2020 Mini Cooper SE – Electricity Plus Charm

My first COVID-19 test car

By Steve Schaefer

I’ve loved Minis since they arrived in the U.S. in late 2001 as 2002 models. Cute, fun, and cheeky, they are longtime favorites.

Now I’m an EV guy, so I don’t drive gas cars anymore. But the day is saved, because Mini has finally released an all-electric model–the Mini Cooper SE. It’s everything I’ve always wanted, except for one thing.

Please read my story on Clean Fleet Report for the details.

Induction Cooking, Day One

By Steve Schaefer

My wife says she will part with her professional-grade six-burner Viking gas cooktop over her dead body. I don’t want that, so I have decided not to fight that battle in the war for a cleaner world and home.

Why even talk about replacing it? Well, as part of the effort to reduce CO2, there’s a movement towards all-electric homes, and to stop burning natural gas in home furnaces, hot water heaters, dryers, and stoves. And the star of the kitchen for electric is induction cooking.

Unlike the flat spiral burners on the electric stove you had growing up (or still have), induction “burners” use electromagnetic energy to transfer energy directly to the pan, which makes them more efficient and flexible. You do need to use the right kind of pan or pot, though–it has to have iron in or on it–aluminum, glass, and copper won’t work.

With no hope of replacing my wife’s otherwise awesome range, for my recent birthday, I requested a single-unit electric induction burner, and yesterday I opened the box, set it up, and we cooked dinner together to test it.

The box arrived a few days ago, but I left it sitting there in our entryway to lose any contagion it might have collected on its journey–and because I was busy until the weekend.

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I opened the box and set up the unit in an open spot in my kitchen. Sadly, this area is usually where the dirty dishes go, so I’ll have to put my new toy away after using it (until, I hope, it proves its daily usefulness and gains a permanent spot in our crowded kitchen).

I read through all of the instructions for the China-built appliance, which were, to my surprise and delight, clearly written in understandable English. The slim booklet began with the lawyer-generated copy: a long list of things to avoid (immersion in water, moving it when it’s on, letting children play with it, etc.) Then came a short section on the basic use of the controls. With only a few buttons and a small display, it’s pretty foolproof.

For our first project, we chose a nice bag of cranberry beans (not cranberries). It was one of the items we grabbed quickly when shopping several weeks ago, when it looked like the stores would be picked clean. The beans looked like something that would last awhile if we needed them to. It turns out that Bob’s Red Mill is a long-established, quality operation.

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We got out my wife’s shiny new stock pot–which she told me was induction-ready–so it was the pot’s first outing, as well.

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I chose the Duxtop induction burner because it was recommended and the $162 price seemed reasonable. And it looked easy to use. The only big decision you have to make is whether to cook in power mode (by watts) or in temperature mode. Each has its use.

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We decided to cook the beans based on power level. To prepare them, we turned  on the unit and pushed the “Boil” button, which sets it up for full blast (level 10), and sets a 10-minute timer. When it buzzed, we didn’t have a boil yet, but with a reset a few minutes later we did.

Then, we added some extra goodies, including garlic, shallots, a carrot, rosemary, and a couple of bay leaves. We also dropped in a Parmesan cheese rind for flavor–it’s the vegetarian (not vegan) equivalent of a ham hock.

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With a new appliance, you need to learn how to translate the settings into what you want. The recipe said to “simmer” the beans, so I tried the Simmer settings, from .05 to 2.0 (there are 20 settings–1 to 10, divided in half). I moved it up to 2.5, the lowest “Low” setting, and although there were a few tiny bubbles (we didn’t want boiling), it seemed pretty still. The only sound was the fan in back of the unit keeping it cool.

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The kitchen started smelling very good! I thought that the simmering needed a boost, so I tried moving it up to 3.0 and 3.5 with little apparent change. But, after quickly checking a YouTube video on the difference between simmering and boiling (it’s significant), I tried a thermometer, and darned if that 2.5 setting didn’t have my beans at the right simmering temperature, around 175 degrees (boiling is 212). I think that maybe cooking looks a little different when you’re using induction, but time will tell.

My wife thought that having a dial with unlimited levels/degrees would be better, since the levels are stepped and the temperature range is in 20’s — 120, 140, 160, etc. We’ll see how that shakes out over time.

Once the beans were done, we added a little turkey sausage and some fresh French bread in bowls and sat down to enjoy our handiwork.

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I look forward to doing more with my new cooktop. It was easy to use and certainly to clean–just wipe off the surface. It does remain a bit hot after cooking, but not for very long, and anything near it wasn’t affected at all. That’s because induction heats just the pot–not the air around it–so it’s less intrusive. I was able to carefully touch the top after just a few minutes.

We used the cooktop during the afternoon, when the sun was up, so I figure we cooked with the sunshine that was hitting my solar panels today. It’s a good feeling.

A Gift of Clean Air: Let’s Move to EVs in the Post-COVID-19 World

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The Himalayas are visible in India for the first time in 30 years.

I have spent the last seven weeks working from home—sheltering in place to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19.

As I’ve stayed home, the world has suffered greatly, and people have gotten sick and died. That’s very upsetting. But one thing has improved substantially–air quality. From a sparklingly clear Los Angeles to India, where the Himalayas are visible for the first time in 30 years (see above), it’s been an exciting peek at what we can do if we set our minds to it. We need to get through this crisis now, but for the future, we must reduce our CO2 levels significantly–by 50 percent in the next 10 years and be carbon neutral by 2050. EVs and sustainably-generated power are a big part of that solution.

With that in mind, I have decided, after 28 years of automotive testing and writing, that I will now test and review only pure, all-electric vehicles. It completes the move away from testing gasoline-only cars that I made after my Climate Reality Leadership Training in August of 2018.

On April 20th, I published my last two reviews of cars with gasoline engines in them, in Clean Fleet Report. Please go there for the details on the Lexus RX 450hL hybrid crossover and the Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid sedan. Both nice–neither full electric.

As I mentioned in that story, I believe that in the post-COVID-19 world, we will need to continue to find alternatives to driving and cleaner ways to move around. Public transit will likely take a while to feel safe again, especially before a COVID-19 vaccine is found and administered. More people may discover they like working at home, and their companies may find it’s a good arrangement for them, too. Carsharing and ridesharing services will rebound when they seem safe, too. In cities, we need more bicycle-friendly roads and infrastructure. And as automakers bring out more pure EVs and the charging infrastructure is built out, we must move away from hybrids and PHEVs entirely–maybe even from cars themselves.

Although I will be testing, reviewing, and writing about only all-electric cars, there are still many hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles that are better for the environment than gasoline-only vehicles. If an EV won’t work for you (and they don’t yet, for everyone), please consider them over a gas-only vehicle. But if you can drive an EV–do it!

Let’s keep those skies blue.

In 2020, Every Day Is Earth Day

By Steve Schaefer

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Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. I’ve been hearing about it for months, and, like most people, was preparing to go out and celebrate. With our current COVID-19-induced state of social distancing and staying at home, much of the festivity has moved online, but still, I’m not that excited.

You’d expect that as a trained Climate Reality Leader who spent three inspiring days in Los Angeles with Al Gore in August of 2018, I’d be thrilled at this milestone. But it’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that in 2020, every day has to be Earth Day. And what’s really a shame is that if we had taken what we learned on April 22, 1970 and done more together to fix the problem in the 20th century, we wouldn’t be in the dilemma we are in today.

I was around for the first Earth Day. As a high school senior, I was a little aware of issues like smog in LA and rivers in Ohio that were catching fire. My teachers made sure I read Silent Spring, or at least knew who Rachel Carson was and what she was talking about.

The sixties were a decade of protest, starting with civil rights marches in the south and later in the decade, many young people protested the Vietnam war with huge marches and peaceful demonstrations.

What many people may not know today is that Earth Day was conceived as a giant “teach-in,” where on college campuses across the country, students and other interested people would learn about what was then called “ecology”—the beginning of the climate action movement. We were worried about air and water pollution, and the effects of DDT. We read about the overpopulation problem. We read about powerful oil and coal companies ruining the natural environment. We were worried about the loss of species.

I heard about Earth Day at school, and I recall someone handing out black armbands to wear. I also remember my shame when the mean tough kid made me take mine off in my conservative Scottsdale, Arizona high school. I moved back to California a month later.

What came from this “Woodstock” of climate events was a need and desire in many people—including me — to start caring for the Earth. Earth Day focused attention on our environmental predicament. Many of the climate organizations we know today come out of that time.

Last year, I read The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-In Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation, by Adam Rome (on my Kindle app, of course). Read it and you’ll learn a lot about how this unprecedented event, starting with a great idea from Wisconsin Senator and environmentalist Gaylord Nelson, expanded without a central blueprint to flower in many different ways in thousands of locations.

Commemorating the start of something is worthwhile, I guess. We celebrate the birth of the United States on the Fourth of July—Independence Day. We celebrate our birthdays and our wedding anniversaries. We commemorate sad things, too, like the death of a hero or events like September 11, 2001 or Pearl Harbor.

But in the case of Earth Day, we have to think, “Has it been 50 years already?” We are so behind now that we can’t just commemorate a holiday, buy a cool t-shirt, and move on. We have to be working on climate action every single day—we don’t have time to waste. If we truly take action, then maybe on the 60th Anniversary of Earth Day, if we’ve dropped our CO2 emissions by 50%, updated our electrical grid and EV charging network, taken natural gas out of many of our homes and buildings (especially all new ones), and done lots of other things to clean up our act, then we can raise a glass and toast the event. And then the next day, get back to work!

Happy Earth Day.

Experiencing the All-New Gig Car Share Fleet

75 New Toyota Priuses Debut

By Steve Schaefer

Gig Car Share is adding 75 brand new Priuses to its Bay Area fleet, and I got to help out. On March 3rd, I drove a spanking new car from Concord into downtown Berkeley. 

I drove my Fiat 500e EV to Buchanan Field, Concord’s local airport. In a large blue hangar, I found a cluster of cars, waiting to be dispatched.

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I used my Gig app to select the car that Rebecca and Mike assigned to me.

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Dressed in Gig’s black livery with the handy blue rack and side signage, the midsize Priusis a real step up from the subcompact Prius C the fleet has used so far. But Toyota doesn’t sell the C anymore, so it was the best choice. 

This Prius, with 0 miles on the odometer, was sparkling clean inside, and I was very comfortable as I piloted the car along the street and onto the freeway. The screen shows you how efficiently you’re driving and whether the car is using electricity from the battery, gas, or both. There’s a prominent sticker on the passenger side of the dash that encourages drivers to keep the car clean. The FM radio sounded clear and strong, and I noticed an occasional beep that kept me in the lane, which will aid in preventing accidents. 

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I decided to cruise through downtown Berkeley and find a parking spot near the BART station. This will not only make it easy for me to retrace my steps but also put the car in a high demand location. I circled the block and found a nice spot on Oxford Street, right across from the UC Berkeley campus. 

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As I turned off the car, I saw that the first trip for this car was fuel efficient:

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I stepped out and popped open the app. Then I locked the car and completed the rental.

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The app and the car worked flawlessly, and I found out later that the car was rented by someone just 11 minutes after I parked it. I walked to BART, took a Lyft from the station to my car, and drove home.

Bite Toothpaste Bits — No More Plastic Tube!

By Steve Schaefer

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Since I was a child, I’ve brushed my teeth dutifully with Crest, UltraBrite, Colgate, or some other commercial toothpaste in a tube. When the tube was empty, we just threw it out–and still did, until I heard about Bite toothpaste bits.

For the last few months, twice a day, morning and night, instead of squeezing a plastic tube, I’ve reached into a reusable glass jar and pulled out a little minty pellet. After a few gentle chews, it becomes foamy toothpaste. After my normal dental hygiene ritual, it leaves a fresh feeling with no chemical aftertaste.

The point of this exercise is to eliminate the plastic tube. We are creating a vast sea of plastic with all the packaging we use now, and this is one small way of making a difference. The old-school glass jar comes with your first order, and you simply refill it when it gets nearly empty.

The new bits come in what looks like a little plastic bag, but it’s made from vegetable cellulose, which can go right into your little green bin or back yard for composting.

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The packaging for the bag is a reusable, recyclable little box. Bite sends only by slow delivery, so the little package is part of your normal mail delivery, and doesn’t require a separate gas or diesel delivery truck. They have thought this through.

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The mouthfeel is a little less foamy than normal toothpaste, but you get used to it. I was initially concerned that it might not clean as well, but it seems to do just as effective a job as the regular brands.

If you look at cost, the little things are a little more expensive than Colgate, but it’s one of the sacrifices we make to clean up the planet, like driving electric cars before they are as convenient or cheap as gas ones. I expect costs will come down with volume, but for now, my mouth is happy and I’m glad to be part of this plastic-reducing effort.

For more information, visit their website.

used toothpaste tube

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – High Fuel Economy Choice

By Steve Schaefer

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The Ioniq liftback is offered in three versions—all electrified, but to varying degrees. It’s either all-electric, a plug-in hybrid, or a hybrid.

I recently spent a week with the hybrid version. For 2020, in a midcycle freshening, all Ioniq models receive new mesh grilles (or in the case of the EV, a new pattern on the closed panel). It looks a bit more upscale and refined. As the hybrid and plug-in versions are direct competitors with the Toyota Prius, this only makes a stronger case for choosing the Hyundai if you’re cool to the Prius’ extreme styling.

Pure EVs are great when you have easy access to charging, but when you don’t, I recommend driving a hybrid.

Read my full story on the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid at Clean Fleet Report.

 

Scoot Rolls Out Bird Two – the Latest-Generation e-Scooter – in San Francisco

By Steve Schaefer

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If you’ve been in the city lately, you’ve probably noticed people zipping around on electric scooters (e-scooters). They’re great for quick trips, being faster than walking and requiring no parking space. But, there are issues with scooters, including battery range, rider safety, damage, theft, and longevity. Bird’s latest model, the Bird Two, aims to address these, both for riders and for making running an e-scooter fleet more profitable.

On January 30th, Scoot, owned by Bird, debuted the Bird Two in San Francisco. Scoot plans to transition all of its existing scooters to the new, improved model. San Francisco will be the first city to have 1,000 of these scooters on the street.

“With each new generation of electric vehicle we bring to San Francisco, fewer San Franciscans have a need to get in a car. Bird Two continues this trend with industry-leading performance, range, and safety features, allowing our riders to replace even more of their car trips with micromobility,” said Michael Keating, Founder of Scoot, and Senior Vice President for Cities at Bird.

Battery Upgrade

Bird’s new battery management system can handle extreme weather, so the battery holds a charge for greater range and lasts longer. Although San Francisco’s temperatures are moderate most of the time, it still provides an advantage, and keeps the scooters in service more of the time because they spend less time charging. With the new e-scooter’s greater range, riders can feel more confident about riding to farther destinations. And the new model’s sensors and self-diagnosis system send alerts to the fleet operator of dangerous humidity changes in the battery encasement.

Safety

The Bird Two’s sleek design has fewer exposed screws, so there’s less chance of an injury while handling the scooter. New puncture-resistant tires mean safer travel and less maintenance time in the shop for the scooters. Of course, be sure to wear your helmet while you’re riding!

Scooter Longevity and Reliability

We’ve heard stories of how scooters suffer from vandalism and theft. The Bird Two has self-reporting damage sensors, as found in new cars, so Scoot mechanics can fix scooters fast and get them back out on the street. An industrial-grade anti-tipping kickstand helps keep the Bird Two upright when it’s parked, reducing damage from being dropped on the pavement. And with anti-theft encryption, riders are protected from malicious software hacks.

The Bottom Line

The e-scooters have come a long way, and with these upgrades, the Bird Two is safer and more pleasant to use. And with its durability and higher quality, it can stay in the fleet long enough to keep the business case viable while taking cars off the road. And that’s the real point, isn’t it?

For more information, visit the Bird Two website.

Ford Explorer Hybrid–a Little Bit Greener

By Steve Schaefer

All-New Ford Explorer Hybrid

The legendary Ford Explorer is a vehicle that can be either celebrated or blamed for the rise of the SUV, depending on your point of view. The first generation appeared in 1990 as a 1991 model, popularizing the tall, truck-platform-based family hauler that is now ubiquitous on American roads. Although today’s “crossover” versions of the sport utility vehicle, including the Explorer, are based on unibody car platforms, they still sit tall, haul a lot of people and stuff, and sell in large numbers.

If you want to have all of the sport and utility of an SUV and still give a nod to its environmental impact, you can opt for the new, sixth-generation Ford Explorer in its Hybrid form. As part of the widest range of offerings in the model’s three-decade history, the Hybrid combines an electric motor with a traditional 3.3-liter V6, which increases fuel economy and provides the greatest range of any Explorer you can buy.

To read the whole story, please go to Clean Fleet Report.

 

Farewell to My Chevrolet Bolt EV

By Steve Schaefer

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Today, I said goodbye to my Chevrolet Bolt EV, affectionately named, in the style of Pee Wee Herman, “Bolty.” My Kinetic Blue 2017 all-electric hatchback served me well for three years and 26,490 miles, but a lease is a lease and I had to return it by January 8th.

Origins

I’ve driven and tested cars for nearly 28 years, mostly with weekly test vehicles. As I learned about and drove electric cars, I became very interested in them. I sampled a Nissan LEAF when it arrived in 2011 and a few other EVs, but the real turning point was when I convinced the generous folks at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to lend me a baby blue Fiat 500e for three months in early 2016. My happy time with that little car, whom I named Fidelio, convinced me that I wanted an EV of my own.

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Fidelio I.

I began to focus on only electrified vehicles in my auto review column and blogs. I started www.stevegoesgreen.com to write about my adventures with Fidelio, and it’s since expanded to cover other climate-related topics.

The Bolt EV was a revelation—with its 238 miles of range it would be able to handle almost anything, including the 165-mile round trip to visit my granddaughters. I ordered my car in October of 2016 without ever driving or even seeing a real car. I was hoping I’d like it.

I impatiently waited for delivery, and finally, the very first week of 2017, I got the phone call that my Bolt was on the truck and being delivered. In a day or two, I was down at Boardwalk Chevrolet in Redwood City, CA to pick it up.

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Exactly What I Needed

I took to my new car immediately, and it proved to be exactly what I needed and wanted. It may look compact, because it has almost no front or rear overhangs, but the Bolt is spacious for 4 or 5 passengers and the hatchback folds down easily to carry lots of gear, including an upright bass or two electric basses, amps, and the works. The high roof means abundant headroom, even for tall folks (I’m only 5-8).

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One of the wonders of EVs is how quickly they accelerate, and the Bolt, while not Tesla fast, is as quick as a Volkswagen Golf GTI – about 6.3 seconds zero-to-sixty. The weight of the 960-pound battery means a low center of gravity, for taut responses and level handling.

And it does it all virtually silently. If you turn off the audio system, you’ll hear a very low hum from the motor, and wind and tire noise are muted. And, since there’s nothing reciprocating, like pistons in a gas engine, there’s no vibration. You get used to it, and gas cars then feel rough.

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Visiting my old house where I lived as a teenager.

Electric cars don’t need transmissions, since maximum torque is delivered from the first moment the motor spins, but the Bolt has an “L” (Low) setting on the one-speed transmission’s lever. If you use D (Drive) it feels like a normal automatic transmission, but in L, when you lift off the accelerator pedal (not the “gas”) the car slows down quickly—even to a complete stop. When you get used to this “one-pedal driving,” it feels natural, and you can barely tap the brakes as you slide into a red light and stop on a dime. It feels like downshifting a manual transmission. The regenerative braking helps charge up the battery, too.

I ordered the light interior—white and light gray–which felt airy, but by the end of three years, the white leather on the driver’s seat was looking grayer. But other than that, and one little hook for the rear cargo cover that occasionally popped out, everything in the interior was solid and worked as it should.

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Of course, the best thing of all is that my Bolty didn’t use one drop of gasoline for three years! At first, I plugged it in at work, but last April I finally installed a Level 2 (240-volt) charger in my garage when my solar panels went up (on Earth Day). So, for more than half of 2019, Bolty ran on sunshine.

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Solar array went up on Earth Day 2019.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The Bolt embodies all the strengths and weaknesses of EVs. The obvious strengths are the low environmental impact, quick acceleration, and quiet operation. There’s essentially no service, either, except tire rotations—no oil changes, no radiator flush. There are a lot fewer moving parts to have problems. And when you use regenerative braking, the brake pads last practically forever.

So, what about weaknesses? The most significant is the range issue. Although today’s EVs easily top 200 miles between charges, and some can go more than 300 miles, it still takes time to charge, and you may not be able to find a public charger when you need it. Even fast chargers take longer than a stop at the gas station. It may not matter in most situations, but on a long trip it requires some careful planning and willingness to be flexible. I avoided it, because the couple of times when I knew it would be an issue, I took a gas-burning vehicle. Yes, I feel a little guilty, but that’s a good way to drive an EV 51 weeks a year.

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Charging at work.

I expect the charging problem to be solved as charging stations proliferate and fast charging gets really quick.  And actually, most charging can and should be done slowly at home or at work while the car sits parked. I know this won’t work for everyone, which is why I test and recommend hybrids and plug-in hybrids for those situations. Someday, the subscription model may become popular, where you no longer own a car, but simply reserve the kind you want as you need it, from a fleet. Then, you could select a long-distance vehicle for a trip and use a less expensive, smaller low-range vehicle when you stayed local.

Another issue with EVs is that initial costs of purchase or lease are higher, mainly because batteries are still expensive, even though prices have come down. My upper-level Bolt Premier with options had a sticker price of nearly $44,000. With $5,500 in rebates and financing assistance, I put down $10K and paid $332/month for three years. This price disparity will go down over time, but it can be intimidating. However, if you look at the total cost of ownership over several years, EVs come out ahead, with much cheaper fuel (electrons) and virtually no service required.

A third concern is choice. The Bolt has company now, as more and more EVs and plug-in hybrids are appearing in showrooms. But there still is no all-electric pickup truck, for example (but there will be soon). In the next few years, manufacturers will fill in their lineup with many more EV and hybrid models, from hatchbacks to sedans to SUVs.

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Enough range to travel–we drove to Bodega Bay and back.

Only One Significant Issue

The only notable problem with my Bolt happened last year, when, after what the dealer told me was a routine software update, my car’s battery suddenly charged only to about 100 miles and not the 200+ it should. I tried running it way down and charging, but it wouldn’t move past 100. That made my car like one of the older EVs, such as a LEAF, Kia Soul EV or VW e-Golf. I complained to my dealer, but they were unresponsive. I tried another Chevy dealer closer to my house and they checked with GM headquarters and got the OK to do a battery swap for me, at no charge. It restored my range and happiness.

Sharing the EV Love and Information

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National Drive Electric Week at Marketo.

As an EV driver and auto writer, I valued the Bolt for giving me a way to experience the EV life firsthand, so I could share my car and my knowledge in my columns and blogs. I could participate in events, such as National Drive Electric Week (each September) and Earth Day events in April. I hosted National Drive Electric Week events for two years at my workplace, where EV driving employees parked their cars in rows in the parking lot and talked with other employees. I am an EV Ambassador for Acterra, a Palo Alto-based environmental organization. And I now work at Ridecell, where we develop and sell software for carsharing and ridesharing fleets, including the 260-Bolt Gig Car Share fleet in Sacramento.

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You can rent a Bolt by the minute or the hour in Sacramento.

As an EV person, I began phasing out gasoline-only test cars in 2018, and in 2019, I tested only one—the short-term Chevy Cruze rental I had when my Bolt got its battery swapped.

What Next?

I considered buying Bolty at the end of the lease, but even though the bring back value was barely more than half the initial price, it would still cost more per month to finance than my lease. I looked at other EVs, including the worthy Hyundai Kona Electric (258-miles of range), but I was hoping to lower my monthly costs.

I researched used EVs, and It turns out there are some screaming deals. Second-hand early Nissan LEAFs can run as little as $6,000. I ended up buying a little Fiat 500e, just like Fidelio, my 2016 test car. I got it at Rose Motorcars, in Castro Valley, CA. They specialize in the secondhand EV market, and I like the way they do business.

My new Fiat is the same color as the first one, too, so I’ve named it Fidelio II. A 2017 with 23,000 miles on it, it feels like new, and cost just $10,000 (under $200 a month). It’s smaller, and most significantly, has a third of the Bolt’s electric range, but I plan to use it for my local errands. There will likely be another EV in my future, but for now, Fidelio II should work fine.

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Fidelio II is taking over for Bolty.

What I’ll Miss

I’ll miss some of Bolty’s features. Fidelio II doesn’t have the high regenerative braking (L) transmission setting, so no one-pedal driving. My Bolt’s inside rearview mirror was a video camera—much better than a regular mirror.

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And, the backup system, with multiple cameras, provided a birds-eye view of my car in the big 10.2-inch center screen—so parking squarely in a spot and avoiding curbs was a snap.

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My Bolt had the upgraded Bose stereo, for premium sound, with Apple CarPlay, so I could hook up my phone and play my music. It also used the phone for navigation, which meant I could set up a destination before I got in the car and it was projected onto the dash screen. I’ll miss the ability to send verbal texts (through Siri) as I drive.

For safety, I had blind spot monitoring, a very worthwhile feature, and cross traffic alert told me if there were cars on the road behind me when I was backing out of my driveway.

Last Thoughts

I like the styling of the Bolt—inside and out—but I’m an old hatchback guy. I had a 1986 Honda Civic Si back in the day. Apparently the gently sweeping interior was designed by a woman—unusual in the industry. The use of white accents gives it a certain sparkle.

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I loved the rich blue exterior paint—and enjoyed seeing my car across the parking lot. I took photos of it in various scenic locations, just for fun.

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The Bolt is a product of GM Korea, the former Daewoo, but it’s built in Michigan. That’s the way the auto industry works these days. The LG battery is Korean, as well. In any case, quality is high.

My personal goal, as a Climate Reality Leader and car enthusiast, is to spread the word on the joys and benefits of electric motoring. We need clean cars and clean energy! I will continue testing and reviewing every new EV I can get, but I’m going to miss my Bolty.

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Turning in Bolty after a great three-year run.