2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars outside dealership [photo: Patrick Reid]
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the first mass-priced electric car to offer a range of more than 200 miles, something previously offered only by pricey Tesla luxury cars.
Initially put on sale last December in California, the 238-mile Bolt EV is slowly rolling out across the country and will be on sale in every state by September.
How many Chevy sells remains to be seen, as the same challenges in creating suitable marketing messages and overcoming dealership challenges remains.
But increasing numbers of buyers—several thousand of them to date—are now putting miles on their Bolt EVs and reporting on their experiences.
In fact, Chevrolet said in the last week of April, those drivers had already covered more than 4.5 million miles in their all-electric cars.
Real-world experiences by actual owners are often popular among advocates, shoppers, and those considering whether a car that plugs in could really make sense for them.
First 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car [photo: Patrick Reid]
So we were delighted to get a note out of the blue from Patrick Reid of North Bend, Oregon, which he describes as "a somewhat remote, but beautiful, area along the southwestern Oregon coast."
He and his family own not just one Bolt EV, but two—and they've entirely replaced their gasoline-burning vehicles with the pair.
He offered to share his story and impressions, which were wildly favorable. What follow are his words, lightly edited by Green Car Reports for clarity, style, and length.
With the purchase of our first 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at the end of January, and now with a second one in our garage since mid-April, we have completely transitioned away from traditionally fueled vehicles. Our everyday transportation needs are now powered entirely by electricity.
It has been a surprisingly easy transition since both Bolt EVs are a joy to drive, have plenty of interior room for passengers and cargo, and are kept at or above the three-quarters charge level most of the time, giving us regular access to 180 miles of range or above.
That's done simply by overnight charging at a regular 120-volt outlet in our garage/ Other times we use a Level 2 charging station near a few good local restaurants, and occasionally a CCS DC fast-charging site or Level 2 charging on longer trips.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, road test, California coastline, Sep 2016
The Bolt EVs fit the needs of our four-person family very well. In addition to attending middle school and high school, our kids are both involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and have the extra gear that goes along with music and athletic equipment.
The interior room in each Bolt makes around-town driving and road trips very comfortable, and we found the cargo area surprisingly large.
On most school days, the Bolt EV tasked with the school commute holds our daughter’s rolling drum set (the dimensions of a medium-sized rolling suitcase), our son’s trumpet case, both kids’ loaded backpacks, gym bags, and usually another backpack or bag with room to spare.
We've also taken five separate overnight journeys of 240 miles or more round-trip, and found the Bolt EV accommodates all our bags and luggage for the four of us without any problem.
While we haven't undertaken a road trip of more than 250 miles—we just haven't had the need so far—we have no reservations in doing so, given the network of DC fast-charging sites along main highways and freeways in Oregon, Washington, and California, not to mention the large number of Level 2 chargers as well.
Our first road trip, then more
Our very first road trip was a great test of the first Bolt EV we bought in late January. We needed to take my wife to the Eugene airport early the following morning for a flight across the country so she could surprise her mother on her birthday.
One early evening in mid-February, we set out from North Bend to a hotel near Eugene, a distance of about 115 miles, with the battery at 92 percent of charge. We made the trip in heavy rain with an outside temperature of only 40 degrees F which fell to the upper 30s near our destination.
We stopped at a 24-kilowatt DC fast charger about 15 miles from our hotel, and ate dinner from a nearby fast-food restaurant while the car charged for about 45 minutes, gaining roughly 80 miles of range. That gave us an average range reading that indicated 160 miles.