When my 2001 GMC minivan required a third $3,000 repair in two years, I decided it was time to get a new car — a really new car. I’d rather put my money toward new car payments than repairs on an old car. My overall aim was not to have to put gas in the car. This left out the hybrids, simplifying the choice immensely. Although I live in Tesla town (Fremont, CA.) I decided against a Tesla. I am basically a non-tech person and didn’t want to have to learn a lot about a new-style car. Also, Teslas are complicated to buy — you can’t just go to a dealer showroom and buy a new or used car. There are no dealer showrooms.
On the practicality of electric cars and the Chevy Bolt
1. Charging a car every day or so is much more practical than putting gas in it. Much cheaper, too.
2. If you have a garage, charging is a no-brainer. If you don’t have a garage, you’ll need an alternate charging spot, such as your place of work.
3. All I had to learn about the “engine” was, “the brake fluid goes here” and “the wiper fluid goes here.”
4. There is no spare tire — a puncture is self-sealing and you’ll have plenty of time to get to your dealer for a repair or replacement.
5. My Bolt holds 4 people comfortably, with a surprisingly big trunk for cargo.
6. My 2019 Chevy Bolt, without the complications of OnStar or SiriusXM radio, is simple to drive around town. I didn’t buy it for long trips. I still have a minivan for longer hauls.
7. Electric cars do not pollute the air. Mother Earth, at least her atmosphere, likes electric cars.
8. Electric cars are FUN to drive — smooth — and have amazing acceleration. Know and obey your local speed limits!
9. “Mileage” (miles per full charge) averages about 250 miles, depending on any uphill/downhill traffic and the outside temperature, i.e. extreme hot/cold. Since I don’t have a daily commute, I charge the car every 3 to 4 days. Commuters will want to charge every night.
10. A community to be a part of. There is a Chevy Bolt Owners group on Facebook, where people ask all sorts of questions. Many are tech-y questions; others are newbie questions. This is a closed Facebook group aimed toward Bolt owners and owners-to-be. Click on “Join Group” and answer a few questions for moderator approval.
What won’t my Bolt do?
It won’t haul your kids’ soccer or baseball team around. Keep a minivan for that. Long-distance travel is still iffy because recharging on a long trip takes a lot of planning. Public charging stations may be inoperable or full of other electric cars.
Personally, I most enjoy the Bolt for running errands around town, and I’m comfortable with that level of usage. Tech difficulties seem to run in the area of software incompatibility (like phones) or questions that start with “Can I add…” and “What does this mean?”
There are 3 levels of charging: slow (110v) a bit faster (220v) and speedy (220v + a lot more equipment.) Not all cars have the speedy charging ability, and you’ll have to choose a compatible car before purchase that has that ability — it can’t be added later. Right now I have slow charging for my 2019 Chevy Bolt, which is fine for the little old lady from Pasadena. I plan to have an electrician install the 220 plug in my garage soon for faster charging, since I have both solar panels and an electric dryer for wire access.
What I haven’t mentioned about electric cars? Price. It really does vary by dealer. Look not only at the purchase price, but also at the monthly payment amount. Keep your budget in mind. Rebates — as individual as the state. HOV Access. It varies by state and may only be available for a limited time. Batteries. I confess to being very comfortable with batteries, as my 37-year-old daughter has had a battery-powered wheelchair since her fifth birthday.
Don’t be afraid of new technology. It is the future, and those of us who are planning to live a few more years need to embrace it!
Choices of electric vehicle makers include Hyundai, Chevrolet and Nissan. Luxury vehicles are made by Tesla and BMW. Hybrid vehicles use an electric motor to assist a gasoline engine, improving fuel efficiency. Popular hybrid makers include Honda, Toyota, Ford, Kia and Hyundai.
The Bolt statistic on the ratio of male buyers to women buyers is 69% to 31%. That statistic is obtained from vehicle registrations. But, I’m wondering if the person who buys and registers the car is not necessarily the person who drives the car. Or are not many women buying electric cars? Let’s change that statistic!
Whatever you drive, drive safely!
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