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Discussion Starter #1
Wondering if anybody has done part (or all) of the US 395 corridor down eastern California in the wintertime. I'm trying to repeat a car trip I did a couple years back in with an ICEV

My tentative plan:
  1. Start from Redding DCFC.
  2. Redding to Alturas (CA-299, 145 miles).
  3. Spend the night in Alturas. L2 charge.
  4. Alturas to Reno (US-395, 170 miles), DCFC charge.*
  5. Reno to Bridgeport (US-395, 120 miles), DCFC charge
  6. Bridgeport to Independence (US-395, 130 miles).
  7. Spend the night in Independence. L2 charge.
  8. Independence to Victorville (US-395, 175 miles). DCFC charge.*
  9. Victorville to Los Angeles (I-15, 90 miles).
In summer, I wouldn't have too much hesitation - all these legs look doable and there are some RV campgrounds along the way that one could use in a pinch. But this time of year, there are some sections that may require tire chains, and keeping the cabin warm will also require some charge (unfortunately I didn't get the seat heaters). Finally, I'm not sure how well L2 charging will work overnight at low temperatures. If I plug in when I arrive, the battery should still be pretty warm, but I imagine it will cool off pretty quickly.

Any thoughts/ideas are welcome! Thanks.
 

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Hmmm. That's going to be a cold trip without the seat heaters and pretty adventurous in a Bolt at this stage.

Rumor that Bishop EA station is live but I haven't confirmed it.

If you plan to stop at Jim's in Independence best be sure to contact him directly to be sure he's there and that you plan to charge. He sometimes takes off on vacation. He's great to deal with--if he's there. This being ski season I assume he'll be open, but nothing is certain in Independence. Just keep that in mind. ;)

What kind of mobile charge cable will you be carrying?

Paul
 

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You might want to consider taking your EVSE ("charger") that came with the car and an adapter so you can plug it into 220V at a campground along the way. Or, maybe take a portable 220V EVSE (ClipperCreek, JuiceBox, etc) that is rated around 32 amps, but this is a $400 option if you don't already have one. I haven't checked plugshare for the route you're taking but Tesla destination chargers are another option if you have an adapter.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hmmm. That's going to be a cold trip without the seat heaters and pretty adventurous in a Bolt at this stage.
Yes, I'm kicking myself over the seats. Almost wonder if one can jury rig something with an electric blanket powered from the 110V outlet. I do have a small inverter (not pure sine wave though).

Rumor that Bishop EA station is live but I haven't confirmed it.
That would be quite helpful!

If you plan to stop at Jim's in Independence best be sure to contact him directly to be sure he's there and that you plan to charge. He sometimes takes off on vacation. He's great to deal with--if he's there. This being ski season I assume he'll be open, but nothing is certain in Independence. Just keep that in mind. ;)

What kind of mobile charge cable will you be carrying?
Thanks for the tips!

Will definitely call to confirm that I really can charge overnight. I discovered the hard way over Thanksgiving that it pays to verify these things ahead of time...

I have a Tesla Mobile Charger and J-Dapter stub, with the NEMA 5-15 and 14-50 plugs. It's been pretty good so far. I did visit one RV campground that had some sort of NEMA 10-50 connector - so it may be time to get a few more adapters just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You might want to consider taking your EVSE ("charger") that came with the car and an adapter so you can plug it into 220V at a campground along the way. Or, maybe take a portable 220V EVSE (ClipperCreek, JuiceBox, etc) that is rated around 32 amps, but this is a $400 option if you don't already have one. I haven't checked plugshare for the route you're taking but Tesla destination chargers are another option if you have an adapter.
Thanks Tom. Yes, I'm bringing my Tesla Mobile charger + adapter + plugs. It lives in my trunk at this point.

Good idea regarding the Tesla destination chargers. Unfortunately I don't see any on the critical sections between Alturas and Reno, and Independence and Victorville.
 

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In your shoes I'd be looking at adding some seat heaters. Not having any idea how good/bad the aftermarket stuff is... I'd be looking at some reviews. Or I'd try to find some closeout/used two wheel heated gear.
 

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Finally, I'm not sure how well L2 charging will work overnight at low temperatures. If I plug in when I arrive, the battery should still be pretty warm, but I imagine it will cool off pretty quickly.
L2 works just fine in low temperatures. I've tested this down to -27C. The car will heat the battery until it's warm enough to charge. This doesn't take very long (I don't have a number, but think 30 minutes, not hours). To charge at 7.7 kW, the battery only needs to warm up to somewhere around 7C, I believe.
 

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Are you using A Better Route Planner ... there's really no redundancy or fall back plans for DCFCs (no multiple options or vendors) on the East Side so you'll be relying on level 2 ; my main concern would be snow; not being able to chain up, weather and elevation gain and headwinds. I think this might be possible in summer but it could also be a fool's errand in winter based on a barely viable infrastructure over there. Use A Better Route Planner which should take into account elevation gain, and really watch the weather for adverse conditions like wind / snow. And pray that the DCFC in Bridgeport is working. Hope that the one in Bishop is online in time for your trip. Also if it's super cold overnight it will take a toll on the battery charging. I've driven into driving rain and gusting headwinds to 50 + before and that will chew up miles like you wouldn't believe. You may be able fall back to Gardnerville from Bridgeport if worse comes to worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
In your shoes I'd be looking at adding some seat heaters. Not having any idea how good/bad the aftermarket stuff is... I'd be looking at some reviews. Or I'd try to find some closeout/used two wheel heated gear.
Good point. I'll take a look.

L2 works just fine in low temperatures. I've tested this down to -27C. The car will heat the battery until it's warm enough to charge. This doesn't take very long (I don't have a number, but think 30 minutes, not hours). To charge at 7.7 kW, the battery only needs to warm up to somewhere around 7C, I believe.
Thanks, that's good to know. Seems like I should be fine for overnight then (just add 30-60 minutes to the time it would normally take).

Are you using A Better Route Planner ... there's really no redundancy or fall back plans for DCFCs (no multiple options or vendors) on the East Side so you'll be relying on level 2 ; my main concern would be snow; not being able to chain up, weather and elevation gain and headwinds.
I've tried ABRP - it says Alturas to Reno will have me arrive with 16% charge, and Independence to Victorville it will be 15%. But my experience is that ABRP can be optimistic, particularly when elevation is concerned.

Snow is indeed a concern. I've not tried chains yet on the Bolt, but I'm sure they don't help efficiency!
 

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Yes, I'm kicking myself over the seats. Almost wonder if one can jury rig something with an electric blanket powered from the 110V outlet. I do have a small inverter (not pure sine wave though).



That would be quite helpful!



Thanks for the tips!

Will definitely call to confirm that I really can charge overnight. I discovered the hard way over Thanksgiving that it pays to verify these things ahead of time...

I have a Tesla Mobile Charger and J-Dapter stub, with the NEMA 5-15 and 14-50 plugs. It's been pretty good so far. I did visit one RV campground that had some sort of NEMA 10-50 connector - so it may be time to get a few more adapters just in case.
Yes, you will need the NEMA 14-50 in Independence. That's all there is.

Also, I have not confirmed that Bishop EA station is live and until I do I would assume there is no L2 or DCFC station in Bishop. You'll have to charge at 120 or 240 outlets.

Paul
 

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Snow is indeed a concern. I've not tried chains yet on the Bolt, but I'm sure they don't help efficiency!
Chains not allowed/recommended for the Bolt-- not enough clearance in the wheel wells

From the manual:
Warning: Do not use tire chains. There is not enough clearance. Tire chains used on a vehicle without the proper amount of clearance can cause damage to the brakes, suspension, or other vehicle parts. The area damaged by the tire chains could cause loss of control and a crash.
Washington state helpfully has a list of traction devices that they approve in place of snow chains: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/images/traction/alt_traction_device.pdf
 

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They make electric blankets that plug into a cars 12V outlet, pick up two (one for under you, one for over you) and with a good hat and gloves you will be toasty warm.


Not recommending that particular one, it is just an example.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Chains not allowed/recommended for the Bolt-- not enough clearance in the wheel wells

Washington state helpfully has a list of traction devices that they approve in place of snow chains: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/images/traction/alt_traction_device.pdf
Hmph - I had not read that part of the manual. Any particular recommendations? I guess when I wrote 'chains' I really meant 'cables' - at least the dinky pair that I kept for emergencies in my Honda definitely were not real 'chains'.
 

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If I haven't mentioned up thread, Bishop EA stations is definitely not live. I've confirmed it's not active. The only other place to charge is at an RV park and you best confirm that you can charge there before you leave town.

Paul
 

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Hmph - I had not read that part of the manual. Any particular recommendations? I guess when I wrote 'chains' I really meant 'cables' - at least the dinky pair that I kept for emergencies in my Honda definitely were not real 'chains'.
Not me, I live in Hawaii, but I remember reading that chains are not allowed due to limited clearance in the wheel wells, maybe some of our northern friends can chime in with specific recommendations
 

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I imagine you have done your trip by now. But I have just driven 395 from LA to Gardnerville and can confirm that the Bishop EA charger was working about a week ago. If the EA site is down, at least Rays Den motel in Independence has a Nema 14-50 plug and is a nice place to stay.
I charged at Lancaster to about 93%, with that much charge the guessometer was running about 5 miles short of reaching Bishop as I passed Indepedence. So I stopped. I was planning on spending the night somewhere anyway. If I had fully charged I would have made it. I made the run from Bishop to Gardnerville because the charger at Bridgeport was not working. It was not a problem.

Regarding chains, the chains from "Spikes Spider" work really well on the Bolt. I have the "sport style" and have used them on several occasions. The do not overlap the whole tire and thus don't run into the metal spring support that is directly above the tire. Downside. They are about $500. But I don't want to get caught on the wrong side of the sierras , so I bought them.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I imagine you have done your trip by now. But I have just driven 395 from LA to Gardnerville and can confirm that the Bishop EA charger was working about a week ago. If the EA site is down, at least Rays Den motel in Independence has a Nema 14-50 plug and is a nice place to stay.
I charged at Lancaster to about 93%, with that much charge the guessometer was running about 5 miles short of reaching Bishop as I passed Indepedence. So I stopped. I was planning on spending the night somewhere anyway. If I had fully charged I would have made it. I made the run from Bishop to Gardnerville because the charger at Bridgeport was not working. It was not a problem.

Regarding chains, the chains from "Spikes Spider" work really well on the Bolt. I have the "sport style" and have used them on several occasions. The do not overlap the whole tire and thus don't run into the metal spring support that is directly above the tire. Downside. They are about $500. But I don't want to get caught on the wrong side of the sierras , so I bought them.
Thanks - very helpful suggestions and info. Sounds like you planned well. I'm surprised Bridgeport was out of service. Do they have any explanation?

Regarding the 'Spikes Spider' - how hard are they to install?

I've not made the trip yet from Alturas south (I was going to go over Christmas but wound up going north to Oregon). I might try it over President's Day if all goes well. I suppose southbound from Bishop to Lancaster might require a bit less charge due to the net elevation loss?
 

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Sorry about the slow reply. As far as the Spikes spider chains, there are two steps. One is installing a special metal plate on the wheel. This is done at home in the sun. For this you have to remove the lug nuts and replace them. I found this to be no problem, I think they even supplied the right wrench, but I'm not sure as I had a lug wrench anyway. It was about a 20 minute job.

Once the plates are one, you can leave them on. In the snow the spikes spider chains are very easy to put on.
That is what they advertise on. One does not have to loop anything around the back of the tire. And you don't have to move the car and then get out again to finish the job.
Also they are adjusted at the factory for the size of the tire you buy them for so there is no tightening. It is really just push the chains around the tire, press and clip them on,
then drive away. One caveat, they do have to be pushed onto the tire thoroughly, since they fit more or less exactly. It's not a problem, but it takes a a minute or two. Then
one has to get them clipped onto the metal plate. This also takes a few tries , another 2 minutes maybe. The advertised 90 seconds might occur if one was well practiced.
 

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Regarding Bridgeport EA charger not working. I have no idea if it was software issues or possibly bad connection at the transformer. Given the charge session would start and then fail, exactly the same on all the chargers , I would guess an electrical fault. I can see on plugshare that EA thought they had fixed it, but when people tried to charge, then same fault occurred.
 
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