The Chevrolet Bolt EV is already in the history books as the first mass-market EV to go more than 200 miles at a price middle-class buyers can reasonably afford, but that wasn’t enough for our long-term car.
Since last you read, it’s participated in the first-ever mass-market long-range EV comparison test, coming in second behind a loaded $60,000 Tesla Model 3 and ahead of the first real mass-market EV, the Nissan Leaf. The Bolt was well-liked for its sensible, practical design and functionality, losing to the Tesla’s armada of over-the-air upgraded tech, sport sedan handling, and Supercharger network.
Finished with sensibility, the Bolt went to the tire shop for a set of BFGoodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2 ultra-high performance summer tires for another first-of-its-kind test. We car enthusiasts know intuitively that changing tires can affect everything from acceleration and handling to fuel economy and road noise, so we could all guess that pulling the Bolt’s standard Michelin Energy Saver A/S Selfseal Green X tires and slapping on sports car rubber would hurt its range. But no one’s ever actually done it and recorded the results, so we did. I encourage you to read associate online editor Michael Cantu’s excellent report, but here’s the TL; DR: The Bolt handled much better and stopped 16 feet shorter from 60 mph, but its efficiency dropped by 27 percent, the distance we drove between charges dropped by 23 miles on average, energy consumption during charging increased, and the car suffered diminished ride quality and far more interior noise.
Behind the wheel, it felt a lot more dramatic. The lower predicted range was obvious every time you took the car off the charger, and it seemed to drop more quickly as you drove. The battery meter always seemed lower than it ought to have been, and it felt like we were plugging in far more often. Not squealing the tires with mildly aggressive driving was nice, and it was certainly more fun to drive, but it wasn’t worth the trade-off. I suspect a less aggressive all-season tire would be a good middle ground.
In the midst of all this testing, we were finally able to close the chapter on our phantom power steering issue. During a second unscheduled dealer visit, seven computer modules were inspected, and two—the power steering module and body control module—were reprogrammed with the latest software updates. Chevy is confident the car is cured now, though I should note the problem hasn’t surfaced in months.
All the while, the Bolt has continued to serve faithfully as my daily driver. Staying in town for the holidays meant a lot of shorter trips to run errands and ferry family, so fewer miles accumulated during this update period. Still, they were informative miles. I learned the Bolt still rides nicely and accelerates briskly with five adults aboard and that you can stack two full-size suitcases plus carry-ons in the trunk, thanks to the adjustable floor. I also learned that if you don’t pop for the cargo rack crossbars (a $549 accessory), those two silver rails on the roof are useless for tying down, say, a Christmas tree.
Read More About Our 2017 Chevrolet Bolt:
|2017 Chevrolet Bolt Charging Update 5|
|Avg distance between charges||95.0 miles|
|Avg pre-charging state of charge||49%|
|Avg range pre-charge (ideal/predicted)||120/100|
|Avg energy per charge||27.67|
|Avg predicted charge time||6h, 7m|
|Avg post-charging state of charge||90%|
|Avg range post-charge (ideal/predicted)||237/178|
|Cost of public charging to date ($8.41 avg)||$286.00|
|Cost of office charging to date ($1.97 avg)||$106.32|
|Cost of home charging to date ($5.57 avg)||$38.96|
|Total charging cost to date||$431.28|