The team at Chevy must have known that we had a hankering for a fall road trip when they reached out to see if we wanted to take their latest fully electric car up to Portland, Maine for the weekend. So up we went to Boston to meet them, and to pick up the ride that would take us straight to Lobster Roll Heaven: the sporty 2018 Chevy Bolt EV.
After a vietnamese lunch of noodles and dumplings on Commonwealth Avenue, we headed north on I-95. Any concerns we had before beginning our journey—about the environmentally-friendly car’s pickup or range—were quickly put to rest by its serious pep and the detailed mileage information displayed on its screen. There we learned that we could make it 238 miles before needing a charge, which would take us well past Portland. We wondered: Should we just keep going? Add to this the Bolt EV’s regenerating one pedal driving (turn this feature on and braking occurs when you take your foot off the gas, allowing the car to take the energy this creates and use it to charge the battery), and any range anxiety was quickly assuaged.
The temptation to anthropomorphize the Bolt EV was strong (Bolty, how you doing today?), as was the gamefication of getting better milage, but those things shouldn’t detract from how serious the performance of this car is. At every turn (both literally and figuratively), we were impressed by how well it handled the road. After a quicker than expected merge onto the highway, our 14-year-old asked from the back seat, “Is this car named after Usain Bolt?”
Our answer then and now: It just might be.
Even though our trip to Maine only spanned the course of a long weekend, we always seem to pack at least two bags per person, so the Bolt EV’s spacious, two-level trunk (created by moving the batteries under the back seat) was a welcome feature.
The phone integration was also an impressive plus. Just plug it in and get charges and interface with the onboard network so your phone maps, music and any other audio apps are seamlessly displayed and operated by touching the large screen.
They also seem to have solved the challenge of maintaining battery life while also running all kinds of helpful technology like onboard wifi (our teenage son was particularly happy about this), surround vision on the monitor so you can see all angles while moving slowly (great for a near-silent motor), and an awesome mobile app.
Charging stations were easy to find (including one at our hotel) and never having to stop at a gas station gave us more time to dart around in the Bolt EV, visiting the Portland sites and restaurants (and taking a lobster boat tour of the harbor). All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better ride.
Want to follow in our food-and-drink-loving footsteps (with a small carbon footprint, thanks to an awesome electric car)? Here are 5 places in Portland you need to try.
1. Duck Fat
Grab a coveted counter seat for lunch and thank us later. You can’t go wrong by ordering a duck confit panini and a heaping serving of poutine.
This place is exactly what it sounds like: Seaweed heaven. Be sure to stock up on pickled kelp stipe and sesame kelp bars. The kelp salsa is definitely worth trying, too.
Shuck no, you can’t leave Maine without slurping down some East Coast oysters! Stop in to Street & Co. for super-fresh local oysters and the best halibut confit caesar we’ve ever had.
4. Bard Coffee
Looking for the creamiest oat milk (our fave, Oatly!) latte in town? Look no further. This Portland gem is also home to the largest bathroom key chain we’ve ever encountered: A large whisk! We loved this cheeky, whimsical touch.
Last but not least, we have to point you towards The Honey Paw. Go for the lobster toast and stay for the spicy crab soup. We promise we’d never steer you wrong.