One year with the Chevrolet Bolt EV: Takeaways from my immersion into all-electric driving

bolt ev Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, ILJust over a year ago, I finally realized my long-time dream to purchase an affordable all-electric car with over 200 miles of range. Now that I’ve got a full year and around 8,500 miles of road behind…

Just over a year ago, I finally realized my long-time dream to purchase an affordable all-electric car with over 200 miles of range. Now that I’ve got a full year and around 8,500 miles of road behind me in the Bolt EV, let’s check in on the good, the bad, and the awesome.

Looking for your own EV?  Call our Customer Care Team at 630-898-9630 or visit our showroom.  Select your perfect electric vehicle on our website day or night. 

One year into owning the Bolt EV as our family’s only vehicle, we are loving, it. It is peppy, smart, and comfortable. Plugging in at home has given us back so much time that used to be wasted waiting in line and filling up at gas stations. We have only had “range anxiety” once, when I was intentionally pushing the car to its limits (we’ll get into the details of that a little later). So far there have been zero mechanical issues or problems with the car. We exclusively use one-pedal driving, which took no time at all to get used to, and now just feels like the “natural” way to drive. Added bonus: since we almost never hit the brake pedal (except in reverse), the brake pads will likely last a very long time.

Much to my surprise and dismay, a year after our purchase the Chevy Bolt EV is stillthe only sub-$40,000 electric car with over 200 miles of range that you can buy and drive home today. I had expected the Tesla Model 3 to meet those criteria by now, but they’re still only shipping the tricked out models with prices in excess of $50,000. I also really thought that the new Nissan Leaf would be packing a 60kWh battery similar to the Bolt EV, giving it a similar range, but Nissan only increased the size of the Leaf’s battery to 40kWh, giving it a range boost from around 105 miles to 150 miles.

Going the distance

The subject of range is a good place to start. We took a number of long-ish trips over the last year that would not be possible in most other “mass market” electric cars, including trips from our home in Everett to Leavenworth (203 miles round trip), Vancouver, WA (195 miles one-way), Port Orchard (110 miles round trip), and La Conner, (95 miles round trip). The Bolt EV performed flawlessly every time, giving us reasonable range estimates and inspiring full confidence that we would have no problem making it to our destination.

Of course, I had to push the car to its limit at least once. On our way back from visiting my parents in Vancouver for Thanksgiving we decided it would be fun to strap a ridiculously large Christmas tree to the top of the Bolt EV. I knew that having what was essentially a huge fractal sail strapped to the roof would destroy our efficiency, but even still, I underestimated just how severe the hit would be.

bolt ev side view Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, IL

We made it to our planned charging stop at the Chevy dealer in Olympia—barely. Starting with a full charge at my parents’ house, we burned through 58 kWh of the battery’s 60 kWh capacity in just 109 miles. Unfortunately, the supposed DC Fast Charger (DCFC) at the dealership was not up to full DCFC specs, and barely pumped out more amps than my Level 2 home charger. We got nowhere near the theoretical “90 miles of range in about 30 minutes of charge” that the Bolt EV is capable of on a true DCFC station. After two hours at the charger we finally had enough in the battery to make the remaining 90 mile drive home.

Fortunately, that was both the first and the last time so far that I have used any public charger for my Bolt EV, because its range has proven to be more than enough for 99 percent of the trips we take, even in the winter when the cold weather pushed the maximum range a little below 200 miles.

One frequent objection that people seem to have about electric cars is that they aren’t sufficient for road trips. I concede that point. There were two times this year that we went on road trips beyond the capability of the Bolt EV—a 570-mile one-day round trip drive to Walla Walla, and 2,000-mile 4-day round trip to Visalia, California. In total we spent about $156 to rent cars for those two trips.bolt ev jump start Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, IL

Fuel cost comparison

How did our fuel costs compare to our old gas-powered car? Our previous car was a relatively fuel-efficient 2001 Saturn SL2 that averaged around thirty miles per gallon (despite having over 200,000 miles on it). Using monthly average Seattle-area gas price data from, my calculations show that if we had continued driving the Saturn, we would have spent $863 to travel the same 8,700 miles that we put on our Bolt EV in its first year. Meanwhile, our actual cost of the electricity that we put into the Bolt EV was almost exactly $300. So we saved $563 in fuel alone ($407 if you subtract the rental car expenses for the road trips), plus the cost of around three oil changes and whatever other maintenance our old gas-burner would have needed.

A less fuel-efficient gas-powered car that averages around twenty miles per gallon would have cost around $1,300 in gasoline, for a savings of $1,000.

bolt ev parking lot Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, IL The tax savings

Speaking of savings, as of right now there is still a pretty big federal income tax incentive available if you purchase most EVs. I’m the type of person who prefers to file my taxes as early as possible, so you can imagine my frustration when the IRS delayed publishing the 2017 tax year version of the EV tax credit form (Form 8936) multiple times. They eventually released it in late February and I was finally able to file my taxes. We received that sweet $7,500 EV credit in late March.

It’s also worth mentioning here that if you live in Washington State, the incentive that exempts the first $30,000 of the purchase price of an EV from sales tax is set to expire at the end of this month, so if you’re thinking about buying an EV soon you may want to do it now while you can still save up to $3,000 in Washington State sales tax.

The little things

Here are some of the cool little features that we’ve noticed in our first year of Bolt EV ownership:

  • The parking brake sets itself when you shift into park if you’re stopped on a steep enough a hill.
  • The volume displays on the screen closest to where you’re setting the volume—if you use the buttons on the back of the steering wheel, it displays on the driver’s screen, but if you use the center console knob, it displays on the center screen.
  • When you turn on the rear window washer a small jet also washes the rear cameras.
  • The on-screen guide on the reverse camera turns as you turn the wheel, which makes perfect parking ridiculously easy.
  • The HVAC fans turn down automatically when you make a call or talk to Google via Android Auto (or Siri via Apple CarPlay).
  • The stereo has a setting to increase volume automatically when you go faster, accommodating for road noise at high speeds.
  • You can still provide a jump start to ICE cars in need (I actually did this once).
  • The rear view mirror camera is super rad (and has a brightness adjustment button on the back).
  • Cruise control stays “on” even when you turn off the car (why do so many cars reset cruise to “off” every time you get back in the car?!?).
  • Safety feature – In “L” mode the car creeps forward if your seat belt is not buckled, making it immediately obvious that you’re still in gear if you’re about to try to get out. Also, as soon as you open the door the car will auto-shift into park.
  • While plugged in to charge, you can use the app or the key fob to precondition the heat in the winter without depleting any battery.
  • Parking brake auto-releases when you hit the accelerator, and auto-sets if you’re creeping forward down a hill in “L” mode with your foot completely off the pedal.
  • Android Auto is super useful and after a software update is now (mostly) full-screen (previously it did not fill the width of the screen). You can jump to Android Auto by holding the “Home” button for a few seconds.

There are also a few complaints, but they are all very minor:

  • The headlights are a little too bright for other drivers.
  • One time we experienced a software glitch that disabled all the steering wheel buttons (cruise control, on-screen menu selection, volume). It fixed itself on the next drive.
  • The stereo flips back to FM radio every time you turn on the car.
  • The window control rockers have an “automatic down” mode for all four windows but, but only the driver’s window has automatic up.
  • The way the My Chevrolet smartphone app calculates efficiency is stupid (they divide your miles driven by the entire amount of electricity you’ve put into the car, not just what you’ve actually used).

While the Bolt EV is great the way it comes, there were a couple of aftermarket add-ons we opted for:

  • $180 – Full-coverage all-weather floor mats from WeatherTech
  • $378 – Yakima roof rack system, which consists of the LP19 landing pads, Skyline Towers, 50″ CoreBars, and SKS Lock Cores

The verdict

As mentioned earlier, if you want to drive home today in a relatively affordable all-electric car with over 200 miles of range per charge, the Bolt EV is still your only choice. But just because Chevrolet is taking home a default victory in this category doesn’t mean that the Bolt EV is not a worthy competitor. I’ve been seeing more and more of them on the road lately, so the word must be getting around. In retrospect, I’m glad we bought the Bolt EV, and I’m looking forward to driving it for many more years to come.

Source: One year with the Chevrolet Bolt EV: Takeaways from my immersion into all-electric driving

Chevy Bolt vs. Volt: Chevrolet’s electrified models explained

Chevy Bolt vs. Volt

Despite having similar names and a similar reliance on electricity, the Chevy Bolt and Volt are not at all the same car. To highlight the differences between these two vehicles, we compared them across several categories, allowing us to get a feel for the technology and features driving each model.

Chevy Bolt vs. Volt


Now in its second generation, the Volt is a plug-in hybrid car equipped with a four-cylinder engine that takes over when the battery runs out of electricity. If you’re not sure which one to choose, read on for our Chevy Bolt vs. Volt comparison highlighting design, technology, performance, and safety.


An electric car is, by definition, a high-tech vehicle. To that end, even the base version of the Bolt comes with a 10.2-inch touchscreen integrated in the dashboard, Bluetooth connectivity, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility. Music plays through a six-speaker sound system.

Chevrolet also bundles in a 4G LTE connection, though it’s only active if users pay extra for a data plan, and Chevrolet Connected Access, which gives the driver access to an array of useful information including vehicle diagnostics and dealer maintenance notifications.

The Volt offers the same level of standard equipment, though its touchscreen is a smaller eight-inch unit. In terms of tech features, both models stand proud near the top of their respective segments.


All electric, the Bolt uses a 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 150-kW motor. In more familiar terms, the hatchback produces 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Its 3,580-pound weight makes it rather portly for a compact car, though it’s on the lighter side of the spectrum for an electric car. Chevrolet quotes a range of up to 238 miles but your mileage will vary depending on how you drive, where you live, and what you routinely carry.

Chevrolet quotes a range of up to 238 miles in the all-electric Bolt but your mileage will vary depending on how you drive, where you live, and what you routinely carry. The hybrid Volt provides a useful 420-mile range before needing to fill up or stop for a charge.


Charging times are ballpark estimates, too. Chevrolet says a full charge takes approximately nine hours when using a 240-volt home charger but about 24 hours when the Bolt draws electricity at the rate of four drivable miles per hour through a standard 120-volt outlet. Fast-charging stations can zap the battery pack with about 90 miles of range in 30 minutes.

The main part of the Volt’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain consists of a pair of electric motors that jointly deliver 149 hp and 294 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels. They draw electricity from a 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that stores enough juice to power the car for up to 53 miles. If your commute is shorter than that, you could theoretically never have to put gasoline in it.

Thanks for reading about Chevy Bolt vs. Volt.  For additional information please contact our Customer Care Team at 630-898-9630 or visit our website. 

For more view Source: Chevy Bolt vs. Volt: Chevrolet’s electrified models explained

2017 Chevy Bolt Exterior Video

2017 Chevy Bolt Exterior Video

Check out the all new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.  It’s an all electric vehicle that’s built for economy and fun!  Bolt offers a range of over 230 miles, all without one single drop of gasoline!

Bolt starts at only $29,995 (including Federal Tax deduction) and offers a 100,000 mile GM warranty.

Call our Customer Care Team now at 630-898-9630 to schedule a V.I.P. demonstration drive.  Or, visit our website to learn more about this fantastic electric vehicle.

10 things I like better on the new 2017 Chevy Bolt vs my 2013 Tesla Model S

10 things I like better on the new 2017 Chevy Bolt
10 things I like better on the new 2017 Chevy Bolt than my Tesla

I’ve had my 2017 Chevy Bolt for over a month now and have been pleasantly surprised about how much it has to offer. Like I really, really love this car even months after our review.

Looking for an electric vehicle?  Visit Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora IL or drop by our website anytime.

I’ve had my 2017 Chevy Bolt for over a month now and have been pleasantly surprised about how much it has to offer. Like I really, really love this car even months after our review.  While I still prefer my twice as expensive 2013 Tesla Model S overall, there are a number of areas where the Bolt beats the Tesla – and I mean the 2013 Model S but also in many cases Tesla’s new/upcoming models as well. Some of these things Tesla could choose to fix, but most are inherent design decisions.

Also I should note before y’all head to the comments that we love all EVs here at Electrek and before a Tesla vs. Bolt fight breaks out remember that we’re all on the same “Team EV” here. 

  1. Regenerative braking – The Bolt’s L mode is already stronger on regen that the Model S and with the left hand paddle that adds more regen, I can come to a complete stop in all but emergency braking situations without ever touching the actual brake. The Model S has fantastic regenerative braking but I need to use the brake way more often. I could see going weeks or months without ever touching the Bolt’s brake. I don’t think either car will ever need any brake work but the Bolt’s will certainly last longer and produce less brake dust.
  2. 4G LTE Hotspot in the car. Why? Because both my Tesla Model S and Chevy Bolt get way better signal than either of our phones and even a MiFi hotspot. The reason is because with a car, you can put seriously powerful antennas on the hotspot and get a signal even when phones and their compact circuitry are out of range. Could Tesla do this? Sure but billing software is a concern says CEO Elon Musk. Chevy/AT&T give me 3GB of data to start with a $20/month option which I’ll be tempted to buy when my free data runs out.
  3. CarPlay/Android Auto. I’ve got a great set of apps and music on my smartphone and Carplay and Android Auto both work great for me. As good as Tesla’s version of Google Maps is and its OK voice and music, it is never going to get to Android or iOS level. Add the messaging options and other apps and the advantage is clearly with the Bolt, even with its half the Tesla-sized screen.
  4. Size: The Tesla Model S and Model X are huge cars. They weigh a lot with their huge batteries and they take up every inch of a parking spot or a garage. Sure that space is nice to have on a long trip but lugging all of that car around day to day becomes a chore. The Bolt on the other hand with its “Micro Crossover” design is big on the inside with a bunch of headroom and cargo space but small on the outside. The amount of space in our garage we save with the Bolt, even over our old Prius, is substantial. When I just need to make a quick dash to the store? Bolt…every time.
  5. Ride Height. Since we are comparing the Model S and the Bolt, it should be noted that you sit about a foot higher in the Chevy. That means you can see more of the road and adds visibility and some confidence in driving. The BMW-like surround cameras don’t hurt here either.
  6. Getting in/out. That ride height also translates into making the car easier to get in and out. At “crossover” height, it is easy to kind of lean over into the seat and do the same getting out. On the Model S, you are getting much lower and have to climb out. For my parents who have some mobility issues, getting in and out of the Bolt is way easier than the Model S. Obviously, Tesla’s taller Model X and 3 may not have this “problem”.
  7. Winter FWD vs RWD. Since we are comparing base models, Tesla’s is rear wheel drive (RWD) and the Bolt is front wheels drive (FWD). For driving pleasure, I’d take RWD any day of the week but when it is snowy outside, FWD definitely feels a lot safer especially into slippery turns. Give the advantage to the Bolt in the winter, unless of course you want AWD, which in electric car world, is still a Tesla exclusive.
  8. Perceived pretentiousness factor – reduced. My wife doesn’t like taking the Tesla to work because she doesn’t want to have a better car than her boss. Even though we got ours when Teslas were selling for $49,000, people think you are driving a $100,000 car (and frankly it is exotic enough to warrant that). But that’s not great when you want to blend in. The Bolt looks and acts like a (hot) hatchback which is standard fare in these parts.
  9. Charging can be better…sometimes. In our garage like many, the power is toward the back and that means the Bolt’s front based charger is easier to get to. When doing public charging stations, I don’t need to back in nor do I need a Tesla->J1772 adapter. Oh, and there happen to be some Chademo/CSS combo stations at the ski resort we frequent near Bennington/Manchester Vermont. We had to buy the $450 Chademo adapter for the Tesla to use these (which are overpriced, flawed NRG EVGO stations that need to be restarted every 30 mins). Overall however, Tesla’s Supercharger network is the best in the business by many order of magnitudes. I really hope that in the near future, every EV can use every charging station.
  10. More range per kWh. Both cars have 60kWh batteries but I can easily get 240 miles out of the Bolt. Even when the Model S was new, I didn’t get 210 miles because it is a much bigger car. Now, 4.5 years later, I get in the high 190s – which is a very small degradation for a car that has 50K miles and lots of DC charging under its belt. However, our trip to the Vermont mountains is about 180 miles which means the Bolt will make it without issue while the Tesla will likely need to charge along the way to be safe.

Source: 10 things I like better on the new 2017 Chevy Bolt vs my 2013 Tesla Model S