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Almost ended up stranded - Lesson Learned

15809 Views 43 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  sundog
I've only had my 2018 Bolt for about 2 weeks and decided to take my first long distance trip in the winter. Round trip 253 miles (123 downhill, 130 uphill). Given the recall I could only charge to 88% on Hilltop Reserve. Arrived after first leg with 77 miles of range left on the GoM. I had planned a quick DC charge about 40 miles away on my way back. Turns out the charger was out of service and I only had 40 miles of range to find a charger in the middle of nowhere. The closest level 2 charger was 38 miles away! At around 15 mile range the meter goes orange and beeps at you. At around 10 miles it changes and simply says LOW while flashing with frequent notifications to charge soon. I'm assuming around 5 miles it gave me a message that Propultion power has been reduced. Anxiety at level 10! I arrived to the charging station running on fumes and contemplating if I would ever do a long distance trip again. I had to charge for 2.5 hours to give me enough to get home. I was already driving like a granny to get the most range but my inexperience taught me several things.
1. Plan for redundancies in case of charger failure.
2. Drive between 50-60 mph max on highway
3. Don't use L on the highway (forgot and left it on during my second leg)
This experience has not deterred me from long distance trips but will make sure to better plan ahead.
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Slower driving definitely saves energy. But the saving is less in winter due to the high energy needed for climate control. My rule of thumb; 10% change in speed, 15% saving in summer, 5% in winter.

Going faster almost always arrived sooner. But the saving in time gets offset significantly by bolt's mediocre DCFC charging speed, especially so in Winter. My rule of thumb; 10% change in speed, 5% time saving in Summer, 3% in Winter.

I always go slow if I don't have to go fast. If time is critical, I ditch EV. Road trip in EV is a sort of luxury that I need to be able to afford.


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