Bolt EV

Chris Bolt/WAER News

What’s it like to drive an all-electric vehicle?  What are the impacts – positive and negative – on the environment with such vehicles?  How much does it cost…all things considered? 

WAER’s Chris Bolt had a chance to answer these questions first-hand during a test drive with a Chevrolet Bolt E-V this week.  Chris’s quest was to find out if an all-electric vehicle could be your only car.

Older all-electric vehicles seemed o-k for people with short commutes – a 40- or 50-mile total battery range was fine to get to and from work, maybe a trip to the store.  With extended range vehicles, maybe things have advanced to really fit your lifestyle…so it was time to hit the road…

One concern many people have about owning an electrical vehicle is, could it be your main or only vehicle.  And we’re going on a road trip to test that out.  Obviously the question is a bit different depending on your lifestyle.  So we have a trip planned to go to Old Forge, which is 95 miles away, and we’re leaving with an estimated charge of 240 miles on the Chevy Bolt.  This is a long-range EV, and we’re going to see just how well the mileage tacks during a trip like this.  We might be able to relieve people’s biggest concern about owning an all-electric, which is range anxiety.

The Chevy Bolt E-V I’ve been driving indicates 240 miles on a full charge…you can get a little more by using the regenerative braking, or a little less driving aggressively or uphill.   The mileage takes a hit in cold weather and when you use the heater…but there is a system that keeps the battery warm and safe in our cold winters.

So we have arrived at Old Forge and the mileage meter says we have 133 miles of charge left, after traveling the 95 miles from Syracuse.  That means we have plenty of power to get back home.  It did use up a little more of that estimated mileage than we actually traveled.  

For long-distance travel, of course you’d need to charge along the way.  During this test drive I was surprised at the time it takes to charge – you get 25 to 30 miles per hour of charging at a commercial level 2 charging station.  Level 3 chargers would give you about 160 miles of charge in an hour…but there are only a few out there.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A State rebate and longer-range batteries might make owning an electric vehicle more appealing in New York.   WAER’s Chris Bolt is testing out what “A Day in the Life” of an E-V is like.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A couple of recent developments might make it more likely that electric cars start showing up in people’s driveways.  New York just started a rebate program (details below) that Joe LaMuraglia, Regional Chevrolet Communications Manager, says will open more eyes to the gas-free cars.