Today in 2021, the gig economy is becoming less and less of a gig and more of full-time job for many people. Whether you live in the city or a rural town with less than 100K people. Driving for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, and many others has become lucrative (when done right).
What I’d like to talk about with you is how you can do this in an electric car and possibly save quite a bit of money in the process. Specifically, I’ll be talking about the first generation Chevy Bolt EV (mine is a 2017 model).
Prior to the Bolt EV, I drove a regular gas engine car and it worked out fine. After I realized how cheap Bolt EV’s were I went out and traded in my old car for a 2017 model Bolt. Along the 1,000+ miles per week I’ve been doing so far, I have learned how to operate an electric car VS the gas car I previously had.
There’s definitely a learning curve to make it. In this post, allow me to share with you my experience.
Table of Contents
BEFORE You Rideshare or Deliver...
#1. Map Out Charging Locations
Unless you live in a big metropolitan city, you may have a difficult time mapping out the fast chargers. Use the app PlugShare to locate all the fast charging options in your area. If you visit them all (or at least some), try them out so they aren’t foreign to you. Some of the most popular charging networks are Electrify America and EVgo. The Bolt EV uses a CCS (Combined Charging System) plug which most level 3 charging stations should have.
In the event you don’t have any fast chargers in your area, consider finding the nearest town or city where there is and work there. That way, once you are done working, you can quickly recharge and head back home.
NOTE: mostly city driving with the Bolt EV can give you 200+ miles of range per charge
#2. Prep for Tomorrow by Charging Overnight
Unless you enjoy waiting 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to charge a Bolt EV, go online and BUY a level 2 home charger that can add juice to your Chevy Bolt at a maximum of 32 amps. This will equate 7.0-7.7kW/h (or roughly 7-8 hours to 100%).
I hope you have a 220V outlet where you intend to charge your vehicle. If not, you can install it yourself (recommended only if you are confident in your own electric skills) or hire an electrician and an installation of an outlet should cost you no more than a few hundred bucks at most.
In terms of cost, in my area in Northern Virginia, it costs us $0.11/kW. Roughly $6.00-$7.00 for a full charge of 238 miles. Not bad eh!?
#3. Pick Your Lowest Charging Threshold
If you are driving for Uber, Lyft, or any other ridesharing service, you’ll want to have some range to spare in case someone needs to go further than you typically drive. With Uber, you get notified during a request if it’s a long one (45+ minutes). While you can easily turn down the super long ones right off-the-bat, some other ones that can be 10-25 miles away may just be labeled as “Premium Likely” rides with Uber.
Since a Bolt EV gets 200+ miles per full charge, my “STOP and RECHARGE” threshold is 50 miles to empty (40 if I’m feeling risky). Worst case scenario, not only do you want to have a dependable spot to go to, but also enough range to get there.
#4. Track Your Miles & Efficiency
Even though this is not tax advice, but it is important that you keep track of your work miles driven. For now, there’s nothing I could find that would exempt EV’s from writing off depreciation per mile.
In the Bolt EV, you can track how many miles per kilowatt you are driving. While the default option is set for 3.9 mi/kWh, that would be for mixed driving conditions.
Expect the Bolt to get 3.5-4.0mi/kWh in warm mixed driving, 4.0-5.0mi/kWh in warm low-speed driving, and 3.1-3.5mi/kWh in warm highway driving. Cold weather will reduce your range, as well as turning-on the vehicle’s cabin heater.
In the long run, taking the slower and sometimes “more scenic” routes can save you quite a bit of money.
#5. Take More Efficient Routes
When you drive your Chevy Bolt EV (or any EV for that matter), you’ll almost always use-up more energy on the highway at 65-75mph (EST). While you’ll shave off 25-40% to get to your destination, it the range will drop considerably faster.
If you can find a route that can take you somewhere at 45-55mph and only add a few more minutes to the trip, try to take those roads. As you drive more and more in your area, you’ll know where all the roads are.
NOTE: In my opinion, taking the longer route to save the range is only a good idea if you are doing deliveries and not Uber & Lyft rides. While some passengers won’t care, from my experience, most wonder why I took the “long” way to their destination… often resulting in less than 5 star rating.
WHY the Bolt EV is the PERFECT choice!
In the video above, I outlined my MAIN reasons why a a Chevy Bolt would make an excellent car for ridesharing and delivering purposes. Briefly, I’ll outline what I covered below (learn more by watching the whole video).
The Chevy Bolt EV was the first EV that was reasonably priced with 200+ miles per charge, even when brand new largely in part to government tax incentives. Just 2-3 years later and the car lost 40% of its value, making it a steal of a deal.
When doing GrubHub and DoorDash deliveries, you can expect to make anywhere between 10-15 full deliveries before you are critically low on range. Drive for Uber and Lyft and you too can do anywhere between 10-15 rides. As mentioned above, don’t forget to have your own charging threshold so you don’t end up being short on range to make it to a charging station.
BIG Touch Screen
While your cell phones nowadays are quite big 6″ inches +, once you have used Google Maps or Waze on something at least 10″ inches, going back to your cell phone feels like a downgrade (for good reason).
Every Chevy Bolt EV comes with Android Auto and Apply Car Play enabled, allowing you to transfer navigation requests from your phone directly to the big 10.2″ inch touch screen. As you navigate, you can place the navigation apps in the background and have something else running (YT, Audible, a movie… etc).
Price (used market)
Driving a few thousand miles per month can put serious wear and tear on a vehicle. The most expensive aspects of wear and tear applies to engines and transmission. When parts begin to wear-out and break, things can get quite expensive.
Truth be told, you can get a decent vehicle with low miles for $13K-$15K.
Drive any ICE vehicle after one year of driving and 60K miles later and you’ll begin to notice a few things:
- Vehicle does not idle as smooth as it used to.
- Transmission is not shifting as smooth.
- More “odd” rattles, especially under the hood.
For $13K-$15K, you can get a low mileage Bolt EV that even after 60K miles of non-stop driving, will feel buttery smooth.
*Given the car is well taken care of and things like bearings and suspension is taken care of.
Spacious Front and Rear
You wouldn’t think there’s much room for tall people in the Chevy Bolt EV, but you’d be wrong. Coming from a guy who is 6.0′ feet and 190 lbs, the front two seats are comfortable, and when the front seats are moved up just a little, the rear seats fit me without an issue. Plenty of head-room to spare as well.
Small Car, BIG Trunk
With all the space, what about the rear hatch? Is there any space remaining for groceries or airport baggage?
The good news is YES, there’s room left for those things. If you go to Costco and fill an entire cart full of things, odds are high that you’ll fit it all inside the trunk.
In fact, the Bolt EV has more storage space (in cubic feet) than a 2017 Honda Accord (16.9 vs 16.7). If you fold the seats down, you can get up to 56.6 cubic feet of storage.
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt the Chevy Bolt is becoming a solid choice for rideshare and delivery service drivers. With time, the price will only get cheaper from here. Consider looking into one by giving it a test drive at a local dealership or finding one on Turo and renting it for a few days (they aren’t expensive).
I’ll see you in the next post!