^^^ Thanks, I thought I might have asked this before, but couldn't remember if it was for the Bolt or some other BEV.
An interim report: I'm in the Lee Vining Library, using an actual keyboard on a computer for the first time since March 14! It's so much easier than a phone. Anyway, picked up the new 2020 Bolt LT from the owner yesterday, which had a grand total of 54 miles on the odometer. Is there a tripmeter? I couldn't find one. It was fully charged, and after I got it home (about 24 miles) and loaded it, I drove a few miles to the nearest EA site in Castro Valley to try out charging using Pass + and my phone. No joy, nor would it accept my credit card as a guest, even though I had registered it with them. Since I had lots of range I figured I'd head to the next EA site 37 miles away in Tracy and try there, and if that didn't work go another 36 to the Chargepoint in Oakdale. If they all failed I had enough range left to bail on the trip and return the car to its Turo owner.
Got to Tracy tried the phone again, and still nada. But this time it accepted my credit card as a guest (i.e. $0.43/kWh instead of $0.31) , and I charged from 77 to 100%, taking 52 minutes IIRR (I've got full notes and will post them when I get home). So, all good, the charge has finished and I'm good to go. But the connector is latched to the car, and refuses to release. Tried various help screens on the charger as the grace period counted down, still nothing. Then a guy pulled up in an e-Tron, so I figured I'd ask him for help. He tried, nothing, we looked for an emergency release like he has on his e-Tron (none that we could find), and in frustration, 20 minutes after charging finished (so $4 in wait fees) he gave one last tug just in frustration and the connector came right off. Any ideas what caused it to lock on and then release on its own?
Drove to Oakdale to see if the Chargepoints there would work. No problem, used my Chargepoint card to start and stop the charge and just topped up from 87 to 90%, then it was off to the Sierra. This is how it should work. Got to Bridgeport, the next EA site (and only CCS/CHAdeMO QC north of Bishop), and plugged in. Nothing via either phone or CC, so moved over to another charger. Same. Calling customer support isn't an option for me as I'm unable to hear anything on my cell phone owing to my deafness. I'd made sure I had enough of a reserve to get to Lee Vining if this happened, so after some cursing drove on. Decided to be careful so started at 55, then dropped to 50 and ultimately 45 during the 25 mile drive, no heat. It was close to 10 p.m. so the only traffic was semis, and they had to climb over Conway summit so only one closed on me despite my slow speed. Got to Lee Vining with IIRR around 40 miles remaining (middle value), crossed my fingers as I pulled up to the free Clipper Creek L2s and plugged in. Charging started immediately and that was one weight off my mind, but since I couldn't trust that I could charge at Bridgeport going back, and I had to stay at the Lee Vining chargers from 10:45 p.m. til 6:45 this morning to get a full charge, I had to choose one of my shorter options as to where to hike as I'll need to charge here some more before returning, and will want enough charge to get to Tracy if Oakdale doesn't work this time. As I got next to no sleep last night, decided to just take an easy day and see if the local library was open. It is, and here I am.
So, instead of going down to the Rock Creek/Mt. Abbot region and hiking/peak bagging there (149 miles RT from here) , I'll just do something around Tioga Pass (25 mile RT), maybe Mts. Dana and Conness. And it all depends on the wind direction - right now the smoke is being blown away from Lee Vining to the eastwards, but AQ at Mammoth is bad, and the wind could change and bring that smoke here. The forecast says not, but I could see lots of smoke to the east of here this morning so if the offshore flow pushes it this way it'll be time to bail.
Some impressions of the Bolt. Fun little car to drive, just as I felt during my test drive last year. Excellent steering feel and feedback and good ratio. Great accel for passing. The wheel's a bit small which is great for allowing easier entry for those with big thighs, but when I adjust the tilt for where I want it the upper rim blocks sight of the turn signal indicators. I had similar issues with the Think City back inthe '90s, felt like I was driving a bus, the wheel was angled forward so much. I don't have problems with the seat itself as I'm slim and not heavy, although the headrest sticks a bit too far forward to be comfortable unless I tilt the seat back more than I'd like. I assume this is some new crash requirement, but come on! The ergonomic interaction of the seat, wheel and pedals doesn't quite work for me. I tried lots of combos - seat forward/back/height up/down/tilt forward/back, steering wheel tilt up/down, and it never felt quite right.
Visibility is okay to the sides and rear, although I've been driving Subaru wagons for 32 years and a convertible before that so I've always bought cars with excellent vis. The Bolt's belt line rises towards the rear and that restricts rear quarter vis a bit, but it's okay, or it was once I moved the passenger seat and titlted it to a position where the headrest didn't block part of the view. That may not be an option with a passenger. Rear vis isn't bad, but it would still be nice to be able to remove the rear head rests completely when there's no one back there.. I couldn't figure out how, just move them up and down. What makes me uncomfortable is the combination of a shallow-sloped windshield and steeply sloped hood; the fenders are invisible, and the A-pillars are fairly thick too, although there are little "vent" window portholes that alleviate the blind spots somewhat. I don't know that not being able to see the fenders is that big a deal given the small size of the car, but I didn't care for it. And the side mirrors taper at their outer ends. That may be good for aero and/or reducing noise, but several times while wanting to change lanes I was wishing for the rectangular mirrors on my Forester.
I find 'L' mode or the paddle to be a bit too abrupt when coming to a stop. I'm sure that people who like one pedal driving quickly get used to 'L' mode, but I've been a three pedal driver all my life and would prefer an intermediate setting. When I drove the Niro, it had Regen modes from 0-3, and I found that '3' was too strong around town as well and I preferred '2', although that was a short test drive so I'd have to drive the car for longer in a wider variety of conditions to be sure. Didn't use 'L' mode much until I got almost to Sonora Pass, as it's quite tight and windy from there especially descending eastwards (some steep 10 mph hairpins); mostly just used the paddle briefly.
The seats-up cargo area is too small for me; it can hold three internal frame packs if you're neat: 1 upright, and two horizontal next to it lying on top of each other, but I find that with the seats up I'm approaching max. capacity just with my stuff, as I'm often tossing it in in a hurry if its raining/snowing, and I still use my external frame pack when it's suitable, which almost certainly wouldn't fit sideways as its a lot wider than an internal frame, and any of them are too long to fit lengthwise, which I prefer.
The high beams were good, although switching them off there seemed to be just the slightest lag compared to my Subaru, as if it wasn't a physical control but was sending a command electronically which had to be interpreted and then sent to the right address. Apparently there are auto lights, but as they failed to dim several times when oncoming cars were approaching I didn't use it after that - another needless solution (see auto-dimming mirrors) looking for a problem AFAIC.
I prefer not to use Auto Climate Control, but I'm not sure if I succeeded in avoiding it or not. I didn't seem to be able to get much hot (or cold) air directed to the feet, despite selecting that either alone or with dash vents. And how do I turn the radio off not just mute it, without shutting everything off?
There's so many functions on this car that are new to me that I really need to have a manual along (or read it beforehand in hard copy or on on a computer), as trying to read 300+ pages on my phone's a bit much.
Summarizing, I think the Bolt's a good car for day to day driving and fun to toss around on a twisty road, but I never felt completely comfortable while driving it and its utilitarian functionality falls a bit short for my needs, so I don't think it's for me - I felt more instantly at home in both the Niro and the e-Golf, maybe because there were fewer unfamiliar methods of doing routine tasks, and fewer unfamiliar functions that I'll never use while driving, plus they had better vis. I'm not sure if the EA charging issues were related to my phone, the car, or EA. I'm a smartphone tyro who still pays cash for most things and dislikes using a credit card unless I have to, so no essentially nothing about 'mobile wallets' or whatever the hell they're called - are all smart phones equipped with whatever's needed to just hold them up next to the spot on the charger to begin a charge and bill it, or is that something restricted to higher end phones (mine is a $30 Android pay as you go, an Alcatel A502DL if memory serves)? While I don't doubt my lack of knowledge in this area may have contributed to the problem, far more experienced people like Paul have also experienced issues getting EA chargers to work with the App and/or the reader refusing their credit card, so maybe it's at their end. And the QC speeds are just too slow now, as we all know.
Going to head up to Tioga and maybe do an easy hike now, then come back down for dinner and more charging. See ya.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].
The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.