"Best Place to get a Bolt!"
We found our way to Karl Chevrolet after a good solid 5 minutes of contemplating what to do after we found out VW would less than enthusiastically buy back our emissions cheating diesel Jetta. After replacing two timing belts, two water pumps, the brake pads twice, after umpteen billion gazillion oil changes, and after spending hundreds of dollars on a stupid, annoying, taunting, Klieg light glaring haughty pain-in-the-neck check engine light that refused to go out, we entertained the idea of the thought of giving something else a try.
So we wanted to do electric, maybe the Volt. The Volt was sooooo appealing. Run on electric most of the time, fewer oil changes at least. Then out came the Bolt, Oh how tantalizing. No oil changes, no grinding brakes, no cyclopoid Big Brother check engine light. None of that. Plus, it is a hybrid, it burns coal, trash, nuclear power, runs on wind or solar, any thing you can plug power cord into. just had to fill it up every 238 miles. What’s not to like? So we started our search for a Bolt.
We telephoned and emailed several dealers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, even New York,
“Hi I would like to buy a Bolt!” I would proclaim to the nice person on the other end in the nicest matter of fact voice.
“A what?” was the most common refrain. The second most common was “Let me connect you to parts!” In both cases I would politely excuse myself from the conversation, I had no intent of dealing with anyone who had no idea what a bolt was, and on the second count, We wanted our bolt to be whole, not in pieces requiring assembly. Someone even tried to sell us a leaf, I politely declined, plenty of leaves on the trees.
Well, eventually I came across Karl Chevrolet’s website. Out of all the dealership websites, Karl Chevrolet was the only one that had an entire page dedicated to the Bolt, it was the only model mentioned directly in the “Start Here Menu”. Seeing that I knew these people were serious purveyors of Bolts. We fired off an email immediately.
Leo, the President and hybrid/EV Officiando got back to me directly with a list of features to select from. We arranged for a meeting the second week in January, months before the Bolts would be allowed to bolter in Connecticut. He was taking preorders for them, and we would be the fourth one he had in. After a cold brave January passage through the Connecticut wilderness from New London to New Canaan, I was sitting in Leo’s office, pouring over the lists of Bolt features. We wanted an LT with the DC Fast charge, and the second floor thingy for the trunk. He recommended the heated seats and steering wheel, it would save on the battery. He wasn’t all that pushy about it, but mentioned it only because it would save on battery usage. He also went over the Federal and State incentives, he explained the Connecticut State rebate (CHEAPR), and he would take care of the application for that. We chatted a bit about the bolt, and his experience with the Volt, which he was the first in CT to start selling. He shared that the $10,000 machine to use to remove batteries from Volts for service has sat collecting dust, unused for the past several years. If anything he is very intent on making sure that we got what we wanted.
I mentioned to Leo that Volkswagen would buy back our Jetta TDI on May 12, hopefully the Bolt would be ready by then. If not, he said, he would let me borrow a brand new Volt. That was a major godsend, once VW had an appointment scheduled, The car would be bought in brutal Teutonic expediency. No if, ands or Bolts. We didn’t think we would need to borrow it.
We would hold off on the color and if we wanted anything else I had a couple of months to think of it. A $1000 credit card swipe and handshake later and I was on my way back to New London to wait for the Bolt.
Well, after a couple of months of reading Bolt news, Bolt forums and watching infotaining Youtube Bolt videos, I got an email from Leo announcing that a demo had come in. I wasted little time blasting back down to Karl Chevrolet in New Canaan. A short wait and we were soon in the Bolt, squealing the tires a bit on a right turn out of the lot for a ride up Elm Street for a cruise around the neighborhood. Leo was very knowledgeable with all the features, he was familiar with the flat panel TV set in the middle of the dash that had all the energy usage data, and the cool, I mean, subzero cool electric regen system. He explained the electric regen system as we silently glided past some nice pedicured and manicured lawns.
Leo knows the car well, he showed how you can switch the motor to golf cart mode so the “L” on the shifter knob turns red , (not sure why they call it “L”, golf cart starts with “G”) press on the rheostat and the car goes. FAST. faster than Leo’s knuckles can turn a paler shade of white. oh yes, we love that Saturn 5 rocket effect.
Well, with a right turn back on to Elm street, and into the dealership our trial ride in the pinnacle of American automotive engineering and manufacturing sadly came to an end.
It was back to driving the Jetta, and waiting, and waiting. And…waiting. For a member of the McDonalds-drive-through feed-me-now-generation, the wait was worse than being in the checkout line at Walmart where few of the items will scan, everyone wants to pay by check, none of the pens work, and it is the girls first day on the job (and she doesn’t speak English). March passed, then April. A call to Leo, he said the Bolt was on a train bound for New Jersey. Then May 12 came, and Volkswagen gekauft our car away.
Leo was definitely serious about loaning us a Volt while the Bolt, he certainly did not like the thought of us not having a car to drive while waiting for the Bolt. That alone shows his commitment to his customers. We ended up driving it for a whole week until the Bolt was finally delivered. Finally an email from Leo came announcing our Bolt had arrived.
I made the trip down to New Canaan in the Volt, battling rush hour traffic, I couldn't get there until almost closing time. Most of the staff had gone for the day, but Leo stayed late for me. As the sun was setting, he sat in passenger’s seat calmly reviewing and explaining the features of the TV set in the middle console, the steering wheel controls and pairing my cellphone to the car. It is nice not having the obnoxious racket of a running engine to keep the power up as we discussed the climate control system. He showed me the Chargepoint intro certificate, and the quick start guide. It was refreshing to have a dealer take the time to go over something like this. Such dedication to the customer is rare.
Leo was very knowledgeable in all the features and attributes, and very enthusiastic about the Bolt, mentioning that he had been interested in electric vehicles for decades, he is definitely an EV enthusiast. It’s a bit unusual to find a salesman who actually knows the more technical aspects of a car, but Leo knew all about the finer details.
Well, with all the paperwork tucked away in the glovebox, and the sun well set, I bid Leo Good bye, and silently glided out of the lot on my way back to the New London area, unknowing of a rather important issue.
It was the next day when we went to the Mystic Aquarium to raid the food truck festival, and since there was a Fast Charger there we wanted to charge quick. Well, that was when we encountered the SNAFU. We pulled into the EV charging spot popped the electricity fill door open, and found no DC Fast charge port.
The next Monday, I called Leo. He promised to get back to me, after checking some paper work. A couple of days later, he called, and explained that the box for DC Fast charge didn’t get checked on the order form, and as it was his oversight, he was going to make it right! So he said “hang on to the one you have, and when we get the new one, we will swap them out!”
Come up with a few simple things to say like “great experience” or “He really Cares”. But with The Karl Chevrolet Dealer experience, you are left feeling like they really do want to make sure you get what you want, and of course they take their relationship with the customer seriously. I wanted a Bolt, I was sold one, not a leaf, or a box of Bolt parts, some assembly required. Leo could have tried to convince me to buy a volt, he had some in stock, but he didn’t. He only loaned us one out of concern that we would need a set of wheels while waiting for the Bolt. When the Bolt finally came, Leo stayed late, taking the time to go over the car so everything about it was clear. And what really counts, is that he is actively correcting an oversight a critical one, and that, in anyone’s book, makes Karl Chevrolet The Premier Bolt Dealership!