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Trip to Victoria - getting to know the Bolt

With the new car smell still there, we decided to take a "pre- across – Canada"road trip to Victoria. For non- BC residents or folks not familiar with BC’s geography, this means two ferry rides and as well as driving to from our home in Gibsons to Victoria.

The purpose of the trip was to test out some of the features of our new Chevy Bolt as we familiarize ourselves with travelling in a Bolt.

The Bolt handled very well in the rain. The wipers and the Auto defog and Rear window defogger systems help keep the windows clear when it is pelting down. The car was very comfortable place to spend the time while waiting hours for ferries and travelling on the two ferries.

Due to line-ups and ferry cancellations at Horseshoe Bay we chose to drive to Tsawwssen to catch the ferry over to Vancouver Island. This route includes both highway driving and driving congested urban streets. Buddy used the one pedal driving feature throughout the trip. The “avoidance” system that alerts the driver when cars are approaching on blind side or car is getting close to objects of cars in front is a nice feature when driving through narrow streets in Vancouver with harried drivers, cyclists and pedestrians jockeying for position.

We spent the time sitting in the car reading over the Bolt manual and learning more of the features that the car offers. Many of the car’s features are not just about being a smart car but encouraging smart driving habits. The Driver Efficiency Gauge is a guide with a display showing a ball that changes colour and position as you accelerate or brake. If you are driving efficiently the ball will be a green colour in the center of the gauge but aggressive acceleration, driving too fast or abrupt braking will change the colour of the ball and move the ball away for the coveted center position. Driving the Bolt efficiently or “smart” uses less energy.

We had plenty of battery range to do our trip to Victoria visiting and the return trip home without needing to charge, but part of our trip was about checking out the charging options when there was no panic. In Colwood, before attending the Victoria Electric Vehicle Club meeting, we stopped to top up at the level 3 DC charger located at the Colwood Exchange Park & Ride, the 45 minutes we were plugged in while we ate breakfast at a nearby restaurant charged us back up with our My Chevrolet app alerting us to the charging status. Later to test the Level 2 public charging located at Ogden Point Terminal and Breakwater we briefly plugged in. Again the purpose was to test the various charging apps and to acquaint ourselves with using different chargers. We recommend downloading all the charging stations apps and practicing how to use them before you really need them. By the way we saw other electric vehicles plugged in at charging stations beside us at our stops. We also plugged into Buddy’s mother’s carport wall plug with the 120 – volt portable charger that comes with the Bolt.

The round trip visit was about 290km, we could have made the trip without stopping to charge. The first trip was very positive and very pleasurable. We have several more road trips planned before launching our cross Canada tour and we will continue to get to know our Bolt.

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