A long road trip in my VOLT this weekend got me thinking... - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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A long road trip in my VOLT this weekend got me thinking...

So this past Friday, a family member on my wife's side passed away. As a result, my wife had to flight out on short notice to the west coast, leaving me by myself with the kids...probably through the end of next week. As leave is it a premium, I would not be able to take that time off of work. Luckily, my mother in CT offered to watch the kids for me next week, so I was soon off on a 320 mile road trip to grandma's house (MD to CT).

During the long drive, I was thinking, "How would this trip have worked out in the Bolt?". I was hauling tail driving at 75 mph with heat on 72 for much of the trip, so if I had been in a Bolt, I would have definitely needed to stop for a charge somewhere. I took to Plugshare, and had it list only CCS charging stations within 6 miles of my route (no time to wait for L2 with 2 kids in the back at night!).

Here's what the map looks like after restricting to just CCS fast chargers:



Upon first glance, you would think "Wow! No problem finding a CCS station on my route!". But after some closer looking, there are actually only a handful of stations that would work out for me on a 1-stop trip to CT. The ideal station would be about 160 miles away, splitting the trip exactly in half. According to GM specs, I would be able to recoup 160 miles in 1 hour. Assuming the same conditions as my trip in my Volt, I figure after 160 miles driving @ 75 mph with the heat on, I would likely be at 20% SoC or less, so a 1 hour fast charge stop should be enough to make it the rest of the way. So I would need to charge at a station that was 160 miles away, give or take 20 miles. Here's a list of stations that would make the trip possible with just 1 stop:

  • EVgo station at a hotel near Philly - 2349 Marlton Pike W, Cherry Hill, NJ (123 miles away)
  • EVgo station at a Wyndham Hotel in NJ - 1111 NJ-73 Mt Laurel, NJ (126 miles away)
  • CP station at a Walmart in NJ - 2106 Mt Holly Rd, Burlington, NJ (136 miles away)
  • EVgo station at a Holiday Inn - 4 Tower Center Blvd E Brunswick, NJ (175 miles away)
There is another CP station a little further up the road from the one in Brusnwick, NJ, but it is 24 kW, so I'm basically ignoring that one. Perhaps as an emergency backup.

So basically, there is exactly 1 station that is in my "sweet spot" as far as location...that being the EVgo station in Brunswick, NJ. Even at 175 miles away, getting there with charge to spare traveling at 75 mph should not be an issue.....I think.

If I were to stop at any of the first 3 stations, that would likely require much more conservative driving the rest of the trip in order to make it to grandma's house without another stop. The minimum time a trip to CT would take is 6 hours, as I can make the trip non-stop in the Volt in 5 hours in ideal conditions.

Long distance travel in the Bolt is possible, but definitely much more planning is required than a car with a gas engine. Hopefully the I-95 CCS network gets built out more in the near future!

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Last edited by bro1999; 12-27-2016 at 10:33 AM.
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 10:52 AM
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I would actually plan a trip like this with two ~1/2 hour stops.
Charge rate tapers as the SOC rises, and CCS DCFC will only take the battery to 80-90% full. At that point, DCFC is no faster than L2.

And dropping your speed to 65 may actually make for a quicker trip. The longer time on the road could be more than offset by the reduced charging time.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DucRider View Post
I would actually plan a trip like this with two ~1/2 hour stops.
Charge rate tapers as the SOC rises, and CCS DCFC will only take the battery to 80-90% full. At that point, DCFC is no faster than L2.

And dropping your speed to 65 may actually make for a quicker trip. The longer time on the road could be more than offset by the reduced charging time.
Unfortunately there is no station that is around 120 miles away. There is a CCS station in NE MD that is 67 miles from my house....but stopping there would really not help me too much. I would probably arrive there with 70% or higher SoC, making a fast charge stop almost pointless.

If I wanted to really push it, there is a CCS station 196 miles away (160 Frontage Road, Newark, NJ)...then a 1 hour stop (or less) would give me enough juice for the rest of the trip. That'd be cutting it close in the winter though.

I'm really hoping they aren't still building 24 kW stations....those things are next to useless for the Bolt as far as long distance travel goes.

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 12:07 PM
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Why would you attempt such a trip in anything but a rental car, no matter what type of car you have? Suppose something goes wrong with the car. It could be a mechanical failure, or even an accident. Then you are stuck trying to deal with that, while caring for your children, at night, as much as 160 miles from either endpoint. You will need to arrange for transportation while your car is being repaired and get back there to pick it up when it is fixed.

Rent a car. If something goes wrong, call rental company. They will bring you another car and you are finished dealing with it. Yes, it costs a little more, but as an insurance policy, it is worth it.

You would also be driving a car designed for the task. If you have to replace a section of concrete in the sidewalk in front of your house, do you chip out the old section with a hammer and screw driver, or do you rent a jack hammer? Use the right tool for the job.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Why would you attempt such a trip in anything but a rental car, no matter what type of car you have? Suppose something goes wrong with the car. It could be a mechanical failure, or even an accident. Then you are stuck trying to deal with that, while caring for your children, at night, as much as 160 miles from either endpoint. You will need to arrange for transportation while your car is being repaired and get back there to pick it up when it is fixed.

Rent a car. If something goes wrong, call rental company. They will bring you another car and you are finished dealing with it. Yes, it costs a little more, but as an insurance policy, it is worth it.

You would also be driving a car designed for the task. If you have to replace a section of concrete in the sidewalk in front of your house, do you chip out the old section with a hammer and screw driver, or do you rent a jack hammer? Use the right tool for the job.
Because a rental car is immune to mechanical failure, flat tires, and accidents, right? Because the rental companies have this "guaranteed accident free, mechanical problem free, flat tire free" coverage they can offer. *rolleyes*

Anyways, I also have a VOLT I can use if I am traveling to middle of nowhere areas with 0 CCS infrastructure. Not like I don't have options. But your argument for a rental car is ridiculous.

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Last edited by bro1999; 12-27-2016 at 12:14 PM.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 01:14 PM
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Rent a car. If something goes wrong, call rental company.
Yeah, right.

For the rather small chance of there being a problem serious enough to prevent you from continuing, it's just as easy to call a taxi to the nearest rental place. And 99% of the time you won't have the hassle of dealing with the rental company or an unfamiliar car.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 01:30 PM
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But your argument for a rental car is ridiculous.
You may disagree with the rental car idea, but dismissing it out-of-hand is "ridiculous." I usually rent a car for long trips. My corporate rate is very reasonable and includes LDW, and I have AAA. I prefer to put hundreds of miles on some else's car, rather than mine.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DucRider View Post
I would actually plan a trip like this with two ~1/2 hour stops.
Charge rate tapers as the SOC rises, and CCS DCFC will only take the battery to 80-90% full. At that point, DCFC is no faster than L2.

And dropping your speed to 65 may actually make for a quicker trip. The longer time on the road could be more than offset by the reduced charging time.
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Originally Posted by bro1999 View Post
Unfortunately there is no station that is around 120 miles away. There is a CCS station in NE MD that is 67 miles from my house....but stopping there would really not help me too much. I would probably arrive there with 70% or higher SoC, making a fast charge stop almost pointless.

If I wanted to really push it, there is a CCS station 196 miles away (160 Frontage Road, Newark, NJ)...then a 1 hour stop (or less) would give me enough juice for the rest of the trip. That'd be cutting it close in the winter though.

I'm really hoping they aren't still building 24 kW stations....those things are next to useless for the Bolt as far as long distance travel goes.
I put your trip into my Bolt EV trip model and the results might be insightful. My fast charging and energy consumption models are still awaiting real-world user data for validation, but I think they're pretty close.

A first stop in Brunswick at 175 mi is too far. My model says you'd just barely make it traveling 75 mph (3% SoC remaining). This is far too close for comfort, especially with kids.

A two-stop trip is necessary. I did it two different ways. The total trip duration was virtually the same using either set of stops:
> EVgo @ Cherry Hill (123 mi) then Ramada @ Newark (196 mi)
> CP Station @ Burlington (136 mi) then Tazza Cafe @ Katonah (254 mi)

At a constant 75 mph, it takes 343 min or 5.7 hrs
> 257 min driving
> 86 min charging

At a constant 65 mph, it takes 352 min or 5.9 hrs
> 296 min driving
> 56 min charging
> 9 minutes slower than at 75 mph

The graphs are of the trip with the Burlington and Katonah stops.

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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 03:07 PM
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Here's my take-away from this trip analysis, and a few others I've done over similar ranges, to optimize trip planning in the Bolt EV:

- The total trip durations do not vary considerably between 65 and 75 mph. Slowing down by 5-10 mph to make a longer leg (to get to a preferable charging station) only costs a few minutes of trip time.
- Intermediate charging stops should end near 70% SoC to avoid charge tapering.
- First leg should be between 125-165 miles
- Second and subsequent legs should be between 100-125 miles

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Last edited by Zoomit; 12-27-2016 at 03:10 PM.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 03:10 PM
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If I get my car before Friday I plan on taking it on a ~800 mile trip, I can send you my driving and charging data for your model if you want. Just let me know what to collect.
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