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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I like it

I drove 600 miles in my first week and a half with the Bolt, and I like the car. I have driven a 1998 Lexus LS400 for the past 19 years, so the Bolt is a big change for me - it's basically the opposite of my old car. Some comments:

Pro
1. I very much like the 1-foot driving. It is different, something new to think about while I drive, at least at first. It feels a little safer, in that I can slow the car quicker if I need to by just lifting my foot instead of lifting, moving to the brake pedal and then stomping. Though I will admit I have so far used this advantage to drive more aggressively, rather than for added safety. ;) I pretty much always use L rather than D, even on the freeway. I might use D if I had a very long drive on the freeway, but then, the Bolt is not capable of such a drive.
2. It's peppy, though not dramatically quicker than my ancient luxury sedan - 0-60 and quarter mile times are almost identical to the old LS.
3. I enjoy the small dimensions of the car - length and width - makes it more maneuverable, easier to park and merge than a big car.
4. Overall, fun to drive.
5. Front, rear, and surround view cameras are nice. The front camera shows the car hitting forward obstacles when they are still 18 inches away - seems like a larger-than-necessary error, but easy enough to compensate for mentally. The rear cameras get distorted by raindrops, but the rear windshield washer seems to clean them up nicely.
6. I like the rear view mirror camera, and use it almost all the time. I was able to get my eyes accustomed to it immediately, and appreciate the unobstructed, wider angle view. Distortion of distances (i.e. objects are closer than they appear) takes a little getting used to. Even with the regular old-fashioned rear view mirror, visibility seems good through 360 degrees.
7. Touchscreen and instrument display seem responsive and reasonably clear. I'd prefer better organization, optimization for efficiency, and customizability, but overall not bad.
8. Hill top reserve charges my battery to 87%. I'd prefer more control, but if you only get one option, 87% is pretty close to what I'd want. I got wifi on my EVSE, so may fine tune my charge limit a little with that.
9. I kind of like sitting up slightly higher - I've never owned an SUV. I put the driver's seat up as high and as far back as it will go, and fit perfectly (I'm 6'1").
10. Fit and finish seem rock-solid, everything seems to work as designed. This should go without saying, but there is Tesla, whose owners seem to have to plan on about 30 days at the service center in the first year after delivery...

Con
1. I don't see any great advantage yet from the electric 'instant torque', because the wheels just spin when I stomp on the accelerator. I'm hoping better, non-LRR tires may help, and will be interested if you find some that work well.
2. The shifter is very unintuitive. You need to push it forward (and sideways) to shift into reverse, and pull it back to shift into forward gears. Seems backwards, though no doubt I'll get the hang of it eventually. I'd prefer a more futuristic control, maybe buttons on the steering wheel, and then the shifter space could have been used for storage or something else.
3. Cargo space is a little smaller than I'd prefer, but probably enough for my commute and kid's baseball and lacrosse games and such 99 days out of 100. On the hundredth day, I'll just borrow my wife's SUV.
4. Speed is limited to 93 mph (the car says the top speed is 92 and GM's media page says 91, but I got to 93 on a level freeway before being limited). I have only been limited once, and rarely wish to exceed 93, but I do drive on Southern California freeways, so a few more available mph would be desirable.
5. myChevrolet app is quite weak. It takes ~45 seconds to communicate with the car (painfully slow - after all, I don't have all minute!), and often fails to communicate at all. When it fails, I can usually re-start communication by rebooting my phone or force-closing the app. App features are quite limited. Also, some info seems wrong - my lifetime efficiency shows as 2.5 miles per kWh - I'm pretty sure I'm doing better than that, and efficiency since last charge generally shows around 3.5 mpk, which seems reasonable. A good app would make the car a lot better - GM should work on improving this. However, I will not hold my breath...
6. I would like a few more fancy features - front parking sensors, automatic parallel parking, adaptive cruise control. adaptive headlights. But Bolt seems to have the most important safety features, and the missing bells and whistles are not a big deal.
7. For such a small car, the turning circle is fairly wide, at 35.4 feet. My big old Lexus has a tighter turning circle of only 34.8', even though it's 2-3 inches wider and nearly 3 feet longer than the Bolt!!! It's not terrible, but it seems to me GM could have done better, and could make the Bolt more maneuverable and pleasant to drive.
8. The brakes seem weak. I think this is because they try regeneration first, and friction only later after a good stomping. Stopping distance ratings for the Bolt are relatively poor, so I guess the brakes are not that great - or maybe it's the tires again. Safety is important to me, so this one's a bit troubling, but only a bit.
9. Sport mode does not persist, and must be selected every time you start the car. Minor, but annoying. Why do it this way?
10. Temperature control is less accurate than I'm used to. In the Lexus, I set my thermostat to 68 degrees the day I bought the car, basically never changed it for 20 years, and the cabin was always at a comfortable temperature, day or night. In the Bolt on a cool night, I need to set the thermostat to 75 degrees at first. Then after a few minutes, it will feel too hot, so I need to lower it to 72. It's ok for a while, then I need to lower it again, eventually ending up at 68 degrees after 20 or 30 minutes. Minor annoyance.
11. USB ports seem to be just medium power, i.e. not enough power to charge my phone 'rapidly'. I'm going to try using both front ports together with a Y-cable, but they really should have given us 2 or 3 amps per port. The wireless charger seems like a silly feature for a car, but at least it gives me a place to stick my phone while plugged into Android Auto.
12. It's not a luxury car. I'd gladly pay extra for a nicer interior - power hatch, homelink, soft-touch surfaces, better leather, adjustable seats, falcon wings (just kidding), lighted vanity mirror, etc. - but none of the missing features really bothers me. Though it's not pretty by any means, the appearance of the Bolt - both interior and exterior - has grown on me.

Other
1. Driving an electric car is less different than I was expecting. No big difference in quietness or vibration, as some have observed. I once had a slight case of range anxiety, just because I don't know how/where to charge away from home, but Bolt's range is enough that I've never gone much below a quarter of a battery, so range shouldn't be a concern once I get more experience. Overall, quite similar to an ICE car experience
2. The seats are fine for me and for my passengers. I have thrown a cover on the driver's seat bottom only, for a bit of protection and it is also a bit more comfortable for me in various seating positions.
3. The regen paddle is nice to have, though unintuitive for me. Difficult to find it if you're in the middle of a turn and the steering wheel is not in the home position. Once I found myself furiously pressing the audio "VolumeUp" paddle on the right side of the back of the steering wheel, trying to slow the car. :eek: I'll get used to it at some point.
4. The ride quality is much firmer than my old Lexus. Does not bother me, but my passengers miss the soft ride of the old car.
5. I get a lot less than EPA mileage, but attribute that to my driving style and freeway mix. I will have to monitor this a little more scientifically to know for sure, but my general impression is that I'm averaging around 3.3 mpk, with much of my driving at around 80 mph.
6. Android Auto is a nice idea, and I use it a lot for navigation. Definitely wants some improvement/maturing, though. Bluetooth, more apps, stability, ease of use.
7. Welcome lighting doesn't work great - probably senses my phone approaching frequently while I'm just walking around my house, and the lights have already gone off by the time I walk into my garage. I'll probably turn this off, as I can't see any actual useful purpose in it.
8. Normally, the car does not 'creep' forward in L mode. However, it DOES creep at 2 mph in L mode if the driver's seat belt is unfastened. Seems odd, though easily addressed by buckling the belt.
9. Lane Keeping Assist has scared the bejeebers out of me a couple times. I sometimes fail to signal lane change, if I know there's nobody behind me, and could do without LKA in those cases. It felt a little too strong/sudden. Perhaps it will be helpful if I ever inadvertently drift out of my lane, but that doesn't happen often.
10. I haven't yet figured out all of the features and software, but eventually I will. The car is clearly smarter than I am.
11. I'll be interested to see crash test results. I'm hoping Bolt will do well, based on similarities with the design of the Volt and the Model S (heavy for its size, rigid battery skateboard).

I could ramble on indefinitely, but I think those are my main observations so far. Overall, I like the Bolt, and can recommend it heartily, so long as you don't need it to travel long distances.
 

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Congrats on the Bolt, excellent write up...thanks for this level of detail. For those things shared with the Volt, the app, LKA for example, I agree fully. In your other section, #9, I've experienced this a few times. A few times was all I needed to basically disengage LKA for good. I don't use it anymore for the reason you cited. The quality of LKA leaves something to be desired, doesn't keep you in the middle of the lane anyway, more of a pinball hitting siderails when it does work. This area needs improvement and I'm sure we'll see it over the next 5 maybe 10 years.

Other, #8, strange that buckling your seatbelt changes the "creep" behavior...odd.

Con #4, I'm in SoCal as well and understand your comment and will add, it really would be rare to need to exceed 90MPH from a safety perspective. I'll chalk that up to more of a nice to have vs need to have IMHO.

Con #12, gotta believe it's just a matter of time before they put this EV tech in a different package that would better suit luxury tastes. I think GM has done really well here with the EREV in the Volt and now the BEV in the Bolt. They have a home run on their hands and am interested to see the sales numbers for the Bolt (and the Volt with the Bolt as a lead in to get customers to the dealer in that EV frame of mind).

Again, congrats and enjoy your EV ride, that's a huge leap forward from the 19 year old LS400.
 

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Wonderful write-up, thanks!

As for range, EPA highway is for about 65 mph average, 80 mph will lower it significantly, and the height of the Bolt EV means that its aerodynamics aren't great.
 

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7. For such a small car, the turning circle is fairly wide, at 35.4 feet. My big old Lexus has a tighter turning circle of only 34.8', even though it's 2-3 inches wider and nearly 3 feet longer than the Bolt!!! It's not terrible, but it seems to me GM could have done better, and could make the Bolt more maneuverable and pleasant to drive.

The Bolt's Wheels are pushed to the outer edges of the box with a 102.4" wheelbase. I suspect the wheelbase of that big old Lexus was smaller with a lot of rear and front overhang something the Bolt EV does not have.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Bolt's Wheels are pushed to the outer edges of the box with a 102.4" wheelbase. I suspect the wheelbase of that big old Lexus was smaller with a lot of rear and front overhang something the Bolt EV does not have.
Good heavens, no! 112.2" wheelbase, nearly 10 inches longer than the Bolt's.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Again, congrats and enjoy your EV ride, that's a huge leap forward from the 19 year old LS400.
Thanks, Kraven! Actually, I love the LS400, and consider it among the best cars ever made. I have not yet been able to bring myself to dispose of it. Still, one cannot fight progress...
 

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Wonderful write-up, thanks!

As for range, EPA highway is for about 65 mph average, 80 mph will lower it significantly, and the height of the Bolt EV means that its aerodynamics aren't great.
The EPA highway test is for 65mph indeed, but I have never seen separate EPA range numbers for city and highway on electric vehicles, only a single combined number, which is very misleading.

The highway range, even at at 65 mph, is going to be much less than the published EPA range number, which is a combined city/highway number. At 80mph, you could be looking at just over half the EPA range.

This was true for my Leaf, and it is true for my Volt as well. It's true for every EV/PHEV.
 

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Phil, on the freeway speed issue I think you'll find that you will drive slower than in the heavy cruiser the LS400 was. The long range you have in the Bolt may counter what I'm about to say, and it depends on how far you will plan to travel on one charge. With an EV, and certainly with the limited EV range in the Volt, you might try to extend your range by driving a little slower. The other thing I do is use ACC a fair amount, pretty much always on the freeway and I generally set it between 70 and 75. I know the Bolt doesn't have it yet, hopefully they add that in the next few years. I used to drive much faster in my ICE vehicle and almost never used the standard cruise control, didn't concern myself with fuel efficiency too much, no thoughts about range (yes, I recognize I have the range extender but I try to maximize, within reason, my EV range anyway). The fastest I generally get the Volt up to on freeways is 80/85MPH just to quickly move ahead of a pack of cars I may find myself in to exit the freeway.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Phil, on the freeway speed issue I think you'll find that you will drive slower than in the heavy cruiser the LS400 was.
Yes, that makes sense. The Bolt has plenty of range for my purposes and I do not plan to do road trips in it, so I will not worry about range, except perhaps in very rare circumstances.

I may be driving slower than I did in the LS for a different reason - the LS never feels like it's going fast. The day after I traded in my 300ZX Turbo for the LS, I found myself going 105 mph on the freeway. I had no intention of speeding, and I thought I was doing 65, until I glanced at the speedometer. The Bolt does give a better feel for the road and speed, and I am trying to keep it in the 70s. But I admit I have been enjoying seeing what the new car can do on the highway for speed and acceleration, and it does pretty well!
 

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Good heavens, no! 112.2" wheelbase, nearly 10 inches longer than the Bolt's.
Wow. So the wheels must be able to turn a greater number of degrees. Are the wheel wells accordingly deeper to accommodate the extra depth the wheels would need to do that?
 

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About that wheel spin "problem": (same with Volt, BTW) just wait a second or two before fully mashing the throttle, especially on uphill starts. Having too much torque is a Good Thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow. So the wheels must be able to turn a greater number of degrees. Are the wheel wells accordingly deeper to accommodate the extra depth the wheels would need to do that?
Yes, it looks like they are - I suppose that's the trade-off. Well worth it, in my opinion. Very nice to have tight turn ability in parking lots, parallel parking, U-turns, etc. I wish car makers would pay more attention to good turning circles. Again, the Bolt's circle is not bad, it would just be really cool if it were smaller. Perhaps all our minor complaints and wishlist items will be addressed in Gen 2.
 

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The EPA highway test is for 65mph indeed, but I have never seen separate EPA range numbers for city and highway on electric vehicles, only a single combined number, which is very misleading.

The highway range, even at at 65 mph, is going to be much less than the published EPA range number, which is a combined city/highway number. At 80mph, you could be looking at just over half the EPA range.

This was true for my Leaf, and it is true for my Volt as well. It's true for every EV/PHEV.
The Bolt EV is EPA rated as 217 highway and 255 city. I agree that it's weird that the fueleconomy.gov website hides those details for EVs. The information is available in the EPA's detailed data files published elsewhere online.

I haven't tried testing the efficiency at different constant highway speeds yet but my rough guess that 85 mph would probably result in a driving range of around 150-160 miles on the Bolt extrapolating from the limited data I have seen published so far.
 

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The "shifter'" isn't a shifter because in a BEV you will never shift gears and its gear ratio is fixed. The system is "drive by wire" as in modern aircraft and you are essentially holding a "joystick", so look at the system as a real life game controller. The concept of a "shifter" is a vestigial attachment to the older gas engine cars, or to the "Guy" who want to hold a hot, stiff (and maybe sweaty wet) rod in their hand.

You are in a 21st century vehicle, so drive it as so. The Lincoln MKZ (both gas and hybrid) eliminated the "shifter" and uses push buttons. GM uses them in the 2018 GMC Terrain, so by 2020 all GM vehicles will use buttons.

Read more on GM push buttons here: http://gmauthority.com/blog/2017/01/feature-spotlight-2018-gmc-terrain-moves-to-push-button-gear-selector/
And here: http://www.gmc.com/suvs/2018-terrain-small-suv.html
 

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Congratulations on your Bolt purchase and thank you for the very thorough and in my mind unbiased write up. Since you are coming from an LS I can see not appreciating the the quietness and lack of vibration an EV brings. The engine in the LS is amazingly quiet at idle and vibration free. If you were coming from an Infinity V6 sedan or any vehicle with a large displacement 4 banger you would appreciate the lack of NVH an EV brings right away.
 

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I wish car makers would pay more attention to good turning circles. Again, the Bolt's circle is not bad, it would just be really cool if it were smaller. Perhaps all our minor complaints and wishlist items will be addressed in Gen 2.
There are only two ways to make the turning circle smaller:

1. Add rear turning wheels. The 2017 Cadillac CT6 has it, so it will be an expensive option if you want it on the next Bolt EV.
2. Decrease wheel length by shortening the body. You loose cabin space and possible battery size.

I have driven large Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, and SUVs, so I can drive any small BEV. Just learn how to drive better.
 

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8. The brakes seem weak. I think this is because they try regeneration first, and friction only later after a good stomping. Stopping distance ratings for the Bolt are relatively poor, so I guess the brakes are not that great - or maybe it's the tires again. Safety is important to me, so this one's a bit troubling, but only a bit.
Motor Trend says the Bolt EV stops from 60 mph to zero in 132 feet. They say your old LS400 stopped in 123 feet.

The Bolt's braking distance seems average rather than relatively poor going by this table of braking distances for various cars at Consumer Reports:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/april/cars/best-and-worst/breaking-distance/index.htm

The Motor Trend reviews of the Bolt vs LA400 show the Bolt being notably faster with a 0-60 mph of 6.3 vs. 7.5 seconds for the Lexus.

LS400:
https://www.google.com/amp/www.motortrend.com/news/lexus-ls-vs-infiniti-q45t/amp/?client=safari

Bolt EV:
https://www.google.com/amp/www.motortrend.com/news/chevrolet-bolt-ev-2017-car-of-the-year/amp/?client=safari
 
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