First impressions of Chevy Bolt EV by Nissan Leaf driver

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2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, brought to Kelly Olsen's house for test drive, March 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, brought to Kelly Olsen's house for test drive, March 2017

If you're serious about driving a green car, but not happy with your local choices, you need to move to California.

The Golden State has roughly two dozen battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on sale, not to mention three hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Electric-car advocate Kelly Olsen previous described the choice he faced: wait for the all-new 2018 Nissan Leaf electric car, go for the Chevy Bolt EV now available, perhaps even consider the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell sedan?

DON'T MISS: California conundrum: 2018 Leaf, Bolt EV, or Mirai fuel-cell car?

Then, three weeks ago, Olsen weighed in on the Bolt EV after he was able to experience the 238-mile electric car through a program in which Chevy brought one to his house for a test drive.

Olsen posted his impressions to a Facebook group for San Francisco Bay-area Nissan Leaf owners.

The full 800-word post is worth reading, but as he noted in opening, "I now see why many Bolt drivers are raving about the car."

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

After some not-very-complimentary words about his experiences at Chevrolet dealers, Olsen gets down to his assessments.

We've excerpted and slightly edited a few key points in bulleted form, below.

READ THIS: 2017 Chevy Bolt EV electric car: new owner's first impressions

  • SEATS: Still narrow and thin (to me). Not at all as comfortable as my Leaf, but after driving around for about 25 minutes, I did start to get used to them. Lumbar support was not as good as my Leaf, and there is no adjustment. There's none in the Leaf either, but for me, it does not need any. I think I could live with the Bolt seats despite their flaws (to me). I would probably try a seat cushion to see if it helps.
  • ACCESS: Getting in and out was different, because [the Bolt EV floor is higher]. I actually like being up higher with better visibility, so that was a plus.
  • HEADROOM: Being 6 feet 4, I had pretty good headroom, and was able to find a fairly comfortable driving position.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

  • REGENERATION: I put the car in "L" mode and never took it out, so I didn't get to use the regenerative braking paddle to see what it was like. I loved the strong regen and one-foot driving! Took me about one minute to get used to it. Can't imagine not driving that way all the time.
  • POWER: Felt just slightly not as peppy as my Leaf, but that was probably because I didn't really have the right circumstances to let it rip. (My Chevy co-pilot acted a little nervous when I got up to about 50 mph, so I backed off.) I'm certain it will kick out as much speed off the line as I would ever want.
  • INTERIOR QUALITY: In general, I've thought the interior wasn't as nice as the Leaf's, because the plastic seemed to be just a bit cheaper looking and feeling. But that didn't seem to be such a factor today. I could live with it.

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