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Are you a "Topper" or a "Stopper" ?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been watching more and more YouTube videos on road trips (love these time suckers, amirite?) for EVs, and one thing that came up in my head is that people like Eric (of News Coulomb fame) prefer to stop more often to maximize their DCFC charge rates by stopping the charge when they get to the first or second taper point. I, on the other hand, prefer to stop as few times as possible, so I end up charging long after the taper, just to get the necessary charge to get to my ultimate destination. So a couple of questions came up in my head:

  • Has there been any scientific-ish experiments to prove whether one way or the other is more efficient? Should I be changing my charging habits?
  • If you've done many road trips with your Bolt EV, what's your preference?
 

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Are you assuming that there are a TON of DC chargers along your trip?
Many places don't have that many DC's to do that.
So I can't take your poll, but will say that I try to charge as far up as I can. As long as there isn't anyone else waiting.

I have learned in the 6 years in EV's that to charge as far up as you can because you never know when a DC is NOT working along your way. I also will swing by a DC along the way if I have time to try it out for a min or 2 to make sure it is working so I can make a post on PlugShare for others :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Are you assuming that there are a TON of DC chargers along your trip?
Many places don't have that many DC's to do that.
So I can't take your poll, but will say that I try to charge as far up as I can. As long as there isn't anyone else waiting.

I have learned in the 6 years in EV's that to charge as far up as you can because you never know when a DC is NOT working along your way. I also will swing by a DC along the way if I have time to try it out for a min or 2 to make sure it is working so I can make a post on PlugShare for others :)
Good point, hadn't thought of that. Being in Cali, I guess I'm spoiled. One time I was at an EVgo DCFC and knowing that there was a 45 min limit, I knew to walk out there to unplug when I got the 45 min warning. When I got there, another vehicle had pulled in next to mine, unplugged me, and started charging, in the 2 mins that it took me to walk across the lot to my car. My plan had been to charge for another 20 mins, but I was forced to move to another spot to do that (the other charger wasn't working with the app, so the driver didn't attempt to use a credit card, like I did, to enable the charger).
 

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Are you assuming that there are a TON of DC chargers along your trip?
Many places don't have that many DC's to do that.
So I can't take your poll, but will say that I try to charge as far up as I can. As long as there isn't anyone else waiting.

I have learned in the 6 years in EV's that to charge as far up as you can because you never know when a DC is NOT working along your way. I also will swing by a DC along the way if I have time to try it out for a min or 2 to make sure it is working so I can make a post on PlugShare for others :)
This is my experience too. I live in upstate NY, and travel NY and New England. There are a growing number of chargers, but they are still relatively sparse. And you never know for certain if a given charger will work until you are plugged in and charging. So I tend to top off with significant reserve, and stop before absolutely necessary.

As a result, my Bolt trips are sub-optimal. I spend a lot more time charging above the taper points than below them. As the infrastructure grows in number and reliability, trips will get better as I would prefer to be a "stopper" rather than a "topper".
 

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This is my experience too. I live in upstate NY, and travel NY and New England. There are a growing number of chargers, but they are still relatively sparse. And you never know for certain if a given charger will work until you are plugged in and charging. So I tend to top off with significant reserve, and stop before absolutely necessary.

As a result, my Bolt trips are sub-optimal. I spend a lot more time charging above the taper points than below them. As the infrastructure grows in number and reliability, trips will get better as I would prefer to be a "stopper" rather than a "topper".
yes I am in MA. I learned this with the i-MiEV that only has 60 miles but had DC. Folks lived on the Cape in Barnstable. From Burlington ma to there it was white knuckles as highway speeds killed it.
I learned to NEVER EVER take a Female Teenager on that trip because the outcome lasts for about a month ?. Forced me to take the Diesel Pickup back then - which I traded for the Bolt as I didn't need the ' distance truck ' anymore.
 

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There is another consideration and that is what other "useful" things can you do while charging. If you define "efficiency" as simply speed of charge, then getting SoC down to 10% and charging only enough to get you to the next available DCFC with 10% remaining (the "A Better Route Planner" algorithm) is best. From here in WV, ALL long-distance trips start with a long (150 - 220 mile) trip to the first DCFC. Some trip routes simply cannot be made without AC Level 2 charging, often an overnight stop. On our most recent trip north to Toledo, OH, we never spent one minute "waiting" for charging. The first leg was to Easton Gateway in Columbus, OH (170 miles). Eating and a little shopping (what they hope you will do in exchange for the free DCFC electrons) filled the entire 1 hr. 15 min. charging time. On to Toledo, we attended our Friday evening function, then charged {for free; with pre-arrangement} overnight at a Ford dealership within walking distance of our motel. Saturday saw some driving to the (wonderful!) Toledo Art Museum, lunch, and our Saturday evening function. Back at the motel, we AC Level 1 charged {free} overnight at an outdoor outlet (with permission). Sunday took us from Toledo to the Tanger outlet mall near Columbus for a 2 hour shopping/snack spree {with free AC Level 2 charging}. We then traveled on to Lancaster, OH where we visited their brand new DC Level 2 DCFC. We plugged in only long enough (50 minutes) to eat supper, then got back on the road. This was the only charge for which we paid, $15.64 for 32.004 kWh. Continuing home with no anxiety, we had simply worked charging into other needed activities (eating, sleeping, shopping) with NO minutes waiting to get enough charge to proceed. I am sure that many others apply these same principles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There is another consideration and that is what other "useful" things can you do while charging. If you define "efficiency" as simply speed of charge, then getting SoC down to 10% and charging only enough to get you to the next available DCFC with 10% remaining (the "A Better Route Planner" algorithm) is best.
I'd say yes, this question applies only to the charging activity. If you can roll a nice visit to a museum, coffee or dinner, then even better! But for the purposes of the poll, let's just say it's for charging only, to keep it simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
BTW, I forgot to add.
If I was going on a FAR trip outside of my state, I would just rent a Gas car. No worries, No having to try and 'plan' out a stop for shopping/eating and such.
This is for a trip to GET SOMEWHERE, not a sightseeing drive.
Even in Cali, for certain destinations, a gas car only makes sense. The way they've built the charging network here, it appears to favor only certain routes. US101 northbound from SF, or US395 for the most part, are examples of places lacking fast charging infrastructure.
 

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Even in Cali, for certain destinations, a gas car only makes sense. The way they've built the charging network here, it appears to favor only certain routes. US101 northbound from SF, or US395 for the most part, are examples of places lacking fast charging infrastructure.
Tesla's do quite good as well. Driving my Bolt long distances is very unsettling knowing if the two chargers are working, being used for parking, or occupied.
 

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Tesla's do quite good as well. Driving my Bolt long distances is very unsettling knowing if the two chargers are working, being used for parking, or occupied.
I am going to assume that this poll would be for the Bolt only since it is in the Bolt tech section, not tesla or any other EV
 

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Yeah, those YouTube videos really suck up the time...but I don't watch TV that much anymore, so...
I tend to stop when my battery is somewhere around 10-20% so that I get the max charge rate, and stop charging when it hits around 70%. DCFC (where I drive) charges by the minute, so it's best to maximize rate of charge. Sometimes I'll top up if I need extra electrons to make it to the next charger, but you guys in Cali don't have to worry about that.
 

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I've been watching more and more YouTube videos on road trips (love these time suckers, amirite?)
Not quite, Dave. A modest proposal to include all the Bolt universe, the poll needs more options; suggest:

3. We never road trip the Bolt.

This to the YouTube universe, not specifically at any members of this forum
4. We hate YouTube timesuckers

jack vines
 

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I live in California and I would NEVER road trip in my Bolt. Too many unknowns like is a charger available/working, will and ICE be taking the spot, and will another EV person disconnect my car. For extended trips, I take the 16mpg Land Rover. For me, the Bolt is exclusively a commuter and will never be anything but that.
 

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Wow.
available charger = fear
working charger = fear
iced out = fear
disconnected = fear

I REALLY hate paying for gas now.
If a charger isn't available and I'm low then I would just wait. If it's not working then I would have to find an alternative within range.
If iced out I would just wait. They would hear from me upon returning. Or I'd get lot management to do something about it.
If disconnected I would just wait.
I've come back to my car only to discover that the guy had disconnected me. Claimed my car said it was done. Unlikely. The [email protected]@rd.
Maybe I'm just more of a relaxed kinda guy :)
 

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Yeah, you're no doubt more relaxed. I find it much less stressful to just fill up with gas so I guess I like more predictability when I travel :) The only reason I commute in it is because I can charge at home. Anything out of range of a round trip is a no-go for me. I have charged a couple of times at a Whole Foods and at another nearby store and just can't stand waiting for it to charge. I'm only a month in as an EV owner, but I can't imagine ever voluntarily doing it.
 

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I live in California and I would NEVER road trip in my Bolt. Too many unknowns like is a charger available/working, will and ICE be taking the spot, and will another EV person disconnect my car. For extended trips, I take the 16mpg Land Rover. For me, the Bolt is exclusively a commuter and will never be anything but that.
To each his own but News Coulomb routinely makes a 500 mile trip from So. Cal to NorCal in his Bolt. On one of those trips, he limited his stop time to 15 minutes...just enough time to go the the bathroom and stretch his legs. He made the trip fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, those YouTube videos really suck up the time...but I don't watch TV that much anymore, so...
I tend to stop when my battery is somewhere around 10-20% so that I get the max charge rate, and stop charging when it hits around 70%. DCFC (where I drive) charges by the minute, so it's best to maximize rate of charge. Sometimes I'll top up if I need extra electrons to make it to the next charger, but you guys in Cali don't have to worry about that.
Yes, I agree this is my preferred practice, even where I live in Northern California. Maybe I'm just a worry-wart, but I'm always looking at backup plans, always recalculating the available range to the next stop (if needed).
 
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