One Year Mighty Bolt Report

September 29th, 2020 was the one year anniversary of driving the Earthshine Nature Programs (ENP) Chevrolet Bolt EV – The “Mighty Bolt” as we lovingly call her – as our dedicated environmental outreach education and wildlife rescue vehicle. 

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Mighty Bolt meets young Eastern ratsnake.

3/31/21 Update: We continue to love our little Bolt EV and everything I noted in my earlier Bolt Report still holds true today. In the following video I go over all the things I like about the Bolt, a few of its odd points, and some of the modifications I have made to the vehicle to better fit our needs.

The Chevy Bolt Battery Recall: In the fall of 2020, 2017-2019 Bolt owners were notified by GM that their cars were under a recall. The issue was with the traction battery and apparently, a small number of Bolts had caught fire shortly after their batteries had been charged to 100%, driven a short distance, then parked. Chevy stated that in order to reduce the risk of battery failure/fire Bolt owners should only charge to 90% and/or take their cars to the dealership service department and have the battery limited to a 90% charge with a software patch. I did not opt for the software upgrade…or downgrade as it should have been called… since it intentionally limited the vehicles driving range. I just set my Bolt’s built-in “Hilltop Reserve” charge limiter to 90% and drove on. This situation was obviously concerning to me so for several months I rarely charged over 90% – just to be safe. Then, in March of 2021, I noticed via the MyChevrolet App that the recall had been rescinded for my specific vehicle’s VIN number. I called Chevrolet’s EV Concierge, they asked for my VIN number, and confirmed that yes, my Bolt was not one of the cars impacted by the recall issue. This was great news for sure. At least something went back to some kind of “normal” for 2021.

Since my previous blog post and the earlier video, I have also added a unique modification to the Mighty Bolt.

A 2″ receiver hitch.

Yes, that’s right – we are now able to pull small trailers with our Bolt.

We installed the hitch so we could tow our Sylvan Sport GO camper and it has worked perfectly. Fully loaded the camper weighs 1300 lbs. and the tongue weight on the back of the Bolt is only around 120lbs. – the little car can hardly tell the camper is back there. So far we have towed the GO all over western NC and even over the Smoky mountains into Tennessee – twice – without any issues at all.

While most of the trips are local – to and from work and visiting family in nearby towns – and a little bit longer with the GO – most are less than 200 miles before we return home and charge up over night. We have also taken our Bolt – sans GO – on a few long distance highway runs and it has performed admirably. On several occasions We have traveled to Chattanooga, TN, Murphy, NC, and Savannah, GA without any issue. This was possible due to the continuing build-out of the nation’s fast charging EVSE infrastructure as well a bit of route planning on our part.

Our camping set-up fully deployed with the Mighty Bolt EV charging from the campground RV plug

We truly love the Mighty Bolt EV!

Keep reading for some mighty cool “Mighty Bolt” fuel/charging stats from the first year of driving the ENP Mighty Bolt EV: Total miles driven: 14,356     That’s an average of: 1,196.33 miles per month.  299.08 miles per week.  42.72 miles per day.

Electric fuel used: 4,330.17 kWh   Avg. miles/kWh: 3.2    Avg. kWh/100 miles: 31    Avg. MPG Electric: 110.3

Estimated Gallons of Hydrocarbon Fuel Saved: 613   Estimated CO2 Avoided: 12,153 lbs.

Fuel costs: For the 14,356 total miles traveled: $176.71 – or, $14.71 per month.    $3.68 per week. $.52 per day.

So that breaks down to an average of $0.012 cents per mile for the Mighty Bolt’s electron fuel.

$0.01 cents per mile! I will let that sink in for a moment. 

The math: 176.71(fuel cost)/14,356(miles driven) = .0123 (cost/mile)

Photo: Mighty Bolt meets Box turtle.

I have calculated that if ENP were still using a gasoline powered vehicle for our work, its fuel costs would have been around .13 cents per mile which would add up to around $1,800 for one year of use – and that is not including repairs, ”tune ups,” and maintenance costs!  The ENP outreach EV is over 75% solar charged so its operational costs are lower than if it were to be charged only on grid power.  Even if we had charged the Mighty Bolt EV on grid power alone it would have only increased our operational costs to: $433.017 – wow!  Still a much better deal than anything powered by fossil fuels. The math: 4,330.17(kWh used to fuel EV) x .10(energy cost/kWh) = 433.017 

Driving electric over the last year has given ENP an operational cost savings of over $1,600! No matter who you are, where you are from, or how much money you have to burn – you must logically agree the choice is mighty clear: the Mighty Bolt EV is the best choice for ENP in getting from point A to point B!

A very revealing energy use chart for year one with the Mighty Bolt EV.

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The Bolt truly is mighty. It is over 75% solar charged and therefore costs ENP only .01 cents/mile to drive, it has a very small environmental footprint, and it serves as a wonderful energy education teaching tool inspiring the next generation to think above and beyond the status quo.

The Mighty Bolt’s fuel station – the ENP classroom and office/Trails Science solar array!

SO COOL!

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The ENP EV Motto: Drive electric to preserve nature, wildlife, and wild places. Drive electric for the health of you and your family.  Drive electric for freedom from dependence on expensive, polluting fossil fuels.  Drive electric for energy independence.  Drive electric for a better future for all.

Learn more about driving electric at: www.blueridgeevclub.com

This EV is owned by ENP and is used primarily as the ENP company outreach vehicle.  It is charged and fueled mostly with cleanly generated electricity provided by the ENP/Trails student-built classroom solar array.  It also serves as an outstanding teaching tool for our Trails students, ENP outreach program participants, and everyone we meet.

SPECIAL THANKS to everyone who helped make the Mighty Bolt EV possible for ENP.


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