My Year of Living Electrically (Chevy Bolt Review)
January 1st, 2018 Mitch Stone
The afternoon of December 30, 2016, was a rainy one in Southern California.
I remember when we used to have those. It was also the day I drove a Bolt EV
off the lot of my local Chevrolet dealership. It was the very first one they
This week marks an elapsed year after taking this plunge. Anniversaries can
be arbitrary and forgettable dates, unless you are married. Yet a full year
seems as good a time as any to pause for a bit of reflection, to ask myself
how this purchase has worked out.
My driving case isn’t typical. I work at home and don’t otherwise place
heavy demands on a car, so the 6,400 miles I’ve put on the odometer during
the past year is less than many drive their cars in just a few months. What
I’ve found to be more unusual, though, is that I am otherwise in Chevrolet’s
target market. That is, I was a first-time EV buyer.
My unscientific conclusion based on conversations with other Bolt owners
over the last year is that a large number (if not a majority) of Bolt buyers
in its first model year were previous EV owners who already knew their way
around this type of car. They were drumming their steering wheels
impatiently waiting for a reasonably priced EV with a useful range.
I had no such basis for comparison. I was ready for the technology, but my
criteria were entirely about whether the car would meet my daily driving
needs without disruptions. Mainly, I was seeking a smooth transition from
hydrocarbons to electrons.
The purchase itself was a total leap of faith. When I placed the order over
a year ago, few outside of auto enthusiast magazines had even set eyes on
the car. This is not normally how I buy cars, an event that comes up about
once a decade. I buy to keep, so I try to find a way to rent my keeper
beforehand. That wasn’t an option with the Bolt.
I’d also never owned a GM product, so this too created some anxiety. I would
have to base my decision on nothing more than reading, and a test drive when
the car arrived at the dealership. Fortunately, it was generous. The sales
staff was equally curious about the car. I took a deep breath, and wrote the
We have another car in our household well-suited for long trips, so I
decided from the outset to not push the Bolt until I felt totally
comfortable making round trips well within its rated range. While I can
certainly admire those brave EV warriors who plan long cross-countries in
their Bolts, folding in all those charging stops, that isn’t me, at least
not yet. A year in, and I still haven’t charged the car outside of my own
And to be honest, I am astounded by the stories I hear from owners who drive
their Bolts down to the electron equivalent of fumes. That isn’t me, either.
I don’t need the stress, unplanned hunts for chargers, or any related
freak-outs coming from the passenger seat. They would definitely violate my
smooth transition directive.
As planned, I’ve stepped out gradually. After completing my first drive to
Dodger Stadium in the spring (around 130 miles from home, roundtrip), I felt
a bit like Lindbergh landing in Paris. If the EV veterans out there are
laughing right now, I understand. The point is, for an EV noob, the first
drive of any real length without a petroleum safety net is a genuine
I made that trip many more times during the year, each more routine than the
one before. On picking up friends on the way to a ballgame in midsummer, I
received a polite inquiry: could the car really make it there and back?
Being able to answer “yes” with total confidence was no small thing. Longer
trips are coming, I have little doubt, but only because these intermediate
drives were so informative.
I won’t tick down the list of the car’s quirks. Every car has them — the
Bolt perhaps a few more than most. Chevy made a compromise here or there
that we all wish they would have avoided. They are already much discussed
and debated. Suffice to say, I can live with them.
The anniversary question is whether my gamble on the Bolt paid off. I’d like
to think it has, for both me and Chevy. Overall, I’ve been successfully
introduced to EVs. And while my comfort level has grown, I still feel like I
am driving the future. Electric motor propulsion is so clearly superior, I
cannot imagine going back to the old way, which now feels primitive, like
banging rocks together.
If selling that concept to people like me was the plan, then Chevy hit the
target, with bonus points. With each passing day, I picture myself less like
an explorer hacking his way through the jungle looking for civilization. I
feel like I’ve already found it.
I feel like an EV driver for life.
Chevrolet Bolt EV: Why Self-Inflict Price Hike Is Important
December 23, 2017 The Chevrolet Bolt is on a strong run at the moment as it
has posted gains after gains on a monthly basis. This is easy to accept
because the Bolt makes a great value-for-money purchase. In detail, the car
can be obtained for about $30,000 after rebates and you can enjoy 237 miles
of electric driving range with the vehicle ...
Electric cars in rural America
December 31, 2017 DENVER — Urban centers across the country are
experiencing strong growth in electric vehicles, driven by high customer
satisfaction and financial subsidies. However, the same level of interest
has not translated to rural America ... Until electric vehicles can travel a
minimum of 200 miles on a single charge and are priced similar to internal
combustion engine vehicles, adoption in rural communities will likely remain
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