By Shalon Bell | The Atlanta Voice


There’s a lot more to anticipate this fall other than the leaves changing colors and the endless amount of pumpkin spice you can find almost anywhere.

Chevrolet has finally made road trips in an all-electric car something to look forward to this season!

If you’ve never been a fan of electric cars before, the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV might just change your mind once you realize it offers a lot more road trip potential than most electric cars we’ve seen in the last few years.

Last December, General Motors launched the 2017 Bolt EV and is the first mass-priced electric car to go on sale with a rated range of more than 200 miles, 238 miles combined on a single battery charge, according to the EPA.

Safe to say that’s huge progress for electric vehicles.

During a recent invitational trip sponsored by Chevrolet, I had the pleasure of taking a road trip to the River City in the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV. The route from Atlanta to Chattanooga, TN spanned about 190 miles, so there was really no need to stop and charge the vehicle along the way.

Pretty cool, right?

During the first part of the route along picturesque highway I-24W, I got to test out one the car’s most impressive feature that allowed me to come to a complete stop without ever pressing on the breaks.

The One Pedal Driving feature allows drivers to place the Bolt in “low” mode at any speed and come to a stop simply by lifting your feet off the accelerator; it also helps transfer energy back to the vehicle battery.

I decided to connect to the vehicles WiFi and Apple CarPlay which also causes the vehicle’s battery to weaken along the way. The air conditioning and a highway speed of about 65-70 mph also caused the battery to drain.

After about two and a half hours, and about 40 miles left on my vehicle’s battery, I finally made it to the beautiful city of Chattanooga.

Was it too much that I pulled up in my Bolt EV listening to “Chattanooga Choo Choo?”

Seemed appropriate at the time.

I parked the Bolt at my hotel where I was able to determine if there were charging stations available around me using either the PlugShare or ChargePoint app on my Smartphone.

The city contained multiple charging stations, which range from a level 1 charging station to a level 3 fast-charging station.

The fast-charging station delivers 90 miles of charge to the Bolt EV in the first half-hour and 50 miles in each additional half-hour.

There is also a 240-volt Level 2 charge available that takes about 9 hours to fill a totally discharged Bolt EV battery pack. 

ChargePoint, EVgo and Greenlots cards are membership cards used for charging the Bolt EV once you purchase the vehicle.

Once I got settled in, I decided to leave my car to charge while I did some sightseeing on the Chattanooga pedestrian bridge and Riverfront.

After a quick bite to eat at Champy’s Fried Chicken, I walked over to the Chattanooga Aquarium to enjoy a journey from the mountains to the sea. This River City gem is home to about 10,000 animals and is a must see when visiting the scenic city.

After about two hours in the aquarium, I worked up another appetite and headed over to Bluegrass Grill. This upbeat restaurant provides the perfect view to the nightlife on the Riverfront. Aside from the food being amazing, the view of tourists and natives strolling by and the ferryboat humming on the water, Chattanooga’s urban spring surrounding gave me a newfound appreciation for the city.

The next day I decided to walk stop at the Chattanooga Zoo where I  was able to find another Level 2 charging station to give my Bolt a little more energy.

The 13-acre zoological park houses several wildlife animals and takes about an hour to get through most of the adventure. There’s a camel ride for kids and lots of wildlife tours and informative classes about the animals they house available for guests.

After leaving the zoo, I didn’t see much of an additional charge to the vehicle battery so I grabbed dinner and headed back to the hotel to get a decent charge to make it back to Atlanta.

Before returning the car, I found a fast-charging Level 3 station at the Epi-Center in Austell, GA which provided me with about 100 miles in 35-40 minutes.

The 2017 Bolt EV seems poised and efficient enough for a daily commute or a quick road trip to the River City thanks to its excellent driving range. This electric car is simply perfect for any lifestyle.

 

 

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