Chevy Bolt EV joins the family

click to expand
2017 Chevy Bolt

Bolt still in shop September 22
After reassembly with the new drive
Seems the drive is not being recognized or some other communication error is stopping the car from going into drive

Still driving my Honda insight
I have owned the car for 39 days purchaced Aug14
28 days of fun
I found the drive leak brought in the car
GM wanted to swap the drive to get the old one back for inspection
11 days of frustration, and anxiety and now a new problem that they so far have not been able to resolve.

When will they just swap my car with a new one ?

*********Blog begins at the page bottom*************

Very different than a gas car

click to expand
Old drive is ready dropped and ready to be replaced
Photo shows the old complete drive on a stand
Pretty big aluminum casting and very strong steel weldment
Form the sub chassis that the drive is mounted on

Huge amount of things need to be disconnected

click to expand
Lots to disconnect
To change the drive many things needed to be disconnected
And when installed
The AC compressor will need recharging
The wheels aligned
And a reinitilizing all the computers
The tech indicated that when going through the training
the focus was on troubleshooting rather than a drive replacement
Hope it all goes well
Their hoping it can all be accomplished and the vehicle back in my hands
by the weekend??

Better look at the drive unit

Better look at the drive unit
New drive showing area that had leak
Where the drive was leaking

Drive unit

click to expand
Bolt drive
The drive unit is pretty compact

Bottom cover

click to expand
Inside view of leak area
This photo is the bottom cover from the inside.
You can see where the fluid dripped just above a row of openings
I expect that rolling up a paper towel and sticking through the central opening while moving it left and right would show the red fluid if it was dripping?

Transmission leak?

click to expand
Coolant leak
While the cover was off I noticed red fluid on the bottom of the transmission.
Looks like it came from the top under the inverter?
Made a service appointment
Fluid was transmission as verified by service tech.
Just returned home without my Bolt,
They want my drive unit and HV cables to be sent back to gm so they can better determine if this is a one off issue or a sigh of a manufacturing problem.
The parts are on the way to the dealer and they will let me see the replacement process.
Back to driving my Honda Insight and Toyota Prius

One complaint/ future modification?

click to expand
Bolt EV Pedestrian warning noise maker
The quietness of driving an EV can be a pleasant experience, but when you are used to hearing the motor noises and suddenly hear only tire noise, for me at least, I find myself unable to judge my speed and tend to go faster than I think I m going. After a few hundred miles I got used to it.
The Bolt has a small noise maker under the drivers side front wheel well.
It makes a strange pink noise that is designed to warn pedestrians that you are there and in drive.
It goes away after the car has reached ~15 mph.
It seems to me that we should at least have a choice as to what the sound is.
Maybe one would like a Harley motorcycle sound, or a bird singing, maybe a star trek like phaser. so one could have some fun selecting the sound like the ring tone on your cell phone?

Being a tinkerer by nature I got under the Bolt and located the sound maker.
I disconnected the plug from the sound maker and the sound stopped, but the dash display indicated that the pedestrian warning system needed service.
Plugged it back in and things went back to the normal pink noise.

Will have to get back under there with a scope and meter to see if the sound is produced in the sound output device, or if it is produced elsewhere and is fed to the sound maker which is simply acting as a speaker?
Next time on the lift will dig deeper.

Hypermiling the Bolt EV

Hypermiling the Bolt EV
300 miles range
As a Insight Hypermiler I have been practicing good driving techniques for the past 17 years, with the help of the Insights instant MPG feedback, MIMA, and the trip MPG were all very useful tools to maximize MPG.

With an electric car, the miles / KWH is the metric of how efficiently you are using the charge in the batteries
The Bolt has several nice features that let us know how our driving technique, climate settings,terrain, and outdoor temperature is effecting that efficiency . From that data it predicts the expected range remaining in the battery based on the last 5 miles driven.
With an Insight which had an EPA estimated 70 MPG we have seen people with an Lifetime MPG in the high 90's.
The Bolt EPA range is estimated at 238 miles on a full charge, people have reached as much as 350 miles.
Knowing that simply getting off the highway or slowing down, and turning off the AC can yield that big of a range boost could really help with range anxiety if you find your self 50 miles from the recharging station with only 40 miles remaining on the predicted range.
I have been averaging over 300 miles of range since I got the car, loving it so far

free solar charging

click to expand
juice box pro 40 evse
Have been living with a battery powered Micro grid now for three years.
The system works pretty well when the days are sunny and long and gets strained during cloudy weather when the output can be reduced by as much as 90%.
My Solar battery bank is ~ 48kwh of storage.
My solution is to switch back to the grid during those long cloudy spells in winter, and then back to the batteries when the output returns to normal.
I usually get the solar batteries fully charged during good weather by noon or slightly later.
This leaves the excess power to be simply wasted for the remainder of the day.
My Chevy Bolt has a 60KWH battery bank so I now have a place to dump the excess power.
Sounds good on paper but in reality it is not so simple.
Since the 48V solar battery bank charging needs to be highest priority , and the sun output is a variable, the best system would automatically adjust the EV charge rate to take max advantage of available solar output without exceeding it which would have to draw from the solar batteries.
My level 2 charger selection required an adjustable charge current the car would be allowed to draw.
After some research I got a Juice Box Pro 40 and installed it on the post right between my two garage bays.
The full solar charging current for the 48V solar storage bank is ~ 110Amps
The EV charger running at full output off my 9kw output outback inverter,can draw upwards of 145A from the batteries.
by adjusting the EV charging current I can allow between 1.4KW to the full output of ~7.5KW to be drawn, therefore keeping the solar bank charged while dumping most of the excess production into my car.
The EVSE has a network connection so I can set the max current on my cell phone.
while this works fine, it is a tricky thing to manage as a microwave oven turning on could exceed the solar charging ability.
Automating the load management is looking like a project that needs to be tackled.