evs everywhere

2018-10-8 | Chevy New Roads Magazine

EVs Everywhere

From musicians in Minnesota to ranchers in Texas, people are finding unexpected reasons to plug in.

Electric vehicles, and the people who own them, aren’t always what you’d expect. Many assume that EVs are only owned by West Coast inhabitants who crave new modes of transportation. Or, that electric cars are best suited for city dwellers who rarely haul anything bigger than a laptop.

 

We wanted to go beyond the stereotypes and myths to answer the questions that most people have about electric vehicles. Are they a practical everyday car? Do they live up to the hype? And (most important) are they any fun to drive?

 

So we asked real EV owners about their cars: why they bought them, what they were using them for, and how they felt about their vehicles now. What we learned was that you can find EVs all across the country—and not for the reasons you may think.


An animated battery charge icon going from empty to full.

Strength in Numbers

The Bolt EV’s advanced 60 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is made up of 288 individual cells.


Deep in the Heart of Texas

Who: Harry & Elizabeth Akers | Where: Merkel, Texas | Occupation: Ranchers


If you head nearly 200 miles west from Dallas on I-20, you’ll eventually happen upon the town of Merkel, Texas, population 2,590. Nestled 20 miles outside Abilene, this sleepy little hamlet is home to Harry and Elizabeth Akers and their brand-new Chevrolet Bolt EV. And if you’re wondering why you’d find a Bolt EV on a ranch in rural Texas, Harry’s got the math worked out.

 

“We keep our cars for 15 to 20 years,” he said. “This one’s going to pay for itself long before that.”

 

After spending a decade RVing around the country, Harry and Elizabeth settled down in Merkel and started ranching. Today, they have 200 acres of land, a dedicated ranch hand, and more than 40 head of cattle. The Bolt EV plays a big role in keeping everything running smoothly, and making sure that the cows are always well fed.

 

“It’s about a 55-mile round trip to pick up feed for the cattle,” Elizabeth says. “We got the Bolt EV mainly for that reason—to go into town, run errands, and pick up what we need. We can go into town three times on a single charge, and it’s got more than enough room.”

We invest in things that reinvest in us, and we can put the money we’re saving back into things we want to do.


A flickering illustrated lightning bolt.

Cargo Cowboy

The Akers use their car to tote cattle feed, and with a maximum cargo volume of 56.6 cu. ft., the options for hauling are huge.


Before they bought the Bolt EV, the cost of this daily trip had begun to wear on the couple, whose energy-efficient home had been built with insulated concrete and employed both geothermal power and solar panels to save money on their energy bill. Considering that they were producing more energy than they were using back at home, spending $150 to $200 a month on gas didn’t sit well with either of them. While you might not expect to see a Bolt EV hauling bags of cattle feed in the middle of Texas, it’s a pretty logical move.

 

The numbers just made sense when I looked at what we’d save with the Bolt EV,” Harry says. “Bottom line is that we invest in things that reinvest in us, and we can put the money we’re saving back into things we want to do—like going on vacation and taking cruises.”

 

So, the Bolt EV is useful, it’s economical—but what about performance? It’s one of the biggest concerns that prospective buyers have about electric vehicles, and while fuel economy is important, the bottom line is that people want a car that’s fun to drive.

 

But EV drivers now get to have their cake and eat it too. The motors in a modern electric vehicle produce a truly memorable experience behind the wheel. Which may be why, when asked how his Bolt EV performed on the road, Harry’s response was pure Texas: “This car’s got all kind of guts to it.” Even in The Lone Star State, the fun and function of this electric vehicle is hard to beat.


Illustration of an electrical cord with a two-prong plug.

It dashes ...

The Bolt EV’s electric drivetrain generates a whopping 266 lb.-ft. of torque instantly, which helps deliver that fun-to-drive character.


Jazzed about the Bolt EV

Who: Gordon Johnson | Where: Minneapolis, Minnesota | Occupation: Musician


It must have turned some heads when a man walked into a car dealership with a 6-foot-tall double bass. But it’s all in a day’s work for Gordon Johnson. “We bass players have to know what we’re getting into when we’re getting a new car,” says the Minneapolis native.

 

A musician who has performed all over the world with some of the biggest names in jazz, Johnson is no stranger to traveling with his instruments. Although he did his research and decided on the Bolt EV before the vehicle was even available in Minnesota, he knew he had to make sure the car was going to work for him before he could sign on the dotted line. So when he saw his bass easily slide into the back cargo area and between the seats, it was a relief.

 

“I put more than 270,000 miles on my last car dragging my bass around with me,” he says. “When it came time for a new car, I knew that I wanted a fully electric vehicle, but I needed one that was right for me.”

 

Besides having enough room for his instrument and gear, Johnson also cites the Bolt EV’s 238-mile range and pricing as major selling points, not to mention that Chevrolet tests the battery for operation in sub-zero weather—a major consideration for any Minnesotan (and yes, he went with the available heated seats and steering wheel).

 

When asked how he’s enjoying the vehicle, he’s full of praise. “There are too many things to like about this car. I love how high-tech it is,” he says, citing the available Infotainment Package, Rear Camera Mirror, and Rear Park Assist. “They make everything so much easier. And I love the acceleration—if I need to punch it, it’ll go. I don’t feel the slightest bit nervous about accelerating, even when I’m already at highway speeds.”


The front of an illustrated Bolt EV.

... and corners

Placing the battery pack in the floor of the car keeps the mass low, which provides a planted feeling in corners.


Traditional vehicles still make up the vast majority of cars and trucks sold in the United States, but more and more people across the country are considering electric vehicles. Not just because EVs can help them save on fuel or because they’re the right choice for the environment, but because EVs are the right choice for them—and because they’re a lot of fun to drive.

 

Electric vehicle technology has come a long way over the years, and Chevy dealers now report that Bolt EV and Volt owners are more excited about their purchases than those with gas-powered vehicles, which bodes well for the future of EVs.

 

After all, it might feel good to do your part to help save the planet, but it feels even better if you can have fun while doing it.

 

Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The driver should remain attentive to traffic, surroundings and road conditions at all times. Visibility, weather, and road conditions may affect feature performance. Read the vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

 

STORY: KEVIN HATMAN / PHOTOGRAPHY: MAX LOWE

The Details Matter

238

MILES ON A SINGLE CHARGE

200

HORSEPOWER

266 LB.-FT 

OF TORQUE

*The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • EPA-estimated 238-mile EV range. Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and driving technique.

  • Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Based on initial vehicle movement. With available 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission and Z51 Performance Package.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • EPA-estimated 238-mile EV range. Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and driving technique.

  • With second row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated 238-mile EV range. Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and conditions.

  • Read your vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Read your vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • With 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine. Based on GM Large SUV segment and EPA-estimated MPG highway: 23 (2WD), 22 (4WD).

  • EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Sonic with 1.8L engine and 5-speed manual transmission 26/35; with 1.8L engine and 6-speed automatic transmission 25/34; with 1.4L engine and 6-speed manual transmission 28/37; with 1.4L engine and 6-speed automatic transmission 27/35.

  • EPA-estimated 53-mile range based on 106 MPGe combined city/highway (electric); 367-mile extended range based on 42 MPG combined city/highway (gas). Your actual range may vary based on several factors, including temperature, terrain and driving technique.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • MyLink functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Do not use summer-only tires in winter conditions, as it would adversely affect vehicle safety, performance and durability. Use only GM-approved tire and wheel combinations. Unapproved combinations may change the vehicle’s performance characteristics. For important tire and wheel information, go to my.chevrolet.com/learn/tires or see your dealer.

  • Dependability based on longevity: 1987 – July 2017 full-size pickup registrations.

  • Dependability based on longevity: 1987–July 2017 full-size pickup registrations.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution

  • EPA-estimated 29 MPG city/39 highway with 5-speed manual transmission and 30 MPG city/38 highway with available Continuously Variable Transmission

  • EPA-estimated 29 MPG city/38 highway with 5-speed manual transmission and 30 MPG city/38 highway with available Continuously Variable Transmission.

  • EPA estimated with 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA estimated with 3.6L V6 engine

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay, Siri, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks for Apple Inc, registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • EPA estimate for Sonic with available 6-speed automatic transmission.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to User Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service and GPS signals. OnStar links to emergency services. Visit onstar.com for more details.

  • Model year 2018 and newer vehicles include: 1 month of OnStar Safety & Security Plan and 1 month of Chevrolet Connected Services which include navigation services, Remote Access Plan and 1 month or 3 gigabytes of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to user terms and limitations. Visit onstar.com for more details. Data plans offered by AT&T. Availability subject to change.

  • Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Data plan offered by AT&T. Services subject to user terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services.  Visit onstar.com for more details.

  • If you decide to continue service after your trial, the subscription plan you choose will automatically renew thereafter and you will be charged according to your chosen payment method at then-current rates. Fees and taxes apply. To cancel you must call SiriusXM at 1-866-635-2349. See SiriusXM Customer Agreement for complete terms at siriusxm.com. All fees and programming subject to change. Sirius, XM, SiriusXM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated MPG highway for Cruze Sedan with 1.4L 4-cylinder engine and transmission.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • If you decide to continue service after your trial, your selected subscription plan will automatically renew thereafter. You will be charged at then-current rates. Fees and taxes apply. To cancel you must call SiriusXM at 1-866-635-2349. See SiriusXM Customer Agreement for complete terms at siriusxm.com. All fees and programming subject to change. ©2018 Sirius XM Radio Inc. All rights reserved.

  • EPA-estimated MPG highway for Cruze Sedan with 1.4L 4-cylinder engine.

  • EPA-estimated 37 MPG highway for Cruze Premier Hatchback.

  • Cargo space for Cruze Hatch with rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated 53-mile range based on 106 MPGe combined city/highway (electric); 367-mile extended range based on 42 MPG combined city/highway (gas). Your actual range may vary based on several factors, including temperature, terrain and driving technique.

  • EPA-estimated 53-mile range based on 106 MPGe combined city/highway (electric); 367-mile extended range based on 42 MPG combined city/highway (gas). Your actual range will vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain and driving conditions.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • EPA-estimated 1.5L engine 29 MPG city/36 highway.

  • Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Visit my.chevrolet.com/learn for vehicle and smartphone compatibility.

  • Available late 2018.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Requires available Performance Exhaust or Z51 Performance Package.

  • Requires available Performance Exhaust or Z51 Performance Package.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • EPA-estimated 28 City/39 Hwy MPG

  • With second row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • Read the vehicles Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Does not detect people or items. Always check rear seat before exiting.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android, Android Auto, Google, Google Play and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

  • Service varies with conditions and location. Requires active service plan and paid AT&T Data plan. See onstar.com for details and limitations.

  • Premier shown seats seven. Standard on L, LS. Available on LT.

  • EPA-estimated 18 MPG city/ 27 MPG highway 3.6FWD.

  • With second and third row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated 18 MPG city/ 27 MPG highway 3.6FWD.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • The system wirelessly charges one PMA- or Qi-compatible mobile device. Some devices require an adaptor or back cover. To check for phone or other device compatibility, visit my.chevrolet.com/learn for details.

  • EPA-estimated 25 MPG city/31 highway (FWD models).

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • With second and third row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • With 5.3L EcoTec 3 engine. EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Suburban 2WD 15/22, 4WD14/21.

  • Based on GM Large SUV segment. With 5.3L EcoTec 3 engine. EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Tahoe 2WD 15/22, 4WD 15/21.

  • With second and third row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Model year 2018 and newer vehicles include: 1 month of OnStar Safety & Security Plan and 1 month of Chevrolet Connected Services which include navigation services, Remote Access Plan, and 1 month or 3 gigabytes of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to user terms and limitations. Visit onstar.com for more details. Data plans offered by AT&T. Availability subject to change.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • EPA-estimated 15 MPG city/ 20 MPG highway.

  • Requires short box. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android, Android Auto, Google, Google Play and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

  • Colorado 2WD with available Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel 4-cylinder engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner's Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • 308 horsepower with available 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner's Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • 308 horsepower with standard 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Dependability based on longevity: 1987 – July 2017 full-size pickup registrations.

  • EPA-estimated 15 city/20 highway for 4x4 with 4.3L V6.

  • Requires Long Box. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Gross Combination Weight Rating. With available Vortec 6.0L V8 engine

  • Express Cargo Van with extended wheelbase. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • With available Vortec 6.0L V8 engine.

  • With available Vortec 6.0L V8 engine.

  • Equipment from independent suppliers is not covered by the GM New Vehicle Limited Warranty. GM is not responsible for the safety or quality of independent supplier alterations.

  • Requires available 6.0L V8 engine.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

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