Chevrolet Bolt EV
Review, Specs, Owner Impressions
Gary H. shares with us his experience owning a 2020 Tesla Model X Performance
EV Owner Story
Eva Håkansson's quest: to set the EV Motorcycle landspeed record... again.
Why Tesla's international Supercharger network makes all the difference
A Comprehensive review of Chevy's best selling EV
Chevy Bolt EV
Tesla's Great Advantage
EV Resource, email@example.com
C O N T E N T S
Canceled, but not finished
The idea of vehicle charging is one of the biggest hurdles to EV adoption by people who are not familiar with electric vehicles. The lack of charging stations in obvious public view is something that we here at EV Resource have written about in the past, and yes, we acknowledge there are some significant improvements that need to take place.
Most auto manufacturers haven't taken it upon themselves to provide a solution to this dilemma. Other than EV charging companies like ChargePoint, EVgo, Electrify America, and others, only Tesla seems to be willing to build out the charging infrastructure (in the US anyway) needed to recharge the growing number of EVs on the road. The only significant downside?
You have to have a Tesla in order to use Tesla’s Supercharger network.
However, what is a challenge for non-Tesla EV owners becomes a significant advantage for buyers of Tesla’s vehicles. In fact, for longer road trips, it becomes very clear why a Model S, Model 3, Model X, or Model Y would be the clear
choice of vehicle to use for two reasons.
The first reason is simply that these vehicles can usually go further on a charge than other competitors, but second is the Supercharger network. Across most of the US and southern Canada, you will find Tesla’s Superchargers spaced out along most major highways. Even if you don’t own an EV, it’s hard to miss one of the over 16,500 Superchargers (in the US.) Tesla has invested in building out an extensive network in Europe and Asia as well.
If you own a Tesla, it’s very easy to find a fast charger while on road trips, but just how fast are they, and does that really matter?
Let’s compare with another popular EV, the Chevy Bolt. Aside from Tesla’s vehicles, the Chevy Bolt was the best selling EV in the US in 2019. And with a range of 238 miles (2019) or 259 miles (2020), it is also one of the longest range EVs you can buy which arguably would make it a better choice for longer trips. Or would it?
Without going into the details about fast charging and how it works we will simplify the conversation and say that charging speeds depend on two things: how fast a charger can supply energy, and how fast a car can receive that energy.
Hypothetically, let’s take a 1000 mile journey inside the US from anywhere to anywhere, two arbitrary points. Let’s also assume that we will travel at 60 mph and can find a fast charger whenever we would need it along the way (this isn’t always the case.) Now, let’s compare two vehicles, the Tesla Model 3, and the Chevy Bolt.
Let’s look at the Chevy Bolt EV first:
If you have a 2020 Chevy Bolt EV, you should theoretically be able to drive 259 miles between chargings.
Taking this into account, let’s drive for four hours 19 minutes and stop to charge having traveled 259 miles into our journey. This isn’t the most realistic comparison, as you wouldn’t travel until the battery was dead, but stick with us.
The Chevy Bolt has a 50-55kW max charging speed and according to energysage.com the 2019 model will recharge the battery in one hour 20 minutes. Keep in mind that actual charging times will vary depending on a lot of variables. We’re trying to keep this as simple as possible, so accuracy isn’t going to be our focus right now as we are only trying to illustrate the advantage of faster charging.
After five hours and 39 minutes we continue with our journey. Traveling another 259 miles, we stop for another one hour 20 minutes. So far, we’re a bit more than halfway in our journey having traveled 518 miles. We’ve been on the road for 11 hours 18 minutes. Okay, so let’s drive another 259 miles and charge again. Now we have traveled 777 miles in 16 hours 56 minutes, but we only have 223 miles to go, so we won’t need to charge again! Fewer than four hours to our destination.
Total trip time: 20 hours 40 minutes.
The Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, has a maximum charging speed of 250kW on the latest version of the Superchargers, but let’s assume that we won’t have access to those on this journey. Let’s assume that we will have a maximum charging rate of only 100kW (twice as fast as the Bolt EV). Realistically, the Model 3 should reach 150kW on most of Tesla’s superchargers, but we’re trying to give every advantage we can to the Chevy Bolt. Why? Because, well, it won’t matter.
The Model 3 Standard Range Plus has a range of 250 miles, and would do this same imaginary trip with 16 hours 40min of driving and only charging for a total of two hours making the total time 18 hours and 40 min, a two-hour advantage! Realistically, in the real world, there is a good chance the advantage would be even greater.
And aside from that, those of us without Teslas will tell you that finding a fast charging station that you can guarantee will work is not always the case and often you’ll pay more for the electricity used than what Tesla charges for their Supercharger network.
So, with that, we’ll wrap it up. Of the many advantages that Tesla has, the great advantages of the Supercharger network are: they’re reliable, inexpensive, fast, and found almost everywhere you’d need one to be, making your roadtrip a breeze.
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Source:Transportation Research Center at Argonne National Laboratory
Since its 2017 model year, the Chevy Bolt EV has been a flagship for General Motors' electrification progress. While the Bolt EV wasn't GM's first all electric offering (that was the EV-1 in the 90s), the 2016 release marked a milestone for the company being that it was the first year a vehicle with more than 200 miles of range had been offered by any non-Tesla automotive brands. Additionally, even though sales have declined from its initial 2017 offering, it has been the best selling non-Tesla EV (full battery electric vehicle) every year since. In 2019, more Bolt EVs were sold than even the Tesla Model S.
This year, Chevrolet has offered significant discounting and incentives on the Bolt EV making sure it stays an attractive EV option to potential buyers.
Battery, Efficiency, Range, and Charging
The 2017-2019 model year Bolt EVs came with a 60kWh lithium-ion battery and provided an EPA estimated range of 238 miles. More than enough for the average consumer's daily commute, and enough for longer trips as well. The 2020 Chevy Bolt EV comes with a slightly larger 66kWh battery pack providing a 21 mile bump in range to 259 total miles on a full charge.
The official combined city/highway EPA rating for the Chevy Bolt EV 119 MPGe, however, many Bolt EV owners report to be able to drive the vehicle more efficiently without significant or unusual effort to do so.
Charging at home on a 110/120 volt AC plug will recharge the Bolt EV at approximately four miles per hour charging. Using 220/240 volt AC will recharge the Bolt EV in ten hours or so.
The 2017-2019 Bolt EVs had a maximum charge rate of 50kWh while the 2020 model year was increased slightly to 55kWh on a DC fast charger.
2019 color options, "Shock" Yellow shown
The design and styling for the Chevy Bolt EV originally started in 2012 by GM's Korea design studio. Even though it is officially classified as a "small station wagon" by the EPA, the Bolt EV has been called a crossover as well as a sedan because of its mid-size profile. Bright color choices from "shock" yellow to "oasis blue" give buyers plenty of choice for "can't miss" esthetics. For others, traditional colors like black, white, grey, and silver are also available.
Forward Facing Camera w/ 360 view
Rear Facing Camera w/ 360 view
The interior of the Bolt EV has bold styling. Asymmetrical seats and splashes of textured plastic give the car a futuristic feel while providing familiar features and controls in the places you would expect to find them in most traditional vehicles.
Generous interior space allows for plenty of room for up to five occupants comfortably. Two digital displays provide feedback to the driver on all aspects of vehicle settings and statuses, from climate control and digital media, to the HD Surround Vision that comes included with the Premier trim level package.
Heated seats and steering wheel are optional on the lower LT trim and standard on the Premier trim level where you would also have included heated rear seats.
One standard feature we like is called "Teen driver." According to Chevy, this feature lets you activate customizable vehicle settings to help encourage better driving behavior, limit certain vehicle features, and even give you an in-vehicle report card on driving habits to help you to continue to coach your new driver.
Performance Specs and Acceleration
Two things to note. First, regular roads are not designed for performance testing of automobiles. Second, neither are fuel-saving tires.
The nearly instant torque of the electric motor on the Chevy Bolt is enough to spin the hard Michelin tires on the best of surfaces and traction was an issue even with the traction control left on.
The Bolt EV had about a 50% state-of-charge, so the numbers you see above would likely be improved if we had the opportunity to have a full battery.
Acceleration was smooth and linear from the start, which made for a comfortable test.
Not surprisingly, our results do not compare with the numbers that have been achieved with the Bolt EV on the test track or drag strip.
Our best 0-60 time was 7.18 seconds (or 6.8 seconds with a 1ft rollout), and best 1/4 mile time was 15.32 seconds.
When the drag strip opens back up after the COVID-19 illness subsides, we definitely want to perform a new test.
The electric motor in the Bolt EV doesn't disappoint when it comes to power. The 150kW AC motor provides just over 200 hp, and 266 lb-ft of instantly available tire-spinning torque.
In a test by Car and Driver, they were able to get the Bolt EV to accelerate from 0-60 in 6.3 seconds on a prepared track while Chevy reports this time to be 6.5 seconds.
Bolt EV owners who have taken their vehicle to the track have reported that it completed the 1/4 mile in 15.1 seconds.
That being said, we performed our own tests using our Dragy (GPS Performance Box) and got some real world numbers from unprepared surfaces like what you would experience out and about driving on normal roads.
The Bolt EV we tested was a 2019 Premier model with 215/50R17 Michelin Energy fuel-saving tires.
Before we set out on this quest for information on the Chevy Bolt EV, we went to arguably the most reliable source of information: actual Bolt EV owners online.
We want to express our gratitude at the outpouring of support and willingness to help with this review, a true testament to the strength of the Bolt EV community! Here's a little bit of what they had to say:
While the Chevy Bolt EV is easily one of the most important electric vehicles to ever be made, we find that it falls just short of what it could be. It's a good car, but it's not great. We like the regenerative braking and one pedal driving. We also like the styling both of the exterior and interior however we wish the Chevy would have used less hard plastic on the interior.
The seats were also too hard and while we didn't take a long trip in the Bolt EV, we could imagine that you could easily be sore after a few hours.
On the highway, we liked the "passing power" of the Bolt EV and found that it was more than enough for any normal situation. However, we found that if you want to have the drivers window down, it would be best to prepare for significant buffeting even with the rear window rolled down as well.
The last thing, and maybe we should have focused on this more: DCFC provision should be STANDARD... and it's not.
All said, the Bolt EV is a good car. We aren't surprised that it has sold as well as it has, and look forward to seeing more on the road.
Image Credit: Jeff T., Chevy Bolt EV Owners Group (Facebook)
Image Credit: Sheila H., Chevy Bolt EV Owners Group (Facebook)
Cancelled, but not finished.
Eva Håkansson and Bill Dubé
started their journey towards world records nearly a decade ago with their first record setting EV motorcycle, the KillaJoule (pictured in red). The long painstaking process of building and learning with that motorcycle came to an end, as all things do.
However now, Eva and husband Bill,have a new EV motorcycle that they built very quickly using all of their knowledge and experience from KillaJoule. The new bike has a new color and a new name: GreenEnvy (pictured below).
Eva and Bill were recently speaking with Ryan Maughan on the Avid Technology podcast about their EV motorcycles, and their current challenge. When comparing the new bike to the old one, Eva said, “It’s better in almost every aspect. So we learned a lot when we built the KillaJoule we had never been to Bonneville, we had never seen a streamlined motorcycle in person. We just decided that we wanted to be the fastest in the world and the only way to go really fast is to streamline a motorcycle.”
Bill commented on how quickly they were able to build GreenEnvy. Saying, “We actually built this motorcycle in 6mo. and this is unheard of. And the reason we were able to do that is because it’s electric… it’s so much simpler. It’s essentially a cordless drill with wheels. Putting this together is so much simpler. You don’t have a fueling system or exhaust system.”
Piloting KillaJoule, Eva set the current land speed record for an EV motorcycle
at 270 mph. GreenEnvy is looking to target the overall motorcycle record (a gas powered motorcycle) of 376 mph currently held by Ack Attack and Rocky Robinson. And the GreenEnvy should be able to smash that record as Eva and Bill estimate that 400 mph is achievable.
According to their website they say, “It also has more than twice the power, the target is over 1000 horsepower (preferably 1 megawatt = 1360 HP). It is being built with the goal to be the world’s fastest motorcycle. Period. In order to fit the larger drivetrain, the Green Envy is about 5 ft (1.5 m ) longer than the KillaJoule, which means about 23 ft or 7 m. The cross-sectional area is a tiny bit bigger, and the aerodynamics are improved and will be improved further. There are also be a lot of subtle changes improving performance, handling, and reliability. Or simply speaking, we learned from all the mistakes we made building the KillaJoule.”
However, they (and we) will have to wait to see GreenEnvy speed into the record books. Less than a few weeks from the planned race day, everything was canceled and shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. They say, “It is currently uncertain where its debut will be, but we are looking at all possible venues to let us stretch its wheels!”
We can't wait to see this in action. While we're all waiting however, you can learn about KillaJoule and GreenEnvy at greenenvyracing.com and check out Eva Håkansson Racing on Facebook as well as connect with them on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube!
If you're the managing partner of a business with "rocket" in the name, it only makes sense to have a vehicle that is attention grabbing and lives up to the rocket title. Well, Gary H. thought so too, and we feel like he hit the nail on the head when he bought his brand new Tesla Model X Performance.
Zero-60 mph is achieved in only 2.7 seconds making this rocket one of the quickest vehicles on the road. We sat down with Gary to hear about his impressions of the Model X after three months of ownership.
Owner: Gary H.
"I bought that car about two months ago, it was on a Sunday, my wife and I just woke up and said, 'You know, let’s look into the Tesla,' and we got online and it showed us where we had to schedule a test drive. And so we scheduled it for noon, it was the closest one we could get here in Richmond, but we saw that Northern Virginia opened at 10 a.m. So we jumped in the car and drove to Northern Virginia because we couldn’t wait until 12 p.m. So we got up there and drove the Model S and loved it. We drove the base Model S and then drove the Performance. Of course you have to order them, and I’m one that wants to buy it right now. So what I did is, I got them to look around to see if they could find me one that they had in stock that they could ship in that I didn’t have to wait for and they only had a couple. I ordered a Model S, white on white Performance.
It was going to come in six weeks. I went back up to the Richmond store the following week, during the week, and drove it again. I also drove one of the Model X Performance. I said to them, “what do you have that I can buy TODAY? What do you have in a Performance model? I don’t care if it’s a Model S, 3, or Model X.”
They had this white on white Model X Performance with 241 miles on it. I said, “I’ll take it.”
As much as I drive, I’ve had it for two months and put 7,000 miles on it. I’ve probably saved $1,000 in fuel costs over that time. Before this, I was driving an
2020 Tesla Model X Performance
LX570 Lexus or a 2019 Ford Raptor which got 15 mpg at best. So you can figure how much gas I was buying.
"Zero-60 is in 2.7 seconds, but I’m more impressed with the 0-100. I’ve never been in a car like that. In my business I care very much about brand, and there’s no better car for a rocket ship than a Tesla. That’s why it looks like that with the wrap. There aren’t too many people that are faster. People with Camaros or Mustangs have tried to keep up, but they back off pretty quickly once they realize what they’re up against. My partner has a Ferrari… he can’t keep up with it. That’s my favorite part."