Being an electric vehicle enthusiast (I own both a TESLA Model S and a Nissan LEAF), I'd been anxious to experience driving GM's latest EV, the Chevy BOLT. So, in the name of Investigative Reporting, my cousin Caroline and I rented a BOLT from TURO.com (the Air BnB of spare cars) and did an overnight trip from Seattle to Bellingham, WA.
The morning of December 7, I drove my LEAF down to Renton, parked it at the BOLT's owners house, and after a quick intro, went back to Seattle. This was after I stopped off at the Kia dealership to charge up the car, which the owner had only given me 50% charged. After correcting this at the EVGO SAE combo fast-charging station at Renton Landing, I picked up Caroline and we took off.
What fun! The Bolt is a fast and zippy drive! The BOLT does zero to 60 MPH in 6.5 seconds, as opposed to my LEAF which takes 10.7 seconds Of course, all electric vehicle are: the lack of gears and high-low end torque always deliver a punch pickup and acceleration. (My TESLA, of course, wins this competition by going zero t 60 in 5.4)
The BOLT handles really well and gives a smooth ride. Not much road noise. The range, of course, also beats the LEAF: 238 miles per charge as opposed to my LEAF's 105. Plenty of head, leg and cargo storage in the BOLT as well.
The two major things I didn't like about the BOLT: the SAE fast charging standard as opposed to Chadamo and the less-then-intuitive "infotainment" interface.
At the moment, there are twice as many Chadamo stations in Washington as SAE Combos. Of course, the LEAFS, Kia SOUL EVs and Mitsubishi i-Mievs that use them have a much lesser range than the BOLT, and thus need to be charged more often is part of that reason. However, there being only *one* SAE combo charger between Seattle and Bellingham (in Marysville, WA) was anxiety-provoking: should that *one* station be out of order, we would have been stuck searching for the much slower Level Two. There were also no SAE combos in Bellingham (whereas there are several Chadamos).
The Infotainment interface seemed to have all the touch-screen buttons and read-outs where I least expected them. This could be jsut because I am used to my own cars and thus biased. I also found The Bolt's OnStar Navigation confusing to use, but again that is probably because I didn't have enough time to really stuffy how to use it during one, short overnight trip. Plus, I am personally spoiled by my TESLAs voice-command, Googe Map-linked system. Needless to say, I just used my iPhone mapping tp get us where we needed to go.
Would I buy the Chevy BOLT? Most likely yes...at some point, but not now. I would like to see more SAE options and I would mostly definitively NOT be able to drive the BOLT easily across the US as those Stations are still mostly on the West or East Coast. (Again, I am spoiled by my Tesla)
But I will say again, that the BOLT is really fun to drive! Especially its acceleration and handing.
Thank you to the BOLT's owner, Zale, for listing his baby on TURO, and thanks to the TURO app for even existing- it's a great way to rent electric vehicles (and gas vehicles too) in a way that supports individual owners as as opposed to faceless corporations.
Oh, and did I mention the BOLT is a very good-looking car?