Apr 8 • 9M

What the Recall Replacement Battery in Our Chevy Bolt EV Means for Towing Plus a Rivian Update

Improved Range Has Us Eager to Get Moving

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Follow our journey as we buy a Rivian R1T electric truck to pull a travel trailer equipped to run exclusively on solar power!
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We got our replacement battery for our Chevy Bolt EV, eliminating the may-self-destruct-at-any-time feature the car came with. This new battery is a big deal, and we’ll explain why below. We also want to update you on the Rivian R1T electric truck we’ve pre-ordered.

Thanks, Beaver Chevrolet

The folks at Beaver Chevrolet in Jacksonville did a great job with the recall replacement. Chris, who heads the service department, took personal responsibility for us. The dealership provided us with a loaner vehicle with an internal combustion engine. It felt weird to drive that, especially when it came time to buy gas at what we think of as the soda pop store.

The Replacement Battery

The new battery holds 65 kwh, five more than the old one that GM recalled. Because the old battery was five years old, it only held about 56 to 58 kwh, so the upgrade gives us up to nine kwh more than we’ve had. At 4 miles per kwh, that’s an increase in range of up to 36 miles.

The Test Drive

Last Sunday, while listening to our church’s annual General Conference, we took a long Sunday drive up to Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. This barrier island is a great tourist destination. Our total drive took us 208 miles over six hours. We had so much range left, we never had to worry about charging.

We arrived home with 94 miles of remaining range, suggesting a total capacity of 302 miles under these optimal conditions. We took back roads and so didn’t ever drive freeway speeds. The weather was perfect, warm enough to keep the battery happy but not requiring us to run the A/C about half the time.

We averaged 4.9 miles per kwh, well above our long-term average of 4.1. While we attribute that to the particulars of the drive, we’re tempted to hope the battery will magically improve our mileage. Is that possible?

Towing With the New Battery

So what does that mean for towing? Our experience has been that we lose about one-third of our range when pulling our trailer. So, we’d expect our towing range to be about 200 rather than 300 miles for the route we drove.

Put another way, we think we can comfortably plan to drive 150 miles to our destination with the trailer without charging once. With a single stop for charging, we could go 250 miles, giving us a delightful travel range.

The Jekyll Island Campground

Of course, we checked out the campground on Jekyll Island while we were there. It was not super impressive as there was relatively little privacy; there were no barriers, natural or otherwise, between campsites. There were lots of tall trees, which made the area delightfully shaded.

Delightful unless your trailer has solar panels. We’re inclined to return to stay at Jekyll Island for a day or two and will report. We’ll let you know how much energy we generate with that dappled sunlight under the trees if we have our solar panels.

The Rivian Mess That Has Us Even More Excited

As you likely recall, we have pre-ordered a Rivian R1T. When we ordered it last fall, we hoped to get it this summer. Now, we’re not expecting it until early 2024!

On March 1st, Rivian announced a significant price increase. For our truck, it represented about a 20 percent price increase. We honestly weren’t sure we could afford the new price.

Lots of people felt the same. Many people canceled their orders!

Rivian quickly repented and announced we who had pre-ordered before March 1st, 2022, could keep our pre-order pricing.

As a result, we feel a bit like we’re getting a 20 percent discount on a major purchase and are more excited than ever!

We’re eager to keep updating you on our progress, so we invite you to subscribe.

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