Friday, July 08, 2022

Updates, etc

Having driven the new car for a few days now, I've gathered a few thoughts about the differences between my previous Tesla Model 3 and this new Chevy Bolt.  Fun fact: I haven't test driven the last two cars I purchased.  That is an absurd statement.

The Tesla that I owned previously was a 2019 model year, "Standard Range Plus" version with a maximum of 240 miles of range.  

My new car is a 2022 Chevy (I refuse to type "Chevrolet", tho I just did...) Bolt EV 2LT.  Maximum range: 259 miles.  On paper, that doesn't seem like much of a difference. But my goodness, in real world driving comparisons, it seems night and day.  My commute to work is a healthy 31 miles each way, and I was always conscious of what my battery started and ended at.  

For example, any given weekday morning, I would wake up with ~185 miles of range on my Model 3 (I would charge to 90% only).  Given maths, one would assume that I arrive at work with around 154 miles of range left.  More often than not, however, my range would be in the 140s.  On occasion, my gauge would correct itself and say I had 150 or 160, but that was rare and only really on 70º mornings, when the battery was at it's nominal temperature.

Now, I realize I only have a few days of real-world usage, but I've only had to charge my car once in the 4 days I have had it.  This morning in particular, I started my drive with 226 miles of range (again, charging to 90% because no one can seemingly come to a consensus online about charging best practices) and ended my drive with 212 miles remaining.  Now, I have some observations about this discrepancy.

Driving habits: I would drive my Tesla hard.  I never used "Chill mode".  It was always balls to the wall, bat outta hell style driving.  This is my fault.  But no one could challenge me on the road.  Each launch at a green light would cost me dearly.  The Bolt? She has not yet entered "Sport Mode", which basically means I am running this car in Chill mode 100% of the time.  It's served to calm me down.  Plus, it's a new car, so I am babying her.  I haven't taken Max above 75mph.  

Overall efficiency: This is a smaller car.  It's obvious just by looking at it in the garage. I am simply not launching a longer, heavier car around the freeways. (update: I am full of garbage.  The weights are nearly the same: 3552 lbs vs 3289 lbs)

Regardless, I am seeing some huge advantages with this newer EV.  Anecdotal statements from subredditors say that Tesla's range estimation algorithm is messy and unpredictable.  Sure seems that way, to me.

So, what do I like about the Bolt more than my previous Model 3?  

  1. Ride height.  I never thought this would be me.  But it's easy to get in/out.  I see more of the road around me.  It's a nice feeling, and it gives me great visibility.  
  2. Physical buttons. Sorry, but swiping on a screen, in retrospect, was inefficient at best and dangerous at worst.  I want to turn down the AC? Tap the AC button, miss the touch point, fix what I touched, get the right touch point, adjust the AC slider, oops...too high, adjust down...etc.  Now, I reach over and push a button up and down.  Magical.
  3. That A/C.  Speaking of the A/C, Chevy knows how to cool a car down.  While I don't have rear air, it hardly matters.  That air is chilly.
  4. Sound system.  The Bolt came with a 7 speaker Bose system that fairly trounces the sound from the Tesla.
  5. Quieter ride.  Some of this can be chalked up to the fact that I replaced my rear tires in the Tesla with cheaper, louder tires.  But the cabin in the Bolt feels quieter to me, too.
  6. Wireless CarPlay.  Seriously, I had wired CarPlay in my 2016 Hyundai, and I missed it each and every day.  Now I can use Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, Apple Music, Spotify...whatever I want.  It's my choice, and it's divine. 
  7. No glass roof.  Looks great, in theory...but as the driver? You never see it.  Only your passengers see it.  And I live in AZ.  It's HOT.  
  8. 360º backup (HD Surround Vision).  So nice to see everything around me as I park.  Oh, and 25% of the time, my backup camera in the Tesla would fail to respond.  So that was fun.
  9. The Regen Paddle.  On my Bolt's steering wheel, there's a paddle on the left side.  Pull it, and it doubles the regenerative properties of the permanent magnet motor.  I already use one-peddle driving, having gotten used to it in my Tesla.  But this regen paddle basically ensures that I may never need to use my brakes, unless in an emergency.  And this can only help increase my range.
  10. REAL SiriusXM radio.  Yep, I am hooked on the stuff.  I have had to use the app for the past 3 years.  It wasn't a huge deal, but it did require me to launch it from my phone before I could drive away and listen to it.  I also had to reach for my phone to change stations.  But now, I have the full experience back.  Oh, and it's cheaper.  $5.99/month vs $8.99.
There are quite a few other things I really like, but I think this entry is getting boring. So, how about what I don't like?

  1. It really is smaller.  The center console is narrow, and only one arm really belongs on it at any given time.  My rear seat passengers better be children, and small ones at that.
  2. No AutoPilot.  Nope.  No auto steer, none of it.  I have lane keep assist, but that is a poor man's implementation of the most advanced level 2 self driving technology known to man.  I miss it.  I will forever miss it.
  3. SuperCharger network.  For now, I am forbidden the use of Tesla's expansive network of fast charging stations.  But that could change, by year's end.
  4. The "Cool factor". It's just not a Tesla.  It's a Chevy.  No one is gonna stop me at the drive through and say, "Cool car, man".
  5. Two screens instead of one.  This one completely surprised me.  But it has been a wee bit disorienting going back to having my speed, battery charge, etc directly in front of me again.  So I am now looking back and forth between two screens, instead of the one massive screen in the Tesla.  I am really confident that I will get over this pretty quickly.
  6. The app experience.  Tesla's app was superbly designed and showed me everything I needed.  And it was usually quick to refresh.  But the MyChevrolet app is slow, inefficient, and doesn't show me critical information.  Are my doors locked?  Dunno.  Sure, I can lock them.  But shouldn't you show me?
  7. Phone as a key.  This one hurts.  I never carried around a key fob in the last 3 years.  I walk up to my car, it's unlocked.  I walk away, it locks.  I miss this dearly.
  8. That blinding, raw speed.  I may turn on Sport Mode someday and negate this one. 
  9. The frunk.  That extra space really came in handy, especially when bringing home pizza for the kids!
  10. Rear A/C.  See above.
In the end, the pros outweigh the cons.  She's still an EV, so that makes it a win for me.  How about y'all?  Any questions for me about my experience in switching away from a Tesla?

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