[Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

Why I liked the Nissan LEAF, but LOVE the Chevy Bolt

The Nissan LEAF was fun to drive 🙂 — but the Chevy Bolt (right) is a complete joy to drive. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
I leased a 2014 Nissan LEAF for three and a half years, and I liked the LEAF. It was roomy, comfortable, had a nice dashboard layout, was peppy and quick, and, most important, was 100 percent electric — which allowed me to fuel it with 100 percent renewable energy-generated electricity.

But if I liked the LEAF — and I did — I absolutely LOVE the Chevy Bolt, which replaced my 2014 Nissan LEAF about three weeks ago.

The Bolt is an absolute joy to drive. It puts a smile on my face and lifts me up even when I’m not in a good mood and/or stressed out, and it makes me enjoy driving — which has become more and more of a traffic clogged experience as seemingly endless numbers of Texans and Californians and Midwesterners move to Colorado 😉 — again.

I absolutely LOVE the regenerative braking in my Bolt AND its “Sport” mode. With the exception of occasional stretches of highway driving, I am constantly in “L” (low/regenerative brake) mode with “Sport” on.

The Bolt has quite a bit more zip and pep than my 2014 LEAF, which, in my view, already had quite a bit of zip: I consistently pulled away from gasoline cars in my LEAF at traffic lights and when merging onto the highway.

In the Bolt, sport mode + “L” mode = “F” mode — short for “Fun” mode ;-).

It feels absolutely GREAT not to have to worry, or even have to think about, range and running out of charge, something I had to worry about quite often in my 2014 LEAF. It is SOOOO much more relaxing to know I always have enough range. I feel calmer and better looking at the projected range in the Bolt and seeing numbers above 200 miles, as opposed to frequent trips into the 10s and 20s (or even lower) in my Nissan LEAF.

My Bolt easily delivered an 80-mile round trip into the Colorado mountains.

Thanks to divorce, my Nissan LEAF unexpectedly became my only car. I often had to drive 80 to 120 miles per day in the Denver area in my LEAF. This distance range is, of course, right at the upper end of the 2014 LEAF’s capabilities. In the LEAF, I frequently had to think about where I had to — and where I actually could — charge. Unfortunately, the spot where one has to charge is not always the same as where one can charge, meaning chargers are not everywhere you need them.

So, the freedom the Bolt delivers in terms of erasing range anxiety is another reason I liked my LEAF, but I LOVE the Bolt.

I also love the way the Bolt drives. It grips the road nicely, corners well for a hatchback, and is quiet and smooth.

I love the way the steering wheel feels in my hands — I have a Bolt LT with the comfort package, which means I have a heated leather steering wheel.

Basically, the Bolt feels like a “regular” car in terms of range. Right now, based on how I am driving, the Bolt is telling me I have up to 284 miles of range. That, by the way is approaching 200 miles more of range than my 2014 LEAF.

And 240 to 280 miles of actually delivered all-electric driving is definitely enough to make driving the Bolt psychologically more comfortable and secure than the LEAF, a car in which I twice ran out of charge and came very close probably another dozen times.

Of course, the Bolt is NOT a “regular” car, even though it delivers in ways that a “regular” (ICE) car does, transforming itself, with its 60 kWh battery pack, into a truly viable all-electric car for the one-car only American (post-divorce) family. It’s also WAY quicker and WAY more fun to drive than a “regular” gasoline auto.

It’s amazing how many people in the United States know NOTHING about the Bolt, or electric cars. This, at a time when EVs are poised to deliver one of the biggest “stealth” revolutions ever.

If more Americans did know more about electrics — and drove a Bolt for a few days, I can guarantee a whole heck of a lot more would ditch their slow, clunky, dirty, loud gasoline car for the quick, cutting edge, clean, and quiet Chevy Bolt.