Chevrolet Bolt EUV Electrify America charging station review highlights:
- I recently charged an EV, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, for the first time at a public charging station
- Locating the Electrify America station, using its app, and fitting the charging session into my schedule wasn’t difficult, but the station had some issues with its credit card and NFC payment readers
- Although public charging can have some initial difficulties, it’s not something you should or need to avoid with the Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Unlike internal-combustion cars, EVs can ‘refuel’ conveniently—and far cheaply—at home. But if you’re far from home or, like me, don’t have a home charging station, you’ll need to charge publicly. And if also like me, you’re new to EVs, that might be an annoying prospect, given the current messy U.S. charging situation. But while I had some headaches charging my 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV tester at a Chicagoland Electrify America station, it was far from being a nightmare.
Pro: The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV can use any CCS-compatible public charging station
Unlike Tesla, Chevrolet doesn’t have any proprietary charging stations. Instead, like every other automaker, it relies on other companies’ charging networks. But that’s also a boon because it means the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV doesn’t feature a brand-specific charging plug.
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV, like virtually every other new non-Tesla EV, has a Combined Charging System (CCS) plug. As long as the charging station you want to use has a CCS connector, the Bolt EUV can use it. That includes Level 2 and Level 3 (DC fast-charging) stations. To use the latter, just pull down the orange dust cover seen in the photos above.
Pro: The Chevrolet Bolt EUV makes finding public charging stations easy
RELATED: How EV Charging Works
Although the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV can plug into any CCS charging station, you must find one first. Fortunately, like many other EVs, that’s easy to do in the Bolt EUV. All 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUVs come standard with 10.2” center touchscreens equipped with GPS navigation. And in addition to general points of interest, the map can show you nearby public charging stations.
The displayed locations aren’t always exact-location accurate. For example, my Bolt EUV tester showed the Electrify America stations as being in the center of a nearby mall, when they’re really on the eastern side. However, the Bolt EUV’s map did show the precise number and brand of those chargers. And it’s likely the displayed positions were based on the mall’s address.
Con: Juggling multiple charging station apps and the Chevrolet Bolt EUV’s own app
There is a downside to the ability to charge your Chevrolet Bolt EUV at so many stations, though: app overload. As I’ll explain shortly, to make the most of your public charging experience, downloading the specific station’s app is critical. And that means registering and keeping tabs on every one of them.
In addition, like other Chevrolets, the 2022 Bolt EUV can link with the myChevrolet app. This is great for tracking your EV, monitoring its charging status, and accessing other kinds of information. However, that’s still one more app to track.
Admittedly, if you know which stations you’ll be using, as I did, you can download them and register your info ahead of time. But if you’re, say, on a road trip and you don’t have service, charging becomes a bit more complicated. Especially if, like me, you experience some charger issues—but I’ll get to that shortly.
Pro: Once you’re registered, the Electrify America app is simple to use
As I noted earlier, I charged the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV tester at an Electrify America public charging station. It’s just one of several charging companies, including ChargePoint and Volta, that serves the Chicagoland area. But I chose to charge at its station for three reasons.
One, it has one of the largest charging networks in the U.S. Two, it’s partnered with multiple automakers to provide free charging, though Chevrolet isn’t one of them. And three, the mall-located Electrify America station I went to was the most convenient one with more than two chargers.
After you download and register through the Electrify America app, you have access to multiple useful tools. Besides locating the nearest charging station, the app also lets your smartphone act as a payment method. Just enter your credit card info, turn on your phone’s NFC functionality, and tap it on the charger to pay. And once the charging session starts, the app tracks energy flow and battery charge. It also sends notifications once your car’s almost done charging, which is very helpful if the station has idle fees.
Or rather, ‘if’ the session starts.
Con: Credit card and NFC reader failure
Technically, I didn’t have to download the Electrify America app to use one of its chargers. However, I did it for several reasons. Firstly, not all public chargers accept credit cards, though this Electrify America one did. Secondly, I’d heard about other EV owners and reviewers having issues actually charging up at these public stations. And I experienced some of these problems firsthand.
First, the credit card reader didn’t work. I tried with my credit card, then my debit card, and got nowhere. So, I then tried using that trick NFC function. Nope, that didn’t work either—the reader was broken, too.
Luckily, if you’re a member, Electrify America lets you remotely initiate a charging session through the app. Just locate your station on the map, pick out your specific charger, and slide the tab to start the power. Once I did that, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV started charging right away.
But before that happened, I experienced another headache.
Con: If you can’t pay quick enough, you’ll have to start over again
It shouldn’t be shocking (sorry) to hear that DC fast-charging stations juice up EVs with high-voltage, large-current power. So, to keep you safe and the electrics from going up in smoke, both the chargers and cars have multiple security systems.
For one, you can’t start charging an EV until the charging cable is firmly locked into place. Also, electricity isn’t the only thing that flows down that cable. Data does, too, to make sure the charger and EV are properly synced. If either software detects any kind of hiccup, it stops the charging session or doesn’t initiate it at all.
On the plus side, my Chevrolet Bolt EUV didn’t experience any software issues or cable-locking problems. However, neither are the only things that can throw a wrench in a charging session. So can not flashing a credit card fast enough once the station and Bolt are fully linked up. That’s what happened when the credit card and NFC readers flaked out on me. And so, the station virtually kicked me out, which meant I had to unplug and re-plug the charger, then wait again for the station and Bolt to re-establish communication.
I can fill up my 500 Abarth in less than five minutes. It took me over three times as long just to start charging the Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
Pro: Even with a lot of remaining range, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV charges quickly
After I got the Electrify America charger going, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV’s other strength came through. And that’s how (relatively) quickly it charges.
Because the Bolt EUV was at 90% charge when I pulled up, for battery-health reasons, the 150-kW CCS charger only gave me 67 kW. But that’s still more than Car and Driver got out of a 350-kW DC station with its Chevrolet Bolt EUV tester. It’s also almost six times as much power as a 48-volt Level 2 charger can deliver.
With that much power, it took 30 minutes for the Electrify America station to give my Bolt EUV 6.0 kWh. That’s roughly 23 miles of range going by the EPA’s numbers. Considering Chevrolet claims the Bolt EUV can get back up to 95 miles of range in 30 minutes on a DC charger, that seems low. But again, DC fast-charging only goes quickly if your battery is fairly low. Hence why Car and Driver got its Bolt EUV from 10-90% charge in 84 minutes.
In addition, 30 minutes was enough time to finish shopping—I was at a mall, after all. And because I was naturally going to be away from my EV for some time, an extended charging period wasn’t an issue. Furthermore, when I plugged the Chevrolet Bolt EUV into my Level 1 outlet, it took 13 hours to get 30 miles of range. I’ll take 23 miles in 30 minutes over that any day.
Is charging the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV at a public station worth it?
Overall, charging the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV at a public station was a mixed bag. That’s not the Bolt EUV’s fault, mind you, but due to issues with Electrify America’s hardware. Unfortunately, if you rely on public chargers to run your EV, that means these issues come with the ownership.
However, at least some of my frustrations came from inexperience. Besides being my first time using an Electrify America station, it was my first time using a public EV charging station. And while getting the charging session started was a hassle, the rest was easy. Plus, if I took advantage of Chevrolet’s free Level 2 charger installation with every 2022 Bolt EUV, I wouldn’t need public station access as much.
In short, plugging your 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV into a public charging station can be annoying the first time. But it’s not something you have to dread. And especially if your battery is low, it can keep you going for miles.
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