2 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Public Charging Station Pros Cons
Charging a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV at an Electrify America station revealed some payment-related problems, but the positive aspects outweigh the cons.
Chevrolet Bolt EUV Electrify America charging station review highlights:
- I recently charged an EV, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, for the first time at a public charging station
- Locating the Electrify America station, using its app, and fitting the charging session into my schedule wasn’t difficult, but the station had some issues with its credit card and NFC payment readers
- Although public charging can have some initial difficulties, it’s not something you should or need to avoid with the Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Unlike internal-combustion cars, EVs can ‘refuel’ conveniently—and far cheaply—at home. But if you’re far from home or, like me, don’t have a home charging station, you’ll need to charge publicly. And if also like me, you’re new to EVs, that might be an annoying prospect, given the current messy U.S. charging situation. But while I had some headaches charging my 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV tester at a Chicagoland Electrify America station, it was far from being a nightmare.
Pro: The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV can use any CCS-compatible public charging station
Unlike Tesla, Chevrolet doesn’t have any proprietary charging stations. Instead, like every other automaker, it relies on other companies’ charging networks. But that’s also a boon because it means the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV doesn’t feature a brand-specific charging plug.
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, like virtually every other new non-Tesla EV, has a Combined Charging System (CCS) plug. As long as the charging station you want to use has a CCS connector, the Bolt EUV can use it. That includes Level 2 and Level 3 (DC fast-charging) stations. To use the latter, just pull down the orange dust cover seen in the photos above.
Pro: The Chevrolet Bolt EUV makes finding public charging stations easy
Technically, I didn’t have to download the Electrify America app to use one of its chargers. However, I did it for several reasons. Firstly, not all public chargers accept credit cards, though this Electrify America one did. Secondly, I’d heard about other EV owners and reviewers having issues actually charging up at these public stations. And I experienced some of these problems firsthand.
First, the credit card reader didn’t work. I tried with my credit card, then my debit card, and got nowhere. So, I then tried using that trick NFC function. Nope, that didn’t work either—the reader was broken, too.
Luckily, if you’re a member, Electrify America lets you remotely initiate a charging session through the app. Just locate your station on the map, pick out your specific charger, and slide the tab to start the power. Once I did that, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV started charging right away.
But before that happened, I experienced another headache.
Con: If you can’t pay quick enough, you’ll have to start over again
It shouldn’t be shocking (sorry) to hear that DC fast-charging stations juice up EVs with high-voltage, large-current power. So, to keep you safe and the electrics from going up in smoke, both the chargers and cars have multiple security systems.
For one, you can’t start charging an EV until the charging cable is firmly locked into place. Also, electricity isn’t the only thing that flows down that cable. Data does, too, to make sure the charger and EV are properly synced. If either software detects any kind of hiccup, it stops the charging session or doesn’t initiate it at all.
On the plus side, my Chevrolet Bolt EUV didn’t experience any software issues or cable-locking problems. However, neither are the only things that can throw a wrench in a charging session. So can not flashing a credit card fast enough once the station and Bolt are fully linked up. That’s what happened when the credit card and NFC readers flaked out on me. And so, the station virtually kicked me out, which meant I had to unplug and re-plug the charger, then wait again for the station and Bolt to re-establish communication.
I can fill up my 500 Abarth in less than five minutes. It took me over three times as long just to start charging the Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
Pro: Even with a lot of remaining range, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV charges quickly
After I got the Electrify America charger going, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV’s other strength came through. And that’s how (relatively) quickly it charges.
Because the Bolt EUV was at 90% charge when I pulled up, for battery-health reasons, the 150-kW CCS charger only gave me 67 kW. But that’s still more than Car and Driver got out of a 350-kW DC station with its Chevrolet Bolt EUV tester. It’s also almost six times as much power as a 48-volt Level 2 charger can deliver.
With that much power, it took 30 minutes for the Electrify America station to give my Bolt EUV 6.0 kWh. That’s roughly 23 miles of range going by the EPA’s numbers. Considering Chevrolet claims the Bolt EUV can get back up to 95 miles of range in 30 minutes on a DC charger, that seems low. But again, DC fast-charging only goes quickly if your battery is fairly low. Hence why Car and Driver got its Bolt EUV from 10-90% charge in 84 minutes.
In addition, 30 minutes was enough time to finish shopping—I was at a mall, after all. And because I was naturally going to be away from my EV for some time, an extended charging period wasn’t an issue. Furthermore, when I plugged the Chevrolet Bolt EUV into my Level 1 outlet, it took 13 hours to get 30 miles of range. I’ll take 23 miles in 30 minutes over that any day.
Is charging the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV at a public station worth it?
Overall, charging the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV at a public station was a mixed bag. That’s not the Bolt EUV’s fault, mind you, but due to issues with Electrify America’s hardware. Unfortunately, if you rely on public chargers to run your EV, that means these issues come with the ownership.
However, at least some of my frustrations came from inexperience. Besides being my first time using an Electrify America station, it was my first time using a public EV charging station. And while getting the charging session started was a hassle, the rest was easy. Plus, if I took advantage of Chevrolet’s free Level 2 charger installation with every 2022 Bolt EUV, I wouldn’t need public station access as much.
In short, plugging your 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV into a public charging station can be annoying the first time. But it’s not something you have to dread. And especially if your battery is low, it can keep you going for miles.
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Reissue: BOLT Installs 10k EV Charging Points in India, Fast Tracks Its Expansion Plans
To install 100,000 charging points in the next 6 months
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India: This press release has been reissued because of some updates in the original post, distributed on Thursday, March 24, 2022 11:35 AM IST.
BOLT, an All-in-One EV Infrastructure Provider, announced the installation of 10,000 BOLT EV charging stations in India in th e past 6 months. This milestone is an important step towards the startup’s goal of installing One Million BOLT charging points across 500 cities in India other emerging markets. BOLT is on track to deploy 100,000 charging points in the next 6 months by catering to demand coming from non-metro cities such as Jaipur, Nagpur, Nashik, Chandigarh, Surat, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Vijayawada, etc.
With BOLT’s experience of making Bengaluru the first EV ready city in India, the top three cities that have seen the maximum usage of the startup’s EV charging station are Bengaluru, Delhi/NCR and Hyderabad. BOLT has dispensed over 50,000 kW of energy so far and of the total 5000 publicly available BOLT EV charging points in India, Bengaluru has the highest number installed in the country with 3000 chargers followed by Delhi/NCR region at 1000 and 500 in Hyderabad. BOLT has added more than 60000 users on the BOLT charging network up to March 2022. Furthermore, BOLT charging points across India have helped generate a passive income of over INR 3,000 per month for top BOLT charging point hosts. The overwhelming demand for a safe, reliable, and affordable EV charging infrastructure combined wi th collaboration with other EV ecosystem players has helped fast track the startup’s goal. In the last 6 months alone, more than 20 OEMs/EV ecosystem players such as SpareIt, Park and EV fleet solution providers have partnered with BOLT across India.
BOLT is India’s largest EV charging network, comprising the universal BOLT Charging Point and the BOLT Operating System. Developed with the objective of building a strong EV charging infrastructure, it is India’s first dedicated network of IoT-enabled EV charging points connecting riders across the country. Made-in-India, BOLT is a universal charging point which is compatible with any portable charger that comes with EVs and works with the existing AC power supply everywhere.
Anyone, and not just the EV owner, can buy install BOLT in the shops, garages, RWAs, commercial parking spaces, etc. for riders and use it ubiquitously to generate passive income and establish a denser charging network. Installing BOLT requires no additional infrastructure and can be done in under 30 min with little to no maintenance. The charging units come with an energy calculator to monitor the power consumption and gives the buyer access to a lifetime of passive income. BOLT owners can choose to switch the device status between ‘Public’ and ‘Private’, where ‘Public’ charging points are open to the public and are available for booking on the BOLT app. The charging points marked as ‘Private’ are exclusively for the use of device owners. T housands of BOLT charging points have already been installed across 100 different cities in India with an installed capacity of over 33,000kW.
Mohit Yadav, Cofounder, BOLT “With the increasing adoption of Electric Vehicles, investing in a charging network will find significant utilization in the future. At BOLT, we are solving this challenge by partnering with EV ecosystem players to install the necessary EV infrastructure across states with a very affordable universal charging point that also allows charging point owners to make a passive income. We are really excited to achieve the milestone of installing 10,000 charging points across India and are on path towards achieving our goal of installing over 1 million charging points over the next 2 years.”
BOLT was founded in 2017 by Mohit Yadav and Jyotiranjan Harichandan with the aim of making electric vehicles more accessible, Smart, safe, and connected. BOLT is the World’s Largest Peer-to-Peer Charging Network, comprising the universal BOLT Charging Point and the BOLT Operating System. It is India’s first dedicated network of IoT-enabled EV charging points connecting riders across the country. The modular and customizable BOLT OS can be easily integrated into EVs. The start-up has raised 4.5 million in funding from Union Square Ventures Prime Venture Partners, and has offices in Bangalore Singapore.
Bolt EUV Month 2: Testing The Extremes of Charging, Road Trips, Speed, Off-Highway Driving
About a month ago, I shared my experiences from the first month of ownership of my Bolt EUV. I thought I had given it a pretty good test, but I managed to test several important aspects of Bolt EUV ownership to much greater extremes since then.
Most people wouldn’t do all of the things I’ve done with a Bolt, but for everyone else with more sane plans for an EV, I hope that what I’m going to share in this series of articles will help you learn about the limits. This will probably give you a good idea of whether the vehicle would fit your needs, or if you need to find something else (or wait for something like the Equinox EV).
In this series, I’m going to cover:
- Having GM and my local utility pay for 48-amp (11.5 kW) charging installation (a continuation of this story)
- A Texas-Sized Road Trip
- The Yee-Hawtobaun (The fastest road in the Americas)
- A Challenging Rural Road
Part 1: GM Charging Station Install (Continued)
One of the really cool things GM does for 2022-23 Bolt and Bolt EUV buyers is provide free charging station installation. The reason for this is pretty obvious: installing Level 2 charging at home makes it a lot easier to own an EV, and it isn’t always cheap to get the job done right. You can learn more about GM’s program and my experience with it so far here, at my first article about it.
Higher packaged Bolt and Bolt EUVs come with Chevrolet’s Dual Level Charge Cord Set, and it can be added during the purchase of base package Bolts that don’t include it (for a small fee), or purchased afterward from GM parts departments. Like Tesla’s Mobile Connector, Chevy’s cord set has removable ends to plug into 120v NEMA 5-15 outlets or 240v NEMA 14-50 outlets, like you’d find at an RV park. I’ve read here that they’re going to offer more plugs, perhaps for TT-30, 5-20, or dryer plugs. 240v charging maxes out at 32 amps with this cord set, allowing for roughly 7.7 kW charging under ideal conditions.
For most people, that’s good enough, and GM will hire Qmerit to just install a 14-50 plug in your garage or driveway that you can use the cord set to charge with. When leaving town, you can always unplug it and pack it under the false floor in the trunk. It’s also possible to fix the unit to the wall or hang it up securely when it’s being used over and over in the same place, which makes for an attractive and safe situation.
For me, 7 kW just wasn’t enough. I wanted to charge my EUV at the maximum power its onboard charger can accept. I paid for 11.5 kW, and I want my 11.5 kW. It’s not a huge difference in charging speed (6 vs 10 hours from dead to full), but where I live, the only DC fast charging stations live on dealer lots and can only be used during business hours. Being able to get a few more miles on a day when I do an unusual amount of driving is worth it.
Plus, I had an Emporia Smart EVSE on hand, and it made sense to use that charging station and hopefully test it with some other Emporia power management devices. So, I opted for Qmerit’s “non-standard” installation, where they cover the first 1,250 (1000 labor/parts, 250 permitting), and bill you for the balance.
To run 6 AWG wiring from my electrical panel, under my manufactured home (yes, it’s a double-wide trailer, but that’s the fancy term), under part of my front yard, and onto a post in my driveway, the electrician quoted almost double what GM and Qmerit would pay. But, I took advantage of El Paso Electric’s rebate program to cover the other half of the installation cost.
The electrician who came out was professional, did a great job putting in a good-looking installation (even if most of it will be buried or hidden under the house), and did it all in one afternoon. The next day, I got a bill from Qmerit for the remaining balance, which I’m going to pay using a reimbursement check El Paso Electric is going to cut soon.
The only thing left is to wait for the inspector to come by so I can bury the conduit and button things up, but I’ve been through enough here to know that GM and Qmerit really will put in Level 2 charging at your house, even if you don’t want the “standard installation.” There was one point where the electrician and Qmerit didn’t understand something, but it was a misunderstanding that was relatively easy to iron out. If you don’t need anything unusual in your charging install, it should be pretty straightforward.
Dealers Need To Understand The Situation Better
While GM and my utility are doing things right, there’s a weak point: dealers.
While I’m pretty happy with the dealer I ultimately bought my EUV from, the sales personnel didn’t seem to understand EVs, charging stations, and available local incentives very well. They knew about the GM/Qmerit deal, but I was surprised that they didn’t offer a lot of information about home charging.
At a minimum, I think dealers should be not only ready to sell you a car and send you an e-mail with information about the GM charging installation, but they should also bury new EV buyers with information about tax credits, local incentives from governments and utilities, and perhaps even have some contact information for local electricians. You should come away from the dealer with a plan for getting charging installed, in other words, or the information you need to make a plan with ease.
They should also tell you where to find local charging stations, how to plan road trips, and many other things they’re not telling you right now. I know some dealers have EV specialists who do this stuff very well, but they’re probably finding that most buyers at this early part of the adoption curve are “power users.”
The total “n00bs” who know next to nothing about EVs aren’t going to do very well unless their needs are totally covered by a standard charging installation and they never drive out of range of it.
In Part 2, I’m going to cover my Texas-sized road trip, followed by the other things I promised at the top (links are provided up there, too).
All images by Jennifer Sensiba.
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Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her Bolt EAV and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on here, here, and YouTube here.
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I Did 1,200 Miles in a Chevy Bolt EUV, but the Charging Network Didn’t Help
Road tripping in an EV isn’t easy in 2022, but it is possible.
I have one of the worst EVs ever made—a 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Despite its low range and funky looks, I’ve found it to be a remarkably useful around-town shuttle. Long road trips are where electric vehicles struggle—the charging infrastructure still sucks—but the challenge is not insurmountable. Well, at least if your EV’s not as cashed out as mine. I put about 1,200 miles on a 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV to learn how to make the most of a long haul in an electric car and have come back with insight and intel.
Ohio to D.C. and Back
The trip was at least 400 miles each way, depending on which route I chose to take. I’d be driving from my house in northeast Columbus, Ohio, to the heart of Washington, D.C, for the Out Motorsports Hot Girl Summer Road Rally, a weekend road rally full of gays, cars, and shenanigans in the DC area. I’ve done this route several times before in a gas car, it should take seven hours or so, usually requiring at least one fill-up and bathroom break along the journey. The Bolt EUV is rated for 247 miles, so I’d need to charge at least once during my trip.
But, where would I charge? Outside of a lone Electrify America station in Cambridge, Ohio (about 30 miles from Columbus), my most familiar route via the I-70/I-79 corridor is a complete charging dead zone. There are zero DC fast charging options for the cities of Washington, PA, Wheeling, WV, or Morgantown, WV.
When calibrating my new route, I noticed that from my front door to the tip of Western Maryland, sat a DC fast charger, in a state park in the tiny town of Friendsville, Maryland. The distance was just over 240 miles, in theory, right within the range of the Bolt EUV’s 247 miles. On paper, that was feasible, but that route didn’t consider the effects terrain, and speed would have. I would be driving through the Appalachian hills, at freeway speeds. There’s no guarantee that the charger would be working, unoccupied. Heck, the charger only existed according to Plugshare, a user-sourced, user-maintained website. Plugshare has led me to non-existent charging options before; relying on Plugshare could have very well led me to my demise. I would be stranded, with a nearly dead car with not enough range to drive to a working charger.
My route had plenty of leeway for terrain, speed, and air conditioning usage. Kevin Williams Plugshare Screenshot
Friendsville was out. My new route would take me from Columbus, through Wheeling, WV. Then when I reached Washington, PA, I would instead go north into Pittsburgh’s southern border, to an EVGo-branded DC fast charger in one of the city’s southern neighborhoods. From there, I’d be able to get most of the way to DC, before I needed to charge again. Granted, I’ve written before about Pittsburgh’s terrible DC fast charging infrastructure, but “terrible” in this instance is superior to “nonexistent”. Thankfully, multiple apps showed plenty of DC fast charging options within 50 miles of the capital’s outskirts.
Nothing Went to Plan
I left Columbus at around 7 a.m., reaching the Southwest Pittsburgh suburb of Bethel Park, at around 10 a.m. My calculations told me that a full recharge via DC fast charging should take about an hour and a half, including the post 80% charging speed slowdown that most electric cars do while DC fast charging to protect the battery. That’s the perfect amount of time to call an Uber and have breakfast at a restaurant I hadn’t been to in nearly a decade, Dor-Stop Cafe. By the time I’d finished my Guy Fieri-recommended flapjacks, the Bolt EUV would be ready for another leg of the trip. The EVGo station at the Village Square mall in Bethel Park, PA, was listed as working in both Plugshare and the EVGo app.
Both apps were wrong. The charging station was broken.
I hadn’t driven to the last electron to get there. I still had about 23% of battery life left, enough range to try a few more DC fast chargers, but I knew I’d have to be selective because none were all that close. I drove about 30 minutes further north, deeper into Pittsburgh, further off route, to another EVGo charger situated in the parking lot of a Shop n Save and Dunkin Donuts.
This one worked, but the charging speed never passed 34 kW. Whatever. I was hangry, and not in the mood to negotiate customer service with another EVGo rep, so I ditched the Bolt and got some Guy Fieri-recommended flapjacks.
It was not quite 10:30 a.m., when this photo was taken. If the EVgo charger had cooperated, I would have had enough range to get almost to DC by the end of my breakfast. Kevin Williams Kevin Williams
I arrived at a Chevrolet Bolt EUV that only had 147 miles of range after a so-called full charge. A Reddit search informed me that, EVGo DC fast chargers have a time limit, of one hour, unless you’ve paid to subscribe. I pulled into the charging station with 9% and left with 63%. I was off route and had added at least 30 miles to my journey, I didn’t have enough range to make it to DC. I was livid.
Frustrated, tired, and ready to give up, I unplugged the Bolt EUV and raced to the nearest Electrify America station. It was also way off route, and in the middle of nowhere; two reasons why I avoided that particular station. But, I knew that it was my best shot at getting a reliably fast, full charge. I left home at 7 a.m. and arrived at my first DC fast charging stop at 10:30 a.m. Charging issues added more than two hours to my journey. I didn’t leave the Pittsburgh area until after 2 p.m. Eventually, I did make it to Washington D.C., at 6:45 p.m., 11 hours and 30 minutes after I left my home in Ohio. than four hours on top of a normally seven-hour drive.
I’m Still Optimistic About an Electric Future
Right now, EV charging infrastructure is crap, there are plenty of pitfalls, some of which I fell into, despite having a seemingly airtight plan. But, EV road-tripping is possible, provided you stay flexible and keep your wits about you. I still think that better things are on the horizon.
After the road rally and camaraderie, I left Front Royal, VA, stopping to recharge in Frostburg, MD. Frostburg’s charger was flawless, rocketing to 55 kW, and remaining there until the car dropped down to around 25 kW at 80%, protecting its battery. I spent not quite an hour in a small town, enjoying lunch and coffee. From there, I drove to Cambridge, Ohio, where a 10-minute recharge and bathroom break at an Electrify America station gave me enough range to get home. It was simple, easy, and painless. How it should be, but often isn’t because of bad infrastructure.
A short while ago, the electric car internet launched itself in a tizzy over a Wall Street Journal article in which a journalist drove an electric car over a very long road trip, remarking that she spent more time charging, than sleeping. Now, Electric car isn’t real life, but the author’s piece set bruised a lot of egos. Words flew around, and it seemed like more than a few EV enthusiasts set out to prove her wrong.
In the immortal words of Hannibal Buress, Why are you booing (her)? (She’s) right.
Charging infrastructure woes nearly doubled my travel time, and it’s not even the car’s fault. The Bolt EUV is impressive in so many metrics. In just ten years we’ve gone from hastily converted kei cars that can barely do 60 miles in ideal conditions, to cars that can sail well past 200 miles when driven like a normal person. Articles like mine or hers shouldn’t exist, EV charging should be as ubiquitous as gas, but it isn’t.
Until it is, articles and tip lists like this will continue to be written. EV road tripping is possible, even with crap infrastructure. Stay Smart, stay flexible, and I promise, things are only going to get better for EV drivers from here on out.