My First Electric Car Experience: the 2019 Chevy Bolt in Northern Cali

Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California
Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California (Photo by Darcy Bacha for Chevrolet)

Words by Ed Rios

It’s midday Wednesday, a quick hop up to Sacramento International Airport and my plane is now taxiing to our gate. As if on cue, a Chevy representative hits me with a text message greeting me to Sacramento, asking if my flight was good, and letting me know that a team member is waiting for me at baggage. “Damn!” I’m thinking to myself, that’s some great care and service. At the bottom of the escalator, a Page One Automotive team member welcomes me and walks me out to the curb, calling up another teammate to swoop in to take me to a nearby parking lot where I’m given a rundown of the 2019 Chevy Bolt EV.

It’s my first time in an electric vehicle, and now after a few minutes of learning the basics and a signature, I’m off on my own to explore the city while excitingly adapting to all these new features in a car for me. They tell me it has 238 miles of electric charge — I drive an old 80’s SUV, so this is a real switch, but a fun one, especially with California’s gas prices . The rear view mirror isn’t a mirror (well it can be if you choose to make it that), it’s a back camera with a wider field of vision than a mirror. It has me checking back to see if that’s really what’s behind the car, and after the first ten minutes on the highway, I’m convinced its better than a mirror. I’m a little nervous going through traffic. It’s not my car, it’s electric, and I use this hesitation to tear down the road to just sit back and cruise.

Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California
Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California (Photo by Darcy Bacha for Chevrolet)

In the evening, we meet up in the lobby of our hotel, The Citizen, we’re in the hub of California politics. Chevy Bolts start lining the curb, there shuttling us to dinner. Four people to a car, and though it might not look it from the outside, the Bolt has enough room for us all to be comfortable. Walking into The Shady Lady Saloon, a bourbon cocktail is placed in my hand with a smile from the pretty woman with a 1920’s style. We unwind. Some of us getting to know one another as we are treated to live music from the band. Dinner hits the spot. Sacramento says it’s the biggest Farm to Table city and our menu helps to back that claim. The night is over for me, I say goodbyes and in the Bolt I go back to the hotel. We have a good day of driving tomorrow, along with an opportunity to see some of California’s past.

Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California
Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California (Photo by Darcy Bacha for Chevrolet)

It’s morning of day two, heading out with the group across the street to the parking garage. We’re getting a quick rundown on charging the Chevy Bolt. Quick because it really is that easy. Open a latch, plug it in, and go enjoy your day. Of course too, there’s an App for that. Sitting in your home, office, or wherever, you can with your phone set a time to start charging your Bolt. Turn on the AC or heater before you walk out your door. Already make your driving environment comfortable before you even get in.

So grabbing my Bolt, I wave to the Page One team and go. My destination, Coloma, California, where a gold discovery sparked a gold rush and with that we went on to become the 31st state in the Union. The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park is beautiful. Being from Southern California, I’m not used to seeing flowing water such as the American River. A Park Ranger escorts us to a few troughs and hands us the pans. She explains the techniques of panning for gold and lets us at it. There is a sign above us stating that morning’s current gold price: $1,309.20 an ounce. Back in 1848, at that same spot, it was $20.67. In the end, I came up bust, but it was fun. A very knowledgeable guide shared the history of the people and area. He also showed us his own gold — an old coin and a good size nugget found in that same river. Thanking him we say our goodbyes and its back to Sacramento we go.

Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California
Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California (Photo by Darcy Bacha for Chevrolet)
Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California
Chevrolet Bolt EV in Sacremento, California (Photo by Darcy Bacha for Chevrolet)

Each of us are free to explore the city. Driving around town, I put the Bolt into Low, it’s one pedal driving. After a few blocks I was hooked. It put me at a ease. No more foot flinching to the brake. Parking on the street was easy. A birds eye view camera made it a cake walk. I took in some sights. Lurked the halls of the State Capital. Checked out the Museum of California. Mostly just zipped around the city getting a feel for the car. I like it.

Dinner was held on the grounds of the National Historical Landmark Sutter’s Fort. Dropped off at the front gates of the fort, we were met by Park Rangers and volunteers dressed in the period of the 1840’s. Our party was welcomed with bright smiles and music from a group fiddlers and guitar players. Three tables decorated with lanterns and local flowers were set for our dining experience. Great atmosphere for a great meal.

This trip was fun from the beginning and my initial skepticism to electric cars was erased. Before those last couple of days, I’d only seen electric vehicles next to me on the streets or quietly pass me in a parking lot, but now, I had the actual chance to drive one, giving me a better understanding of them beyond just seeing them from the outside for a brief moment. Yes, the environment is definitely important, but lets be honest, if we as a society don’t find it appealing at the moment then we’ll stick with the old way until we have no choice. I still very much love my old 1980’s 4×4 and its ability to get of the paved roads, but if given the Bolt as a everyday daily driver, I would be more then happy.

Thanks Chevy for this opportunity and allowing me a new experience.