siennared
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:07 am

Two week review after 700 miles

Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:09 am

After owning my Sienna Red BMW (E39) 530i for 16 years, it had come time to move to an electric drive-train. Given my driving requirements, I would have liked to get a car that I could drive a radius of 50-60 miles from home and come back, under varying weather conditions, without having to worry about stopping to re-charge in between. For long trips, that happen no more than twice a year, I am happy to rent a car without having to worry about range and incomplete charging network. My first choice was the Tesla Model S for its external design, power and efficiency. I did not have a second choice until the introduction of the Bolt. After looking at the Bolt, reading about it and understanding Chevrolet product development progression from the Spark, Volt and now the Bolt, I was convinced that this car maker is committed to the platform and not merely releasing these cars as a check box product to be compliant with various state regulations.

I picked up my Arctic Blue bolt LT, with fast charging and the convenience package, couple of weeks back. So far I have about 700 miles on the car

External Design ★★
It looks ok. The car looks great from the side and back. I am not too sure about the front with Chevy’s current design language for all its vehicles. It looks great on the Volt and other cars but does not work as well for short ended Bolt.

Internal Design ★★
Fine. Reminds of my Honda Civic from 1996 with all the plastic. The cloth seats look great. Sitting is comfortable. Lots of room for rear passengers. Getting in and out of driver seat not very comfortable because of the plastic edge of the seat that rubs against my back. I have learned to “leap” in and out of the car that makes this process a bit more comfortable.

Controls ★ ★
Like the shifter very much. Try finding the volume controls on the steering wheel. I don’t understand why the Fav buttons are so prominent but the volume controls are hidden. High Definition Dashboard looks great. Wish it had an option to show time so that I never to look at the center console.

Infotainment ★
Is a mess. Why does Radio turn on when I stop my podcast. Why does it start up on its own when I start the car. The saving grace is CarPlay. The screen is slow and laggy to touch but works ok. The good news is that that this is all in the software which I hope can be updated Over The Air or something similar without having to go to the service. But get a decent engineer to look at it and re-program it. Please!

Driving ★★★
Love to drive this car. It feels quick to get going, agile while driving and easy to park. I can feel the road and does not have that smooth marshmallow ride that I was afraid I would get. Going from 3 pedal driving to 1 pedal driving is fun in a very different way.

Battery/Charging ★★★
Since this is all brand new to me, I have to say I am surprised how easy this transition has been. Bolt’s charge management system is intuitive, easy to understand & use. The companion smartphone app is adequate and helpful. I drive however the heck I want and don’t necessary feel like the Apollo 13 Astronauts trying to conserve battery before re-entry power up.

Service ★
For the last 7 days, I have been driving with an annoying alert that says the Charge Door is open. So I took an appointment with a local dealership to correct it. Booked the appointment from the companion app. Got there on time to see that my name was not on the list Also learnt that the Volt/Bolt technicians don’t work during the weekends and that I have bring the car in 10 days for the next available appointment. Thanks Chevrolet!

Purchase ★
The dealership model for selling car sucks. I don’t care what the reason, it is dumb. I hate the process. Everything about it. They don’t add any value in the process but make you feel like you have been robbed.

Overall ★★
I really like the car. I mostly agree with all the design compromises that Chevrolet made to get the car out to meet the price targets. Hopefully there is a feedback loop that will take the experience from driving customers and incorporate it into the next generation and make it even more compelling.

Nagorak
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:20 am

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:58 pm

siennared wrote:Purchase ★
The dealership model for selling car sucks. I don’t care what the reason, it is dumb. I hate the process. Everything about it. They don’t add any value in the process but make you feel like you have been robbed.


Thanks for the review. I have to agree with you about car dealerships. Even when I go in and get a decent deal, somehow I leave with the slight feeling of being held up for money. They try to upsell you on so much crap, and I'm always wary that they're going to try to pull a fast one. It also always takes a minimum of two hours to get through the process. Just give me the price, don't try to sell me any extra crap, or try to slip something shady in, sign the docs and get it over with! Argh!

michael
Posts: 651
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:13 pm

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:18 pm

Which dealer??

I've actually been quite satisfied with the treatment I got buying my Volts (Keyes) and with the service at two dealers (Keyes and Simi Valley)
2013 Ford Focus Electric 51000 miles in 34 months, returned
2014 Volt, returned
2014 Volt, returned,

2017 Volt
2017 Volt
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327

sgt1372
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:21 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:58 pm

siennared wrote:After owning my Sienna Red BMW (E39) 530i for 16 years, it had come time to move to an electric drive-train. Given my driving requirements, I would have liked to get a car that I could drive a radius of 50-60 miles from home and come back, under varying weather conditions, without having to worry about stopping to re-charge in between. For long trips, that happen no more than twice a year, I am happy to rent a car without having to worry about range and incomplete charging network.

<snip>

Overall ★★

I really like the car. I mostly agree with all the design compromises that Chevrolet made to get the car out to meet the price targets. Hopefully there is a feedback loop that will take the experience from driving customers and incorporate it into the next generation and make it even more compelling.


@Michael: Are your category ratings based on a max of 3 or 5 stars? I'm assuming a max of 3. Wouldn't make sense otherwise.

I've driven my Bolt 808 miles so far in 1 month.

Here are my ratings in comparison with yours:

External Design: ★★

I'm not in love w/it but it doesn't bother me. Wouldn't have leased it otherwise. Like they say, you aren't looking AT the car when you're driving it.

Internal Design: ★★★

I like the interior design. It does not look cheap or plastic-like to me. Looks just fine. Much better than the new Prius which does look cheap and plastic-like and was one reason I decided not to buy/lease it.

Controls: ★★

After you learn where everything is and how to navigate the screen controls, it's fine but organization could be better. Could be more intuitive than it is and am still learning how to "properly" execute some commands.

Driving: ★★★

Love the way the car drives/handles, as long as you don't push it too hard. When you do that, the tires squeal and the car dramatically understeers. Could also use a bit more top speed (I'd prefer 102 or so like the Prius) but 93 is usually enough.

But, if you drive it "nicely," it works just fine.

Battery Charging: ★

The battery management system is fine but my rating is not based just on that.

I've only been using the L1 110V cord that same w/the car so far and it's agonizingly slow. This will improve when the L2 charger that I bought and installed in my house is hooked up after my electrician recovers from his recent injury BUT I think that faster charge times should be available.

My experience at public free and pay L2 and DCFC charge sites have been less than satisfactory which is what mainly accounts for my rating in this category. It's more a function of the "system" and current state of the technology, than the car itself.

Service: No Rating

There was an annoying rattle coming from the passenger seat assembly when there is no one sitting it that seat. Just discovered this was because there was a bolt missing in the rear outside passenger seat track; ie., the seat wasn't bolted down properly. This is more a "quality control" than service issue. Ordered the bolt for $3.70 rather than taking the car into service to get one for free thru the service advisor. Didn't cost much and easier for me to just install the bolt myself.

Purchase: ★★★

I agree that the traditional sales model for automobiles sucks but my experience at Capital Chevrolet in San Jose was one of the best I ever had. Placed a $500 deposit for the Bolt in Dec by phone. Got a call that the car I wanted was available in Feb. Went there, test drove the car and leased it w/only a little haggling about my trade-in.

Sales rep was not pushy, went to a special Chevy training program on the sale/operation of the Bolt and the lease/finance terms were exactly what I wanted. No problems what so ever. Should also note that sales reps at this dealership are NOT paid by commission -- they are salaried -- which also makes a difference.

Overall: ★★★

The Bolt replaced a gas guzzling FJ Cruiser as my daily driver. The objective was to use it for local driving in town, for 60-80 mile trips on the freeway and occasional trips into the City (160-180 miles) as I use to do in the FJ without the need to ever go to the gas station again and without the need to recharge until I get back home.

This has largely been achieved. I can drive it locally in town and on 60-80 mile trips on the freeway w/o concern but I have since determined that I cannot drive it into the City on those 160-180 RTs w/o the need to recharge in town before returning home. So, I'll never use it for that.

The latter is a bit disappointing but I will not downgrade my rating of the Bolt because of it. The Bolt does about 95% of what I need it to do really well and for the remaining 5% (for those drives into the City) I can just drive one of my other cars instead. No problem.
My vehicles:

2017 Chevy Bolt
2012 Mercedes ML350 4Matic
2008 BMW 335i
2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder
2002 Ford F250 7.3L 4x4 Longbed Turbodiesel

hightower82
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:05 pm

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:42 pm

To the OP, just curious why you didn't consider the 2017 i3 as well? They have a range that is easily enough to fit your needs as well. The BEV has an EPA estimate of 114, but a lot of owners state they can get 130-150 in ideal conditions.

phil0909
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:25 pm

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:59 am

hightower82 wrote:To the OP, just curious why you didn't consider the 2017 i3 as well? They have a range that is easily enough to fit your needs as well. The BEV has an EPA estimate of 114, but a lot of owners state they can get 130-150 in ideal conditions.


No, i3 range is inadequate. OP was clear that he wants to be able to travel 50-60 miles and back, without a charge, in varying conditions. That's 100-120 miles in possibly adverse conditions. i3 range is not even close to enough.

hightower82
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:05 pm

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:10 am

Oh, I thought he meant round trip

SparkE
Moderator
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:53 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:45 am

hightower82 wrote:Oh, I thought he meant round trip


{...} I could drive a radius of 50-60 miles from home and come back ...

siennared
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:07 am

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:09 am

hightower82 wrote:To the OP, just curious why you didn't consider the 2017 i3 as well? They have a range that is easily enough to fit your needs as well. The BEV has an EPA estimate of 114, but a lot of owners state they can get 130-150 in ideal conditions.


Besides the range, we were also not sold on the suicide door.

After another 500 miles on the car, the Bolt still feels like a fantastic choice for us.

devbolt
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:17 am
Location: Bay Area, California.

Re: Two week review after 700 miles

Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:59 am

sgt1372 wrote:

Battery Charging: ★

The battery management system is fine but my rating is not based just on that.

I've only been using the L1 110V cord that same w/the car so far and it's agonizingly slow. This will improve when the L2 charger that I bought and installed in my house is hooked up after my electrician recovers from his recent injury BUT I think that faster charge times should be available.

There's no real way to get faster charging times on 120V without violating the laws of physics. Most household outlets are designed to provide 15A of current for typical loads. That's 1.8 kW. However, if you are continuously drawing power for more than 3 hours on a circuit, the most power you are supposed to pull is 1.44 kW. If the portable EVSE were to pull the full 15A, you run the risk of causing a fire.

The only way to get faster charging times is to install a Level 2 240V EVSE on a dedicated circuit, preferably an EVSE that can supply the full 32A of current that the Volt can handle on an appropriately sized circuit. Which you are already planning on doing once your electrician is feeling better.

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