I had the opportunity to drive the Bolt EV by Chevrolet recently. It’s an electric vehicle. No gas, no hybrid here.
I was excited to see how it accelerated, handled and felt on the road, because I’d never driven an electric vehicle before.
We left downtown Vancouver to ride the Sea to Sky highway to Squamish (en route to Whistler) on a rainy day in April.
I was surprised at how quickly it accelerates. There is no lag, like when you ‘gun it’ on a gas vehicle. There is no hesitation.
You may be wondering, why would I want an electric vehicle?
Well for starters, to save money, and to help avoid harmful fuel emissions into our environment.
The battery on a Bolt EV is guaranteed to last past the initial warranty of the vehicle, not more than 35% usage during the warranty period, and then Chevrolet is researching how to re-use the batteries and not just recycle them.
The cost to operate and charge the Bolt EV is estimated to be 16-25% that of the cost of operating a fuel powered car.
No oil changes, no spark plugs to swap out, air filters to change or tune-ups to book!
HOW DO YOU CHARGE IT
There are three different levels to charge electric vehicles.
- Standard ‘plug-in’ at home
- 240-volt upgrade
- Commercial DC Fast Charge
The speed at which it charges depends on the level you’re using. To charge at home you’ll want to get a level 2 installed ($1000 plus installation approx) so that it doesn’t take 40 hours to charge the battery fully. The commercial level can charge in two hours. Keeping in mind you wouldn’t let it drain completely (you’d plug it in daily) so it wouldn’t typically take this long to be able to drive somewhere.
Yes, it’s a lifestyle change. We’re not used to having to ‘fill-up’ our cars every day. However, it’s a change that you’d be willing to make and adapt to if you were going to purchase an electric vehicle.
To plan a route for a road trip or longer drive, the My Chevrolet and ChargePoint apps map out places for you to charge all over North America.
HOW FAR CAN YOU GO
The Bolt EV can go approximately 383 KM on one full charge. This varies with several factors, like previous and current driving style, deceleration with regen braking (see below), speeds driven and so forth.
When you decelerate (slow-down) or brake, kinetic energy gets sent back to the battery. This is enhanced with the Regen on Demand in the Bolt EV. What this means is, you tap this paddle on the back of the steering wheel (shown above) as you brake. This paddle, and regenerative braking, also increases deceleration, helping you stop more quickly and easily.
The Bolt EV also has something called “One-Pedal Driving”. When it was explained to us before the drive, I thought I would be completely confused and not able to actually DO IT. However, it’s much easier to get used to than you think! I think having driven a stick-shift, or manual, vehicle often helped me adapt.
What “One-Pedal Driving” means with the Bolt EV is that when in Low Mode, you don’t actually need to brake. Every time you lift your foot off of the acceleration pedal, the vehicle slows to a stop. It’s amazingly simple, really. It is ideal for city stop-and-go-traffic! This mode regenerates the battery at a higher rate at every decelration and can even be used in conjunction with the paddle on the steering wheel. I used both when we coasted down the mountain from Squamish back in to downtown Vancouver.
I really enjoyed driving the Bolt EV and I can see this as a clear winner for small families in the City!
The Bolt EV starts at about $45,000, but in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario, you can get rebates from the Government for purchasing an electric vehicle. In BC it’s a $5,000 rebate, but it goes all the way up to $14,000 in rebates in Ontario.
*I attended a Chevrolet Bolt EV event in order to provide this review.