First long distance trip help - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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First long distance trip help

I've had my 2019 Bolt for 6 months and sadly have barely gone out of the city.
This weekend want to make a loop from Lexington KY to Ann Arbor Michigan Friday Night, Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo Michigan on Sunday Morning and Kalamazoo to Lexington Kentucky Sunday evening.

1) Lexington to Ann Arbor:
Using Energy Assist I've gotten two plans. One stops in West Chester Ohio as a single stop, the other stops twice; once at Univ Cinci and second at Univ Toledo.

My plan is to stop at West Chester and to be on the safe side, again somewhere in Toledo; I don't trust being down to 11% on arrival.
In Toledo, I can stop at Univ Toledo but that takes me quite a ways off of the road. Another alternative is the Dave White Chevy dealership right off the highway.
I realize I won't be getting the charging current I would at the Univ of Todeo but I wonder if that will be made up for by spending less time off the desired path?

In Ann Arbor I will have several Level 2 options and time so should be able to leave Ann Arbor at 100%.

2) Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo
Should be no problem distance and charge wise.
In Kalamazoo there is a ChargePoint Level 2 charger within walking distance of where I will be visiting for the day.
Also, a Jag dealership Level 3 charger and Sams Club with a Level 3 nearby.
Should be able to leave here fully charged.

3) Kalamazoo to Lexington, KY
This is where I am having problems.
The closest Level 3 is on the outskirts of Indianapolis at Rickers (Greenlots) which is 212 miles
There is a Chevy dealer in Fort Wayne but it is closed on Sunday.
I could go back to Toledo and charge at Univ Toledo then back down I-75.
I could stop at a Level 2 charger along the way when I am low to get a little boost.

Any comments on the above? Suggestions appreciated.

Also, does the Chevy App take into account road conditions (i.e. hills) and is it assuming I'm driving the speed limit?
Also, I was planning on driving 65mph (or less depending upon max).
I've read the discussions of speed vs. efficiency but it worries me driving 10mph below speed limit from safety standpoint.

Thanks in advance for input.
I realize I could drive my ICE but I really don't want to.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:45 PM
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The Energy Assist app is really good at estimating how much battery it'll take to get from A to B. It does take into account conditions (which can mean that you'll get different answers depending on when you ask it about the route).

It's okay at figuring chargers, but not great. It is often wrong about charging speed (guesses low), and doesn't always pick the best chargers, and doesn't know about some chargers.

The website abetterrouteplanner.com is also a good resource and has a pretty good model for the Bolt's energy use. It'll tell you if for some reason there it would help to drive more slowly.

For both of these sites, it's good to check out the chargers they suggest on plugshare.com. Good questions are “are there two chargers at this site” (less chance of being blocked or needing to wait) and what the overall reliability rating is. You can also look through the photos and check-ins to see if you can figure out the actual charging speed (e.g., is it 100A or 125A).

It's good if you also have a nearby backup charger.

In general, unless you're doing a crazy trip with huge distances between chargers, don't drive slow. You goal is to arrive at the charger with a low battery, not a half-full battery.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:52 PM
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In terms of traffic safety, if you need to go slow for a portion of the trip then getting in among the trucks moving at constant 63 mph will make the trip less 'eventful'.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 06:27 PM
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1) I would charge at the Walmart in Cincinnati, charge for about 1.5 hours and then charge again at University of Toledo for half an hour. Total trip time with charging 7.5 to 8 hours.

2) Agree, if you get a charge in Ann Arbor the trip to Kalamazoo is an easy leg.

3) Leave Kalamazoo with a full charge and go to University of Toledo, charge for about 2 hours and drive to the Walmart in Cincinnati, charge there for half an hour and drive home to Lexington. Total trip time with charging around 10 hours.

Keith

PS: I used plugshare and my own experiences driving long trips for this planning.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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ABRP suggests returning through Ft. Wayne. I called the Porsche dealership and they assured me their charger should be working on Sunday.
On the other hand there are no other Level 3 chargers along that route.

Why would you not return through Ft.Wayne?

Thanks

Addendum 1: I think I see the issue. ABRP has the Porsche site listed as a 50kW Level 3 while PlugShare has it as a J-1772. I will call the dealership this morning to clarify.

Addendum 2: Of course no one at the dealership seems to know anything about the charger. I was told it was "240V and you needed a password that you get if you buy the car at their dealership". So I guess that is out! I might stop there sometime when I am passing through (in the ICE car) and clarify.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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The first leg of my trip went about as predicted by the planning tool.
Except the first leg (Lexington to West Chester) My efficiency was better than predicted 4.7 mi/kWh.
However, the next leg was worse (4.2 mi/kWh) even though the terrain was much flatter and I was going about 8mph slower.
Is it possible the ambient temperature (it dropped from about 85 degrees to 70 degrees) had that much impact?

Next is the Kalamazoo leg which brings up a question: I will be there about 6 hours. I have a Level 2 charger within walking distance (free) and a level 3 across town (costs). Is it better to FC for a while first then top it off with the Level 2 charger or the other way around?
I need to have a pretty high SOC when I head out.

In other words, which is more efficient at charging at a high SOC, the Level 2 or 3?
Maybe this is a stupid question but it seems the rate of charge at high SOC's is so low they both are effectively the same?

Thanks for educating me.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 11:58 PM
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Is it better to FC for a while first then top it off with the Level 2 charger or the other way around?
I need to have a pretty high SOC when I head out.

In other words, which is more efficient at charging at a high SOC, the Level 2 or 3?
Maybe this is a stupid question but it seems the rate of charge at high SOC's is so low they both are effectively the same?

Thanks for educating me.
You will avoid as much tapering as possible by doing the DC fast charge first with the lowest state of charge of the battery. Like you mentioned, at high states of charge the level 2 is almost the same as the DC fast charge.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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So, back from my weekend trip. I learned a lot.
Went about 1,000 miles between Friday and Sunday.

What I learned:
1) It took a lot longer than I expected/was predicted by the ABRP. This was probably due to several factors.
2) I wasn't comfortable with having only 10% left at the destination; this meant I was repeatedly charging at a higher SOC which slowed things down. I tried to have 50mi left on arrival - that's like 20%. Now that I have done this once, I should be more comfortable with a lower SOC
3) Trust but verify; seemed like every Greenlots site is down in Ohio and Ind
4) Those Electrify America sites are great but at every stop several computers were flaky
5) I don't mind driving at the speed limit but dislike driving more slowly
6) Still cost a lot - about $87 for charges. My ICE car would have cost about $120 for gas
7) Until more stations are put in between Kalamazoo Mi and Lexington KY, there is no easy way to go between those cities
8) Loved Apple CarPlay - hadn't used it before this trip
9) Keeping a back window cracked seemed to keep cabin humidity down enough to avoid having to turn on the defrost; a big issue as I hit a lot of rain and high humidity on my 186mi slog.
10) Having the charging sites made me think more positively about Walmart and Sams Club (although all they did was give up a few parking spaces). Having the charging stations out of commission made me think less positively about Rickers.
11) The 25kW Level 3 charges are better than nothing but kind of suck. I think every Chevy dealer should have a 50kW available 24hr/day

Several questions:
1) Why are the charging cables so short on the Electrify America sites? It's OK if you park parallel to the station, but for those bays where they expect you to park at a 90% angle, it almost didn't reach. I think they have made an error.
2) Who/what vehicle benefits from those 350Kw units that Electrify America has? Is that just for future vehicles or Tesla?

When the station in Huber Heights opens (Dayton OH), I think my trip to Ann Arbor will be reasonable and something I can sell to my wife.
On the other hand, getting to Kalamazoo will be something that I will have to do on my own until more sites come on line.

Thanks for everyones help
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 09:01 AM
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Several questions:
1) Why are the charging cables so short on the Electrify America sites? It's OK if you park parallel to the station, but for those bays where they expect you to park at a 90% angle, it almost didn't reach. I think they have made an error.
2) Who/what vehicle benefits from those 350Kw units that Electrify America has? Is that just for future vehicles or Tesla?
Congratulations on a successful (and educational) trip! I hope you had fun with your car.

To answer your questions:
1) EA cables are liquid cooled. Because of this, they are short to keep the cost/weight down.
2) Porche will be the first to use the 350kW chargers with their Taycan, due out later this year.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 09:32 AM
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2) Porsche will be the first to use the 350kW chargers with their Taycan, due out later this year.
The Porsche Taycan will be the only 800 volt car for now. As for the rest of VW's EVs, they say they will not be selling their "affordable" EV's in North America. Those will be focused on Europe, and Asia. The point of the Taycan appears to be to give them a halo in the US to excuse continued ICE sales.
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