2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Monthly Update for November 2017
by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations
Where Did We Drive It?
We drove our 2017 Chevrolet Bolt all over town last month. The vast majority of time spent in motion was between 15 mph and 50 mph, both on city streets and in rush-hour freeway traffic. It is right in that window that the Bolt seems happiest, we've learned. Drive it long enough under these conditions (maybe even click down to L mode for max brake regeneration) and there is potential for record-breaking battery range. November was our best month yet.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We added just over 1,000 miles to the Bolt since our last update, which is close to an average mileage accumulation for a four-week stretch. But the rest of the month was far from average. Not only did we break through the 300-mile range barrier this month, but we did it twice. Senior Editor Ed Hellwig set the mark at 322 miles early in the month, and Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds beat it out with a 334-mile effort. Both tallies were well above the EPA range estimate of 238 miles. Overall, we are keeping just ahead of EPA estimates in most significant categories.
EPA projected range: 238 miles
Average lifetime projected range: 238.8
Best range: 334.3 miles
EPA kWh/100 miles (combined) rating: 28
Average lifetime kWh/100 miles: 26.1
Best kWh/100 miles: 18.3
EPA projected mpge: 119
Average lifetime consumption (mpge): 129.1
Current odometer: 11,863 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"It turns out that electric vehicles love freeway traffic, especially the slow-and-go type that never stops and never opens up to free-flowing. That's pretty much every day for me, and it's 46 miles each way. I typically never drop below 15 mph and never get over 50 mph. It also helps to look ahead and stay off the bumper of the car in front of you so the speed changes are smooth and the braking is gradual. That's where the Bolt's L position with controllable lift-throttle braking really comes in handy. Despite the heavy traffic, I can drive the entire distance and never once touch the brake pedal." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing
"Once again, I unintentionally pushed our Bolt to its limits. After a couple runs home and back, the range fell to almost nothing. It was hard to tell exactly how low since the range display switches to read 'Low' instead of showing an estimate of how many miles of juice remain. It also went into Reduced Power mode in order to further conserve energy. By the time I got that warning, I was close to home, so I was able to nurse it around town to drain it down as much as I could. When I finally parked it at my home charging station, it had gone 322 miles on a single charge. Not bad for a car rated at 238 miles per charge. Even more impressive was the fact that I didn't really try very hard to get that many miles out of it. I spent plenty of time in traffic, which helped, but there were a few sections where I was moving along at 65-70 mph as well. No matter how you look at it, 322 miles out of a Bolt is pretty impressive." — Ed Hellwig, senior editor
"These seats, though. Last night I came home and my wife saw an imprint of the stitching on my back. These seats are simply too small for my 6-foot-2-inch frame. There's plenty of headroom, and the telescoping wheel is fantastic, but the seats come across as tiny. I think they're trying to save weight to boost range on the window sticker, but come on." — Dan Edmunds
"I still love the one-pedal driving in this thing, and prefer to always have it in L for max regen, using the left paddle to slow even more when needed. Over the last couple days there were a few instances when max regen didn't deliver strong enough decel, and I was forced to break my no-brake-pedal streak. My initial thought was this might be due to prevent overcharging the battery, but then I immediately remember this car has more than enough battery capacity to spare. So now I'm not sure what gives." — Jonathan Elfalan, road test manager
"After thinking about the one-pedal driving, I was curious to know what the levels of regen were for each of the Bolt's drive modes. Here's what I found: regular drive mode, 17kW; L mode, 59 kW; and L mode plus brake paddle, 70 kW. Would be interesting to map the deceleration rate in each mode at various speeds." — Jonathan Elfalan