John and Mimi Porter of San Diego, California, with their new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, in Feb 2017Enlarge Photo
Our ideal electric car would be closer in design to my trusty 2000 Honda CR-V, with great visibility and comfortable seating. The old CRV met my needs nicely, and still ran perfectly in spite of its high mileage.
We were ready for an electric car and knew our criteria, so in 2011, I took a Mitsubishi i-MiEV for a test drive and fell in love with it. It's a perfect car for zipping around town and handling heavy traffic.
The downside was the i-MiEV's very limited mileage per charge (its EPA rating is 62 miles, the lowest of any battery-electric car). Worse, I knew that distance would decrease with time. My benchmark for usability was being able to transport us from home to the ocean for bike riding, about a 30-mile round trip. It is still able to do this—but barely.
CHECK OUT: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV first drive: 240 miles in an electric car
Then along came the Chevy Bolt EV. The preliminary reports were very good, and our CR-V was 16 years old and approaching its own retirement time. The planets fully aligned when I realized that I was also going to need a substantial tax deduction from the sale of a rental property.
I thought, “Why not get a Bolt, which would fulfill our new-car need, and get a nice tax credit to boot?”
A visit to the dealer reinforced the initial media reports of its comfortable seating and good outward visibility.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EVEnlarge Photo
The dealer was only somewhat helpful with the details of the car, and as I had with the i-MiEV, I needed to research it myself and supplement the dealership's information with my findings.
I’m getting used to dealers and their attitudes and limited knowledge about electrics.
Ordering was simple: last fall, I built a Bolt EV on the Chevrolet website, picking the options, colors, etc. The dealer entered my specification into his ordering system, produced a price that matched the one I'd calculated, and pressed the button to send it to headquarters.
He cautioned us that the car wouldn’t be ready until late February or March. I filed that in the back of my mind and didn’t think of it much more. Two months is a long time away.
The phone rang two days later, and it was my salesman. They had received a small first shipment of Bolt EVs ordered before mine, and one prospective owner had "flaked out” on them. A Bolt EV was mine if I wanted it—and, it happened to be the exact model I ordered, down to the same Arctic Blue color!
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, road test, California coastline, Sep 2016Enlarge Photo
I was now the owner of a shiny new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, along with a well-used i-MiEV and an aged, reliable CR-V.
I really like some of the systems that came with the basic Bolt EV model. They include cruise control (not offered on the i-MiEV), seating adjustable for height as well as distance, and an adjustable steering wheel.