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August 1, 2018
Paul Gipe

How to Read the Chevy Bolt's Dash Display


After receiving a question about how to find some basic information on the Bolt, I thought maybe I should post a little introduction to the dash displays--there are two: the driver's display and the central monitor.

Remember, the owner's manual is your friend. You can either search the physical manual's index to find something or search the pdf version. The latter is easiest. Yes, I know. Who reads the owner's manual? I do. Every driver should. When my wife asks a question about the Bolt, I'll usually respond by saying, "It's on page 232." I have no clue if the information is actually on page 232, but she's asking me because I read (skimmed really) the manual and she hasn't.

And don't forget to consult the various online forums. There are very knowledgeable drivers who've posted informative commentary on all that's good and bad about the Bolt. Check chevybolt.org, and mychevybolt.com.

Also keep in mind that there is the default display. That's the way the Bolt comes from the factory. But you can--and many of us do--change the displays in the "setting's" section of each display to our preferences.

This is the drivers display. This isn't the default setting. You can change the driver's display settings by pushing the little check marks on the right hand side of the steering wheel. Nevertheless, this will tell us what we need to know.

On the left is the "fuel" gauge. It's divided into 20 bars or segments. The Bolt uses a 60 kWh traction battery so each segment is 3 kWh or 5% of the State-of-Charge (SOC). This is the most important gauge in the car. When the battery is full or has 100% SOC, all the bars will be green. As you use electricity in the battery, the bars turn to grey. When you reach 4 bars, or 20% SOC, you have 12 kWh left. At some point near this level the fuel gauge turns orange and displays a warning that you have to charge.

The display in the photo shows that our Bolt has 25% SOC remaining or about 15 kWh. The minimum range is 45 miles, the maximum range 66 miles, and the mid-range estimate is 56 miles. When fully charged, the Bolt will display a range from 200 miles (low) to more than 300 miles (max).

Overlaying the fuel gauge is the range indicator or GOM (Guess-O-Meter) as many drivers call it. This gauge indicates the range remaining. I've set the display to show the minimum, average, and maximum range remaining. The range estimate is based on your past driving and your "actual range may vary". So if you've been driving downhill for the past hour, the range indicator will indicate you can drive nearly forever. Don't believe it! As you soon you start driving on the level or begin climbing the next mountain, the range indicator will drop like a stone. That's why we call it a GOM. It can only guess at what range you really have left.

In the center of the display is the speed, but also the miles traveled and the all important average efficiency of the current trip. The efficiency determines how far you can drive on one kWh. If the efficiency is 4 miles/kWh and you have 15 kWh left in the battery, you theoretically have 60 miles of range left. Most likely you don't have a full 60 miles left because the car stops moving before the battery gets to zero kWh.

Here's a chart of bars on the range indicator and what it means in percent SOC and kWh remaining the traction battery.

This is the central display. You can't miss it. I don't remember if this is the default screen.

This is a detail of the central display. On the left is the energy consumption display. This tells you how many kWhs you've used. It doesn't tell you how many you have left--and that's one of the complaints about the Bolt. You can do some simple mental arithmetic and estimate what you have left to work with. Here I've used nearly 50 kWh so I should have 10 kWh left. I can't use all of that, so maybe I have 5 kWh left to work with. If I am driving at 4 mi/kWh I should be able to go another 20 miles before the car begins to shut down to protect itself.

Remember that on any of these displays with multiple images, you can touch the image and another screen will pop up and you can cycle through them to get the information you're looking for. One of the energy display screens shows not only how many kWh you've used but the percentage of electricity that has been used for climate settings as well as battery conditioning.

That's a start. Now we're off on an adventure in our Bolt.

 

 


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