Is the Chevy Bolt The Electric Vehicle Excuse Buster?

There are a lot of people who have been putting off becoming an Electric Vehicle Driver. Is the Bolt the EV to change that?
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There are so many reasons for people switching to driving electric vehicles, so it is amazing that everyone concerned about our planet has yet to purchase one. Rather than go on about oil spills, oil wars, smog and greenhouse gasses let’s look at how this is working.

Two of our OVGC members, Gary and Dominique Hirschkron, recently purchased a Bolt. Here is what Gary had to say:

“The Bolt is unquestionably the best car I have ever owned. I have owned Mercedes, Lexus and lots of nice cars but this is the best. It feels like driving the next concept of what a car is. The difference is like shifting from a computer with text based screen to one running a windows graphic interface. It is awesome!”

The big reasons for NOT getting an Electric Vehicle have been:

  • Not enough range – as in only 80 miles;
  • Takes too long to charge;
  • Too expensive – which actually is to do with having a limited use at the same price as a full use vehicle;
  • Not enough room inside – need to fit the kids and luggage;
  • Unproven technology;

How the Bolt busts those excuses:

With an official range of 238 miles on a charge the range is comfortably enough to drive round trip to LA, which the Hirschkron’s have done several times. No other electric cars, other than Tecla’s, at 2 or 3 times the price, can do that.

How you can drive the Bolt:

  • Drive anywhere up to 100 miles from home and get back without breaking a sweat – no charge needed
  • Drive for a full week at 32 miles a day – the average miles driven in any car a day – no charge needed but charging every night is strongly recommended
  • Commute 140 miles a day all week and still be fully charged from using your home charger overnight
  • Drive to anywhere that is 200 miles away, charge for an hour and drive home – a DC fast charger is needed
  • Drive four hundred miles in a day with a one hour stop to charge and eat – a DC fast charger is needed
  • Drive six hundred miles in a day and stop for lunch and dinner – a DC fast charger is needed

The time it takes to charge the Bolt is overnight for local driving. That means having a 240 volt charger installed in your home or having one nearby you can use. Even in summer, it can be charged from empty to full at off peak rates (11:00 PM 8:00 AM). People who do not drive more than 40 miles in a day do not even need the 240 volt charger they can charge overnight on a regular household plug and be full every morning.

Using the car for the long distance items 4 through 7, requires that your car be equipped with a high speed charging port that allows you to use the DC Fast charging system. This will fill up a Bolt to 80 percent full in around 45 minutes –giving you 190 mile range plus in less than an hour. Having a DC Fast charge port is something every EV should have but it is normally an add-on feature when you buy it. Not all EVs have these available and they are essential to using them for anything other than your local driving.

The Chevy Bolt is a normally priced car that the government provides incentives for your purchase. With an MSRP starting around $35,000 it gets even more affordable after the tax credits and rebates kick in. You can apply to the State of California to send you a rebate check for $2,500 if you buy or lease for a three year period. The Federal Government will pay your taxes in the year of purchase up to $7,500. That same program also makes leasing the vehicle really affordable.

Our Board Member, Michelle Ellison , just leased a Bolt with a monthly payment of $150. She put $5,000 up front and will get the check from the state for $2,500.

Here is what she has to say about the car:

“Our family has been looking for an electric car that can do trips to LA and back, and one with ample cargo room, and the Bolt is just that. We have two large car seats in the back with room to spare and a surprisingly large storage area. We found a great lease deal and became happy Bolt drivers as of last week. Better yet, we’re able to power both of our electric cars (we also have a Fiat 500e) by newly installed solar panels, so they run on the sun!”

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The cost of electricity to drive 1000 miles is about $35 for most people but she has a solar system which cuts that in half and will provide free electricity when the system pays for itself (typically in five to ten years). Having the electric vehicles actually reduces the payback period on a solar system because of the fuel saving from the EV. How much do you pay to go a thousand miles?

As to the technology being unproven – the Bolt is the fourth production level EV from GM. The EV One got them started; the Chevy Volt has been a top EV seller since 2011. The Chevy Spark was a fine and fun EV that laid the foundation for the Bolt. Plus Chevy has learned from lots of other models about what to do and what not to do. This technology is proven and has proven to reduce smog and GHGs by more than 70% when charged on the California Grid.
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There are a lot of other myths out there about EVs causing more problems than fossil fuel vehicles but those alternative fact based ideas have been researched and do not amount to much. That information is available for anyone serious about moving forward.

There are people who want to wait and get a Tesla model 3. This is expected to be another great car and it should be available by the end of next year. Getting a Bolt on a three year lease would let you wait for that delivery while driving a great – game changing EV. Your personal climate accord works best sooner rather than later.

The people enjoying their new Chevy Bolt electric vehicles seem to love both the vehicle and the part where there are no greenhouse gasses (GHGs) coming out of their vehicles. As an EV driver there is a sense that my EV is part of my own personal climate accord. Is it time for you to take a similar step in your personal climate accord?