CO Trip Report

Chevy Bolt EV Forum

Help Support Chevy Bolt EV Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Active member
Apr 10, 2018
Recently took a 380 mile (each way) adventure through the heart of the CO Rockies, our first EV Trip.

We live between Denver and CO Springs, along I-25. The fastest route would be 290 miles via Co Springs, Buena Vista, Salida, Montrose and finally the destination, Ouray (the Switzerland of N. America). Along that route were several L2 chargers, but no L3. We elected to go through Denver, I-70 to Grand Junction, then to Ouray on US50\550. The chosen route was at least 1.5 hours longer by standard estimates, but it took considerably more time to reach our destination. The choice of the longer route was due to 2 L3 chargers on the alternate route.

We left home with 100% SOC, and made it to our first stop (Glenwood Springs - about 204 miles) in time for lunch. We had about 40 miles of range remaining when we got to there, and took advantage of the Mountain Chevrolet's L3 charger (free for public use 24x7). After a 90 minute leisurely lunch, we got back on the road with about 200+ miles of range. A few minutes out and we were passed by a pickup that kicked up a rock that immediately left a half dollar sized star in the upper left corner of the windshield. Within minutes, the cracks started to spread, so we plotted a visit to a glass repair shop in Grand Junction. After a 2 hour repair stop, we hit the local library for a 60 minute L3 charge ($4). Eventually, we arrived in Ouray with about 50 miles of range remaining. Elapsed time ~11 hours (the alternate route had a 5.5 hour estimate according to Apple Maps).

Ouray has a free L2 charger at the local city park\hot springs, so we hooked it up for the day and spent a leisure day soaking in springs, shopping, and dining in town. Late in the afternoon, we pulled the car off the charger with about a 90% SOC (225 miles or so).

The return trip bypassed Grand Junction, directly to Glenwood Springs, arriving with about 40 miles of range to spare. A 2 hour lunch\charge stop at the Chevy dealer again and we hit the final leg of the trip with about 220 miles of range for the 204 mile leg. Anticipating a stop in Denver, we plotted out L3 chargers on route... but we pushed on through, arriving home with <30 miles of range remaining.

Aside from the charges at home, the total cost of "fuel" was $4. We estimate the cost for gas in my wife's car would have been $80 on the same route, or $60-70 on the shorter route.

For those not familiar with the I-70 route, there are a number of steep grades. Denver sits at about 5200 ft (Mile High City), and the Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass reach altitudes over 10,000 ft. Obviously, range depletes rapidly on the uphill climbs, but at one point, coming down hill from the tunnel to Silverthorne, we added roughly 80 miles of range in about 20 minutes courtesy of gravity. The meter showed a re-gen rate of 50+ kWh for most of the downhill stretch and I had my foot on the accelerator most of the time thanks to 1-pedal mode. A few times, I had to use the re-gen paddle as the grade was so steep that keeping the Bolt under 70MPH was too much for 1-pedal mode.

A few take aways. EV Trips are definitely a "Smell the Roses" proposition. Even with L3 charging, long lunch breaks were necessary. Second, the net of the uphill and downhill grades was pretty much a wash, we definitely consumed more going up, and got plenty of miles added on the down slopes. This was a big unknown factor to me when planning the trip. Finally, the glass repair guy shared that with the camera systems mounted in many modern vehicles with collision avoidance systems, replacement windshields often cannot be replaced by third party shops due to needing to recalibrate the cameras. So, words of wisdom, if you get a windshield crack, repair it ASAP or face a steep repair bill at your local Chevy Dealer.

Next weekend is a shorter trip to Buena Vista (byoo-nuh Vista to locals), and Salida (Suh-Iie-da). Not sure what it is with the odd pronunciations of these CO towns, maybe it's the "South Park" mentality of the area. This one will be 120 miles each way and the hotel has free L2 charging on site. I don't anticipate any range anxiety on this next trip.