About to make my first road trip - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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About to make my first road trip

The time has arrived to make my first road trip. We are doing the trip from Pittsburgh to Philly today and I had thought about taking the turnpike but the gap in the middle has me a bit scared since it is 185 miles until the next rapid charger. I may have to take the other routes where there are chargers around. Thank goodness for plugshare!
Wish me luck!
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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 04:27 PM
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I've written a fair amount on planning for and taking road trips on this and other forums and on my web site. Planning is key and having alternative routes and stations where possible.


Let us know how you fare. I know someone at PennDOT and I've been complaining to him that PA is woefully behind most other states.


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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jms View Post
The time has arrived to make my first road trip. We are doing the trip from Pittsburgh to Philly today and I had thought about taking the turnpike but the gap in the middle has me a bit scared since it is 185 miles until the next rapid charger. I may have to take the other routes where there are chargers around. Thank goodness for plugshare!
Wish me luck!
If the gap is on a full battery, it might not so bad. My typical first stop out on 70 to 75 mph freeway is between 180 and 200 miles.

If it's between two DCFC charge ups, that could be annoying. While you technically could charge up to full on a DCFC, I'd avoid it if possible. It simply takes too long, and it typically ends up being more expensive. Unless I have no other choice, I try to limit my gaps between DCFC to no more than about 160 miles, which I feel fairly comfortable doing with about 80 to 85% battery.

Of course, I'd be curious which route you're talking about taking. The longest gap I see between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is 150 to 160 miles (along I-76), and though it's not open yet, there's a charging station going in at about the halfway point.
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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 05:17 PM
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good luck and have fun! should be a good first road trip EV adventure...
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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jms View Post
The time has arrived to make my first road trip. We are doing the trip from Pittsburgh to Philly today and I had thought about taking the turnpike but the gap in the middle has me a bit scared since it is 185 miles until the next rapid charger. I may have to take the other routes where there are chargers around. Thank goodness for plugshare!
Wish me luck!
Good luck to you! I just completed my first trip in an EV...about 810 miles round trip. One thing I learned was to pay attention to the trend bar on the far left. That is the key to knowing the rate of energy consumption. I started off with a full battery, 175 miles to my first stop and a 235 mile range estimate. After driving a ways at 70 mph into a strong wind and climbing elevation, the yellow downward trend bar dropped all the way to the bottom, meaning I was eating up more range than miles. I had to drop my speed to 65 and even 60 mph at times to reign the trend bar back in. So from the original 60 mile buffer, I made it with about 25 miles left. So a good estimate with a lot of highway driving is like what the previous post said, 180 to 200 miles. Since I'm new to this I built in a 35 mile buffer, but as I get better I will reduce this to reduce the cost and time at the EA stations.

Another major thing I figured out for the trip back is to always stop the charge with the "Stop" button at the top of the Energy display. This way, the charging cable unlocks from the vehicle almost immediately. Don't let it get to the "Target Charging Level" and turn off automatically. It does not unlock the cable immediately and leaves you wondering whether you're going to get the cable off. Use the "Target Charging Level" as a guide as to how much longer it will take to charge to your desired range to the next stop.
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Last edited by supertstorm; 04-12-2019 at 06:09 PM.
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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 07:27 PM
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Good luck to you! I just completed my first trip in an EV...about 810 miles round trip. One thing I learned was to pay attention to the trend bar on the far left. That is the key to knowing the rate of energy consumption. I started off with a full battery, 175 miles to my first stop and a 235 mile range estimate. After driving a ways at 70 mph into a strong wind and climbing elevation, the yellow downward trend bar dropped all the way to the bottom, meaning I was eating up more range than miles. I had to drop my speed to 65 and even 60 mph at times to reign the trend bar back in. So from the original 60 mile buffer, I made it with about 25 miles left. So a good estimate with a lot of highway driving is like what the previous post said, 180 to 200 miles. Since I'm new to this I built in a 35 mile buffer, but as I get better I will reduce this to reduce the cost and time at the EA stations.
This is something I would really want most EV owners to know at this point: Your range estimate can vary greatly based on conditions, speed, and topography, so be ready to adjust your driving style if necessary. Tesla is probably the best at this with their trip planning software, and occasionally, the car will actually instruct the driver to slow to a certain speed in order to make it to the next charger/stop.
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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 08:23 PM
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One thing I learned was to pay attention to the trend bar on the far left. That is the key to knowing the rate of energy consumption.
Actually, I'd recommend installing the myChevrolet app on your phone and using the “Energy Assist” feature in association with CarPlay/Android Auto.

It will tell you what your estimated battery percent will be at your destination which can alleviate anxiety, especially as compared with watching the trend bar. With the trend bar, if you go up a hill, the car will think the worst imagining the hill goes on forever, whereas the app, which knows you'll be heading down the other side, won't be worried.
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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 10:20 PM
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Actually, I'd recommend installing the myChevrolet app on your phone and using the “Energy Assist” feature in association with CarPlay/Android Auto.

It will tell you what your estimated battery percent will be at your destination which can alleviate anxiety, especially as compared with watching the trend bar. With the trend bar, if you go up a hill, the car will think the worst imagining the hill goes on forever, whereas the app, which knows you'll be heading down the other side, won't be worried.
I have found the Energy Assist app to be very quirky. In fact, right now it is plotting my vehicle in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. Obviously not a big help when it plots my vehicle in the wrong place. However, I will try it the next time I travel per your suggestion, or at least practice using it.

I still believe the trend bar has valuable info to use. No, not the short term ups and downs over hills. In fact, a shorter yellow downward trend bar (generally 1/2 way or less) is usually no problem at all if you have a built in buffer or are closing in on your destination. Yes, you are eating more range than miles, but at a slow enough pace to manage. When the downward trend bar extends 3/4 to all the way down, range is going down at a much quicker pace than the miles to stop/destination. At this point, an adjustment will likely be needed soon to speed to reign it back in, especially if you are farther away from the stop/destination.

I found that starting off at 65 mph on the highway after my first stop worked really well. When the trend bar showed green, I increased my speed. Eventually, I was able to travel 70-75 mph with no issues as conditions (wind, elevation) improved. On the turnpike in OK, I traveled 75-78 mph with a generally short yellow downward trend bar...ie no issues.

By the way, I definitely agree that Android Auto using Google Maps is essential to use to assist with range management.
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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by supertstorm View Post
I have found the Energy Assist app to be very quirky. In fact, right now it is plotting my vehicle in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. Obviously not a big help when it plots my vehicle in the wrong place. However, I will try it the next time I travel per your suggestion, or at least practice using it.

I still believe the trend bar has valuable info to use. No, not the short term ups and downs over hills. In fact, a shorter yellow downward trend bar (generally 1/2 way or less) is usually no problem at all if you have a built in buffer or are closing in on your destination. Yes, you are eating more range than miles, but at a slow enough pace to manage. When the downward trend bar extends 3/4 to all the way down, range is going down at a much quicker pace than the miles to stop/destination. At this point, an adjustment will likely be needed soon to speed to reign it back in, especially if you are farther away from the stop/destination.

I found that starting off at 65 mph on the highway after my first stop worked really well. When the trend bar showed green, I increased my speed. Eventually, I was able to travel 70-75 mph with no issues as conditions (wind, elevation) improved. On the turnpike in OK, I traveled 75-78 mph with a generally short yellow downward trend bar...ie no issues.

By the way, I definitely agree that Android Auto using Google Maps is essential to use to assist with range management.

Your phone's GPS is telling the app that you are at the default location when a GPS signal is not found:

0°0'0"N 0°0'0"E
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 10:49 PM
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Your phone's GPS is telling the app that you are at the default location when a GPS signal is not found:

0°0'0"N 0°0'0"E
That explains it. Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully it will work better out on the road.
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