Terrible Bolt experience, recommendations?

Terrible Bolt experience, recommendations?

Helped my friend get a Chevy Bolt Sunday. They wanted a small car for city use only, about 80 miles a day to replace a Mini. Bolt seemed like a good option. When they got it home late Sunday night, they showed it to us and I was surprised to see it had a range of ~30 miles left. More surprising, plugged into the 110V, the car said charging would be complete in 9.5 hours??? I told them no, but didn't really worry about it as they have free charging at work 40 miles away.

Last night I get the call, the free charging is actually just a plug, so they couldn't charge at work as they left the charger at home. They drove to another charger and spent an hour trying to get the ChargePoint? to work before giving up and heading home. Half way home, the car said stop and charge immediately. So with no charger there, the car was towed home, of course with no charge again.

I think if they ever could get the car charged, they could live with the 110V, but to simplify life for them, does it really matter what basic level 2 charger they get? They have a NEMA 15-30 plug right next to the car already, so $300 would be the total investment for a low level 2. Wouldn't they get about 10-15 mph charge using this?

Not surprising, the dealer has been pretty terrible. Couldn't tell them about rebates, CA car pool stickers, told them less than an hour for full charge, all the usual complaints. I just can't believe they would deliver an EV with almost no charge. They spent 2 hours cleaning it while the paperwork was done, but didn't bother to charge during that time.

Any other ideas besides charging enough at home to get to a public DC charger and sit for a couple hours until they can buy a charger better than the 110 that is the only thing the car comes with?

Thanks for any advice I can pass on to help fellow EVers.

Bighorn | 16 mei 2017

Maybe the charging would be complete in 9.5 days on the 110?

Mike83 | 16 mei 2017

We had a friend get one and nothing but problems. They tried charging at the dealership but it was ICEed. The salesman said they moved the vehicle but the plug didn't charge as it was wired wrong and it might have messed up their car's charge port. I don't know what they did later.

eye.surgeon | 16 mei 2017

User error. Exact same thing could happen in a Tesla. Who relies on a dealer for education on their car these days.

Mathew98 | 16 mei 2017

Isn't there a law that allow the car buyers to return the car within 72 hours?

JAD | 16 mei 2017

I really can't believe Chevy doesn't include the same charging kit Tesla does. There would be no issues and they would be a very happy Chevy owner. I know the dealer wants to make money on service, but these people will not be buying or servicing any GM product any time soon. Hopefully the experience improves once they get going, but a bad experience with a Chevy EV just can't sell or create service $$ for other Chevy's.

JAD | 16 mei 2017

Mathew, no, not if you buy at a dealership in CA. The 'cooling off' period does not apply to cars.

finman100 | 16 mei 2017

Recommendations? Sure, one word. Okay, three. Buy a Tesla.

you're welcome.

High Plains Drifter | 16 mei 2017

An educated consumer does their own homework. Your friend will be even more disappointed with range loss when he/she drives their EV in severe winter conditions.

SamO | 16 mei 2017

Quelle surprise.

rmg007 | 16 mei 2017

Why ask this question on a Tesla forum? smdh

Tropopause | 16 mei 2017

At least Mary Barra, and GM, get to claim first to market with a mid-$30,000, 200+ mile range BEV. I think that's all they care about. Obviously they don't care about the customer.

JAD | 16 mei 2017

We are in San Diego, weather and range are no issue. They don't want a giant car like the S, I am asking on the Tesla forum as I am familiar with it and know there is a ton of knowledge on this forum.

JAD | 16 mei 2017

So, to be more specific, does it really matter which level 2 charger you buy, if you don't really care about speed, just need a bit more than the 3-4 MPH on 110?

hoffmannjames | 16 mei 2017

~9 hours to charge is pretty standard for the Chevy Bolt. Your friend should plug in at home and let it go all night. But this is a perfect example of why Tesla is the only EV worth buying. A Bolt might have 200+ mi range but charging is super slow and there are not a lot of chargers out there so you are basically stuck with just commuting back and forth from your home and charging at night for 9+ hours. Yuck.

murphyS90D | 16 mei 2017

Level 2 EVSEs come with different capabilities. I have two in my garage, A Leviton 16 amp 240 volt that has a 6-20 plug for my Ford Fusion Energi and a Leviton 40 amp 240 volt that has a 6-50 plug for my Tesla. The EVSE that came with the Energi is 120 volt only and takes about 7 hours to charge the 7.6 kWh battery. The 16 amp EVSE charges the battery in 2 hours. The 40 amp EVSE can be used with the Energi since the car and the EVSE decide between them what the maximum current will be.

Think ahead. Instead of buying the 16 amp EVSE, I should have bought the 40 amp EVSE when I got the Energi in 2013 about a year before I heard the name Tesla.

stevenmaifert | 16 mei 2017

@JAD - It really doesn't matter. However, L2 EVSE come in a variety of power outputs. The potential buyer should find out what the capacity of the car's on-board charger is, and then select a L2 EVSE that closely matches that capacity. There is no point in spending the extra money for a higher output and heavier gauge house wiring if the car can't use the full output.

As for your friend's experience... Have to agree with HPD that a little consumer education could have prevented that circumstance.

JAD | 16 mei 2017

Thanks for the tips. They THOUGHT they did enough research (charger at work, plug in garage, 237 mile range, all good), just didn't quite know enough questions, and I think if the dealer gave them a charged car, they would have been fine.

I have been happily living in the Tesla world with similar range and had no issues living off of 110 for awhile and that was before Superchargers. Just a bad combination of things, that the L2 charger at home and sitting at a DC charger for a couple hours today should all fix.

AmpedRealtor | 16 mei 2017

Chevy's web site shows an AeroVironment 32A EVSE that can be purchased for the Bolt.

hsuru4u | 16 mei 2017

bolt is a POS car period. Chevy blows.I would have told them this from day 1.

JAD | 16 mei 2017

AR, thanks, the dealer also said the Bosch system, but both required electricians and permanent installation which seemed to be overkill for their needs. Based on responses, any L2 charger should satisfy their needs.

Rocky_H | 16 mei 2017

@hoffmanjames, Come on, don't be so dramatic. The Bolt can charge pretty fast, so it certainly doesn't have to take 9 hours to charge. It just comes with a pretty wimpy charging cord included, and you have to go get your own J1772 unit to provide higher power.

As to @JAD's question: J1772 is a totally standard protocol, so it doesn't make any difference what type or brand of unit they buy and install. Just look at what level of circuit they can supply, like 30 or 40 amp, and get a unit that fits that. It will be plenty fast and be able to fill up in a few hours. I do endorse Clipper Creek, though, as being a good brand.

Tarla's Driver | 16 mei 2017

My Leaf charges overnight to full on a 110V outlet, but a Bolt should have triple the range and take three times as long to charge. Not a good long-term solution for a Bolt.

Chargepoint chargers can be a pain to use. You have to set up an account, and then you have to use your phone as a card or wait for them to mail you one. If you're using your phone, you have to know to turn on NFC or it won't work. Then there are the chargers that aren't correctly on the network, so they don't work even with a card. I'm running about 50% on my attempts to use them, and that's with knowing how they're supposed to work.

hoffmannjames | 16 mei 2017

@Rocky_H I don't think I was being overly dramatic. Yes, the Bolt can charge pretty fast IF you have a fast charger. But even you admit that the charging cord is wimpy and you have to get your own J1772 unit. And a lot of public chargers are not very fast or easy to use. So in practice, the Bolt is not easy to charge quickly.

rxlawdude | 16 mei 2017

Avoid Bosch EVSEs. Lots of reports of dead units and poor support, at least when I was researching EVSEs in 2015. Clipper Creek makes the most reliable, UL approved, EVSEs.

Mike83 | 16 mei 2017

I just don't like GM doing electrical stuff. It bothers me. I would not consider their products.

tes-s | 16 mei 2017

Charging on 120v should be good for about 4 miles of charge per hour, but inadvisable to buy a BEV without a 240v charging source. Did not take the charging cable with him??

They probably are better off with and ICE, and also went to the wrong dealer. The Chevy dealer here has delivered 4 and has 12 more coming in for confirmed orders. Owner drives a Volt, and advertises the Bolt on TV now. Very knowledgeable about EVs. Has put in at least two free L2 chargers in public parking lots.

I guess it all depends on the dealer - there are some really good ones out there.

tes-s | 16 mei 2017

BTW, if he bought a Tesla would have had the same problems. 120v charging would have been slower, would not have been able to charge at work (left cable at home), and would not have been able to charge at the L2 charger on the way home.

Rocky_H | 16 mei 2017

@hoffmanjames, Quote: "@Rocky_H I don't think I was being overly dramatic. "

Really? I was being generous calling it dramatic instead of dishonest.

(1) "But this is a perfect example of why Tesla is the only EV worth buying."

False. The Bolt would perfectly suit their situation with a decent EVSE.

(2) "A Bolt might have 200+ mi range but charging is super slow"

False. It will charge at the same rates as a Tesla will with the same EVSE. Anyone using a 1kW charging solution is going to have slow charging.

(3) "there are not a lot of chargers out there"

Relevance? You generally charge at home with a Tesla too. And this is out there in the holy land of California, where there ARE a lot of chargers out there. Did you forget it uses J1772, the same as a Tesla can use?

(4) "so you are basically stuck with just commuting back and forth from your home and charging at night for 9+ hours. Yuck."

False. No, you're not "stuck". Stuck means no options. There are lots of EVSE options that can give it faster charging, so a Bolt owners is definitely not "stuck" having to take 9+ hours to charge. Stop lying.

Dude, feel free to back down any time. I'm not saying the Bolt is more wonderful than sliced bread or Betty White, but it's not a worthless piece of trash as you are saying. You just need a decent charging point with it.

SamO | 16 mei 2017

I don't think I'd risk a long distance trip in the Bolt yet. I don't think its a good substitute for long distance trips.

But I COULD drive it cross country if I had to. And there would be many 9+ hour charging stops. At minimum.

It's not the car's fault. Charging is just infrastructure.

But even if the Bolt were optimized with ubiquitous charging, most stops would average twice as long as Supercharging, at current speeds.

croman | 16 mei 2017

My get wattstation is great but your gonna want to recommend that 32A versions created for the bolt.

JAD | 16 mei 2017

Thanks for the help. They got the car to a Whole Foods with a DC charger, waited ~45 minutes and got about 100 miles charge which should get them home for the 110 to add a few more while they wait for the L2 charger they ordered from Amazon to arrive.

Unfortunate that I can charge using their charger, but they can't charge using mine. Also, the Supercharger 5 miles from here is 3x as fast as the best they can hope for, but after the first few days they should be set to keep another ICE and 15k miles per year off the road.

SUN 2 DRV | 16 mei 2017

If he's got an 80 mile per day commute and a 110 V EVSE, at 4 MPH charge rate that means 20 hours PER DAY just to replenish the daily usage not even trying to accumulate any extra charge to eventually fill the battery.

If the 238 mile Bolt battery is ever empty it would take 59.5 hours (2.5 days) to fill it completely.

If he needs to regain his 80 mile commute in the 8 hours while he sleeps then he NEEDS a level 2 EVSE just to break even every day. 110V is only workable for folks with less than a 32 mile commute if they just want to breakeven with their daily commute needs.

JAD | 16 mei 2017

SUN, they also had chargers (plugs) at work and only work 4 days a week, so the math really does work with the 110, but for $300 it is just not worth even thinking about. One of the best parts of an EV is really never thinking about charging, it is just always ready for the normal days usage.

Rocky_H | 16 mei 2017

@SUN, +34 points
Yeah, with that long of a daily drive, that was kind of asking for difficulty to not have L2 charging at home. Also, a bit of a learning experience(rookie mistake) with counting on using the "charging" at work without having scouted it beforehand to see what it even was and not bringing the cord, so they couldn't plug into it at all.

Bighorn | 16 mei 2017

I was exaggerating about 9.5 days, but charging at 120V from 30 miles to full would take 52 hours at 4 MPH. 9.5 hours was drastically wrong, which was the OP's point I think.

spineeric | 16 mei 2017

@JAD; I'm sure you providing great advice to your friend. One thought is to have your friend join the Chevy Bolt forum. He may also find help there or, at the very least, commiserate with Bolt owners if a Model S would have been better. :)

Stiction | 16 mei 2017

Bunches of folks at the company I work for have gotten Bolts and like them a lot. (Many
were former leaf owners, so up on things EV already)

JAD | 16 mei 2017

spineeric, these are not car people, they want to plug it in and drive it, no more. Car questions come to me. While they could easily afford the S, they did not have any desire for such a big, fancy car. The Bolt is perfect for them, once they get the basic EV stuff settled, they should be quite happy, just a really rough day 1.

lobodogg | 16 mei 2017

I'm interested in the bolt for my wife. Not a car to take a trip in, but great for around town. I think we could get by on the 110 with an occasional trip to a 220 charger.

I sold my volt after buying my tesla, but it was a heck of a car. Probably the least expensive car I have ever owned. Love my tesla and wouldn't go back, but can't badmouth it either.

Fwiw, I bought my 220 charger at home depot of all places.

DLebryk | 16 mei 2017

JAD - Make certain, absolutely certain whatever EVSE they bought on Amazon is UL approved. There are a TON of not tested, not UL approved units on Amazon.

If they bought one that is NOT UL approved, have them return it and buy something else. Don't let them use the not listed unit, not even once.

Read this article:

Yeah Chevy didn't do them any favors. Everything about the Bolt is, customer, you are totally 100% on your own.

And it is totally common that cars with J1772 charge ports come with 110V cords. That isn't Chevy being bad, that's just standard practice. Tesla does things super right with what they give us.

Nexxus | 17 mei 2017

GM will ultimately use this as another excuse to say: "See, the cars aren't selling that well because nobody wants them."

When in reality, GM's refusal to provide a charging network, coupled with a crappy battery management system/battery that degrades faster than a melting ice cream cone on a 100° day, is the reason nobody wants them.

I just love their self-fulfilling prophecy they've made.

Silver2K | 17 mei 2017

stay away from juicebox no matter how many stars they have on amazon. customer service is horrible

I would go with clipper creek.

kevin | 17 mei 2017

Chevrolet recommends the available 240V / 32A charging option if charging at home. It will charge complete in 9.5 hours.

This page I found discusses the question of whether to buy one (yes) and costs:

f3rretus | 17 mei 2017



mdmgso | 17 mei 2017

Frankly, the OP's recital of the situation leads me to conclude that the problem was with the nuts behind the wheel rather than the Bolt. (;>)

JAD | 17 mei 2017

mdmgso, clearly EV experts like us would not have gotten into the situation, BUT if Tesla delivers ~500,000 new EV's next year, there will be a lot of non-experts taking their EV's home making these mistakes. Obviously, if the dealer delivered the car charged, all would be good. If they had set up their ChargePoint and Blink account before buying, they probably would have been fine, taking the charger to work instead of assuming they could just plug in, driving 50 mph instead of 80 mph, all would have helped. It was a small chain of events that led to towing the car home, just an unfortunate start to EV ownership. Talking to them last night, they have learned and are still happy to be EV owners.

tes-s | 17 mei 2017

Some people research, plan, and talk to other EV owners. Others just jump in.

I don't expect that will change.

mdmgso | 17 mei 2017


Check the winky face. I didn't intend to be unsympathetic to the new Bolt owners. Rather, I thought the "two nuts behind the wheel rather than the Bolt" was a nice play on words.

It is interesting that I have never seen a story like that associated with a Tesla delivery even though many have to drive long distances to pick up their vehicles because of the small number of Tesla showrooms. There is at least one Chevrolet dealer in practically every town. Darwinism at work? (;>0)

JAD | 17 mei 2017

@mdmgso, no problem, I knew you were making a joke. I just felt bad, they did kinda jump into this based on my recommendations as their Mini has been a bit of a lemon, new transmission was the last straw. I had recommended Teslas to many other people who have all been very happy of course. The Bolt being delivered with an uncharged battery and very poor dealer service led to issues.

Of course, another friend I recommended an X for called about a week into it asking how to wake up their new Model X late one night, wasn't too much happier, as their main battery broke and needed to be towed to Tesla and repaired.

Things happen and I have learned more what to tell new EV owners, especially non-Tesla owners. I try not to unload too much info and overwhelm them, but clearly more was needed.