Discuss: Is General Motors' Policy on DC Quick Charging Slowing Chevrolet Bolt EV Adoption Rates?

It’s the world’s first long-range electric car costing under forty thousand U.S. dollars, can travel upwards of two hundred and thirty-eight miles on a charge (more than three hundred if you’re good with your right foot), and is on sale now in certain U.S. markets and South Korea. But while the Chevrolet Bolt EV deserves a place in the history books when it comes to range versus price, this five-seat compact electric car isn’t selling as well as some had hoped. What’s more, it’s being outsold by the older, cheaper, less capable Nissan LEAF.

So is the Chevrolet Bolt just not priced right? Is Nissan undercutting the Bolt EV so much that people are going for the shorter-range LEAF instead? Or is General Motor’s lack of interest in charging networks hampering the rollout of this influential plug-in car?

Watch the video above to find out, and leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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39 Replies to “Discuss: Is General Motors' Policy on DC Quick Charging Slowing Chevrolet Bolt EV Adoption Rates?”

  1. Philip Ellis

    Is this old(er) posting? If so, then it should be updated. GM has "partnered" with Chargepoint, Greenlots, and VW's mandated Electrify America DCFC charging networks. I bought my Bolt in Dec, 2017. At that time , on the west coast of Florida, there were two places to D.C. fast charge, Sarasota and Naples. If I drove at 62 to 65 mph, I could easily make it to Naples and fast charge there, and continue on to my destination, in South Florida.
    Since that time more locations have been added, as I mentioned previously. However, Greenlots has a dismal rating on PlugShare by EV owners, and Electrify America stations aren't much better. A few Chevrolet dealerships installed D.C fast chargers but they are no longer appearing on the PlugShare app map. All of these things combine to make Bolt ownership less attractive to potential buyers.

    I must agree with you Nikki, GM is digging its own grave for what I consider a better electric vehicle.

  2. Shawn Marmer

    The Kona Electric is better. It will take sales from the Bolt. GM closing plants in North America and shipping off jobs to China is another issue. The Bolt has uncomfortable front seats, a cheap solid rear axle, is ugly, has plastic instead of metal covering the engine and battery from below, has a weird transmission shifter. They also killed the Volt. Charging infrastucture is just one more issue.

  3. steel beel

    I'm ready to buy an American made EV. I live very close to Detroit. (Auto Capital of the World?) Can't find the Bolt or the Ford Focus EV anywhere in my state! Toyota and Nissan are right down the street. I just don't want to contribute to what got us into this mess in the first place. Closed factories, down-trodden cities, crime, etc.)

  4. Richard Suyeda

    The biggest problem is it's a Chevy. Disclaimer: I just bought one anyway. But about the charger network, I think it would help if they made it official policy to open their dealer chargers to Chevy electrics. I don't know that people think that much about the charging network when we buy a car much as we don't think about gas stations. It would be a selling point to offer up thousands of dealer chargers. After buying a car one becomes concerned about charger accessibility–not just location but whether one can rely on finding an open working stall. Rely being the operative word. A dealer based network would tend to reassure that the charger works and use is managed.

  5. Joe Vicars

    My 2017 Bolt has been the ideal vehicle for someone in my demographic (retired, urban dweller, primarily urban driving with some trips to nearby cities). I belong to EvolveKY, an electric car organization, so I get to see a wide variety of EVs. The Bolt has a sweet spot of range, utility, and cost. A big advantage of the Bolt's longer range is the ability to drive a reasonable amount even under adverse EV conditions (e.g. high A/C or heat usage at interstate speeds). Many drivers of 100-ish mile range EV's have to think more about freeway drives in very cold or hot conditions than do I. I'll admit that the lack of a charging infrastructure is a serious hindrance to using the Bolt for trips, but I'm fortunate enough to have a 2012 Volt for longer distance driving.

  6. Anthony Sacco

    Chevy dealer gave me a $100 Charge Point pre-paid card. So GM does support charging networks, albeit indirectly. There are many charging stations in California. I have no range issues at all. The Bolt is the best vehicle I have ever owned. Yes, GM did "kill" the EV way back when the technology didn't fully support the concept of an all electric vehicle. Solid state electronic control systems and batteries themselves needed to be much better than they were in the 1990s to produce a truly functional vehicle that would appeal to people beyond EV fanatics. If GM did "kill" the EV then, they should be given full credit for bringing it back in such a capable and functional way now.

  7. David Drake

    Dealer attitude down from the top. Some dealers still tell prospective buyers the Bolt is a hybrid. I have heard some dealers do not charge them and tell customers they don’t have one charged right now for a test drive.

  8. Matthew Jenkinson

    Bolt is losing because at that price it's a 'first' car, not a second, and it can't do what Tesla can for the price. Leaf works because at that price it can be a second car, and is fine for running around town without having to worry about range. Tesla works because at that cost it provides a charging network that allows it to do long road trips with very little given away to ICE vehicles in terms of time taken, as long as you're travelling along a Supercharger highway.

    Bolt has all the cost of the Tesla, but without the ability to do multi-recharge trips in a reasonable time frame, and is too expensive to simply use as an around town car.

  9. Cyrus Hale

    There shouldn't be a charging question. I think GM are playing the electric car things like its a I.C.E car e.g GM don't have gas stations so why would they have charging stations?.

  10. Trevor Kemp

    You've got to remember that General Motors realistically has no interest in producing electric vehicles this car is only a compliance car so they can say that they have a car available if there's a new law put in place that would make it illegal to mandate electric vehicles and I'll get rid of the carbon taxing on the bigger more polluting cars this would be a complete ev1 situation again we would probably see General Motors on all the cars that aren't privately owned yet and completely paid off be recalled and crushed just like the ev1 was head General Motors not killed everyone in continue down this path with TV One they would easily have built a vehicle long ago that could be doing this kind of range the ev1 itself using nickel batteries had a 150 mile range for City driving and a 100 mile range for highway driving in the latest generation and if General Motors would have spent a little bit of time developing the ev1 getting better battery technology and helping to strengthen the charging infrastructure they would be the King of the Road as far as electric vehicles goes but that's not what they want to produce they want to produce big gas-guzzling things like Hummer and there pickup trucks and their sports cars like the Camaros and Corvettes all of the gas-guzzling vehicles that don't have as stringent of emission standards binding what General Motors can do performance-wise with those vehicles.

  11. xtremejeeps

    GM Number one in EV sales of the BOLT this past 3/4 months and December will most like be theirs as well. And for the year will end up second in overall 2017 sales only to the Model S. I think the theory is busted. Its an awesome car, if people would just understand what a real EV is like. The range is real world. My Tundra took 25 gallons and went about 250 miles in the end…..In flight refeuling was a must. I drive lots and 99% of my driving is, like most other people, short runs that fit well withing the range many time over on the Bolt. What it does and wahat is missing here is, its like a normal car, you drive it liek a normal car, you check your fuel like a normal car, you fill it up at night in your driveway, and you plan your trip to make sure you hae enough in the tank. It actually better than a normal car!
    No noise, mat the pedal and instan torque without all the noise and pollution. This Korean ad truly captures what its liek to drive this car everyday.


  12. manoman0

    Pure EV's are in fact a transitory technology. EREV's run most of the times on pure battery and do not need an expensive and extensive supercharging network.

    Shed some light on this issue.

  13. David Drake

    Remember the Bolt no matter how good ( and it is) is still all said and done a compliance car. GM is FORCED to make them! Thus their attitudes a dichotomy between makes my a good car better than competition and hatred of EV’s to the point of sabotaging their own sales. At least unlike the last supposedly serious EV-1, You can buy this one. When I leased mine, looking eventually toward a Tesla 3 my dealership would not let me use their fast charger” it is not for the public”. I had to go to a Kia dealer to charge it. That was Greenlots and free for a time.

  14. Stephen M

    When you're really careful, what kind of range do you get from your Nissan Leaf and how many capacity bars do you have?

    Looking to buy an EV used, but worried about monthly trips to my neuro oncologist being near the edge of the ranges I'm hearing.

  15. Terje Mathisen

    The only problem with the Bolt/Ampera-E is that GM isn't making (enough?) money on it, so they don't produce them!

    Here in Norway we would have happily bought pretty much every Bolt produced so far, but Opel isn't able to deliver more than a very small percentage of the existing orders. In the US it looks like a compliance car only. 🙁

  16. Andrew Reid

    GM to me isn't loyal and does not reward loyalty. Tesla on the other hand seems to value customers thus they see the need to set up an infrastructure. I can't buy the bolt though I would want to because I don't trust they'll have my interest at heart. I will be purchasing the model 3 once it's available

  17. Sam S

    She is not wrong. I live in the USA the network offered by Tesla allows the owners to go as far as they need to go if they are willing to wait 30 minutes to stop every couple of hours. The Bolt at its price and range – owners will want to go further on longer trips so that market is gone. With the Leaf, no one aspires to go long range – that is only for short local trips. So the Bolt is between a rock and hard place – it has the range to go a long way, but no way to extend it. So in-state driving is the limit, and only a range of 140 miles from home if you don't charge anywhere else.

  18. randycarter2001

    Everyone is holding out for a Tesla. All of those potential GM customers have already placed deposits on the Model 3. The thing is Tesla cars are perceived as being the best (thus more desirable) cars on the road. While GM's Bolt is just another automobile.

  19. David Davoodi

    The reason the Bolt is not selling is they wrapped it in a small hatchback body style – make the car attractive and people will flock to it. It's too small for the US market. I would definitely consider one but not at this price point – I'm sure I can get one pre-owned in about a year for the half the price or less. Regarding the charging perspective, I have a Volt and use ChargePoint to charge at a number of places free of charge – there is no issue there for me. There may not be free DCC's around, but the Level 2 plus overnight at home meets my needs.

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