2020 Bolt EV Premier Trip Report 2400 miles Labor Day

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Sep 11, 2020
Omaha, NE, USA
I just bought a 2020 Bolt EV Premier, and took a long road trip on Labor Day weekend, starting from home in Omaha Nebraska, through TN NC VA OH and points between. Mostly I always wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I did - and the weather was perfect.

The road leading to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Pigeon Forge-ish was bumper to bumper 5 mph or less the whole way, but that's understandable. Being in an EV going uphill at a few miles an hour or less is a joy compared to being stuck in a hot ICE car, that's for sure. Everything about an EV vs my previous car (12 year old Lexus ES350) is perfect (for me).

At home I charge with a CP Flex Home, since my utility offered $2500 rebates for EV and charger purchase and installation. They want the charging data so I'm happy to provide that to them for $2500 (charger was $700, 14-50 installed in garage was about $500 before minor drywall repairs.)

Road Trip Summary:
2,420 miles
23 charges
$128 total charge cost
627 total kWh charged
5.3c / mile average
EA: 10 charges
ChargePoint: 2 charges (note I did not make this a link, it's a forum thing apparently)
EVgo: 3 charges
Greenlots: 5 charges
Misc L2 free: 3 charges

Not sure if my "new" status on the forum will permit me to post a link, but if this works, here's a shared Google Sheets doc with details of all my charging if anyone is interested.


I'll post a few pics later tonight further down the thread, but you all know what the Bolt looks like so they're mostly boring shots at chargers. I only encountered a grand total of 2 other EVs charging the same time as me the entire trip: 1 Harley LiveWire, and 1 Porsche Taycan.

All the charges were pretty much uneventful, once I learned how to properly work EA chargers: plug in first, wait for CC screen to show on charger (about 20 seconds, after "initializing" box shows), THEN swipe in the app (I got the $4 membership). Any swiping too early caused a fail and I'd have to move or wait and try again. EA support was NOT helpful in this regard: every one of their reps told me to swipe in the app "within a few seconds" after plugging in. That doesn't work. You have to wait. But you all know this by now :D

End result: I love the Bolt. It's a great road trip car as most any EV would be. Great in the city, great on the interstate, fantastic in the mountains with all the regen and no brakes. Seats? Yeah, they're a challenge. But I would do that length of trip again anytime.

I obsessively planned stops before departure using all the usual apps (all the charging network apps, ABRP, Plugshare, the usual), but ultimately just "winged it" once out there, usually just looking for only my "next" charge and one alternate/backiup in the direction I was heading, depending on GOM range. It all worked out, but I had the original detailed plan if I needed it. I spent a few days putting every (yes, a lot) L3 charger that I would expect to use on my expected route as map pins in Google Maps. That made it easier to find potential stops when planning the next city.

Any questions? Fire away.
Excellent report James. I loved the detail. You're a man after my own heart. That's the way I like to plan a big trip. Then on the road take the stops as they come. If I need the plan it's there.

We're happy with the Bolt too and we're in the process of getting another one instead of migrating to another EV.

Thanks Paul! I learned a lot on this trip which will enable me to be more confident in extending distance per leg. All the expected SOC and GOM range estimates were pretty accurate, so I will probably need to do less agressive planning on the next big trip.

My daily commute is just 12mi round trip so I have more than enough car for my needs.

Congrats on your upcoming second Bolt! I’ll probably be looking at an EUV once my warranty is up on this in three years.
Thanks for the detail. Looks like you averaged around 3.9 miles/kWh for the whole trip, which is excellent! Can you provide more detail about charging stops (locations) along the BRP? I'd also like to do the BRP. thanks
theothertom said:
Thanks for the detail. Looks like you averaged around 3.9 miles/kWh for the whole trip, which is excellent! Can you provide more detail about charging stops (locations) along the BRP? I'd also like to do the BRP. thanks

I think the car said 3.8 trip avg but that was probably rounded. But yes that sounds about right. I tried hard to be under the speed limit, which was easier to do late at night and far away from major cities.

For the BRP, I charged to 90% at Dandridge TN EVgo (at Wendy’s) and headed right to Cherokee (south terminus).

From Dandridge: 92, 411, 441, 321, then 441 through GSMNP to Cherokee, then East/north on the BRP.

441 to 321 before the GSMNP was bumper to bumper 2-5mph uphill, so that probably contributed to excellent range.

I got off at Asheville and went south to Biltmore Park mall EVgo. From there it was up and out towards Cincinnati via Bristol VA EA, Charleston WV then Gallipolis OH ChargePoint, toward Cinti.

I would have done more BRP but I was far from home with days dwindling by then.

Hope that helps.
To add: I’d read elsewhere that south to north was generally a little more downhill on the BRP than starting on the north end, so that’s what I did, which worked out great. Plus that Saturday was an utterly gorgeous day without a ton of BRP traffic. Never had crowding on any pullout, including the highest point where everyone stops.