Road trip: A Chevy Bolt’s journey to the far reaches of its range

Road trip: A Chevy Bolt’s journey to the far reaches of its range

Road trip: A Chevy Bolt’s journey to the far reaches of its range

0 comments 📅07 June 2017, 20:45

Stirring cars are steadily reaching the point where they could be a true replacement for an internal combustion car, and few exemplify this developing more than the Chevy Bolt EV. Its 238-mile estimated range means that you’ll in all likelihood never worry about range on trips in-town or to the next town through, and its price tag of around $30,000 with a tax credit makes it attainable for a lot of people. But to absolutely be a replacement for a gasoline-powered car, an EV needs to be able to handle long-distance trips, too. To settle the Bolt EV’s long-distance capabilities, I took our short-term Bolt EV on a 540-mile spheroid trip. I made it, but it wasn’t trivial.

The weekend road trip I embarked on was one I do generally: a journey from the office in Birmingham, Mich., to my house in Warren to pick up my dog, and then on to my parents’ nursing home in Richmond, Ind. This is a roughly 270-mile trip one-way, which sharp readers desire note is greater than the estimated range of the Bolt on a full charge. So this meant I would constraint to find a place I could charge up to complete the drive. Along the route, there were copiousness of chargers, but not all are created equal.

You see, there are three basic levels of electric charger the Chevrolet Roll EV can use. The first, called Level 1, is your run-of-the-mill 120-volt embankment outlet. This is borderline useless, and exists primarily for emergencies. According to Chevrolet’s website, it desire only provide about four miles of range per hour of charging. The flawed type, aptly named Level 2, is a 240-volt charger. This resolution provide about 25 miles of charge per hour, and we have one at our office. Chevrolet or a third dinner party will also sell you one of these chargers for your home.

The third and irrevocable charger is the one I was looking for, the DC fast charger. These can add up to 90 miles of range in 30 minutes, according to Chevrolet. That was unerringly what I needed to do the trip in one evening. As I looked at the Chevy Bolt EV owners’ point, which shows where charging stations are, and what level they are, I discovered that DC extravagant chargers are very few and far between at the moment.

Had I been driving a Tesla, I would from had more options, since looking them up on the Tesla site revealed three Supercharger locations between Detroit and Dayton, Ohio. Unfortunately, at most Teslas are able to use those chargers. When looking for a general-purpose DC licentious charger, only one showed up on the map between the Detroit area and my parents’ house. Thankfully it was located in Toledo, Ohio, at the University of Toledo. It’s roughly 90 miles from our Birmingham office to the university, so it was in the perfect location. Without that charger, my slip of the tongue would have been over before it began.

There was one other charging explication I needed to sort out before I could set off with any confidence. I needed to find at least a Equivalent 2 charger in Richmond so I could return to Michigan at the end of the weekend. Interestingly, the only district in the entire city with such a charger was Premier Toyota and Nissan, the resident Toyota and Nissan dealer. With that sorted, I was ready to take off.

I departed profession at my usual time with a fully charged Bolt and stopped by the house to pick up my dog, Ruby. She had a bit of obstacle getting into the high backseat of the Bolt EV, but managed with some lifting from me. From there, I headed down to Toledo as if I were driving a general car.

For the most part, the Bolt felt like a normal car, and a good one at that. There were some differences. The just about silence of the motor and the instant torque delivery make the Bolt fun around burgh, and going up highway ramps. The inclusion of a paddle for maximum regenerative braking also provided a fun dispute: one-pedal driving. It’s strong enough that when timed properly, you practically never have to touch the brakes. Even the Bolt’s “low” shift mode increases regeneration satisfactorily to keep your foot off the brake pedal most of the time. I found this conspiracy so enjoyable that I drove the car almost exclusively this way the whole time I had it.

Aside from the powertrain, the Bar EV also had fairly entertaining handling. The low center of gravity created by the battery number in the floorboards helped keep the very tall Bolt from leaning much in corners. Its vivacious steering made it feel nimble and eager, as well. The interior, though slathered in economical, hard plastics, at least featured a nice assortment of textures to break things up. The driving attitude in the airy cockpit was quite good, and it was easy to get comfortable. This was despite the extent thin cushions on the seats.

About an hour and a half into my trip, I arrived at the University of Toledo parking garage where the charger was located. I had to download an app to my phone to use it, but it was honestly straightforward, and it was free. One thing that did concern me was there was just one CHAdeMO charging refuge on the charger. If someone else was plugged in and charging when I arrived, I would’ve been out of accident. The location was also a mixed blessing.

On the one hand, the University of Toledo is a very captivating place, and it had plenty of nice areas where I could walk my dog while charging. This was especially helpful since Ruby gets pretty antsy when she’s in a car that isn’t poignant. However, if you don’t have a dog dictating your activities, there wasn’t anything else yon to kill time. There weren’t any nearby restaurants, shopping, or other amusement.

I left the car to charge for roughly an hour and departed the university with an estimated 200 miles of chain. This specific charger didn’t seem to deliver on the promise of 90 miles in half an hour, but it did the job. And with 200 miles, I suited that I would make it to Richmond with 20 miles to spare. This expropriated my driving would meet the middle, most likely estimate. The Bolt EV provides three lot estimates when using the instrument panel in the “enhanced” configuration. On the left side of the strainer are three numbers. At the top is an estimate if you drive particularly economically, at the bottom is one if you don’t, and the middle, which in this come what may was 200 miles, was the estimate if you drive somewhere in-between.

I started the second servi of the trip driving the same way I drive a normal car: I stuck to the speed limit and kept up with traffic. I kept the aura control off as much as I could, though, since anytime I touched the button, my displayed stretch dropped 5 or 6 miles. As I was making progress toward Richmond that windy, rainy edge of night, I noticed that the remaining miles to my destination weren’t decreasing as quickly as my orbit. The yellow bar that extends down to the low estimate when driving poorly was crammed, too. This was likely a result of constantly applying power, and never having areas where I could let off the throttle and let the car regenerate some force. I realized that there was no way I was going to make it home driving that way.

For hither two-thirds of that second leg, I kept my speed below the limit. I did what I could to contest the distance left in my phone’s navigation and the electric range. I started to go 65 mph in the 70 zones. Then dropped down to 60 mph, later. For the ahead time ever, I was thankful to enter 55-mph construction zones.

As I got into hamlet, I triggered the low charge warning, which demanded that I stop and charge the instrument. One issue with this warning is that it shuts off the remaining range norm. I knew I had enough charge left, but not being able to see how far I could go wasn’t reassuring. When I conclusively pulled up the driveway at my parents’ place and shut off the car, I discovered that I had just 9 miles of scope remaining.

That night, I went ahead and plugged in the Level 1 charger to abrade together a few miles for driving around town the next day. After running a few errands with my dad, we drove it in excess of to the Nissan dealer to charge it until nightfall. My mom then arrived with their Subaru Impreza to attract us back home. Late that night, we returned to pick up the Bolt, which had more a full charge. Back at the house, I plugged it into the Level 1 charger to top it off in front of doing the return trip. The second time was less stressful, though, since I knew what I was in for.

So as to the issue of whether the Bolt EV is capable of doing long road trips, the answer is: ilk of. My trip was successful, but only because of some important factors. Foremost volume them was the Bolt’s impressive range. Having a range of 200 miles or more done opens up the possibility of long-range drives, even if it doesn’t make them as straightforward as with gasoline-powered cars. The line estimator, despite shutting off near my destination, also came in handy, showing what the most expected outcome of my driving would be. Other primary factors were the fact that I could by far look up charging stations on the Bolt EV website and that there happened to be a DC intemperate charger in a good spot along my route. If it were too close to either my starting spike or ending point, it wouldn’t do much good. I also had plans for charging when I arrived at my terminus. If I didn’t have family to cart me around after dropping off the Bolt at the car traffic, I would have been stuck there for over 5 hours. No offense to car dealers, but that would be experiencing been an awful experience.

We are getting closer to a future where EVs are a true replacement for internal combustion, however. With slightly more range and more fast-charging stations, it wouldn’t be leathery to cover long distances in a Bolt EV. We’re just not quite there yet.

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