chevy boltThe 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV PremierMark Matousek / Business Insider

  • I drove a Chevrolet Bolt EV for a weekend at the end of July.
  • The version I drove cost $43,905. The base price for the Bolt’s standard trim is $37,495.
  • It was the first time I’d driven an electric vehicle in real-world conditions for more than an hour.
  • I was impressed with the Bolt’s ride quality, acceleration, handling, and driver assistance features.
  • But when I tried to charge the vehicle, I realized the limitations of our current charging infrastructure.

When General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt EV was released in late 2016, it was billed as the car that would take electric vehicles mainstream.

One of the biggest obstacles to widespread electric vehicle adoption has been range anxiety. If an electric car can’t handle a commute to work and a couple of errands without approaching an empty battery, it’s difficult for consumers to rely on it as an everyday vehicle. With a $37,495 price tag (before a $7,500 tax credit) and 238-mile range, the Bolt was the first non-luxury electric vehicle to allow for over 200 miles of driving per charge, beating Tesla’s Model 3 to market by seven months. (Though Tesla has yet to deliver the $35,000 base version of the vehicle.)

But the Bolt was more than a PR stunt. Car reviewers praised the vehicle, with Business Insider’s Matthew DeBord calling it a “masterpiece” and Motor Trend naming it the best car of 2017. I spent a weekend with the Bolt in July — my first experience driving an electric vehicle in real-world conditions for more than an hour — and understood the hype.

But during my weekend with the vehicle, it became clear that range is not the final challenge electric vehicles face before they can begin to take a significant share of the auto market. (EVs currently account for around 1% of global auto sales.) Because, unless you have the ability to charge an EV at your home, apartment, or workplace, using one as your primary vehicle can create significant challenges. And even if you do have frequent, convenient access to a charger, taking a road trip, particularly if you don’t own a Tesla, presents serious logistical challenges.

Here’s what I thought about my first extended trial with an electric vehicle.