Saying Hello to Casper, Our New Chevy Bolt EV

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I recently wrote a piece for CleanTechnica about my trusty Ocean Blue Nissan LEAF getting totaled. My wife and I found ourselves needing a new vehicle right away, so my thoughts about waiting a year or so for the new crop of EVs to come out was dashed.

Casper, our new Chevy Bolt. Image by Stuart Ungar.

We had a number of options. There was the Tesla Model 3, made more attractive by the recently-lowered price, and the Chevy Bolt EV. I did what I would imagine many people do — which was to make a pros and cons list for both vehicles. I had the advantage of knowing what it was like to drive the Tesla Model 3, because I borrowed a friend’s Model 3 for a week-long road trip.

For me, what it boiled down to was that I felt more comfortable in the Bolt EV. It sits up higher and has some physical controls to augment what’s on the screen. Most of my driving is around town or to neighboring states, and for the one or two longer trips I make with my family every year, we will just have to adjust to the longer charging time at the DC fast chargers and break up our trips into multiple traveling days (something we do anyway).

So, I was excited to order a brand new 2023 Chevy Bolt EV from my local dealership. I never had a brand new car, so it was extra exciting. I soon realized (with information from my salesman) that Chevy dealerships get allocations from corporate for vehicles they can sell. With that realization, it was clear that it may very well be several months before I got my brand new ride with all the options that I chose. As we needed a car right away, I ended up pulling the trigger on the 2022 Chevy Bolt EV they had on the lot. It had all the bells and whistles (something that I really didn’t care about but am now very happy with) and wasn’t in the color I was hoping for, but I needed to be flexible. One unexpected benefit of getting a 2022 model was no “new car smell” — something that I really don’t like and, actually, according to a number of studies, can be surprisingly dangerous and toxic.

The Bolt’s color is Gray Ghost Metallic, so I settled on the name Casper (for the friendly ghost). A little digging brought up the fact that the name Casper is a boy’s name of Scandinavian and Persian origin meaning “bringer of treasure.” Now who couldn’t use a bit of treasure being brought into their lives? I dubbed my first EV Betty, and unlike Teslas (which require you to name them), naming my Bolt was 100 percent a personal preference.

As a co-founder of Evolve KY, Kentucky’s non-profit electric vehicle group, my LEAF enabled me to educate countless people in the community about the features and benefits of driving electric. But as the group grew and started to branch off in more directions and gain influence in a larger geographic area, the LEAF’s low range (about 70–75 miles) was becoming more and more of a challenge. Getting the Chevy Bolt EV, which has a range of about 260 miles, allows for driving much greater distances with ease.

Sometimes people make plans and fate has a way of doing what it wants. That’s exactly what happened with my Nissan LEAF. Often, it is only in the rearview mirror that you can see the big picture. It is my hope that Casper will indeed be the “bringer of treasure” in that it will allow me to safely carry my family around and enable me to work to bring new and even more valuable EV initiatives to my ever-expanding community.

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Stuart Unger

Stuart Ungar has been interested in how technology can help us live lighter on the Earth for most of his life and remembers going on solar house tours as a kid in the ‘70s with his dad (and having to travel many miles to see each site). Stuart is the co-founder of Evolve KY, Kentucky’s non-profit electric vehicle group and has a brand new podcast — Stu’s EV Universe, which can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major platforms. Stuart lives with his wife and college-age kids in Louisville, Kentucky.

Stuart Unger has 16 posts and counting. See all posts by Stuart Unger