow for highway driving. 70-80 mph is much more representative…

Not true if your state speed limits are below 65 MPH. And at lower speeds you will get much better range. Drive slower, be safer, save money.

Which mythical State of the Union has freeway/Interstate speed limits lower than 65 MPH between cities?

Inside city limits, yeah. We see that a lot. But not outside.

New York State, for one – in places 55 mph is vigorously enforced – ‘ between cities ‘.

You’ve seen pictures maybe.

english is 3rd language I know, but much != most

True. Much is one of those squishy words used when you don’t want to be specific. It’s, very much, not scientific.

P1–I used to go there quite often, but now they have changed so much, I don’t go there as much as I used too. What’s new with you.

P2–Not Much.

Actually turning down the regen might explain the results. In the Tesla that will lead to increased use of Friction brakes. In the Bolt EV maximum regen is still available through the brake pedal and using D vs L likely didn’t change the friction brake use.

Well then that’s poor design on Tesla’s part. No reason to use friction brakes unless the car stops quick.

…did you miss the part where they said they turned regen down to it’s lowest setting? You tell Tesla not to regen, it won’t regen. Sorry Chevrolet doesn’t do what users want it to do.

You can indeed turn down the regen in the Bolt. Drive it in D instead of L. This is how most drivers coming over from ICE will drive the Bolt. The fact that Tesla throws away kinetic energy during braking is poor design.

The Bolt still uses the friction brakes every time you come to a stop, even though it might not seem like it. They are actually engaged automatically.

I didn’t know that. So presumably they would wear out faster. Maybe CR should do a report on that too.

I know at least one media report (GCR) has said the Bolt automatically uses friction braking to bring the car to a full stop during the last few mph of regenerative braking as part of one-pedal driving. This is false.

I talked to a GM engineer who worked on this area of the Bolt design and followed up with a confirmation from the official press representative for the Bolt. It does not use friction braking when bringing the car to a full stop in ‘L’ drive or when using the regen paddle on the steering wheel.

You are correct. The Bolt EV doesn’t use friction brakes to stop the car in L or with the regen paddle. However there is no regen available below a certain speed threshold so the Bolt EV has to apply power in the reverse direction to stop the car at very low speeds.

Driving the Bolt EV in D vs. L does NOT turn down the regeneration. All the regeneration from L is moved from the accelerator map to the Brake pedal map in D. So full regeneration is still available in D except that it’s seamless to the user and integrated into the brake pedal. It’s fantastic engineering really.

You can stop a GM EV with friction brakes too. It’s called slamming on the brakes. But, during normal driving, an EV should only use friction brakes for the last bit of braking to stop and hold the car.

Unless Tesla has some issue with smooth blended brakes, I can’t imagine why a setting would exist to disable regen.

Poor design? Possibly. It was a conscious decision to improve the linear brake feel for a performance minded car. The vast majority of the time, the regen handles braking. So the energy use and brake pad wear is a non issue. But when you are driving more aggressively, the brakes are pure Brembro massive rotors rather than that blended with regen (except the standard regen). I was disappointed in this design decision initially but have mostly changed my mind. My comparison is my other car the Leaf and the Bolt surely has more aggressive regen. But what I don’t like about the Leaf is that I am using friction brakes regularly even if they are mixed with regen. In the end, the downside is not bad with Tesla’s design. The upside is a more linear and consistent brake feel. That is important. So a trade off rather than poor design is the best way to put it. Either way, short circuiting it by cutting the regen down is a bad idea. It just rewards the car that doesn’t allow you to reduce regen. Also the exclusion of range mode penalizes the Tesla a bit – I leave in range mode… Read more »

Informative and worthwhile to read. I had wondered about that but figured that Tesla knew what they were doing, I guess I was right.

Chevy says the car may heat the pack below about 55 degrees. But I’ve never seen it do so. You can check to see how much energy it has put into pack conditioning since the last charge and I’ve never need it measure anything other than 0%. It doesn’t get really cold where I am but I have certainly driven the car below 55 and left it stored outside below that temp too.

I don’t know the exact threshold in the Bolt EV but in the Volt the pack while the car is on is thermally managed to about ~68 to 80F. When off and plugged in the Volt won’t heat the pack until the battery falls below 30F. And even then it will only heat the pack to above 40F.

Keep in mind these temperatures are battery temperatures which can be drastically different than outside air temperatures as the battery is well insulated and self generates heat when in use and/or charging.

Thank you for this post. It explains well how Consumer Reports’ testing design penalized Tesla, giving an unrepresentative range result.

1) If you are going to test the range, either as a testing organization or as an owner, then it makes sense to set it in long-range mode. Obviously if you are worried about how long you can go on a charge then you top the battery off fully.

2) Leave the regen in Normal mode because that’s how the car was designed to be driven normally. The lack of engagement of regen by brake pedal by Tesla is a legitimate design choice that Consumer Reports is penalizing by setting the regen level to low.

I’d very much like to see CR redo this test with these two settings on the ones that are ‘normal’ for any owner who is trying to maximize range. I bet the S75 would trounce the Bolt then.

How many Joe Schmoes are gonna menu dive in a Tesla and find the various range modes and regen settings and tweak them?

Well the regen setting defaults to ‘normal’ I think, so in that case CR changed it away from the default setting, and from how most people actually drive the car just because of their preconceived notion of how people might drive the car.

The long range setting for charging you have a point, but I doubt it is very hard to change the setting, and I expect most Tesla owners know it is there to use if they want/need it.

If Joe Schmoe doesn’t menu dive, he’ll be in the normal regen mode, which uses heavier regen.

The problem with what CR is doing is that it is inconsistent. It is simultaneously requiring knowledge of the car while also feigning ignorance.

Only a Tesla basher would assert that it was proper for CR not to fully charge the car (using Range mode) for a range test, with the basher claiming that a Tesla driver wouldn’t know how to do that.

Next you’ll be saying Tesla cars don’t handle rain properly, because the driver might not know how to turn on the windshield wipers.

Tell us again, bro1999, how you’re “really a fan” of Tesla and not here just to bash them. 🙄

David Cary said:

“…short circuiting it by cutting the regen down is a bad idea. It just rewards the car that doesn’t allow you to reduce regen. Also the exclusion of range mode penalizes the Tesla a bit…”

Now here is someone who has been paying attention!

Whether or not CR deliberately weighted its choices to penalize the Tesla car, the fact is that the so-called “fair” choices CR arbitrarily made are not at all fair and balanced, when it comes to a fair or level comparison between the Bolt EV and the Model S 75D.

Tesla should have been able to design blended brakes smooth enough to negate the need to ever disable regen. GM managed to design a smooth blended braking system, so it is possible.

Yes, the Bolt and all GM EV/PHEVs have excellent TMS systems. They’re more efficient and more advanced than the basic algorithm Tesla uses. Hence the lack of vampire drain issues that plagued Tesla in the past, and still do to some degree.

“They’re more efficient and more advanced than the basic algorithm Tesla uses.”

In due time we will see who’s battery system is better by the amount of degradation.

Biased much, dude?

You’re correct to criticize the “vampire drain” that existed in the Roadster, but Tesla’s later cars didn’t have that problem.

The other differences you describe between Tesla cars and GM cars were choices, as David Carey has so eloquently explained. Which choice is seen as “good” or “bad” is going to depend on individual preference, not some objective standard.

We all have our biases. I’ve always been a GM guy, but will likely buy a Tesla at some point. There is no arguing that the Super Charger network is a major advantage for them.

Last I checked the Model S still has significant battery usage while sitting. Hopefully the M3 will be more efficient. I wouldn’t like paying for power to keep the car happy while it’s sitting. The battery shouldn’t need that level of pampering.

GM’s EV/PHEV EPA range ratings are very conservative. I have a Volt and Spark EV and can attest to that being the case for both of them during normal driving. Everything I’ve read about the Bolt indicates it holds true there too.

I don’t believe Tesla is nearly as conservative with EPA range estimates.

So, given that the EPA ratings between the Bolt and MS75 were only about 20 miles different to start, it’s not hard to believe that the Bolt would get the same or slightly more range in real world driving.

Weight is the big elephant in the room. The Tesla is bigger and about twice the weight. That takes more energy no matter what fuel you use or how fast or slow you drive.

That should have shown up in the EPA rated range they published then.

Bottom line is that two cars were driven on the same course at the same time and one of them won. It’s just not the one that was expected based on the BS EPA range ratings.

Is anyone really surprised that the EPA rating is inaccurate and not comparable between brands? As always, the manufacturers do the testing on their own cars. And, the EPA mpg ratings for gas cars was never accurate.

The only thing that’s surprising is that any informed person would claim the EPA’s range ratings are “BS”.

In fact, since circa 2012 the EPA’s range ratings have been a pretty close match to the average of what people actually report in real-world driving, and they are a far better match to reality than the European (NEDC), Japanese, or Chinese test cycle ratings!

The only ratings which I think are even more accurate than the EPA’s is those from Edmunds.com, and unfortunately Edmunds does not do MPG or EV range tests on every car they review. I looked for their range rating on the Bolt EV, but so far as I can see they don’t have one. 🙁

I call them BS because I drive two vehicles that blow away the EPA range estimates during normal driving.

Again, the ratings are done by each manufacturer and are colored by the way they want to present their car. GM greatly understates range and apparently Tesla minorly overstates.

A neutral third party, like the EPA, should be doing the tests.

Anyone remember the massively overstated EPA ranges Ford used early on.

Keep in mind the EPA doesn’t test many cars and they rely upon the manufacturers to supply data to them to support their EPA numbers. I think it’s clear that some manufacturers supply the EPA with nominal or conservative data and some supply optimistic or best case data.


A Tesla weighs 7,000 pounds?

no, about 4500

Right. Ones a sedan and ones a city runabout, and the sedan weights, much, much, more.

“jim stack” said:

“The Tesla is bigger and about twice the weight. That takes more energy”

It also has a bigger battery pack.

This CR comparison is about maximum range, not about energy efficiency. No informed person would dispute that a significantly smaller car — in this case, the Bolt EV — is more energy efficient. It would be remarkable if that wasn’t true!

Why is it that Tesla sold more Model S 75 D than the Bolt then?

Because there isn’t much of a market for $40K compact hatches. Plus people like great range but also a good answer to the question: “what happens when the juice runs out?” which Tesla has and GM not so much.

With the Bolt, It warns you and slows down..
The Tesla warns you too, and slows down,
probably you can get to charger.
The Bolt not so much.

If you mean a DC fast charger (or supercharger) then neither car is likely to make it to a charger after the car warns you the juice is running out. DCFCs and Superchargers are tens of miles apart and if you get a warning from either car that you’re about to run out of juice you have less than 10 miles remaining.

So, your argument is that Tesla’s Supercharger network is nearly useless. Got it.

Fortunately, in the real world, Tesla owners know better. They know that they are far less likely to find themselves in the situation of running out of juice during an extended driving trip because the Supercharger network offers so many places and opportunities to charge up, and to charge up much faster than you can with a Bolt EV.

Don’t put your arguments into my mouth. If you want to make up nonsensical arguments go ahead, but attribute them correctly, to yourself.

The poster talked about what you’re going to do when the car tells you it’s almost out of power. I explained what would happen. And it’s not good for either car. You’re exceedingly unlikely to be near a charger.

Both cars will require planning to drive beyond (or to the edge of) their range.

“Don’t put your arguments into my mouth.”

Definitely wasn’t my argument, dude. It was yours.

One of the marks of a Tesla basher is how they insinuate things and then pretend innocence when you call them on what they insinuated.

Let me rephrase that: “what happens when you are in need of a fill up”, as in is there any conveniently located infrastructure around that you have access to (subscription/payment systems), is most likely in working order and has decent charging speed.

I did not mean what happens when you’re flat, that’s when a flatbed or something happens no matter what you drive.

In my case, yes. You have to plan ahead, like with any EV, including a Tesla. You should know where the chargers are before you set out. If you just drive without regard to remaining range you may find yourself in trouble though.

Except in a tesla it knows for you, gps routes you through superchargers and is enrrgy aware going up and down elevations.

There’s a guy working on such software to use with SparkEV, probably can be used with other EV as well. Not sure how things are going. Hello? Dr. Francis? Are you home?

That function is built into the myChevrolet app for the Bolt. I haven’t used it because I use PlugShare instead. It works well.

I have used this with the mychevrolet app as well.

It is nice in that it lets you very easily throw the address to your onstar in vehicle navigation.

But it is not much quicker than just using plugshare, throwing it to apple maps, and plugging in via USB.

Well if you are a complete flake and run out of juice on the highway, you have 24/7 roadside assistance with Onstar. Just press the blue button.

Or if you do not have onstar, there is a number you call. A tow truck can take you to the nearest charger.

I would highly suggest planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of extra range between charges for the Tesla S or the Bolt. Don’t tempt fate!

Have they? I didn’t see Tesla release breakdowns by trim levels.

“Why is it that Tesla sold more Model S 75 D than the Bolt then?”

There’s more than one reason. One of those reasons is that GM is only going to make about 30,000 units per year, because they’re not making much if any profit off the car, as opposed to Tesla which wants to sell as many as they can. Unlike GM, most of Tesla’s (gross) profits come from sales of EVs.

Elon Musk explains why GM won’t make more than 20k-30k Bolt EVs per year:


CR could have at least used a 2017 Tesla Model S along with a the 2017 Bolt for comparison. That would have been a more equal side by side product evaluation, even if the driving range numbers remained unchanged, according to their purported objective vehicle analysis.

You have to use “extended range mode” in Tesla’s to use all your battery. CR doesn’t do that because it’s not “normal”. So, short range for Tesla.

The Bolt has a “hilltop mode” which probably does about the same but in reverse. Of course CR doesn’t use that either. So, long range for the Bolt.

This all favors the Bolt. In fact, it reminds me of Nissan’s fight with the EPA, except that was even more important since the results showed up on the official sticker. If Tesla thought this was important enough they could make all charging “range mode” to fix it, but I would be very surprised if they did.

Just how do you figure these things into the test results? This is the first I heard of the Bolt’s hilltop mode being able to extend its range beyond EPA’s 238 mile rating.

That’s not what he claimed. He said “…but in reverse”, which means he’s claiming using Hilltop Mode would result in a lower maximum range.

I don’t know anything about that, so won’t comment. But there’s no doubt that CR doesn’t fully charge its Tesla cars. They said so in an early extended test drive review, altho you had to read pretty far down into that long article to see that, despite the article having stated in the opening paragraphs the lower range (lower than EPA range) they got.

CR should always, always specify, when they’re talking about the range they get from a Tesla car, that they don’t fully charge the car. They should always specify “Our results were 235 miles of range at 80% charge”, or whatever level of charge they’re using.

The fact that CR doesn’t clearly state this may or may not be intentionally dishonest, but either way it certainly is misleading.

Hilltop Reserve stops charging about 10 miles before full in my experience. I leave it on all the time because the regen is cut off for the first 10 miles if I don’t.

23.8 miles gained by charging all the way in my Bolt ev (EPA). I’m guessing this is charging to 90% vs. 100%. THere are 2 bars still remaining to be charged, but I don’t know what the precise percentage is – only that each ‘bar’ is worth 5%.

GM owners manuals have the deficiency of talking all day but not saying much.

One thing I do like about the Bolt, in this regard, that Tesla doesn’t have, is the paddle regen on the column.
It seems like it would be convenient and useful.

Turning regenerative braking to “low” on the Tesla is stupid, because the vast majority of people have it set to aggressive. It only has the low setting for people who don’t like regenerative braking

It’s like charging the battery to 80% because “some people don’t like filling the battery too high”. Totally misses the engineered feature of the car to get better range. Idiots.

At the very least – do one comparison “with” and one comparison “without”. Then repeat both of them at least 3 times to get a statistical handle on the standard deviation of the measurement. This is something 7th graders are supposed to learn in their science fair experiments.

CR charges Tesla battery packs to only 80% because “that’s what the manual recommends” for daily charging. I dunno what they are charging the Bolt EV to, but if the Bolt manual doesn’t recommend 80% daily charging and so CR charges that to 100%, then that alone would explain the discrepancy**.

Of course, this completely ignores the fact that when you’re doing an EV range test, you should make choices based on what most people would do to get the maximum range out of the car.

Idiots! I don’t think much of the “judgement” that CR is touting here.

**Don’t laugh! That’s exactly what Nissan did to “game” the EPA’s range rating for the Leaf. Normally the EPA does EV range testing by testing at 80% charge, then at 100% charge, and averaging the two results. But the EPA’s range rating for the Leaf increased from, as I recall, 75 miles to 83 miles one year, not because Nissan had improved the battery pack or the powertrain in any manner; they just eliminated the pre-set ability to charge the car to 80%, so that the EPA tests were forced to use only the 100% charge setting.

Pushy, Nissan didn’t game anything. They in fact anti-gamed it for a year. Nissan improved the range of the car significantly in 2013. But they also added an option to charge to only 80% to reduce wear on the pack. They did this because their packs were killing themselves sitting at high states of charge in the hot sun in places like Arizona. Also it made their charge times seem better as the LEAF is notorious for spending (or at least predicting it will spend in its dash figures) 50 minutes leveling the cell voltages on the pack at the end of a 100% charge. This option didn’t exist before 2012. Because of this option the EPA measured the car both ways and averaged and thus they got only 90% of the actual achievable range. Nissan responded to this be removing the 80% option again. So 2014 and later don’t have it either. A 2013 is significantly (more than 10%) more efficient than a 2012, as you can see by the greatly improved MPGe figures here: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2012&year2=2014&make=Nissan&baseModel=Leaf The 2013 had the new “lizard pack” which is more resistant to heat. As does the 2014 and up. And it really is… Read more »

Well then, Unlucky, you’d better write to the editors of Green Car Reports website and tell them that the facts they reported are 100% wrong. (I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they read your email! 😀 )

Here’s part of what they reported back in 2014:

Rated range rises to 84 miles

Most importantly to new buyers, the range of the 2014 Leaf is now listed as 84 miles, up from last year’s 76 miles

That number seems like a significant improvement, but in fact the only change made to the car is the elimination of a software option that let owners set battery charging to stop at 80 percent.


Those are the actual facts, and not your “alternative facts”.

But hey, Unlucky, I see I did make one error: I said Nissan gamed the EPA’s system to increase the rated range from 75 miles to 83 miles, and I see it was actually 84 miles.

Unlike you, Unlucky, I admit it when I’m wrong on my facts.

Stop nitpicking please. unlucky’s explanation is correct.

“Tesla recently challenged the results”….so what were Tesla’s arguments?

Bit odd not to find those in an article with this title.

CR does good work and is about as unbiased as possible. Having said that the important thing here (in the realm of increasing the total number of EVs on the planet) is that EVs are seen in a positive light by those who only buy from the ‘Big Three’.

How can they compare 2 so different cars in size and driving experience? It’s like comparing the range between a Toyota Corolla and a ‘ercedes S Class…

They’re virtually identical in interior size and trunk size. The Bolt has slightly more trunk volume while the Model 3 has the frunk.

This is according to the official EPA figures for the Bolt and the preliminary figures for the Model 3 (since the Model 3 strangely still doesn’t have official figures anywhere).

Still strange to me that you can offer a car for sale and not have your efficiency figures up on the EPA site.

Ooop! “The Bolt has slightly more trunk volume while the Model 3 has the frunk.” Wrong story! This is a comparison between a Model S 75D, not a Model 3, and a Bolt EV.

And I seldom pack anything in the back of a hatchback car higher than the seats that can move forward and become a missle on agressive braking or sudden stop. That would give the edge to the Tesla.

Good point. The Bolt has slightly more interior space than the Model S., 95 cu ft versus 94 cu ft.


(click specs tab)

It has noticeably less luggage space. 17 cu ft versus 26 cu ft.

The cars may be greatly different on the outside but the interior size for people is similar. On size it isn’t that strange a comparison. On price/luxury it is of course.

Tesla has to work on their packaging some. Their cars are mammoth but small on the inside.

Sit in the two. The Bolt is much narrower. There’s a lot of headroom, but once your head clears, that’s not really useable space.

Again, EPA interior room really isn’t representative. Compare against any number of other luxury sedans. The Bolt feels small because of its narrowness.

I own a Bolt. I mentioned the width when someone said it was great for carrying 5.

If you are seating 4 the Bolt is more roomy than an S or X. The S and X don’t have proper headroom with the stock roof. The S and X seating position is more reclined because of the low roof and that’s not popular with older people because getting in and out is more hassle.

If you’re sitting 5 the Bolt isn’t good. But for 4 it’s better than an S or X. It doesn’t feel small when you have so much legroom, more headroom, better outward visibility and more upright seating position.

Tesla needs to work on their packaging. There’s no excuse for a car that big having 3 inches less legroom in front and one inch less legroom in back compared to a Bolt.

unlucky said:

“They’re virtually identical in interior size and trunk size. The Bolt has slightly more trunk volume while the Model 3 has the frunk.”

Say what?

Dude! First of all, the Bolt EV doesn’t even have a trunk. (Not that this is a disadvantage; hatchbacks are more useful!) Secondly, this article is about a comparison between the Bolt EV and the Model S 75D… not the Model 3!

It’s technically a small wagon according to the EPA, not a hatchback. And I cannot imagine why a person would try to start an argument over whether to call that area back there a trunk.

So… your argument is that we should call the rear cargo area of a hatchback or a station wagon a “trunk”. Got it.

Furthermore, you also can’t imagine that anyone would argue with that stupendously absurd assertion. Got that, too.

Because obviously — according to you — the rear of a station wagon looks and functions like this:

You most definitely are in the same club as Humpty Dumpty, dude. 🙄

Back in the 80s Consumer Reports recommend a certain piano make as a “best buy”. My experience with them was that they tended to have a lot of little nuisance mechanical problems.

A few years later I replaced my home smoke detectors and then saw a Consumer Reports review of them. The model I bought was rated so bad that your house would have to be “engulfed in flames” if I remember the quote correctly. Not so! Anytime the toast got even slightly burned it would go off and it was in another room.

That’s my experience with Consumer Reports.

CR has also gotten “dinged” by audiophiles for their ratings for sound systems.

CR is great for testing the basic functionality and reliability of appliances and simple products. But when it comes to complex things such as automobiles and audiophile grade sound systems, CR simply does not have the depth of knowledge required to make informed judgements based on the quality of the products.

Or to put it another way: CR’s ability to judge products is broad, but it’s not deep. The rather questionable arbitrary choices they have made when comparing the Bolt EV to the Tesla Model S 75D are a good example of that.

The bottom line in this comparison is that the Chevy Bolt EV is the more energy efficient of the two, given the same battery capacity and interior space. Obviously the body shape and weight are different, but if you have to travel on electricity and carry five, the Bolt EV will do it better and cheaper.

You wouldn’t want to carry 5 adults in a Bolt on a long trip. The rear seat is too narrow. 4 adults and a kid? Great. Or 5 adults for shorter trips. 4 adults is super great, lots of legroom in back.

But in the rear seat, 3 adults across is a tough ask for long trips. You’ll be banging shoulders too much to be comfortable.

‪They cheated by turning down regenerative braking which penalizes the heavier car and is not how you would drive in real world use. ‬

The Bolt’s permanent magnet motor wins here. Nice work, GM.

Nope, disabling regen on one car does it. Motor efficiency impacts the EPA numbers so differences would show up there.

LG designed and built the motor, not GM. In fact, LG designed and built the drivetrain and so much of the supporting electronics, people are calling the GM Bolt the LG Bolt.


WRONG. GM designed most of the critical components, which they then handed off the designs to LG to produce.

It’s funny how people call the Bolt the “LG Bolt”….EXCEPT when something goes wrong, then it’s back to being the “GM Bolt”. Lol

What is the max regen on Tesla? I read in forum that it’s 60 kW, which is the same as 1000 lb lighter SparkEV. Bolt does 70 kW (probably bit more) and lighter than Tesla by about 500 lb.

If Tesla regen number is true, that could explain some of the discrepancy.

It’s less in light regen mode. But again, regen is greatly overrated. Chevy recommends for maximum range you don’t drive in L, for example.

The biggest factor surely is CR not using range mode on the Tesla.

Well, there is “range mode” that limits HVAC and motor performance, and then “range mode” for charging. Which range mode are we talking about?

I thought range mode on the Tesla charged it to a higher state of charge. That’s what I was referring to.

Maybe I’m wrong about this?

A Tesla car in “range” mode will charge to 100%. A standard charge is 80%… or at least it used to be. Not sure if it still is.

This has been a sore point with me for some time: That CR doesn’t charge Tesla cars to 100%, then claims the range is rather less than the EPA rating. Well, if the EPA tests never charged plug-in EVs to 100%, then the EPA’s numbers would be lower too!


Caveat: The “100%” here means what the car displays as being a 100% charge. However, Tesla reserves some “room at the top”, never charging to actual 100% of battery pack capacity, to preserve battery life. So a “100%” charge of a 75 kWh battery pack isn’t actually 75 kWh; it’s a few percent less. But then, almost certainly that’s true of all production EVs, so we can ignore that for comparison between the Model S 75D and the Bolt EV.

It was 93% at one time, and 90% at other times (more recently).

Well, I this is the reason I don’t like self appointed, big expert Consumer Reports. A BOLT is normally in EXTENDED RANGE all the time – presumably after reading the Owner’s manual, A typical customer would think – ‘Im not charging on a hill, therefore I don’t need hilltop reserve’. Which would be 100% right. Any Tesla driver taking a moderately long trip would charge his car before hand in extended range mode, even if it only gleened another 10 miles. I suppose it is not a big deal if there are charging facilities on every block, but that is not the case where I live with charging facilities at least 100 miles apart from each other on some routes – if they even exist then… A tesla driver would have to be absolutely batty to not charge up absolutely as much as possible since the cost of running out is so dire. As far as the REGEN on an S is concerned, when I test drove them I thought the ‘agressive’ regen was pretty wimpy, and the normal regen (like an automatic transmission in an ICE vehicle) was almost non-existant – rather like a VOLT in ‘D’. In other… Read more »
Consumer Reports said: “We make sure the car is in its version of normal drive mode, not extended range mode…” In other words, CR charges a plug-in EV to only 80%, not 100%, and then claims the range is less than what the EPA says it is. The EPA test cycle involves charging to both 80% and 100%, and averaging the results. That would certainly be a better reflection of how people actually drive EVs. It’s ridiculous to suggest that someone who is taking a road trip, and therefore needs to get maximum range out of his EV, won’t charge it to 100%! Writer Steven Loveday said: “The most important point of CR’s defense is that its objective testing process aims to replicate normal day-to-day driving.” But it’s not “objective”. The copy from CR quoted in this article doesn’t even claim it’s “objective”. In fact, CR says: “We look at the criteria which in our judgment are most important to consumers to evaluate products in an independent and fair manner.” CR isn’t using objective standards; it’s using subjective ones, according to their “judgement”. CR thinks the criteria which it uses is “fair”, and I have no doubt it is… from… Read more »

Just because the standards were selected by someone doesn’t mean the test isn’t objective.

Do you feel the EPA test parameters were not selected by someone?

You’re confusing subjectivity versus objectivity in the decisions on how to define the test with subjectivity versus objectivity in how the test is executed/evaluated.

A subjective versus objective test is sort of like how the winner of a diving competition is determined by judges while the winner of a swimming competition is determined by a stopwatch.

This test, since it is measures total distance driven is an objective test.

You just don’t like how the test parameters were selected. You don’t think it’s fair. That’s not the same as the test not being objective.

unlucky continued his semantic argument:

“Just because the standards were selected by someone doesn’t mean the test isn’t objective.”

A comparison on the basis of “standards selected by someone” is exactly what a “subjective” comparison is, dude. Subjective, as in the opposite of objective.

But I’ll step aside and let you waste time arguing semantics with the dictionary, since that seems to be a favorite pastime of yours.

They should test the car exactly as it ships from the factory. If it ships in some foolish mode that prevents full charges, then so be it. By the same token, they should use whatever the default regen level is.

Right, you shouldn’t charge in the “Range” mode when planning to test the range of the car, just like you shouldn’t turn on the windshield wipers when driving in the rain, because neither are using “factory settings”.


There shouldn’t be a need for a driver to plan how far they’re going to drive in a given day and change a mode ahead of time. That’s not something normal people will do.

The car should be able to fully charge everyday without causing excessive battery degradation.

Another bogus report.
If 10,000 Bolts are sold every month, then they will reverse their finding and say that Model S is the Mileage King.

Their sole aim is to thrash any EV that sells higher.

Well, the CR test is certainly interesting, but puzzling also as it contradicts the EPA testing results. Let me look a little deeper into why this may be so. Most of the CR test was run at 65mph on highways. What is the total drag coefficient of each car? To get this, you must take the published Cd number and multiply times the total frontal area of each car, then compare the numbers. So, for the Bolt I get Cd=0.308, h=62.9″, w=69.5″, which when multiplied together = 1346. For the Tesla Model 75D, Cd=0.24, h=56.5″, w=86.2″, for a total =1169. So clearly the Tesla has less drag at speed than the Bolt which should mean less power to move it down the road. What else is different between the two cars? Tire size and rolling resistance. The Bolt has 215/50×17 tires while the Tesla S 75D comes with 245/45×19 tires, which are significantly wider. So the Bolt probably has less rolling resistance from the tires than the Tesla. There is also a significant weight difference between the two cars, the Bolt weighing 3563 lbs and the Tesla 75D weighing 4608 lbs. So the Bolt would need less energy to move… Read more »

Most of the test was done at 65mph – given that, I would think aerodynamics would be a bigger range factor than weight differences. But the Bolt is less aero than Tesla….

Maybe the Bolt just has a better, more efficient drivetrain than does Tesla.

Yes, for whatever reason, I’ve always been able to get more than EPA rating from GM products than my Roadster..

On paper, the Roadster should have been able to go 244 miles, in comparison with the BOlt’s 238. But in real life there was no comparison – and yes, I charged it often in extended range when I was going far away.

In 4 years of ownership, only twice did I exceed 244 miles with the roadster – 245, and 246. But the Bolt goes far beyond 238 miles all the time. 3 weekends ago, I drove 279 miles on a single charge with a few miles to spare – and while driving conservatively, I certainly didn’t expect to go this far, it just that I missed 2 charging opportunities since I couldn’t find the charging spots.

My ELR also every day goes much further than the 35-38 epa rating.

I don’t understand why GM’s ratings are as conservative as they are, and then I can barely repeat the results when it is a Tesla. Most of the time I had trouble getting a full 200 miles from an epa rated 244.

The EPA rated the Roadster back in the early days of production EVs; back when the EPA also infamously gave the Volt a rating of “230 MPG”.

Fortunately, the EPA has changed their rating system since then for far better accuracy.

As I recall, Bill, the real-world average range reported for the Roadster was 160-180 miles; but then, I’ve never driven one, and you have. Does that range seem right to you?

160-180 is probably what most people would have gotten, unless driving agressively. TopGear said under hard conditions, the car would go only 58 miles – to plenty of cat calls here how that just couldn’t possibly be so. “We ALL KNOW roadsters get more than this…etc”. Of course then my friend Brian ‘tested’ it, and was on track to get around 52 miles. (The car actually really needed its 2 speed transmission, if it was going to be driven hard. The problem was, the thing was too delicate, and the idea was shelved). But then, I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about since EV’s NEVER require a Transmission, except of course most of the low-cost popular models, like VOlts, or Hyundais. Can’t speak for the other models but VOLTS always operate in electric modes if the battery is there, and USE the transmission variable ratio facility during all, all-electric trips. This is why the volt actually has a two speed transmission – more or less. It could use another gear for 0-25 really, but as it is the mileage is ok if you go easy on the pedal from a stoplight, and then step on it a bit later.… Read more »

cd values aren’t comparable between manufacturers. There is no objective testing done by a neutral party. Nor are their standards on wind tunnels.

This amounts to quibbling, but FYI Car & Driver does claim to have independent aero drag tests on some cars done in a wind tunnel using consistent test standards.

But, obviously, not every car is tested by them.


Tesla….just shut up. Let Chevy have a day in the sun. They are not real competition for you.

Something is not right here. It they drove only city driving I could have understood the numbers but they said mostly 65mph driving… Björn Nyland has been driving the bolt a lot. For example he got an energy consumption of 348wh/Mile with an average speed of 69mph, what seams to be normal numbers. A model s on the other hand will get around 275wh/mile at the same speed I know from driving a lot of model s! Those consumption numbers lead to these range numbers:
Tesla model s 75: 254 mile range
Chevrolet bolt: 172 mile range

Something’s not right!

This seems like a range test which would make Top Gear proud. 🙂

Bottom line:
Tesla charged to 80% Bolt to 100.
Tesla set to minimum regen, Bolt also.

The major difference in my eyes is Bolt has blended brakes, Tesla has friction brakes. This allows the Bolt to regen at max whenever the brake pedal is required, while Tesla remains @ minimum while wasting momentum as heat (and dust).
I consider blended brakes a deal-breaker. After 6 years in my Volt there’s no other option for me.

Well, if you just leave the regen set to “normal” instead of low then you get a solid amount of regen on the Tesla just from throttle variation, so certainly no deal breaker for me.

Why capture no energy until you use brakes?

Why not capture energy & control deceleration when you lift accelerator pedal?
You will extend brake life this way which in turns, saves you money.

Actually, most days you can drive the bolt ev without ever even touching the brake pedal. You COULD leave the car in “L” all the time, but this is too much regeneration for the times you want to coast a bit (following someone in moderate traffic), and is not as efficient as it could be since the car is constantly trying to ‘over-correct’ for speed variation, etc. So I drive in ‘D’ (or sometimes when i just want to coast a bit – in ‘N’) and take my foot off the accelerator to give me moderate regeneration, and then fine-tune the amount with the ‘regen on demand’ paddle to give me exactly the amount of braking that I need to stop the car, without actually ever using the friction brakes. Since the car has even more dynamic braking when in “L” and the ‘ROD’ paddle are BOTH engaged – I use that for when I have to stop quickly – giving me up to 70 kw (around 100 HP when you include electronic heating losses) of dynamic braking – still never having to use the friction brakes. You don’t get back anywhere near all the juice (but realistically, probably at… Read more »

We still don’t know for sure what % the Teslas were charged to. I still believe they were charged to 100%, but CR could end the debate and just say so in a statement.

CR says that they tested the vehicles in “Normal drive mode, not extended range mode”. If the Model S wasn’t charged in “range” mode, then doesn’t that mean it was only charged to 85% and not to full as CR claims? That would suggest they could have travelled 275 miles on a full charge. What level was the Bolt charged to?

So, when is someone going to wake up and realize this isn’t even a comparison. You’re comparing a car 2/3s the size to the Model S for range. Another example of CR STUPIDITY!



The fact that the EPA requirement is to average full charge and partial charge ranges to give a full charge rating is ludicrous.

If an auto manufacturer recommended a fuel tank only be half filled for better performance, we wouldn’t say the range of the vehicle is only half of the fuel tank capacity.

Stop trying to dumb down the ratings and outwit the consumer. Those who are surprised that charging to 80% gives less range than charging to 100% will hopefully learn on their own that less is less, and more is more.