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As a Chevrolet Bolt EV owner myself, I know first hand how to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. Whether you are an owner or a future owner, this post is for you. Here, I’ll answer the 17 most frequently asked questions about the Chevrolet Bolt EV. If you have other questions that are not on here, you can reach out and I’ll email you back. Let’s get into it!
1. How much does it cost to charge a Chevy Bolt EV?
From 2017-2019, the Bolt had a 60kW battery pack. To figure out how much it is for the car to charge, you first need to figure out how much the electricity costs. In a charging station like Electrify America (here in Virginia), you get charged $0.31 per KWh delivered. If you multiply that by 60kW capacity (assuming the car can actually take the full 60kW), then you get your cost of $18.60. If you charge at home (say $0.11 per kWh delivered), it would come out to be $6.60. Quite a difference huh?
This is the basic math required to figure out the cost. For the 2020 Bolt, it would cost you an extra 10% due to the car having a bigger battery pack of 66kW.
2. How fast can a Chevrolet Bolt EV go?
While the Bolt does not have a large top-speed rating, it can get there rather quickly. If you give it a solid mile, you can reach a top speed of 92-93mph. The feeling is strange because as you approach 90mph, the car wants to keep on going until it …. stops going any faster. The governor is there to prevent the car from getting too unstable and the tires from bursting. For such as small car, it would make sense to not go any faster than that top speed figure.
3. How far can the Bolt EV go on a single charge?
One of the biggest things you should admire about the Bolt, is its ability to go over 200 miles on a single charge. But it’s not that simple. You see, cars are rated for a single number (e.g. Bolts 238 miles), but that is based on an average of 3.9 miles per kilowatt hour. That number is pretty much if you do mixed driving and don’t hammer it at each stop light.
If you do mostly city driving, you can bump that number higher from 238 miles on a single full charge to over 250 miles. The opposite is true if you drive it like you stole it, 150 miles or less is easy to attain if too careless with your speed.
4. How long does it take for the Bolt to charge to 100%?
For this example, I’ll be talking about the 60kW Bolt variant. Let’s start off being figuring out how long it takes on level 1, there are two settings. If you set your car at 8 amps and charge at 110 volts, you can get a rate of 0.8kW per hour and 100% in 68 hours. Switch the setting to 12 amps and charge at 110 volts, it drops down to 45.5 hours. If you thought THAT was slow, don’t worry, it gets better from here.
Switching gears to 220 volt chargers that charge at 3.3kW, you are looking at 18.2 hours. Jump up to 6.6kW and that number goes even further down to 9 hours. If you max out the on-board charging computer at 7.2kW and it will take just 8.25 hours.
If you find a level 3 charger that can charge at the Bolts maximum rate of 54kW, you can achieve 80% in 30-45 minutes. A full charge in about 1.5 hours.
5. How much does the Bolt EV cost right now?
If you are reading this a few months after this post has been published, it may be outdated. Nonetheless, I’ll still answer you based on todays market value. Let’s have a look at the Bolt EV’s at all year makes and models.
- 2017 model years can be found for as little as $10,000-$11,000
- 2018 model years can be found for as little as $13,000-$14,000
- 2019 model years can be found for as little as $14,000-$15,000
- 2020 model years can be found for as little as $22,000-$23,000
*these figures are as of February 3, 2021.
6. Does the Bolt EV come with any kind of factory warranty that is transferable to multiple owners?
As a matter of fact, yes it does. I unfortunately had to experience the inconvenience of needing to have my car repaired a few days after I got it. My Bolt EV had a few bad cells in the pack, so GM decided to replace the entire battery pack for $0.00. That’s right, it was because the car was (and still is) covered under the 100K mile/8 year EV Parts and Components limited warranty. This warranty comes with every Bolt EV and is transferable to as many owners as possible until either the mileage or the term period has passed.
7. Can you use the Chevrolet Bolt for Uber or food deliveries?
Absolutely, it is one of the best options there is when it comes to doing that kind of work.
As I write this, I do this full time in my 2017 Bolt EV. In the city, I am easily able to get 200 miles per charge. In mixed driving, I can get 150-200 miles and its enough for me to earn a decent income. Charging cost is minuscule compared to a full tank of gas. You can learn far more in a separate post I wrote about ridesharing in a Bolt EV.
8. How long is the Bolt's battery good for?
EV batteries generally last a few hundred thousand miles at least before needing to be replaced. Unlike with gas or diesel engines which wear and tear over time with use, batteries degrade over time and their capacity goes down.
There was an article that Eric from News Coulomb wrote talking about that exact topic. In a nutshell he broke down the cars capacity from when he bought it brand new to 100K miles. It shows very slight battery capacity loss every 10-20K miles. At 100K miles, the car still was getting 55kWh of storage. After 50K miles, the car started to degrade much slower and lost very little capacity over the next 50K miles.
The short answer is, a few hundred thousand miles should be doable.
9. GM has put out a recall for my Bolt EV, what do I do?
General Motors is no stranger to putting out recalls for peoples cars. In particular, the Chevrolet Bolt EV has had a few over the years that are not minor. Recently they recalled the battery on all 2017-2019 Bolts due to defects the battery chemistry. This issue could cause those effected Bolts to catch on fire.
If you are affected by a recall, the easiest thing you can do is go to GM and give them your car so a remedy can be given. In the most recent recall, GM limits the state of charge to 94.5%. This is their temporary fix until a permanent fix can bring the car back to full capacity.
10. What is the difference between the LT and Premier trims?
When you compare both the LT and Premier trims, it can be easy to assume that there’s no much of a difference. However, there’s quite a few key features that you can get with the Premier trim that you can’t with the LT. Here’s what you get EXTRA when you upgrade to the Premier:
- 17-inch Ultra Bright machined-aluminum wheels
- Outside rearview mirror turn signal indicators
- Body-color door handles with chrome strip
- Roof rails
- DC Fast Charging capability
- Perforated leather-appointed seats
- Front and rear outboard heated seats
- Silver center stack trim
- Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
- HD Surround Vision
- Ambient interior lighting
- Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Rear Park Assist
- Rear Camera Mirror including auto-dimming function
- Rear armrest
- False cargo floor
11. What kind of bulbs does the Bolt EV have and whats the size?
The Chevrolet Bolt EV comes with HID headlights that are very impressive at night. If you have to replace them, you just need to look for D3S bulb size in order to make a proper fitment.
Fortunately, you can fit not only HID’s but also LED and even halogens (although I would not recommend going to halogens, it is a step down).
12. Where is the Chevy Bolt manufactured?
I am proud to say the Bolt EV is manufactured and assembled in the United States. But to be specific, the assembly plant where it all happens is in Orion Township, Michigan.
13. Can the Chevy Bolt EV tow anything, if so, what is the capacity?
It is a tricky question because you will get a few different answers from different sources. Let me compile them all here so you can come to a conclusion.
According to GM: The Chevrolet Bolt EV has a towing rating of zero.
According to the internet and other users: You can install a hitch that is rated for up to 2000 pounds and 300 pounds of tongue weight. EcoHitch seems to be a popular brand for many Bolt owners. Reviews confirm people are having success with their installations and further use.
14. What is Hill Top Reserve and should I use it?
Unlike Tesla, the Chevrolet Bolt included Hill Top Reserve mode in their energy settings to reserve power and conserve the health of the battery. According to the Torque Pro app, you will have approximately 88% state of charge once the charge hits the limit. Whether this will ACTUALLY preserve your battery is the question. Some believe that Chevrolet by default reserves 2kWh of storage to slow down the degradation process.
If you are doing mostly CITY driving, it would not be a bad idea to turn it on. City driving can usually give you a far better range than highway driving. What you can do instead is turn off Hill Top Reserve when you are doing on long distance road trips.
15. Why should I buy a Bolt EV over any other electric car?
When shopping for an electric car, obviously it’s wise to consider your options. With that being said, today in 2021, the Bolt EV (in the used market) is the best bang-for-the-buck you can buy. In terms of range nothing comes close. Being rated for 238 miles on a single charge, you’d have to jump a few thousand dollars UP to get into a very used Model S (from 2012 to 2013). For something a bit newer, a Nissan Leaf Plus (62kWh variant) will me almost neck to neck.
The good news is that electric cars are dropping in price like hot potatoes. As more become available, it will be like being a used $10,000 Toyota Corolla after just a few years of being released.
16. How do I know if my Bolt has a problem with the main battery?
Unlike with regular cars, when you have a problem with the most important part of the vehicle, sometimes there are no symptoms except for abnormal range. The Chevy Bolt EV is no stranger to battery problems. One could say it is nothing abnormal when it comes to GM products, while others would say it’s acceptable because the Bolt is the first popular electric vehicle GM put out.
As I am writing this, I know first hand the symptoms of a bad battery. One of the easiest things you’ll notice is when the vehicle nears <30 miles to empty (or 10-20% SOC), it can suddenly jump to 0% SOC and leave you stranded.
One other thing to look for is the abnormal range, even in perfect conditions. For me, I started to get 150 miles to empty at 100% SOC, despite averaging 3.5-3.7 miles per kilowatt hour. Upon further testing, I was only getting 2.0-2.1 miles per each bar dropped on the battery gauge (there’s 20 in total). Multiplying 2.0-2.1 x 20 would mean I was only getting 40-42 kWh of capacity. I wrote a far more detailed article here that dives deep into the battery issue of the Chevy Bolt.
17. What do I do if I have a problem with Android Auto (or Apple Car Play) in my Bolt?
All Bolt EV’s from the factory come equipped with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. With the impressive 11″ inch touch screen, it makes for navigation a breeze.
Sometimes, Android Auto will not display properly, such as: black screen and a shrunk display of Android Auto system.
There are TWO ways of addressing this issue. The first part is to simply update the Android Auto app on your phone. If the problem still persists, move on to the next step.
Go into the Android Auto settings (in the app), go to the “About” section of the app and tap on the serial number 10x to enable developer mode. From there, tap on the top right corner of the screen on settings and click “Developer Options” and change the resolution settings. If the problem still persists, move on to the next step.
You may need to update the car, to do this you need to go into the car’s settings under “Software Information”, connect to a wifi hotspot, and update the software to the latest version.
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