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tuna55 MegaDork
10/31/19 3:03 p.m.

I decided to get started replacing my old DD to something more suitable than the old Accord for my 80 mile commute. I had my eye on EVs for a long time, and I really enjoyed the ownership experience with the first generation LEAF which I leased years ago. It was strictly a $/mile game, and a very fuel efficient newish car was neck and neck with the long range EVs, but with the EV getting the edge as a protection against high gas prices and also due to the more relaxed way to transport yourself. I don't need to beat myself up in the car for two hours each day, I need that energy for other things.


For a long time I was perusing auctions, dealers, Vroom, Carvana and Carmax. Lately Carvana had been dropping their prices on Bolts, as evidenced by cars not staying for sale longer than a few hours. Last night a great option popped up, and I did it. I bought it on my phone, much like Keith did with his Tesla, but I did have some snags which I'll go into later.


Why a Bolt? Well, I don't trust Tesla as a company making important physical things. They're also silly expensive on a per mile basis as compared to the Bolt. The Leaf Plus would hit my range needs, but they are not available used yet. The Kona and Niro EV options are still too expensive used, and not available here new anyway. The Bolt, besides being dorky looking, is a good mix of interior space, range and cost. I'm pretty dorky looking also, so it doesn't bother me very much. I need a range approximately 100% greater than I use daily to be comfortable to accommodate winter range reduction and battery degradation over ownership. That rules out neat cars like the Leaf (non Plus) and Ioniq, and old options like the E-Golf and first generation LEAF.


So far Carvana has not been terribly easy to work with. I needed to get the laptop out to sign their agreement, which was fine, they gave a ton of possible delivery times, which was also great - I'm a busy dude. Then this morning happened. I got a VM "THis is Carvana and we need to verify your bank details and the loan details with an officer, but it looks like the cutoff date is in....... 20 minutes, so we'll have to delay your delivery." Nice.


Still working on delivery date. There was nothing on their website telling me that there was a deadline, and nothing I could have done about either of those without their involvement. I called back ~8 min later and got a "your wait time is greater than 30 minutes" recording. Nice.


In the meantime, between now and whenever delivery time is, I need to outfit my exterior garage wall with a 220V circuit. I don't really know how to do that. I also need to buy a charger. Stay tuned for more on that, unless of course you know which charger I need to buy, or know how to run conduit from my box, out of the sheetrock, around some stuff, through the wall, etc... Then, by all means, speak up!



Pics later.

NGTD UberDork
10/31/19 3:13 p.m.

RE: 220V Outlet

Get an Electrician to do it. Not something that is recommended as DIY.

I have a friend that has a Bolt. He absolutely loves it. His last two DD's were and F150 and a WRX.

It really helps if your employer or someone nearby puts in a charging station.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/19 3:15 p.m.

subscribed for charger install...

E_NinjA New Reader
10/31/19 3:41 p.m.

Wiring 220v isn't too terribly bad. However, if it scares you, don't attempt it. We recently ran conduit and a new 220 circuit for a new welding table here at the shop. Definitely interested in seeing the charger install process though.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/31/19 3:48 p.m.

Yeah, I've purposely kept the details of assembling/installing my 220v charger from a kit off of the internet. It's just too easy to kill yourself if you don't know what you're doing. Definitely not a "let's learn how home wiring works" first project. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/19 3:51 p.m.

The personal comparison between living with a first generation and a second generation EV is going to be really interesting. Your Leaf comments in the Tesla thread have been a good illustration of how things have changed.

As for wiring, it is DIYable if it's a new plug right below the panel like mine was. Once you start going through walls, etc - that's where a pro is worth it. They know a hundred tricks for every YouTube video you might find.

Your commute is 80 miles round trip? Do you ever go further - stop at the store on the way home, go out to the movies, whatever - that might bump up your minimum required range? Do you have a ICE backup or is this an only car?

FuzzWuzzy Reader
10/31/19 3:55 p.m.

Also in for charging and 220v install.

californiamilleghia Dork
10/31/19 5:09 p.m.

do you have the 220v already in your house ?    and how many amp service ?

I am sure its not cheap to run it from the pole to your house and put a new box in etc ....

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/19 5:36 p.m.

Pretty much any house should have 220v service. Electric ranges and dryers use it as well as a lot of air conditioners.  It would be pretty rare to only have 110v.

Karacticus GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/31/19 6:53 p.m.

Do check with your electrical utility to find out if they rebate the installation/purchase of the EVSE in your garage. Mine covered 50% of the cost up to a maximum rebate of something like $500-$600. 

sevenracer Reader
11/1/19 8:03 p.m.

Congrats.  I have a racing buddy with a Bolt and a Tesla Model 3.  He really likes the Bolt - thinks it better executed (but not as fast) as the model 3.


I think he installed a ClipperCreek 220V charger.  Installed it himself, but he's pretty handy and knows the electrics.

Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/1/19 9:24 p.m.

Don't be afraid of 220. Justlike anything else you can learn how to do it yourself correctly. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/1/19 9:33 p.m.

If he's going through walls and running around, it's not the knowledge of how to run 220v he needs. It's the knowledge of how best to add a new circuit to an existing house. That's where a professional separates themselves from an amateur.

frenchyd UberDork
11/1/19 9:37 p.m.
Robbie said:

Don't be afraid of 220. Justlike anything else you can learn how to do it yourself correctly. 

I wired my whole house.  Passed inspection without any comments.  Start at the outlet and work towards the box.  If you can wire a car, you can wire a home. 
if you are nervous about working with live power let a licensed electrician make the final connection into the box. 

sevenracer Reader
11/1/19 10:11 p.m.


Site with instructions for making adapters to plug in to whatever receptacle you can find:


jwagner New Reader
11/1/19 11:08 p.m.

Gonna take a contrary stand on DIY wiring.  I have seen a lot of badly done and dangerous DIY jobs in my and my extended family's homes done by previous owners.  Figuring out how run wires to code isn't all that hard, but the techniques of making solid connections seems to evade a lot of people who shouldn't even try.  I suspect the average GRMer is better equipped to do electrical work than the average Joe homeowner, but there's a lot at stake in getting it right, especially on high current circuits.

I have seen wires fall out of wire nuts on several occasions.  A wire that had arced in an overstuffed wire nut and caused a serious meltdown.  Wire nuts that aren't adequately tightened.  Screw terminals that aren't properly tightened.  The outlet behind my toaster and hotpot had a wire that just pulled out of the pigtail when I went to change the outlet to a more fashionable color and it had been arcing.  Etc, etc. etc.

If you don't know what you're doing, get a professional, or at least get competent help.  It's a safety thing.

SVreX MegaDork
11/2/19 8:51 a.m.

ALL houses have 220V. Even if they have no 220V outlets. 

Why is 220V harder to install than 110V?  It’s just bigger wires. 

(Although I agree that making good connections with bigger wires is definitely harder)

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/2/19 10:30 a.m.
Robbie said:

Don't be afraid of 220. Justlike anything else you can learn how to do it yourself correctly. 

Agreed. See my house build thread on running 100 ft of 220 underground through my yard. It's really not that complicated, just do your research and be safe.

frenchyd UberDork
11/2/19 10:31 a.m.

In reply to SVreX :

Yes there are some limp wristed people out there who don't understand how to use a lineman's pair of pliers.  

Those of you who fit that description just run the wires and pay a professional to do the hook ups. You will save massively if the electrical is there 15 minutes instead of hours. 

You really can't get electrocuted with just drilling holes and running loose pieces of wire

tuna55 MegaDork
11/6/19 7:52 a.m.

I have purchased the charger, after lots of deliberation and thoughts. Here are my main points: I don't care for frill. I don't think I would have any use for an app controlled charger, but I absolutely would be irritated by an app related failure to charge. I also really wanted the charger to be UL listed, as there are a surprising amount which are not. My new job has me working closely with UL, and while not perfect, what I have come to realize is that I am a fan of design rigor and testing. As I have often promulgated about Tesla, I don't want to be experimented on when the result can kill me, unless I very well understand all of the variables possible. Hence, a Siemens Versicharge should arrive from Amazon tomorrow.


I'l be shopping during lunch to grab some conduit and other needed parts. The big issue here is that while I do have two 110V slots available in my panel, they are not consecutive, nor in the same column. Fun!


My issue with Carvana was largely handled. They called, apologized profusely, and we scheduled another delivery date. For those that do not know,my timeline is very busy. I have scant moments of home time which is not copiously covered up with important and overdue activity. Having a can delivered is great, but missing the initial date (this past Saturday) means that the absolute earliest time I can get it is tomorrow after work, in the dark. I am violating every principle I know about buying a car. Sight unseen, using a loan (though 2.9% thanks for awesome credit rating), taking delivery in the dark, not having researched it a lot, etc. I don't even know the state of charge it will have when delivered, so I may not be able to drive it on Friday. Saturday is pretty monumentally busy, and thus I am unsure if I'll get to the conduit installation then either.


There are zero rebates for chargers or cars here in SC. This is still nearly a win for "cheapest newer car on a $/mile basis" depending on gas price, and definitely a win for future-proofing, serenity upon arrival, and also important, the "not having to be surprised and lay on your back in the cold rain to fix the next annoying problem on your 30 year old hooptie with parts that are only sort-of available at night so you can get to work the next day" factor.


To answer at least one of the questions posed above, yes we have another car. I have four children, and a homeschooling wife. She drives something like 1200 miles per month driving them all over the area to various activities, and so she has a nice new shiny Pacifica (Penelope, because it's copper like a penny). I am replacing the vehicle I bought to get my own sack of meat back and forth to work to bring money home. The big issue is that since buying it five years ago, my commute distance has tripled, and my time with kids in the car has quadrupled. Face it old car lovers (like me), an 88 Accord is no place for a young kid to be in an accident.


Stay tuned!





volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
11/6/19 8:39 a.m.

In for the Lightning Bolt.


tuna55 MegaDork
11/7/19 8:58 p.m.

sevenracer Reader
11/7/19 9:22 p.m.

Nice! I got to drive one today at an EV demo at work - car really scoots.

volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
11/8/19 5:19 a.m.

Ironic you're at an Exxon station. A place that car will never have to visit.  

You need to get all 4 kids and have them spell out "BOLT".

NickD PowerDork
11/8/19 5:39 a.m.

Get ready to relearn how to use your right foot. Anytime I drive one of these, I feel like I end up chirping the tires everywhere, which is an issue I didn't have with the Volts. Congrats on the purchase though, the Bolt is a pretty cool little EV.

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