% Relax whining writer: that $44k Bolt is actually a GM factory converted
$20k Sonic ice. Meaning the Bolt is going to have the look, feel, & issues
of a cheaper $20k car. %

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Update 3: The Dislike Button
September 27, 2017  Scott Evans




Blank buttons and power steering woes

Long before Facebook introduced cartoon “reactions,” there was a
disorganized campaign to pressure the company into adding a “dislike” button
so users could acknowledge a post about something bad without “liking” it.
If my long-term Bolt had a “dislike” button, I’d put it in one of the three
button blanks in the middle of the dash under the temperature control.

I realize those blanks are there so Chevrolet can add more features in the
future, and I appreciate that the functional (on the left) and nonfunctional
(on the right) buttons are symmetrical rather than scattered about like some
other automakers do it. I’m sure it saves a few cents per car not to design
a different set of buttons for cars without certain options. It still looks
silly to me to see all those empty spaces on a car that was fully loaded
when it left the factory. For nearly $44,000, we can do better on the
midcycle refresh.

Prominently positioned button blanks bother me in any car, but there are a
few other issues I’ve had that are specific to the Bolt that Chevrolet ought
to consider when it updates the car in a couple years.

The biggest is an intermittent power steering failure. Three times now, I or
another editor has started the Bolt only to find the power steering not
working. You can still turn the wheel, but it takes a lot of muscle to both
turn the wheels and the dormant electric motor. Each time, turning it off
and on a few times has solved the problem, but that’s a bandage. We’ve taken
it to the dealer, and they’ve pulled some stored error codes, none of which
is linked directly to the steering. Because the car naturally didn’t act up
at the dealer, they’ve requested more time to look into it, and we’re
scheduling a multiday follow-up appointment.

Also occasionally acting up is the big infotainment screen. Twice now it’s
failed to boot up properly, getting stuck on its welcome screen or remaining
dark. Turning the car off and back on a couple times fixes it. It can also
get hung up for a while if you shift into reverse before the screen has
finished booting—that requires it to bring up the rearview camera. If you’re
too quick for it, just be patient, it’ll unfreeze after a few seconds.

Speaking of the rearview camera, it’s a low-resolution unit that produces a
slightly out-of-focus image on that big screen. I know, higher-resolution
cameras cost more, but riddle me this: if cost is the issue, why is there a
second camera right next to it on the tailgate for the video rearview
mirror? Why not just use the hi-res camera for both?

Cost most likely explains another common complaint about the Bolt: the front
seat bottoms are really narrow. So narrow that even our skinniest staff
members have complained that the only way to sit in them comfortably is with
your knees together and pointed straight forward at all times. Otherwise,
the support structure under the thin thigh bolsters digs into your glutes.
Narrow seats are physically smaller, requiring less material and less space,
which in turn save money and are lighter, which is good for EV range. This
is taking it too far.

My other issues with the Bolt are—like the button blanks—less consequential.
With that big infotainment screen, I really wish there was a navigation
option. I’m sure leaving out the wiring for the antenna saves a little cost
and weight, but it’s a worthwhile trade-off. I prefer Google Maps to Apple
Maps, but Apple CarPlay won’t run it on the big screen. What’s more, even in
Los Angeles there are places with poor cell phone coverage where no map app
is going to do me any good. The same goes for OnStar navigation, which I’d
have to pay an extra subscription fee for anyway. Make it an option, and let
the consumer decide.

If Chevy really wants to cut the cost on this car, they can save a few bucks
by tossing that video rearview mirror I mentioned earlier. By flipping what
is usually the manual nighttime dimmer switch on the rearview mirror, you
switch the regular mirror to a hidden video display that fills the mirror.
It seems like the future, but it’s a much better idea in theory than in
practice. The camera displays a fixed, limited field of view. With a mirror,
you can broaden your field of view just by changing the angle at which you
look at it. Moreover, even with this high-resolution camera, I can see
better detail in the traditional mirror than on the video screen, especially
at night. I also find the change in perspective distracting. A mirror allows
me to see immediately behind me as if I’d turned my head, and the camera is
like sticking my head out the back window. It takes the brain a moment to
process the change versus just glancing in the mirror. I can also see the
back seats with the plain old mirror, but I’ll admit the camera comes in
handy on the rare occasion I fill the cargo area to the roof, which is hard
to do given its shape.

While we’re at it, we can also give this electronic shifter a rethink.
Getting into neutral requires pushing the shifter forward and holding it
there for several seconds, which is unintuitive. Given that sudden
acceleration scandal a few years ago, this should be easier. Getting to Low,
which ups the regenerative braking and is my preferred driving mode,
requires me to pull back on the shifter twice every time I start the car
rather than just letting me go straight to Low. For the record, I’m not a
fan of the BMW shifter it’s aping, either.

Lastly, and this goes for all automakers, lose the glossy black plastic on
the C-pillars. No one believes the roof is floating above the car because
you stuck some black trim there. The Bolt Concept looked better without it.

Touch upon these few minor annoyances, and Chevrolet will have an even more
compelling EV on its hands when the updated model arrives. In the meantime,
we’ll keep you updated on the power steering thing.

    Update 1: On Charging and Charges
    Update 2: The Braking Test

2017 Chevrolet Bolt Charging Update 3
Odometer        8,063 miles
Avg distance between charges    96.7 miles
Avg pre-charging state of charge        51%
Avg range pre-charge (ideal/predicted)  130/110
Avg energy per charge   26.68
Avg predicted charge time       5h, 41m
Avg post-charging state of charge       91%
Avg range post-charge (ideal/predicted)         251/210
Cost of public charging to date ($7.22 avg)     $136.39
Cost of office charging to date ($1.99 avg)     $67.17
Cost of home charging to date ($3.66 avg)       $26.34
Total charging cost to date     $229.90 ...

Buyer’s Guide
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
MT Rating 4.5 of 5      
    MSRP    $ 36,620
    0-60 MPH    6.3 SECS
    EPA MPG    128 CITY/110 HWY
    Safety (IIHS)    Best Pick

Model Overview
You’ll Like
    200-mile driving range on one charge
    Strong pull from 200 hp, 266 lb-ft electric motor

You Won’t Like
    No charging infrastructure between major cities
    Odd styling

See All Reviews [
]  Fair Market Price $38,187
[© 2017 MotorTrend Magazine TEN: The Enthusiast Network]

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