New member of the EV family (Chevy Bolt!)

Discussion in 'Bolt EV' started by Aircooled6, Dec 7, 2017.

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  1. Aircooled6

    Aircooled6 New Member

    I picked up my Cajun Red Bolt Premier (Conv. group II, infotainment pack, level 3) last night. Very pleased so far. I have several questions, but the first regards the statement in the owners, though I never saw this mentioned in the ton of research that I read and saw on reviews. "It is recommended that the vehicle be plugged in when temperatures are below 0 degrees C (32 degrees F) and above 32 degrees C (90 degrees F) to maximize high voltage battery life". Will failure to do so degrade the longevity of the battery over its life? If so, now a completely unexpected problem arises as I will now have to find an electrical source every time I park it in the summer (Dallas is above 90 from May until November) and below 32 at least 20-30 days in November - April while I'm at work and I work at three different locations on various days.
    WadeTyhon and Domenick like this.
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  3. Just being cold shouldn't hurt the battery, but asking too much of it before it's warmed to above freezing operating temperature might cause some (probably negligible) amount of degradation. Living in Florida, I'll admit this isn't something I've put much research into.

    Let's see if we can't get a more definitive answer. It strikes me, though, that the LEAF doesn't have a battery temperature control system, and so has to deal with operating in cold before it's warmed up. It could be GM erring on the side of caution.
  4. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the club, Aircooled! Luckily for you, the Bolt is *not* merely air cooled.

    Are you enjoying this 25 degree weather we are having here in Dallas today? No? Your battery doesn't like it very much either lol! But the thermal management from GM keeps the battery at the ideal temperatures.

    Doing so does require energy from the pack. So technically this battery conditioning is increasing the number of cycles you put on the car. But not by a lot... the Bolt has a very large pack. I don't know that plugging it in would increase the life of the pack on the Bolt any meaningful amount. I imagine that this is a lawyer being overly cautious because of the issues with the Leaf packs.

    The only thing I do that positively effects the longevity of the pack is I turn on the Hilltop Reserve. This charges the battery to about 90% capacity instead of 100%. (It also lets me use "regen" every morning. When I charged fully, I would have to use the brake pedal for the first few miles like some kind of barbarian. :eek:)

    Between my Spark (14k miles) and Volt (35k miles) we put about 50,000 miles in a little over 2 years and saw no drop in range from either car.

    I have now put about 7,000 miles on my Bolt and I'm still getting over 240 miles a charge... With Hill Top Reserve turned on! In winter!

    So fear not... This is not a crappy first gen leaf or early prius or hybrid battery pack. You will not be changing it anytime soon. Your pack is guaranteed for 100k miles or 10 years. It will last even longer than that. You have many miles of trouble-free electric driving ahead of you. :D
  5. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Do you already have an outlet installed in your home? I would recommend getting a Nema 14-50 outlet installed. This outlet is often found at campgrounds / RV parks around the US. That is handy for taking with you as a backup when you travel. But if you already have a different outlet in your garage, clipper creek has other plug options available.

    You'll want a 32 amp if you want to take advantage of your Bolt's max L2 charge speed of 7.2 kW. It will charge your car much faster than a 3.3 kW EVSE would. I highly recommend paying the extra money for this faster charger since you have a car that can utilize it. I typically get 24 mi / hour of charge on our 6.6 kW charger.
  6. Aircooled6

    Aircooled6 New Member

    Thanks for the reassurance. It's good to hear what I suspected that this was a well engineered EV. What is "Hilltop reserve"? I can't find any mention of it in the owner's manual.
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  8. Aircooled6

    Aircooled6 New Member

    Oh, by the way, Aircooled refers to my '65 Chevrolet Corvair Monza, the first four door sports car : ) Also, it was the platform for the first Chevrolet electric prototype: the Electrovair II.
    Domenick likes this.
  9. Aircooled6

    Aircooled6 New Member

    Thanks Wade, that was very helpful. I always live by the philosophy, that when possible, "better to have it and not need it, that need it and not have it" Now, what is the window of price that I should expect for installation of the wall outlet and breaker box work? I may have it done at the same time that the solar panels are installed later this month. Going green, baby!

  10. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    I think the price can vary depending on where you put the plug.

    But it should cost 500 or less for the plug install. (Not counting the EVSE of course.) But it can be more expensive or less expensive depending on where your breaker box is and how far the electrician needs to run wiring among other things.
  11. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    It is kinda buried in the energy menus. I had trouble finding it the first time too. This video should help.

    By the way, did you go to Classic Chevrolet like I suggested a few months ago? Stonebriar Chevy and Eldorado Chevy also do a great job keeping plenty of EVs in stock.
    HGTZ likes this.
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  13. Where are the pics, though? :)
  14. rgmichel

    rgmichel Active Member

    I totally agree, but its 8 years, not 10.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    See discussion here:

    Quoting from the OP in that thread:

    One of the concerns we've heard expressed by some is the initial disabling of regenerative braking immediately after charging, when the owner lives (or charges) at near the top of steep grade.

    Since with a fully charged battery there is no place to store the energy, the only option either to permit the system to brake the car using hydraulic/friction brakes, OR to manually stop charging so as to leave some room for the energy produced by regen during that initial descent.

    Well the Bolt employs a a charging system feature that looks to mitigate this occurrence.

    Hill-Top Reserve , when engaged in charging options and will automatically stop the charge slightly short of a full charge so that regen will be immediately available.

    This feature also integrates with the Location Based Charging feature, allowing the system to be configured so it is enabled when at home (On - Home Only) or away (On - Away Only)​

    Seems to have questionable usefullness, to me. You shouldn't be charging to full capacity unless you're planning on a long trip; certainly you shouldn't be charging to 100% on an everyday or every week basis.

    Everyday charging should attempt to balance an everyday charge around the 50% charge level. That is, an EV driver should attempt to charge the car to a level above the 50% mark when he starts the day, equal to the level below the 50% mark at the end.

    For example, if you use 40% of the battery pack's capacity in a day's driving, then you should charge to (50+20=) 70%, and hopefully when you return home you will have discharged to (50-20=) 30%. Similarly, if you typically use let's say 55% of the battery pack's capacity in a day, then ideally you should charge to (50+22.5=) 72.5% and discharge to 27.5%... altho I doubt most EVs will allow such an exact control over the charge level.

    If the hilltop reserve stops the charging only slightly short of a full charge, then it seems to me this would only be of use when you were planning a road trip or otherwise were planning on a trip that challenges the EV's maximum range before recharging, and you were starting out that drive with a long downhill run.

    Otherwise, just set the charging level somewhat below 100%, for improved long-term battery life.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  16. rgmichel

    rgmichel Active Member

    I always use hilltop reserve when charging at home. It charges to about 190 miles of range or exactly 80% of the usual range at full charge. In other words it charges to the point where the charging rate is just about to drop, and you lose a little over 50 miles of range. in winter, the range is a little less due to the use of the heater, so my range at 80% charge during the winter is about 165 miles. My typical driving day averages 60 miles, and can be between 25 miles and 110 miles; so a range of 165 miles is quite adequate in the winter.
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  17. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Well then, that would be an excellent reason to use it on an everyday basis. Charging a BEV to ~80% of "full" capacity (or more precisely, full usable capacity), rather than charging to full usable capacity, will help preserve battery life.
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  18. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Good call, I do the same thing. To protect the battery and to access full regen every morning.

    I use the location based setting where I set to hilltop reserve only from my home charger.

    Since getting the Bolt I almost never use public charging. The only time I would ever need to charge to 100% is when staying at a hotel/RV park on a road trip.

    It is a very handy setting! I don't have to remember to switch it from one setting to the other when I'm away from home.

    With HR turned on, the Bolt charges to ~87% or 88% of the usable portion of the pack. But of course, a certain portion of the total pack size is already inaccessible out of the factory.

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