testingwithfire
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 23, 2020 10:12 pm

New to EVs, buying a used Bolt in a few months. Which accessories / equipment do I need?

Sun May 24, 2020 12:54 am

The topic says it all!

I just started researching today, so I don't know much, but I do know that I'll want a Level 2 charger. Will I get a Level 1 as part of the package with a used Bolt?

I'll probably be purchasing in the Tucson area FWIW.

Thanks in advance,

Amy

SparkE
Moderator
Posts: 1132
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:53 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: New to EVs, buying a used Bolt in a few months. Which accessories / equipment do I need?

Sun May 24, 2020 9:01 am

testingwithfire wrote:The topic says it all!

I just started researching today, so I don't know much, but I do know that I'll want a Level 2 charger. Will I get a Level 1 as part of the package with a used Bolt?

I'll probably be purchasing in the Tucson area FWIW.

Thanks in advance,

Amy



I suggest going to edmunds.com and pretend you are buying a new Bolt. It will tell you all the available options on a 2020, so you can at least have an idea of what options are available, and decide which ones you think are important.

If you ever plan on driving further than 200 miles away from home in the Bolt, you will want "fast charge" capability, also called DCFC (DC Fast Charge), or CCS (the name given by the standards body to the plug/charging type).

The Bolt was delivered new with a level 1 "charger" in the U.S., so you should get one with a used vehicle. (The proper name is EVSE, not "charger". It's technical.) If there isn't one, *after* you have argued the price to the "final", point out that you will have to buy a new EVSE, and that will cost about $400, so the seller should knock $400 off the price. The seller may suddenly remember where the EVSE got "lost" in the garage. ;) Also, the EVSE delivered with the Bolt can actually be used as a level-2 EVSE : although it doesn't say so, many people have made an "extension cord" that plugs in to a 240V socket, and provides a "120V" socket that the Bolt EVSE will plug in to. It will "only" charge at 12 amps, but at least it will charge twice as fast as at 120V. That will provide about 2.8 kW , which will push about 30 kWh ("a half tank") in a 12 hour period (i.e., a full overnight). So if you don't think you'll generally be driving more than 75 miles a day, it should be enough. And if you have DCFC, on those few days when you are "low" and need a fill, you can add 20-25 kWh in 30 minutes. MAKE SURE that the EVSE you have was the one shipped with the Bolt : check the model number on the unit before plugging it in to a 240V feed.

Check that the driver's seat is comfortable for you - some people don't like the seats/cushions in *some* Bolts (but might be fine in a different Bolt, even the same year). Set the seat up for driving comfortably, test drive it, then sit in the car for 45 minutes as if you were driving it (hands on steering wheel, foot on accelerator, etc.). If you aren't getting cramps or in pain, you will probably be OK. There are many threads on this site about the seats. (Some people have post work arounds, such as how to add extra padding.)

The Bolt doesn't have true "adaptive cruise control" (you set the speed to say 65 mph, but if you get "too close" to the car in front of you, it would slow down until a safe distance was obtained, then speed back up to the set speed if safe) - the Bolt does NOT have this feature. Different trim levels have different tech bells and whistles : you need to see which ones interest you.

theothertom
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:13 pm

Re: New to EVs, buying a used Bolt in a few months. Which accessories / equipment do I need?

Sun May 24, 2020 11:49 am

I won't go into the packages you need (backup camera, blind spot monitor, etc). These are pretty much the same for all cars. There is one option (described below) that is worth considering.

For charging, you have to consider how you will be using your car. The Bolt is supplied with a charger (technically an EVSE) that will operate on 120V or 240V. If you plug it into your regular household outlet (120V), you'll get about 3-5 miles of range per hour. Using an adapter and plugging it into a 240V outlet, you'll double that.

A lot of people purchase a separate 240V charger (so called L2 charger) that will add 25-30 miles range per hour of charging. A good one will cost around $400 and you'll probably have to get an electrician to install it unless you're very handy. There are a lot of public L2 chargers at places you're likely to spend a few hours , say malls and restaurants, for example. These are mostly free to use.

The other option for charging is to use a public DC fast charger (DCFC). You usually have to pay to charge but these will add up to ~150 miles per hour. Most people only use these for road trips and you MUST have the DCFC option on your car to be able to use it. A lot of people will say to get the DCFC option just in case you ever want to take a road trip. It also should help with resale value. (Terminology: DCFC uses a CCS connector).

Note that your range will decrease if you use A/C in the summer (Tuscon!!) and decrease if you use heat in the winter. Using heat can cause around a 30% range reduction, so plan accordingly. This is true for any EV, not just the Bolt.

There are two apps that will help with charging. Plugshare and abetterouteplanner (ABRP). These will show chargers near your location and will help you plan routes. ABRP is also has a website which makes route planning easier. They sometimes tend to be optimistic with their planning, so keep that in mind.

PackardV8
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:39 pm

Re: New to EVs, buying a used Bolt in a few months. Which accessories / equipment do I need?

Sun May 24, 2020 3:03 pm

Decide if your use is around town, 200 miles per day or less; or if you want to learn the drill to take a BEV on road trips. As mentioned, if road trips are planned, then yes, a DCFC option is required. For many, it's not a requirement.

We knew we don't consider today's BEVs to be western states, 80 MPH, 500 -700 miles per day road trip reasonable, so we had no problem buying our Bolt without the DCFC.

If your use is local, it's entirely possible the supplied L1 charger would be sufficient. It would have been for our use, seldom exceeding fifty miles per day. Our utility offered a free L2 charger, so we took advantage of that, but it really isn't required for some daily use.

Bottom line - buy the Bolt; you'll love it.

jack vines
My vehicles
2017 Bolt Premier Cajun Red
2011 Saab 9-4X
2005 Saab 9-5
1998 Saab 9000 Aero
2004 Ford F250 6.0 Turbo Diesel
1963 Studebaker Avanti
1956 Studebaker Hawk custom with a supercharged Packard V8
1955 Studebaker custom pickup with a Packard V8

AyeJay
Moderator
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:57 pm

Re: New to EVs, buying a used Bolt in a few months. Which accessories / equipment do I need?

Sun May 24, 2020 5:39 pm

A Bolt EV? -- What A Great Choice!

The LT model with the 'comfort & convenience' package is everything I needed. The DCFC option is a must have.

Make sure you get both (2) key fobs, owner's manual, wheel lock key (if it's a premium model) when you purchase.

I would suggest the 25ft cord version when you get a level 2 charging station.
Having some extra length coming from the EVSE has worked out well for me.
I've hardwired it into my home's electrical system as I had problems with cheaply made 32 Amp, 240V wall outlet connections heating up.

enjoy! .. AJ

PS: Local EV associations (not an endorsement of this group) can be good resources too:

https://www.tucsonelectricvehicle.org/
- 2017 Bolt EV LT
- 1982 VW Rabbit (Caddy) Pickup

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