Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner

1 - 20 of 62 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
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.


Paul in California
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,316 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,357 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I've been driving EV since 2012 so I'm no stranger to "conditions greatly affect range". With the mountains there's not much I can do with the trend bar. It's going full yellow since I have to get up that hill. I didn't experience any issues with unplugging but I think that's because I am in the habit of stopping it at the charger since my Leaf wouldn't unlock the handle until the charger stopped sending power. So I wasn't even paying attention to that.

The station in Carlisle is 185 miles from Pittsburgh and therefore I considered it to be out of range. If the new station comes online then the route becomes viable in my opinion. In addition the turnpike is ridiculously priced so I chose Route 22 to 99 to 30. There were many more options in case there was an inability to charge. I found a Sheetz that was off network and as a result was free. I charged to 90% there. Then in Harrisburg there's a Chevy dealership that is free but the DCFC was slow. I spent an hour there and picked up 19kw. Then I continued on to my hotel arriving with ~40 miles. The mountains definitely took their toll and while regen is great it's not a 1 for 1 comparison. The rain also took it's toll as well as the lower temperature overnight and in the mountains. I was conservative on speed and generally followed the limits. If I am remembering it correctly I used 86kw and drove 309 miles.

The experience wasn't unpleasant but I did add 3 hours over the normal turnpike trip. 2 for charging and 1 for route selection. The huge upside to my choices is that I managed to drive completely across the state for $0. So that's a big win. The Bolt is very capable as a road trip vehicle if you are willing to spend a little extra time.

The only downside I had is when I got to the hotel and a BMW 550e hybrid had the charging station and had finished but was still plugged in. Fun fact, BMW locks the evse cable automatically and doesn't release it. I understand it's due to the trend in Europe that the cable belongs to the car and they plug into the EVSE as a separate unit. I had to google how to defeat it so I could unplug them since I was really low. In fact I'm still charging from last night.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
Thanks for the trip report and thanks for that tidbit about the car locking the cable because of theft in Europe.


The etiquette here is to turn that default off so you can unplug the vehicle when it's finished charging if you can't reach the owner. Obviously the Beemer driver didn't know this--or doesn't care. ;)


Paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
I've been driving EV since 2012 so I'm no stranger to "conditions greatly affect range". With the mountains there's not much I can do with the trend bar. It's going full yellow since I have to get up that hill. I didn't experience any issues with unplugging but I think that's because I am in the habit of stopping it at the charger since my Leaf wouldn't unlock the handle until the charger stopped sending power. So I wasn't even paying attention to that.

The station in Carlisle is 185 miles from Pittsburgh and therefore I considered it to be out of range. If the new station comes online then the route becomes viable in my opinion. In addition the turnpike is ridiculously priced so I chose Route 22 to 99 to 30. There were many more options in case there was an inability to charge. I found a Sheetz that was off network and as a result was free. I charged to 90% there. Then in Harrisburg there's a Chevy dealership that is free but the DCFC was slow. I spent an hour there and picked up 19kw. Then I continued on to my hotel arriving with ~40 miles. The mountains definitely took their toll and while regen is great it's not a 1 for 1 comparison. The rain also took it's toll as well as the lower temperature overnight and in the mountains. I was conservative on speed and generally followed the limits. If I am remembering it correctly I used 86kw and drove 309 miles.

The experience wasn't unpleasant but I did add 3 hours over the normal turnpike trip. 2 for charging and 1 for route selection. The huge upside to my choices is that I managed to drive completely across the state for $0. So that's a big win. The Bolt is very capable as a road trip vehicle if you are willing to spend a little extra time.

The only downside I had is when I got to the hotel and a BMW 550e hybrid had the charging station and had finished but was still plugged in. Fun fact, BMW locks the evse cable automatically and doesn't release it. I understand it's due to the trend in Europe that the cable belongs to the car and they plug into the EVSE as a separate unit. I had to google how to defeat it so I could unplug them since I was really low. In fact I'm still charging from last night.
Thanks for this. I'm making this same trip in the opposite direction later this year. So this is helpful.

I'm planning a trip from Eastern PA to Northern Vermont in June. The NYS Thruway has quite a few DCFC stations- hope they are not too crowded. There's also an EVGo station in Middlebury VT that I will need to use.

If that trip goes well, I am planning to drive my Bolt from Eastern PA to Chicago in August, along the Route 80 corridor. At the moment, that trip looks tuffer as far as charging.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
The station in Carlisle is 185 miles from Pittsburgh and therefore I considered it to be out of range. If the new station comes online then the route becomes viable in my opinion. In addition the turnpike is ridiculously priced so I chose Route 22 to 99 to 30.
I know I have a different risk appetite than most, but 185 miles is well within my comfort zone on a full battery (not withstanding certain weather conditions and elevation increases). Luckily, I don't have much experience with toll roads, so I don't know how much motivation you have to avoid them.

Even without the toll road, in your position, I probably would have taken 30 to 76, on to Carlisle, which apparently saves about 5 to 10 miles (~180 miles, which again, for me is totally safe on a full battery).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
(~180 miles, which again, for me is totally safe on a full battery).
I agree 180 miles is perfectly safe on a full battery, but without stopping for an inordinate amount of time, you cannot get a full battery, and 180 miles is not doable on 60% battery (which is already a long stop at 30 minutes from 15% battery 40 minutes if 5%).

I'd happily do 130 miles on 60% battery, so that represents the max interval between stations. Adding 40 minutes every 130 miles kills travel times. I will drive the Bolt to Vegas (one stop for me) but that represents the only practical road trip in the Bolt (~300 miles). Because you can start with a full battery, a one stop trip is perfectly viable, but as soon as you have to recharge more than once you drop to the "40 minutes every 130 miles" mode which makes it impractical vs other vehicles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
I agree 180 miles is perfectly safe on a full battery, but without stopping for an inordinate amount of time, you cannot get a full battery, and 180 miles is not doable on 60% battery (which is already a long stop at 30 minutes from 15% battery 40 minutes if 5%).
I think in his case, he was starting in Pittsburgh with a full battery. The return trip would be different, of course.

I'd happily do 130 miles on 60% battery, so that represents the max interval between stations. Adding 40 minutes every 130 miles kills travel times. I will drive the Bolt to Vegas (one stop for me) but that represents the only practical road trip in the Bolt (~300 miles). Because you can start with a full battery, a one stop trip is perfectly viable, but as soon as you have to recharge more than once you drop to the "40 minutes every 130 miles" mode which makes it impractical vs other vehicles.
I'd still say it depends. Again, different people have different appetites and values, but an hour and a half to two hours of sitting in a car is a long time for many people. Sure, maybe your typical leg stretch and bathroom break is only 15 minutes, and your meals are only 20 to 30 minutes. In that case, a 30 to 45 minute stop would feel like an inconvenience. However, the truth is, anything past 300 to 400 miles, if time is your primary concern, you should probably be flying.

In your case, your other car is a hydrogen fuel cell, so you have to the Bolt EV to Las Vegas (unless you rented a car). I'm in a similar boat. The Bolt EV is the only car I keep with me, so I have no choice what I drive for my regular 1,000+ mile round trips to Northern California and back. The way I look at it, the hours of time I save in my daily routines more than compensates for the extra 45 minutes of time I spend charging on my 500 mile trips north and 500 mile trips south.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
However, the truth is, anything past 300 to 400 miles, if time is your primary concern, you should probably be flying.
True, but currently flying still produces more emissions per passenger mile than driving alone in an EV although it isn't a big difference with a/c like the 787 (if it is a family vacation with 4 passengers then the EV wins by a wide margin). This will change as fuel cell electric aircraft are developed but the aviation industry moves slowly so the first large scale passenger aircraft is at least 10 years off (there are already light fuel cell electric aircraft that accommodate 4 passengers and have a range of 1,000 miles so the tech is proven viable).

https://www.thoughtco.com/flying-driving-which-better-for-environment-1203936

High speed rail, is of course the proper solution for long distance travel over land (I was just in Japan last month and rode the Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kyoto, and man, that is the way to travel).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
High speed rail, is of course the proper solution for long distance travel over land (I was just in Japan last month and rode the Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kyoto, and man, that is the way to travel).
Yes, but we can't really have a mobile work force in the United States. Imagine if someone living in Fresno could comfortably work in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. For god's sake, that would ruin everything we've been doing to keep the poor in line for the last 40 years.

I think you meant Philadelphia, he says "Eastern PA" and his location says "bucks county, PA" which is just north of Philadelphia
He said "Pittsburgh to Philly," which is why I thought he was talking about the eastbound route. The westbound trip would be more difficult until that Electrify America site goes live in Bedford.
 
1 - 20 of 62 Posts
Top