The 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV Left Me Stranded In Rural Virginia


My weeklong check of the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV lasted 28 hours. That is when it broke down throughout an Electrify America charging session that left me stranded in rural Western Virginia.

A drive that ought to have taken about seven hours, not together with two hour-long stops in Gallipolis, Ohio, and Wytheville, Virginia, changed into a 14-hour ordeal. It noticed me abandoning a automobile that appears fairly pivotal to the way forward for Basic Motors on the facet of the highway in small-town America.

Chevrolet Blazer EV RS AMA Topshot

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of my time attempting to determine what the hell even occurred right here, whereas pondering what is perhaps essentially the most catastrophic highway journeys I’ve personally had in current reminiscence. 

This story begins shortly after the preliminary 2024 Blazer EV press occasion in San Diego. I wasn’t there for the mannequin’s launch, however GM’s representatives provided me a week-long car mortgage a mere few days after the early December launch. In fact, I accepted; a day in southern California is way completely different than every week within the Midwest in December. I had all kinds of plans for the automobile, together with an extended highway journey from Ohio to North Carolina, which might present us precisely what the Blazer EV was able to, so far as charging, vary, livability, and consumption. You’ll be able to study loads a few automobile after seven hours straight behind the wheel.

And it was to be a check of GM’s Ultium battery-powered platform and software program, the 2 prongs it is staked a lot of its electrical, related future on, regardless of plenty of manufacturing challenges and delays this previous yr. 

Blazer EV Trip 5

Positive, I had my reservations in regards to the Blazer EV. I wasn’t satisfied that eradicating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was as groundbreaking of a transfer as GM insisted it was. I hadn’t pushed any Ultium-platform automobiles, regardless of my proximity to Detroit—you understand, the world headquarters of GM. The GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq have by no means been obtainable to me for testing. To additional gas my reservations, everybody I had talked to in individual in regards to the Lyriq, together with an proprietor, attested to horrible software program and high quality points that plagued their crossovers, sending them to service departments for weeks at a time.

A few anecdotes aren’t information, although. And one disgruntled proprietor with purchaser’s regret and a viral social media publish can simply make even essentially the most dependable of rides sound like a brand new reincarnation of the Yugo GV. So, I approached the Blazer EV with an open thoughts. Evaluations have been combined to constructive on the automobile, and it had even gained Motor Pattern’s EV SUV Of The Yr award. It couldn’t be unhealthy, proper? 

Setting Off

First up, the Blazer was dropped at my home at about 60 p.c state of cost, at my request. (Most of those press testers come to journalists like me absolutely charged, or near it.) I insisted that the motive force not recharge earlier than supply, so I may make sure that all the things was all OK earlier than my journey—if there was a charging difficulty with the automobile I’d study it right here at dwelling moderately than hours away.

Chevrolet Blazer EV Steet Charging

I took the Blazer EV to an Ultium-branded EVGo station close to my home, however after I went to plug in, I uncared for to pay shut consideration to the place the cost port was situated on the automobile, or how annoyingly brief the cords on the charging stations have been. Thus I needed to transfer and reposition the car a number of instances. Every time I finished, positioned the car in park and exited, the Bluetooth would disconnect. After I’d rapidly re-enter to reposition, the Bluetooth would reconnect.

When it reconnected to my iPhone 12, the Blazer EV’s stereo would blast the funky home and techno mixes I prefer to work to, at most quantity. It definitely snapped me out of any of that 4:30 p.m. “it feels later than it’s as a result of the solar is already down” winter tiredness. However it did that to me 4 instances within the 5 minutes or so it took me to appropriately place the automobile in entrance of a charger. 

I most likely ought to have taken this as an omen. But, I assumed it was just a few humorous (if not very annoying) glitch, took a psychological notice of it, and continued making ready for my journey. 

Blazer EV Trip 8

The subsequent morning, I loaded up the Blazer EV and set off round 6:15 a.m. I left my home in downtown Columbus with about 95% cost and trekked to a close-by Sheetz Comfort retailer and gasoline station for a chai tea and low to maintain me away for the 471-mile journey. I had my highway tunes and I put in Soundcloud and PlugShare on the automobile’s infotainment system. I used to be utterly logged into the Google-based apps on the automobile prepared to provide the system an trustworthy attempt.

I set off for my first cease, a DC quick charging station in Gallipolis, Ohio—a metropolis proper on the Ohio River, bordering West Virginia. I’d be charging sooner than I’d must, at perhaps 55 to 60 p.c, however strategically it made sense since there have been so few DC chargers on the route. Including some juice there would permit me to move off uncertainty later.

After Gallipolis, I’d cease in Wytheville, Virginia for a full cost. Even with the climate and terrain, the Virginia cost needs to be sufficient to make it to my vacation spot, the Hilton in North Raleigh, the place the Blazer EV would be capable to Degree 2 cost on the resort whereas I slept. 

However I wouldn’t even make it that far.

The Infotainment Display screen Goes First

Initially, the Blazer EV was simply wonderful. However about 25 minutes exterior of Gallipolis, there was a fast pause within the Bluetooth audio, after which the entire infotainment display screen went clean. The heating, AC, and quantity controls nonetheless labored, however all the icons have been lacking. The gauge cluster’s Google Maps integration nonetheless confirmed my location, and I nonetheless had velocity and vary, so I figured the automobile was okay, and this was only a glitch.

Blazer EV Trip 10

I couldn’t press on with out at the least trying to resolve the issue. There’s no actual troubleshooting but for the Blazer, however there’s some for the Lyriq; it includes being in park, then holding the hang-up name button on the steering wheel to reset the Google Constructed-In system. 

Ope! That labored, or at the least labored for about 10 seconds. The infotainment display screen mentioned “Android booting…” and stayed regular for a number of seconds, after which it (and the gauge cluster’s Google Maps) flickered on and off for the following half-hour.

I sat on the facet of the highway for the following 20 minutes, skimming by means of Lyriq boards and Reddit posts, hoping there was a fast repair and I may get again on the highway. The consensus is that if the reset didn’t work, many Lyriq infotainment issues have been fastened when the car goes into “deep sleep,” turning off lots of its sophisticated laptop modules. This is able to contain strolling away from a locked car for at the least 5 minutes, one thing that wasn’t potential or protected to do on a busy freeway.

I contemplated turning round and calling it quits. Nonetheless, I would wish to DC quick cost anyway to get dwelling, and I used to be so near my first DC quick charging cease. It simply made extra sense to proceed. The reset had additionally eliminated the instructions I wanted to get to the Gallipolis quick charging station. So as to add insult to damage, there was no solution to enter instructions once more as a result of the principle infotainment display screen wasn’t working. I unexpectedly plugged the tackle into my cellphone, and perched the cellphone close to the vents, navigating to the DC quick charging stations through the tiny display screen of my previous iPhone.

Blazer EV Trip 4

After I arrived in Gallipolis, I plugged into the ChargePoint branded station. I obtained my cellphone out and began making calls and sending texts, it was time to tell each Editor-in-Chief Patrick George and Chevrolet themselves what was happening with the automobile. Patrick and I attempted to determine our subsequent plan of action through a cellphone name, however earlier than we may nail down a plan, a GM consultant gave me a hoop. It appeared that the act of utilizing name ready shocked the infotainment again to life.

All of a sudden, all the things was working once more. As soon as once more satisfied this was a easy bizarre one-off, all of us agreed that it was most likely the perfect plan of action simply to press on. 

And for a short time, it was wonderful. I left Gallipolis, stopping in Charleston, West Virginia for a espresso and to get some petty money for the West Virginia Turnpike tolls. I left Charleston and saved driving from there. I had pushed greater than two and a half hours away from Gallipolis earlier than the infotainment display screen died once more in the identical method because it had earlier than; full with flashing for 20 minutes, then lastly selecting a clean display screen.

I had form of reached the purpose of no return right here. I had pushed too far to backtrack to Ohio. I used to be solely about 40 minutes away from my second (and final) DC fast-charging cease in Wytheville. The automobile was performing wonderful mechanically. I didn’t have any drivability points. It simply was a crappy infotainment resolution that wasn’t working appropriately—annoying, and one thing I deliberate to report on, however not inherently a dealbreaker.

It made extra sense to maintain urgent onward, particularly for the reason that quick roads, chilly temperatures, and steep terrain had taken its toll on the vary. I needed to cost in Wytheville. I didn’t have a selection.

Then It All Goes To Hell

With a non-working infotainment display screen and a remaining vary of about 50 miles, I rolled into the Electrify America station in Wytheville and plugged in between Lucid Air and Mercedes-Benz EQS. I hooked into the 350 KW+ charger and the Blazer EV began charging, capturing up 104 kW inside the first few seconds. 

Blazer EV Trip 3

“All proper, that is nice,” I assumed to myself. The EA station was subsequent to some quick meals joints, so I figured by the point I used to be executed consuming, the Blazer EV could be almost executed charging and I’d be good to go. I began to assemble my issues to stroll to the Bojangles overlooking the charging station. However earlier than I may stroll away, I obtained a notification on my cellphone.

Electrify America mentioned the automobile had accomplished charging. That was odd, I assumed. 

“It’s most likely just a few EA nonsense,” I mentioned to myself. Electrify America chargers will be finicky, they’ve executed this to me earlier than on different makes and fashions, randomly disconnecting in the midst of a superbly good cost. With out re-entering the automobile, I unplugged and re-plugged the Blazer EV. The charging restarted, however Electrify America mentioned the Blazer EV would solely draw 3 to five kW. Unusual, however I used to be hungry. I figured the Blazer EV would ramp up velocity later, so I walked away to get lunch.

All through my 20-minute lunch, the Blazer EV by no means crested greater than 5 kW. I marched downhill again to the charging station, figuring it was extra EA issues. Within the meantime, the EQS had completed charging and left the station, leaving his presumably working charging station all prepared for the Blazer EV.

I pressed “Cease Charging” on the now-working infotainment system (accepting an incoming name made the display screen work once more!), after which depressed the brake to start out the automobile, prepared to maneuver the Blazer EV one stall over to a greater working charger.

Earlier than I may transfer the automobile, I appeared down on the plethora of lights and messages in entrance of me. The automobile’s gauge cluster was lit up like a Christmas tree. “Service Car Quickly.” 

The Blazer’s EV’s electrical fault gentle, (a automobile with an exclamation level), a verify motor and verify battery warning, diminished energy (yellow turtle), and verify cost port lights have been all illuminated. Plugging into a unique charging station didn’t repair this both.

A glitchy infotainment is an ignorable downside, however now it was clear that this factor had a mechanical difficulty that goes deeper than Google Maps not working. The automobile wouldn’t cost quicker than 5 kW on a DC quick charger, which meant I couldn’t hope to get sufficient vary to make it to Raleigh in an inexpensive period of time.

Additionally, the quantity of hassle lights made me uncomfortable with charging in any respect or driving too far within the first place. I used to be now caught in Wytheville, VA, with a automobile that was as helpful as a brick.

My journey with the Blazer EV ended at 3:29 p.m., in Wytheville, Virginia, 28 hours after I obtained the automobile from Chevrolet. The automobile was left at Wytheville’s solely Chevrolet vendor, whereas I completed out my journey to Raleigh through the final unit the Wytheville Enterprise Automobile rental had: a 2021 Nissan Titan with 61,000 miles. Insult to damage, you may say.

Blazer EV Trip 11

An Unlucky Finish  

I’m not fairly positive what to say right here. The Blazer EV at the least did not catch hearth and burn to the bottom, nevertheless it didn’t move the real-world check we had deliberate. 

It’s not clear if the Blazer EV’s failure lies with the automobile itself, or the charging station; within the eyes of the common buyer Chevrolet is attempting to succeed in right here, that distinction could not matter a lot. 

Regardless, I’ve reached out to each GM and Electrify America to determine what the hell occurred. Each gained’t have solutions for some time, GM is bringing the automobile again to its Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan. EA can be analyzing what precisely occurred throughout my charging session.

GM did ship over an announcement on the incident, which says: “We’ve got discovered that there are present fluctuations throughout public DC quick chargers, with a small quantity which may exhibit greater than others. When fluctuations are extra excessive, sensors inside the car may even see that as a fault and scale back the speed of charging. We’ve got recognized the trigger and have addressed it in an upcoming software program replace that shall be obtainable quickly.  To make sure our clients have a seamless expertise, our group continues to work diligently with a number of charging firms to make sure compatibility with all our automobiles.”

Blazer EV Trip 2

However it’s no secret the Ultium platform’s launch is not going all that scorching. For starters, there are only a few of any of those vehicles on the roads, however the ones which might be on the highway appear to be plagued with issues. There’s a complete bugs and quibbles thread on the Cadillac Lyriq discussion board that’s approaching 100 pages. TFL’s GMC Hummer EV bricked whereas off-road, necessitating a tow again dwelling. Would the Blazer EV comply with within the footsteps of these two vehicles? If my expertise is something to go by, then the reply sadly may simply be sure.

This, clearly, is a fairly large black eye for GM. The Blazer EV and the GM Ultium platform are so integral to the way forward for GM, that for it to fail this manner is little question very embarrassing for the conglomerate. Nonetheless, we might be remiss if we didn’t inform you, the reader, precisely what occurred on this journey.

Within the meantime, I wish to know: Do you’ve got a Cadillac Lyriq or GMC Hummer? And even one of many few Blazer EVs which were bought thus far? Have you ever run into critical points whereas driving, charging, or utilizing your car? Let’s chat about it.

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