My Chevy Bolt Finish Of Summer season Report



BlueB, the 2017 Chevy Bolt my spouse and I purchased in June, has served us effectively this summer time, taking us on quite a few holidays and journeys to reconnect with mates. We put about 3000 miles on the automotive and used a ChargePoint Stage 2 charger solely as soon as. The remainder of the time, we relied on a easy wall outlet, which is what is thought to EV drivers as Stage 1 charging.

Stage 1 Charging A Chevy Bolt

language of EVs Chevy Bolt

Photograph by Carolyn Fortuna/ CleanTechnica

Let’s speak about charging an electrical automotive, as a result of that’s what causes essentially the most anxiousness amongst individuals interested by buying one. Most individuals assume (we all know what individuals say about that phrase, don’t we?) they might want to set up charging tools — generally known as “electrical car provide tools” or EVSE — the place they dwell earlier than they will personal an EV. Doing so might contain important expense, relying on quite a few elements.

Not everybody understands electrical energy. I’m not an electrician, nor have I ever performed one on TV, however there are some fundamentals you need to be conscious of. I like to check {an electrical} circuit to a backyard hose. Voltage is a measure of the strain within the hose. The frequent voltage at a wall outlet within the US is 120 volts. That’s good however not nice. You should utilize it to clean your automotive or water your petunias, however if you need the stream to go greater than about 10 toes from the nozzle, you will have extra strain.

Utilizing a 120 volt circuit to cost your electrical automotive is called Stage 1 charging. Normally, it attracts about as a lot electrical energy as a window air conditioner and might add about 3 miles of vary for each hour plugged in. That’s not very a lot, however for many individuals, it’s sufficient. For those who drive below 36 miles on a standard day, your automotive will exchange the electrical energy used through the day whether it is plugged in for 12 hours in a single day. You received’t want an EVSE to do it. Simply plug within the charging cable that got here together with your automotive (or purchase one on-line). No want to purchase a charger or rent an electrician.

Counting on Stage 1 charging does require a little bit of administration, nevertheless. Even the most effective EVs available on the market received’t replenish their batteries when you don’t plug them in! And if you’re driving longer distances occasionally, you will have to develop a method for charging whereas away from house. Extra on that in a minute.

Stage 2 Charging

When you’ve got a 240 volt outlet you’ll be able to plug into, you’ll be able to reduce your charging time in half. 240 volt circuits have two 120 volt conductors, so it’s like having two backyard hoses as a substitute of 1. Many houses have a 240 outlet someplace close to the place most individuals park, however when you don’t, you will have to rent an electrician to put in one for you. Right here’s a tip. Some individuals report being charged additional if they are saying they’re utilizing the brand new circuit to cost an EV. Simply inform the electrician you need to plug in a welder and the value could also be much less.

Now let’s speak about amperage, which is like the quantity of water that may match by means of your backyard hose in a sure period of time. A typical 20 amp 240 volt circuit is like utilizing a 1/2″ hose and regular family strain. However a 240 volt circuit can provide 30, 40, 50, 60, and even 80 amps of energy.

The upper the amperage, the shorter your charging time will probably be. By the identical token, an 80 amp circuit might value you significantly greater than a 20 amp circuit ($3,000 or extra). You must ask your self how briskly it is advisable cost your automotive. Having a spiffy 80 amp charger might give your bragging rights amongst your EV mates, but when your automotive sometimes sits unused for 10 to 12 hours in a single day, why would you care whether or not it’s absolutely charged at 9 pm as a substitute of 6 am the following morning?

As soon as once more, Stage 1 charging could also be all you want for 95% of your driving, and the remainder could be offered by public chargers when obligatory.

Stage 3 Charging

Stage 3 charging, also called DC quick charging, is an possibility no house proprietor wants to think about. Compared to a backyard hose, it’s a fireplace hose that may shove electrons into your battery at a livid tempo. The very best of them can add 50 miles of vary or extra in quarter-hour or much less. The most cost effective ones begin at round $100,000 and will require intensive (and costly) upgrades to your private home’s electrical service. This isn’t an possibility any rational house owner would take into account, any greater than you’ll purchase a fireplace truck to water your pansies.

The Chevy Bolt & Charging Administration

My spouse and I added 3000 miles to BlueB, our 2017 Chevy Bolt, in 3 months. Throughout that point, we solely used a Stage 2 public charger as soon as. Once we visited mates on Cape Cod, we merely plugged in to a wall outlet of their storage whereas we had been there. For visiting mates who personal a camper, we purchased an adapter that permit us plug in to their 30 amp camper energy provide on the facet of their storage.

There have been no points and by no means a second after we had vary anxiousness. However that doesn’t imply there usually are not variations in how we plan our journeys. We have now all of the charging apps and have instructed Google Maps to point out us the place charging stations are situated. That being stated, you don’t need to be sitting for hours at a Stage 2 charger when you find yourself touring, and the variety of Stage 3 chargers in New England is depressingly small.

So challenges stay for EV drivers, particularly if you wish to take scenic Route 100 north by means of the inexperienced mountains of Vermont as a substitute of staying on the interstate. And but, there’s something satisfying about needing to be resourceful as a way to get the place you’re going and again once more with out drama in an electrical automotive.

In a standard automotive, you merely hit the street, figuring out there will probably be gasoline stations wherever you go. Driving on electrons requires a little bit extra thought, a little bit extra planning, and a willingness to step outdoors your regular consolation zone as a way to benefit from the pleasures of driving an electrical automotive.

The Benefits Of An EV

These pleasures embrace a silent trip, with no engine noise and no gnashing of gears. It truly is wonderful how quiet an electrical automotive is. And it you end up dawdling alongside behind some leaf peeper on a county lane, it’s good to know you’ll be able to whoosh by within the blink of a watch when the chance arises. In an EV, passing is as simple as toeing the exhilarator and seeing that automotive in your rearview mirror a couple of seconds later.

Hills are additionally no problem for an electrical automotive. The electrical motor simply flattens them like they aren’t even there. There’s no shifting gears and no ready. Simply on the spot torque hustling you up and over the crest in a blink of a watch.

Regenerative braking is one other characteristic EV drivers quickly be taught to take pleasure in. Launch strain on the go pedal and the automotive immediately begins to sluggish whereas placing some power again into the battery. Launch the pedal all the best way and the speed of retardation will increase. After a few week, you be taught to modulate the pedal so the automotive involves a cease at visitors lights simply the place it ought to. It quickly turns into intuitive — and enjoyable.

The Takeaway

Our Chevy Bolt has been a revelation. We additionally personal a Tesla Mannequin Y and type of anticipated the Bolt to be a pale imitation, missing in refinement and general goodness. We had been pleasantly shocked. The automotive rides superbly. I really suppose it handles bumps within the street higher than the Tesla. The hatchback means we will match all our stuff inside simply. It’s comfy and quiet.

There are a couple of nits to choose. The electrical steering isn’t as exact because it may very well be. There’s a lack of self-centering really feel when exiting a flip, particularly at slower speeds. The data display has too many ranges and is a bit fiddly to navigate.

Chevy Bolt

Photograph by Steve Hanley for CleanTechnica. All rights reserved.

Aside from that, it’s a high quality automotive that has exceeded our expectations. We have now no hesitation about recommending it to our mates. Over the previous 3 months, it has averaged 5.5 miles per kWh in mild driving round city and 4.5 miles per kWh on the freeway, the place it’s pushed in order to maintain up with most visitors, not out within the excessive velocity lane in a quest to interrupt land velocity information. The picture above reveals utilization after two back-to-back freeway excursions.

We even have used the heater and air con sparingly, having rediscovered the enjoyment of driving with the home windows open! It goes with out saying the $4000 federal used EV tax credit score will probably be a lot appreciated subsequent April.

In my first report about our Chevy Bolt, I gave it 4.5 stars. After driving the automotive for 3 months and three thousand miles, I’ve determined to lift that to 4.675 stars. Is the Bolt excellent? No. Being a 2017 mannequin, it’s a half step behind the most recent vehicles available on the market. But it surely’s lots adequate for us and can match the wants of most American drivers.

The worth is correct, too. If you wish to attempt an electrical automotive with out breaking the financial institution, a used Chevy Bolt that’s eligible for the federal tax credit score is a wonderful selection. Simply do not forget that tax credit score is barely out there when you purchase from a licensed seller.

The used Chevy Bolt — Purchase it. Drive it. Be completely happy!

For those who personal an EV, please full our tremendous quick EV charging & security survey.

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