Chevrolet, EV - Electric Vehicles, Ford, Fuel Economy, Road Test Special

Road Test Special: Living With An Electric Vehicle – A Day-To-Day Comparison of Three Models (The Twitter Version)

EV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Ford Energi

Car #3 – 2017 Chevrolet BoltEV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Nuts & Bolts:

  • As mentioned at the outset, the Bolt is an out-and-out electric (EV)… once the juice is used up, there is no ‘Plan B” unless you re-charge the battery
  • Fortunately it takes into account everything you’re doing, be it a heavy right foot or the bum warmers are on full-blast along with the heat or A/C cranked up
  • Most people will install a type 2 charge unit to their home for maximum effect and to relieve themselves of the dreaded “Range Anxiety.” However, as you’ll see – it isn’t mandatory.

Drive mode Options: D (full electric, drive with minimum regard to conservation) L (best possible, aggressive regenerative braking/recharging. Can actually bring the Bolt to a full-stop by itself. Truly one-pedal driving), S (Sport mode if regular mode isn’t enough fun, this’ll make you grin ear to ear!)

Since the Bolt has no back up plan, it has to give you very accurate real-time energy use and takes into account everything you’re doing. The information centre in front of the driver gives you a semi-traditional fuel gauge along with the estimated number of kilometres you have “in the tank.” At the top you have the very Maximum you could attain (you’ll never get that), but the middle one – Average is very accurate. The bottom number is the hell-raiser lead-foot guide to driving. Although the maximum range is 383 kms, remember every time you brake and especially going down a hill, you’re returning energy back into the ‘tank’. I drove into town and actually had more battery range than when I left the house!!

Because it’s so important to know how much distance you have, I’ll focus on the Average range that the Bolt gives for you to see the comparison versus a regular hybrid/car.

Propulsion System:
Engine: Permanent magnet electric driving the front wheels
Power: 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: Continuously variable electric-drive system

EV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Chevrolet BoltRecharge Time (approximate):
Location-based charging – Based on GPS data, a programmable “home” setting for charging allows you to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates when you’re charging at home but always begins charging immediately when you’re charging off-site

Charging abilities are:
Level 1 (120V @ 8 or 12 amps) takes 50 hours
Level 2 (240V) takes 9.5 hours – you can get about 80 kms of range from a Level 2 charge in less than two hours
Level 3 (480v outlet/DC Fast Charger): You can expect 145 kms of range in 30 mins or a full charge in about 2.5 hours

Cost (base price): $42,795 (For up-to-date pricing and options in your region visit: www.Chevrolet.ca)
Rebate / Government Incentives: Up to $14,000 in Ontario when purchasing/leasing
Effective base price: $28,795

 To Operate…
Fuel consumption is rated at:
City: 1.8L e/100 km // Hwy 2.1L e/100 km // Combined: 2.1L e/100 km
I used 24.1 kWh and travelled 131.4 kms and 62.9 kWh and travelled 370.3 kms whatever that translates into…
Total kilometres travelled: 524 kms
Actual fuel cost: $0

Electricity cost are unknown at this time, but Transport Canada’s Annual fuel cost is estimated at: $458 (20,000 kms at 13¢ per kWh)… or about $9 per week, travelling…384 kms per week!

The Verdict
I/we LOVED the Bolt. It was a blast to drive, extremely comfortable and didn’t just meet our expectations, it far exceeded what we’d expected of any vehicle – let alone an EV!! Range anxiety was never an issue. We didn’t only chirp the tires, but squealed them through an intersection going at over 30 km/h, and it took no effort what-so-ever to accomplish it. It’s very hard to establish what the actual “fuel economy” was because there is no outstanding jump in our electrical bill, so I’d consider it virtually free. Driving it at the speed limit was very difficult – we were constantly shocked at how far over the limit we were driving, so if you live in a high-enforcement area you’ll have to factor speeding tickets into your cost-of-ownership if you buy a Bolt. After spending a week with the Bolt, our Ford Focus felt like a snail stuck in glue – painfully unresponsive and having to mash the go pedal to get some oomph from it – seriously! BUT… and you know there has to be a “but” – the price is way too high! Even with government rebates the Bolt is $35k in Ontario. Chevrolet HAVE to get the price down to $35k plus incentives to realistically sell the Bolt in any serious numbers – especially when other manufacturers catch up, such as Hyundai with the Ionic, Tesla with the Tesla3, and many others over the next couple of years. All things being equal we’d buy the Bolt in a heartbeat, but the Volt is $10k cheaper and almost as good as the Bolt. However, there is one big fly in the ointment: The Hyundai Ioniq all-electric will be out before the end of 2017 with a starting price of $35,649 – plus incentives!EV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Living With An EV – The Wrap-Up
The Bolt proved to be the winner for us. It was fun, comfortable and we never had any range anxiety. With the total distance that the 383 km range offers, we’d almost never have to use a second vehicle. With a little planning we could easily stretch way past our maximum distances by charging on the go. But… the price is quite prohibitive – $51k as tested. Monthly payments would be high, even with the rebates. To that end the Volt would actually be the winner, and with the range extender there would be no problem at all for long trips once the realistic 70 kms of battery power was gone. In 9 times out of 10 our trips would be done using battery power only, plugging it in every night. The price is acceptable with the rebates so the monthly payments would be good too. The Fusion Energi came in dead last …by a country mile… it had a next to useless range in electric mode and an even less useful trunk space. This is a four – maybe 5 passenger car – with no cargo capacity what-so-ever – that could be summed up in one word: useless. Ford are only making this to meet government mandates, and it shows – there’s no effort put into this car at all. We checked out the Focus EV at the auto show – it’s even more useless. Very disappointing Ford … especially since we’re currently a 2-Ford family … and we had high hopes.

EV’s are coming fast and furious over the next couple of years and it’s the equivalent of when the automobile was first built at the end of the 19th century… exciting times are ahead!!

*Not tested, but here’s what we know so far about the Hyundai Ionic…. https://ioniq.hyundaicanada.com/

  • The Ioniq Hybrid will be available at all Hyundai dealers in Canada, while the Ioniq BEV will be primarily available at dealers that have installed charging stations and located in provinces with government purchase incentives, namely Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.
  • Hyundai dealers offering the Ioniq Electric can be identified at HyundaiCanada.com 
  • Ontario purchasers of the Ioniq BEV would qualify for a full $14,000 rebate (after taxes), while in British Columbia the rebate is $8,250 and $8,000 for purchasers in Quebec.
  • With a range of 200 kms, it was predicted that the Ioniq BEV would be strategically priced below that of the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
  • It will be interesting to see whether EV buyers are happy to pay the additional $7- 8K (freight charges not included) for the additional range of the Bolt, or whether they’ll see a 200 km range and a lower price point more appealing.
  • The Ioniq will also be available as a plug-in hybrid, however pricing details won’t be known until closer to its late 2017 release date.
Version Hybrid Electric
Blue $24,299 N/A
SE $26,499 $35,649
SE Cold Climate Package N/A $36,849
Limited $29,749 $41,849
Limited Tech $31,749 N/A

Provincial Incentive Programs

Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have announced provincial run incentive programs towards the purchase or lease of new plug-in hybrid electric or battery electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt.

Click here to learn more about Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.

Click here to learn more about Quebec’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.

And click here to learn more about British Columbia’s program.

If you want the full detailed version click HERE


Copyright © 2017 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland/Respective Owners

 Also published at: Flagworld