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Hi all, So I live in Lake Arrowhead, CA. (elevation approx 5200) and work down the hill. I?m wondering how well the electric drivetrain would hold up long term to the Mtn commute? Any thoughts?

I took a loaner Bolt this weekend from a dealership down the hill up to Arrowhead. I was impressed by the regen on the way back. Got the Bolt with 201 miles of range from the dealership. Arrived home in Arrowhead with 135 miles of range left. When I took it back I ended the test run with 161 miles of range. So only used 40 miles of range to make a 56 mile round trip. Not bad considering the terrain :)
 

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Hi all, So I live in Lake Arrowhead, CA. (elevation approx 5200) and work down the hill. I?m wondering how well the electric drivetrain would hold up long term to the Mtn commute? Any thoughts?
The drivetrain is extremely simple - there's no conventional "transmission" with multiple gear ratios, just a simple fixed gear set connecting the electric motor to the differential. And of course the electric motor is far simpler than an internal combustion engine, with sealed, permanent lubricant. There's nothing to maintain and precious little to go wrong, drivetrain-wise. Probably why Consumer Reports found in their survey of 640,000 vehicle owners that the Bolt was Chevy's most reliable car.
 

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You won't have any problems with elevation with either the Volt or the Bolt. Just drive and enjoy!
 

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You will have to determine how much the car will regen on the way out from home and take that off your charging at home. You don't want to waste the regen with a full charge. You have plenty of miles in the battery so it's not too difficult.
 

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You will have to determine how much the car will regen on the way out from home and take that off your charging at home. You don't want to waste the regen with a full charge. You have plenty of miles in the battery so it's not too difficult.
Pretty sure Bolt has a Hill Charge mode just for scenarios like this. It will finishing charging at a lower battery SoC than it otherwise would, so there is room to regen down the hill. If OP's elevation is more extreme than that setting can handle, he's might benefit from controlling that level manually somehow.

OP, electrics do great with elevation: no constant shifting while going uphill, no power decrease at higher altitudes, etc... just smooth power all the time. And the bonus is you can get many miles back through regen on the way down (and your brakes won't overheat). Just be aware that elevation can change range drastically and plan accordingly.
 

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You will have to determine how much the car will regen on the way out from home and take that off your charging at home. You don't want to waste the regen with a full charge. You have plenty of miles in the battery so it's not too difficult.
Hilltop reserve setting will take care of that automatically. That'll leave 6 KWh of battery empty, which is plenty for 5000 of elevation drop, even if it all happened in 10% grade right off the end of the driveway.
 

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OP, electrics do great with elevation: no constant shifting while going uphill, no power decrease at higher altitudes, etc... just smooth power all the time. And the bonus is you can get many miles back through regen on the way down (and your brakes won't overheat). Just be aware that elevation can change range drastically and plan accordingly.
No cooling issues going uphill in slow traffic, because the AC chiller will cool off the battery automatically when necessary, and no elevation-related combustion issues. You'll be able to full-speed blow past Priuses gasping their way up the hill.
 

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Another nice thing about EV's is they don't suffer power loss with elevation. A typical non turbo internal combustion engine (NA ICE) will drop 3% per 1000 feet elevation, so at 5000 feet you are looking at 15% power loss. For example, a 200 hp ICE car at 5000 feet has about 170 hp. The Bolt EV has 200 hp at sea level and 200 hp at 5000 feet and 200 hp at 10000 feet.

As others say, don't charge all the way overnight, in the Bolt EV use the hill top mode, if the battery is at full it will disable regen.

The electric drivetrain should hold up well in that situation, regen would put load on the motor (maybe shorten bearing life) but it wouldn't be something I would worry about as it is really no different than driving normally. Electrically, it is just reversing the current flow, instead of draining the battery it is putting electrical potential back into the battery. A gas car will compression brake going down hill, which would also add some strain to the connecting rod bearings.

The elevation of some mass in physics is called potential energy, so you living at 5200 feet, your car starts with a lot of potential energy. With a gas car, going down hill, you don't burn any gas, really using no energy, but you also don't take advantage of any of that potential energy, and also need to burn off a lot of it in the brakes or engine by compressing air unnecessarily. With the electric car, you can recover maybe 60% of that energy for the remainder of your drive, or to help you get back up the hill.

So with an EV at elevation you will have all your power, not wear out your brakes quickly, and be able to recover 60% of your energy you use going up hills. Perfect for mountainous terrain.
 

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I do a 1500 ft decent/climb every day. I have 10k on the Bolt and no issues. Roads are really not very steep, they max out at 10-12%. Even at that pitch the car does not go to full power.
The down side of having to climb to get home is you have to leave a lot left in the battery to get home. It might take 2 to 3 times as much enery to get home as to get to work. For my drive I go down 1500 ft in 22 miles, that takes 3-5 kWh. Going home is between 10 -15 kWh. So I have to leave work with no less than 1/4 charge yet going can take as little as one bar. Same issue when I drive to Denver. I can get 4-6 miles/kWh going and 2-3 miles/kWh coming back. I have to leave Denver with 1/2 charge yet going I use less than 1/4.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the input :) Now what size snow tire would you recommend? ? j/k It?ll be interesting to see how much of a drop off in efficiency there will be as the weather gets colder.

Now I just gotta work the best deal and pull the trigger :)
 

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Electric vehicles do not need to struggle with the loss of effective octane at high elevation. I have taken a 4,000-mile trip through the northern Rocky Mountains from Copper Mountain, Colorado, to Jasper, Alberta, entirely on the gasoline range extender of the Volt at 43 MPG. However, I experience no difficulties climbing mountain passes to 12,000 feet in the all-electric mode. I use Michelin X-Ice Snow Tires year-round, 16-mile commute with 4-mile errands on about 7 KWH of electricity in winter.
 
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