1 2 3 4
mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/8/19 5:51 a.m.

Reading along with great interest. While I do love our Volt, I know that a full electric is in the future for me and the Bolt is very high on the list. Thanks for being our guinea pig. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
11/8/19 6:31 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

I too am reading with great interest. My first thought was a Volt,  but with retirement so near perhaps I would be better served going all the way to a Bolt. 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
11/8/19 6:53 a.m.

Ditto that--very interested to see how this one goes. 

When I was a first-gen EV driver I followed news about the Bolt with a lot of interest.  I think that GM did a terrific with the drivetrain and tech, but I just can't get over the penalty-box styling enough to want one myself.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 7:46 a.m.

So full disclosure, this review is worth what you paid for it. It has been written in spats between catching up at work, and based on 40 miles driving in a hurry on busy roads on the way to work this morning and maybe 5 miles noodling around giving the Tunakids rides last night in the dark and rain.

 

First, let's give a review of Carvana.

 

I have never dealt with so many friendly and amazing people going out of their way to help you. That by itself makes it way better than a traditional dealer. I was cross shopping new Bolts, I got two prices with maybe 10 internet inquiries, and I still get 3-4 phone calls per week telling me about their AMAZING deals. The earlier issue with missing their unstated deadline was less exciting. That may have been the worst part so far. Last night, the traffic in our region was especially horrendous. I was weaving my way through it to pick up Tunakid #1 from Converse College where he does his concert band practice when I got a call from the driver. She was literally driving from NC to GA to pick up the car and drive it back to me, through the same traffic I was in. She told me she would be late, but was super nice and apologetic. She ended up being about an hour and a half late, which could have been a real problem in other days, but was not a huge deal yesterday. I cannot really blame them for traffic, either. Also, the best possible dealer experience had double that amount of touch time, so they are still clearing that bar. The lady (side note, I spoke with four reps, and the delivery driver. One dude among them. Weird. Not unpleasant, but weird.) was the truck driver, the paperwork doer, the car explainer, the everything. She was darn good. She had one of those really cared for hairdos and it was raining, so I held my umbrella for her. I think she was 30 minutes from pulling up in the truck to driving off. She noted that they had not given me a inflator kit, and that most of the toolkit was empty, so she promised that they will reach out to fix. We'll see.

 

All in all, a dramatically better experience than the dealer network. Given that the Bolt is a pretty rare car, their net is cast pretty far, so the selection is huge as compared with local offerings. There was one used Bolt nearby. There is an interesting issue though, you do a search, there are maybe 5 Bolts that come up with heated seats, you check in an hour, there are four. You check in another hour, there are three. Another hour, six. They go through cars really fast. I pounced on this one without much care for the color (ick Gray) or anything because of the year/mileage/price. They give you 30 minutes to put the information in, which wasn't too bad, or you lose your place and it goes back into the pool. Tunawife can be awfully indecisive, so I actually thought I wanted one and the conversation we had as a result was longer than the 30 minutes and by the morning it had been sold.

 

I am good with the phone. I appreciate clarity and back and forth that can be hard to get via text or chat. That was fine for me. I don't think they have a great chat feature, but they do have a great E-mail team also. I had no trouble with communication, other than the long wait times (which they solve by calling you back). 

 

It was such a good experience that I literally feel like helping them and not complaining about things which went wrong. Everyone I spoke to was genuine, helpful, and specifically the driver, Sierra, extremely tolerant of my super excited kids bouncing all over.

 

Also, I have vouchers. If you want a newer car, buy it through Carvana. That advice goes with or without my referral codes. if you do want one, you get $500 off the car and I get a $100 kickback. Let me know.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 7:47 a.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:

Ironic you're at an Exxon station. A place that car will never have to visit.  

 

That irony was completely intentional.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 8:28 a.m.

Now, regarding the actual car:

 

Beware that I am coming from a new minivan crammed full of kid all the time, and a 30 year old hooptie stick shift Honda. I do not have tens of minutes logged with every new vehicle in every manufacturers press fleet. I can't speak to the nuances between infotainment systems or anything like that.

 

This car is bloody fantastic.

 

Charging is extremely similar to the LEAF, but the battery is way way way way bigger. They do include a 110V cord, and I plugged it in and got a "full charge by 9AM" message. I was flat out amazed that it would charge that fast from halfway empty, until I realized that it was 9AM Saturday. I unboxed the 220V charger and just plugged it into the compressor outlet and ran the cord under the door and it was full this morning. It's not "installed" but it works. Enough.

 

As a regular car, it delivers well. It's heavily bias towards occupant space. Tons of legroom, so much that I couldn't really drive it with the seat all the way back and I'm a hair over six feet tall. I've never driven a car with more. The rear seat area is spacious, though a bit high. The youngest Tunakids seat is set all the way up because she is tall, and it was moderately annoying to tilt it to get it in the doorway. The flat flat flat floor back there is really neat, and the seats gave all of us plenty of room. I appreciate that they are thinner, and hence less couch like, but I don't really mind. To give you an idea, they stiffened the foam, especially where your shoulders hit the seat, so it has little give. This is totally fine for me. Seating position was great. Pedal location was great. The shifter was weird. It's not as intuitive as the LEAF was, but I will get used to it. The seat heaters were super responsive, and the steering wheel heater also. I drove in today, at 44 degrees F, using 32 miles of range for a 40 mile commute, using the heat very little. The heaters on the wheel and seat are enough when combined with a wool pullover that I was fine.

 

The console is probably the weakest part of the interior. It has a very deep storage well, but you can only get to it by flipping the lid up and then physically taking the tray out and putting it somewhere else. This seems like a miss. Also cupholders, which I am delighted to have (The Honda has zero) can't actually fit any of my drink cups. The hatch is smaller than I had hoped, but largely to give the occupants room. 95% of the time, I won't care. When I do, I may end up trading vehicles with Tunawife. The infotainment stuff does stuff. I was able to link my phone and play through bluetooth. When I shut it off, and then started it again, it went back to Dave and Wendys Wacky morning show on whatever FM station it was on. I don't know if anyone actually still listens to those shows, but more pertinent is that I'd like it to remember what it was doing when I shut it off and then assume that it's doing it again when I get back in. Surely there is a way to do this, but I don't know yet. There are settings. Lots of them.

 

As for the actual car, which most of you care much more about, it was solid. Steering effort was perfect. Accelerator pedal was perfect. Acceleration was strong. Stronger than I expected. The LEAF was really punchy from 0-30. This actually seems strongest between 20-60, but is way faster at every speed than the LEAF was. Punching it at 50 still gives a dramatic push. I was impressed. I don't really need this car to be any faster than it is. If I am someday in the market for a 2035 Bolt, and it is exactly the same in terms of acceleration, I will be delighted. I am not going to tell you that I can beat up on Ferraris, but in reality, driving next to the lady on her phone in the RAV4, it's the best tool for the job.

 

Now for the interesting bit. One foot driving. I need to look up how they do this, because I really don't want to believe that they manage it without the friction brakes at all. You put the shifter into L, and as far as I can tell the accelerator is identical (or close) but when you lift, it slows you eerily similarly to how you'd stop quickly for a stop sign. Not panic stop, just a quick stop. Since I am a fan of slowing gradually and bleeding off speed, I usually undershot my turn today. I love it. You can also leave it in "D" and pull the big paddle off to the left of the wheel to gradually increase regen to max.  That's useful, but so far I have not found a good reason to use "D".

 

More to come. Stay tuned.

zordak
zordak Reader
11/8/19 9:36 a.m.

Just a note they use magnets these days to stop roller coasters.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/8/19 10:13 a.m.

The car comes all the way to a stop without using the friction brakes? Interesting. There’s something else helping out, because pure regen won’t do that on a flat surface.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 10:25 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

That's what I was puzzled about. It seems that regen alone cannot go to zero, but then again, it seems possible to reverse torque slightly to stop the car. I am not sure how much energy that would need, nor am I sure it would make more sense just to apply the friction brakes for the last 5 mph deceleration and mimic the rate of deceleration.

 

There are real engineering questions that I don't have enough data to reanalyse.

 

What I know is that in L, it will come to a stop without me touching the brake pedal. It does this so well that the forums remind people to press the brake pedal if they are waiting to turn, because people behind you may not recognize that the car is stopped while scrolling through Facebook because your brake lights are not on. I have not tested this, but reportedly they are on while decelerating, but not while stopped. I will check this.

 

The result is pretty amazing though. I drove all the way to work through traffic, highway, through a city center, stop lights, stop signs, merges, all without once touching the brake pedal.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/8/19 12:25 p.m.

The one pedal thing is really easy to get used to. It feels like magic :)

I’ve talked to some folks about reverse torque. You apparently see it in robotics. It’s  not strong enough for emergency braking but it could be used for the last few mph. I was told it’s hard on the motors as well but I’d love to have this conversation with a legit EV engineer. 

The Tesla keeps the brake lights on at a stop - it’s almost like a hill holder setup. Seems odd that GM would overlook that, I’d want to confirm for myself for sure. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 12:28 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I've done some work on Fanuc robot arms, and they utilize reverse torque along with friction brakes, but their precision of control is far greater than you'd ever need in a car.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
11/8/19 1:17 p.m.

If I may be so bold as to inquire about the purchase price of your Bolt?

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
11/8/19 1:31 p.m.

I drove a co-worker's bolt for a few miles, and the one-pedal drive is really neat.  I predict you will accustom to it quickly and love it.  Agreed about the regen, there's got to be something else going on.  We stop gigantic locomotives on dynamic brakes, but only down to 5 or 7 mph or so, then we have to use friction.  Maybe GM blends in some friction, or uses reverse torque, or both.  

The Infortainment on my 2018 Mazda3 does recall what it was doing when I shut it off and get back in, to the point of if I'm listening to a podcast on my way in to work, when I leave to go home that night it'll pick up where it left off.  This is providing the phone's bluetooth is on and the car is still in bluetooth mode.  And this isn't carplay or android auto or anything special, just the base Mazda I-T system (the other stuff was an option I didn't feel was worth $300).

@clutchsmoke:

If you check Carvana, used 2018/19 Bolts with <20k miles are going for about 20 grand.  Considering they go for about 30 new (after the tax credit, which you have to wait for) this is a pretty spectacular deal on an electron car.  If I had means and time I'd buy one just to swap some old cool sheetmetal over the top of it.  

BirgerBuilder
BirgerBuilder Reader
11/8/19 2:44 p.m.

I'm not sure why the regen wouldn't be able to stop the car all the way? If the wheels are directly attached to the motor, the motor will absolutely resist movement. Just think about driving an electric RC car, if you let off the accelerator, it stops, and quite abruptly. Now, a full sized car will have far more momentum and take way longer to stop but the principle is the same.

Also, Yes, GM really does need to get it's brake lights sorted out. On my 2011 volt, using the regen brakes NEVER puts the brake lights on. I'm always worried about getting rear ended.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 3:05 p.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke :

$26,464 with everything included.

 

It has 4K miles, and lots of doodads, heated front seats, lane keeper, collision avoidance, other stuff...

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 3:06 p.m.

In reply to BirgerBuilder :

An RC car reverses polarity for brakes.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 3:08 p.m.

I think the real question here is:

 

What color for a single racing stripe with pinstripe surround, and where do I buy one?

 

Gray stinks. Even this pretty metallic is still gray. I need to add color somehow. Flames?

 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/8/19 3:19 p.m.
BirgerBuilder said:

I'm not sure why the regen wouldn't be able to stop the car all the way? If the wheels are directly attached to the motor, the motor will absolutely resist movement. Just think about driving an electric RC car, if you let off the accelerator, it stops, and quite abruptly. Now, a full sized car will have far more momentum and take way longer to stop but the principle is the same.

Also, Yes, GM really does need to get it's brake lights sorted out. On my 2011 volt, using the regen brakes NEVER puts the brake lights on. I'm always worried about getting rear ended.

Because basically you’re turning the motor(s) into a generator. If the motor isn’t turning, it can’t generate. That’s my understanding. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/8/19 3:20 p.m.
tuna55 said:

I think the real question here is:

 

What color for a single racing stripe with pinstripe surround, and where do I buy one?

 

Gray stinks. Even this pretty metallic is still gray. I need to add color somehow. Flames?

 

 

Not flames, lightning bolts. 

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
11/8/19 3:55 p.m.

Our i3 is a one-pedal car too. It will come to a dead stop without touching the brake pedal. It also illuminates the brake lights while doing so.

EDIT: Excited to hear that the Bolt is great. Definitely on our list of next electron car possibilities. 

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
11/8/19 6:42 p.m.
dyintorace said:

Our i3 is a one-pedal car too. It will come to a dead stop without touching the brake pedal. It also illuminates the brake lights while doing so.

EDIT: Excited to hear that the Bolt is great. Definitely on our list of next electron car possibilities. 

I loved the i3 that I did an extended test drive with. I maybe need to strongly consider a Bolt knowing how cheap they can be had.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 6:51 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Every picture I have seen of such things makes tunawife shudder. Show me something good looking in that vein. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/8/19 7:10 p.m.

Nope, I don't think I could do that :) Unless you terminate your stripe in a bolt, that might work.

As for sources, vinyl is pretty cheap to buy and you can cut it by hand. Or you can get a local sign shop to cut it for you.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/8/19 7:34 p.m.
tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/9/19 7:33 p.m.

 

 

 

 

More explanation to come...

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners
nZfPOjGTgx7PqHPsh7cjuIMtNb1qfEhiAnHRsK63qWibJ8nI0e8ZERtzlyKqTxqD