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Towing a Chevy Bolt

If I tow a Chevy Bolt behind my RV, will it charge the Bolt’s battery? And if not, why not?

Isn’t the only charging mechanism (besides plugging it in) the regenerative brakes?

No, it needs to be plugged in to be charged. Even if it uses regenerative breaking, it won’t be using the brakes when you tow it


I would doubt VERY much that towing your Bolt is a good idea.

In theory it could, but the electronics are not setup for that ( in my opinion. )

Charging it by towing it isn’t practical due to the operational limitations.

Towing a new Bolt (from Owner’s Manual):


Thanks for finding that, @TwinTurbo - that’s what I thought.
Dolly towing is OK, flat towing is NOT.

Just curious, does the Bolt have the technology to charge itself when coasting downhill? I mean without the brakes applied? Charging while coasting would be possible to do from physic’s perspective, but the function would have to be designed into the car’s electronics package.

It appears that it can, scroll down to Regen on Demand, although the Regen on Demand and One Pedal Driving appear to be breaking features, so I guess it would be akin to engine braking going down hill instead of using the brakes.

I would rather my vehicle did not come with breaking features.

They still included a CYA sentence: “You should always use your brake pedal if you need to stop quickly. See owner’s manual for full details on One-Pedal Driving and Regen on Demand.” If I understand it correctly (I have not yet looked at an owners manual), you can use the Regen on Demand and One-Pedal driving to slow the car down without using the brakes to help charge the battery. They definitely don’t replace the brakes

I drove a Bolt about 2 months ago & now i want one. That 200 HP & 260 lbs of torque make that electric car a blast to drive. Zero to 60 in 6 seconds and 240 miles of range works for me.

I drove it about 15 miles and had to stop about 10 times and never touched the brake pedal. Brakes will never wear out on this thing.

There’s 2 levels of regen on the shift lever & to make a routine stop theres a regen paddle on the steering wheel which provides max regen and max deceleration, in this mode the brake lights come on The brakes are only needed for emergency stops…

Theres no free lunch & charging while towing would take away from MPG of the towing vehicle.

I read a road test of the Bolt & after driving about 220 miles the guy was 20 miles from his destination his range was showing 9 miles. Then he started down hill . Thanks to the regen on the downhill stretch he had about 15 miles of range when he arrived in Santa Barbara, Ca.

When these start showing up at Carmax as used cars & if the guys on the Bolt owners forums are not finding any major problems with their cars I will probably buy one.

I just figured out why the OP asked this. Taking a Bolt to a campground or RV park likely means an electrical hookup inadequate to recharge the Bolt so they’d like to do it while towing.

The answer as many here have posted is no, it won’t recharge on a tow. As for why not, they key is not on so the computer isn’t awake to actually command this. And you don’t want this as it means your RV towing it will go from poor fuel consumption to downright horrible. Likley it will result to both the RV and the Bolt overheating.

OP needs to buy a tow dolly if they want to take bolt with them on rv trips. Too bad they are not my neighbors. Than I could borrow their tow dolly.

It will result in the brake rotors rusting out. Happened to me several times, as I use the brakes very sparingly. One time the rotors had holes in them from rust.

I suppose recharging is possible if the tow is treated like sitting in a garage. It would require a D.C./AC120V or AC240V converter for the RV and an outlet to hook up to the charging port of the Bolt. It would take all day to recharge even at 240V, but the 120V recharge could top off a reasonably well charged Bolt. This could be augmented by charging at the RV park with their 120VAC plugs at the camp site if they have them.

Had to read Prius manual to find out what B lever did. Applied more braking effort with no foot pedal application. Like long downhill run. Light brakes was regen mode. Heavy brake was friction brake. I do miss that cars tech.

OUCH, since the Bolt just went on sale 6 months ago i hope you’re not saying that you’ve gone thru 2 sets of rotors in 6 months. Or are you driving some other electric car?

I would think using the brakes for one stop a day should take care of the rust problem

not electric, a VW Passat. But the car sits for a week unused, frequently. That’s enough for the rust to set deep enough that light use doesn’t take it all off, some remains in pits. those can develop into major failure points, ie, get eaten all the way through.

This process would be more likely in an electric or hybrid because of regenerative braking. But perhaps they use a better material in the rotors?

(The above is only my hypotheses, but the fact is a rotor with holes in it from rust with the pads still with lots of material)

yeah it’s a shame your Passat is chewing up rotors like that, I was curious to see if Brembo might make carbon fiber rotors for a Passat, but if they have an application guide i could’nt get it to work.and only conventional rotors on the tirerack site

Drivers of electric cars are going to need to remember to use the brakes once in awhile