I'm happy to tinker with the car to try to fix its shortcomings. I came up with the foam trick for the seat bottoms (but didn't post the video), swapping the sunvisors for the telescopic ones, and I've experimented with electronic pest repellers until I found one that's kept the mice out of my front bumper after they ate a wiring harness there twice the first year.
Despite adding the foam to my seats, my wife continues to point out how much better the seats are in her 17 Volt than they are in my Bolt. It got me looking closer at her seats, and I realized they are almost the same seat except the Volt seats are MUCH more comfortable, even after modifications.
If you look in the parts diagrams online you'll find that the seat bottom and track mechanism that actually bolts to the floor of both cars is the same part, and the overall dimensions are similar. Both have heated seats and airbags in the same position, an occupancy sensor in the passenger seat. The Volt has an extra seatbelt pretensioner mounted to the seat that's been moved to the body on the Bolt, so its extraneous but nothing prevents the Volt seats from moving into the Bolt. At first glance the electrical connector to both seats is identical too*.
I have grey leather in my Bolt, the closest the Volt offers is black leather. I found some good condition used Volt seats (second generation seats only, 2017 and up!) in San Diego and picked them up. My research said that the airbags and airbag controllers, as well as the passenger seat occupancy sensor are all different part numbers - this could be a problem for the main computer but first I just wanted to check fit without plugging anything in. Later I have a guy at my body shop who was willing to clear the codes that would come up when the computer saw a different serial number and model on the airbag controller. If it couldn't be reset I planned on swapping the controllers from the original seat to the new one.
You can remove the seats from the Bolt easily (T50 torx) and unplug the electrics without upsetting the computer so long as you don't power on the car, so I pulled the passenger seat and bolted in the Volt seat - perfect fit, very comfy, but as I couldn't power on the car, I couldn't do a test drive. I put the original seat back in and drove for a week or two before getting around to the drivers seat - I went to test fit it the other nite, and this is where things get depressing.
*Our buddies at GM pulled a fast one on us. The multi-pin connectors - fairly exotic- used to connect the seat to the car are identical between the Bolt and the 2nd Gen Volt, but on the drivers seat some wiseass engineer in Detroit thought it would be fun to swap the genders on the two connectors for the drivers seat on the Bolt. The connectors work the same way on both seats on the Volt as well as the passenger seat on the Bolt, but just to mess with us they turned the connectors around on the drivers seat on the Bolt.
One option is to disassemble both seats and pull all the electrical components from the Bolt seat out and install them into the Volt seat, Another is to cut out and rewire the connectors. But - its airbags and there are two really important rules. It must go off when it should, and it can't have the airbag ever possibly go off when its not supposed to, and . I respect the nuances of the engineering enough to know that a simple oversite could cause a multi-car accident. So... This sucks.
Prudence suggests there are two possible paths forward:
One, let it go and sell my nifty but useless Volt seats and put more padding in the Bolt seats.
Two, seek professional assistance. Somebody here knows "the guy" who can professionally make this work. I do not mean Billy-Bob who uses left over solder tape from the Radio Shack. Does someone here have a brother in law who is an electrical tech at a GM dealership, or a customizer with access to the documentation or the like that can help figure out a safe way to do the second half of this?
I could build a gender changer, but I'd have to cut the connectors off of a seat and a car to get the parts and both Bolts and Volts are broken down for parts, not sitting around in junkyards. . Even then - I'd prefer to find a solution that works for everybody. Attached is a photo of the Volt drivers seat in my Bolt.
Before I give up on my dream of having two comfy black seats in my grey car, does anyone have a path to make this work safely? The physical install is easy now that its been tested- its just the electrical connections and knowing that the airbags will be cool that's the trick.
Fingers crossed, who knows "the guy"?