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I took a trip this last weekend up to Sacramento with my wife to visit friends. We took the Bolt and I had confidence because I have done this trip before and there was enough range before. However my confidence was misplaced. I failed to account for my wife's desire to use the heater, I failed to leave with a full battery, only hilltop and I failed to account for a 24 mile round trip side jaunt to a nice restaurant.

When it was time to go home, the GOM showed exactly the range available that I would need. I did suggest no use of the heater and hypermiling and likely would have worked, but my wife actually said no. She did not want to experience first hand range anxiety and there a dangerous 18 mile stretch of highway at the end of our route home that you don't under any circumstance want your car to konk out. She said let's do plan B and find a place to charge.

So I used my Plugshare app that I also have never used to find a CCS station with DCFC. It was located at a SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utilities District) office building downtown Sacramento. It was not easy to spot, or obvious in any way. We did find it though. The station was provided by Green Lots and I did not have a Green Lots account.

The good news is, we got a charge and we got home easily. Now the bad- The unit was supposed to except credit cards, but the unit's credit card reader completely failed to function at all. Totally dead. So I decided to open an account with Green Lots with my phone and thumbs after trying all sorts of cards and ideas to get the reader to activate. Once I got all signed up (it takes a while as you might imagine to go through all that over a phone) was able to activate the charger, but it prompted me to then insert my credit card for payment. Again the credit card reader was a total failure.

As the last resort, I put money on account with Green Lots. The minimum is $25. This actually got the electrons to flow. My charging session cost me $3.06. Now I have my remainder of the $25 floating in the ether somewhere. I'm not sure how soon, if ever I will use that up.

There was frustration and my wife was a trooper and read her Kindle while I flailed outside. It's OK because I still consider myself an early adopter of a new technology (even though I'm not that early compared to some of you guys). The point of this story/rant is, the charging infrastructure for non-Teslas is pretty poor so far IMO. Much work needs to be done. It should have been as easy as gassing up my old car, but it wasn't.
 

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I took a trip this last weekend up to Sacramento with my wife to visit friends. We took the Bolt and I had confidence because I have done this trip before and there was enough range before. However my confidence was misplaced. I failed to account for my wife's desire to use the heater, I failed to leave with a full battery, only hilltop and I failed to account for a 24 mile round trip side jaunt to a nice restaurant.
The thing is that when you're only a little shy of the necessary range, it doesn't take much fast charging to bridge the gap. If you'd have already had an account it would have trivial to pump a little extra confidence into the battery at a fast charger.

I signed up for all of the major charging networks that are active in my corner of the continent. It's a pain in the butt to do, but it eliminates a lot of stress and concern - just like insurance and a spare tire. I don't feel like I "have" to get my money's worth out of those - I'll be very happy if I never have to use that spare and especially if I never have to use the insurance. In the same way I don't overly begrudge having to have a few bucks rattling around in EV charging network accounts in order to be able to use one at the drop of a hat.

But I sincerely hope that one of these days all of the chargers will accept credit card payments via reliable, tamper-proof RFID readers. The current mess reminds me of the bad old days where you had to have a different credit card for each brand of gasoline.
 

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Yup. We now have $25 in a Greenlots account somewhere. At least the one you used had a credit card reader, even though it was broken. The last one we tried to use didn't have one. Turns out you needed money in an account for the RFID card to work. There was no signage on the charger to indicate any of this, and the tech on the phone had no clue why it wasn't working, since they don't communicate with the billing department. if there is a real DC charging network for anybody but Tesla owners before I am dead, I will be amazed.

VW Dieselgate has added another location along I-81 in Virginia. I have been ranting for a year that they need to put one in Abingdon, half way between Fincastle, and Dandridge, leaving about 120 miles between stations. Instead they put one 86.5 miles from Fincastle, leaving 151 miles to Dandridge, on an 80 mph mountainous stretch!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I signed up for all of the major charging networks that are active in my corner of the continent.
I did too when I got my car. I signed up for Charge Point, EV GO and Blink. At that time I never heard of Green Lots. Then several months ago when I did hear about them, I thought it was pretty much an East Coast thing. I guess not. Oh well, all signed up now.

I suppose I should sign up with the VW thing too now. I guess those will be around as well soon.
 

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I'm hoping in 3 years when it's time to total out my Bolt and buy something else I too will be in an area that could use something like that. BTW, It's probably closer to $800 after taxes. The darn aweful state I currently live in just sucks when it comes to charging infrastructure. EA is going to add some stations between Madison and Minneapolis but quite frankly if I'm going to Minneapolis I'll fly or take the train. But, a first for me is coming up this weekend; I'm driving from Waukesha, WI to Oconto, WI. It's a long drive, something I didn't intend of using the Bolt for but I wanted to experience a trip like I've read here. I'll be happy to find a 120v outlet to use after Green Bay. There are still less than 5 DCFC's within 200 miles of the county I live in. So for this journey, it's a game of Level 2 chargers and my first use of a Level 2 charger because I have to....not because I wanted to up front parking. In fact, it's the first time I'll actually be charging away from home, for real.
 

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Today we also finally christened our Bolt's DCFC port, using it twice in the same day!

For Thanksgiving, we're were heading to a city that's a little under 100 miles away as the crow flies. There are two fairly obvious freeway routes to get us there, one is a journey of about 120 miles and the other about 130. I've driven them both in the past, but this time I wanted us to go another way.

So, I planned a scenic route, driving in a wider loop that took us out into the mountains and through multiple national forests. Total distance was about 215 miles. From our home which is at about 1825 ft above sea level, we eventually climbed to a summit of about 6200 ft and then down to only about 10 ft above sea level 鈥 Google claims overall we climbed 11,850 ft and descended 13,675 ft.

In planning the route, Chevy's 鈥淓nergy Assist鈥 trip planner thought we'd reach our destination with -2% battery remaining, meaning that a charge seemed needed. I was a bit skeptical, given that the roads would not be freeway speed, and I had the benefit of an overall descent of about 1800 ft. But it seemed wise to plan on stopping anyway, especially since I have $100 in free EVgo credit (courtesy of GM).

Planning charging was a bit of a pain because there was a huge charging wilderness for much of our route, precisely because I was taking the back ways. So I decided to make two charging stops. One after only about 45 miles (and minutes) before heading off the beaten track. This first charge would mostly be to make sure DC fast charging actually worked since I've never used it before (otherwise I'd switch to a shorter route and Level-2 destination charging). The second charging stop was at the first charger you come to after driving 150 miles of backroads.

When I was about to leave this morning, I reloaded 鈥淓nergy Assist鈥 with the same route plan, but now it was giving me much better expected mileage. It thought I'd arrive at my second charger with 33% left, which would easily be enough to reach my destination without charging at all.

Nevertheless, there was enough uncertainty that I decided to stick with the original plan.

We reached our first charge stop with 80% charge (a little worse than the 83% that 鈥淓nergy Assist鈥 had told me to expect, but I had been driving at the speed of traffic which was pretty quick in places). There were two chargers, one CCS/CHAdeMO and one CHAdeMO only, and both were free. I charged for 9 minutes, getting up to 85%. While I was there, someone in a Leaf pulled up and started charging at the other bay.

150 miles later, arriving at the second DCFC location (with 32% battery remaining), my heart sank as I saw a Kinetic-Blue Bolt just like mine already charging. I was worried because on PlugShare there had been a claim that only one of the two chargers worked. But I plugged in anyway and ta-da, it worked! Unfortunately it turned out to be a BTCPower 100A charger and was thus not any kind of speed champion. Arguably charging wasn't urgent, but we figured we might as well keep charging since we were there. After half an hour, the charge was up to 62%, or 30% gained (71 miles of EPA range). The half hour had whizzed by, as we were chatting and planning what to do for dinner, so we figured what the heck and hung around in the car for the full 45 minute session, even though just after 67% it tapered down to 66 amps. We left with just under 74% charge, 41.6% gained in 45 minutes.

While we were charging, a Leaf driver pulled up and had to wait.

All in all, it was a good trip: Fantastic scenery, good company, 214.5 miles driven, 44.6 kWh used, 4.81 miles/kWh. Technically, I still haven't needed to use the DCFC port, but now I don't need to worry about destination charging. I kinda like that freedom.

Was charging for 45 minutes an imposition? Not really. The funny thing was that we'd actually needed to stop earlier to grab some food and use the bathroom. No chargers at that location though, so this was a second stop. Even so, the time whizzed by. We didn't even get to explore the area around the chargers (various shops to look at).
 

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So far, no app or RFID with Electrify America chargers, you have to pay at the charger with a credit card. This means that if the credit card reader isn't working you are SOL. They have future plans for an app.
I'm totally happy paying with a credit card as long as they don't charge a premium to do it. Since this is a new installation I assume that it'll have an RFID reader that lets you tap the card rather than having to swipe or insert it - that eliminates most of the problematic issues that plague readers and would hopefully mean it's a lot more reliable.
 

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It is so interesting how the driving habits/locales differ so widely. I used DCFC (Hagerstown MD) within 24 hours of buying my Bolt in Frederick, MD. I have made 14-15 trips of over 230 miles and have used DCFC over 12 times. Many were free but I did not mind paying when I needed to. Hopefully, soon, EVSE "start" cards will be like credit cards, i.e. one common card for all stations. They obviously know which station and whose card started it and from whose account the money is withdrawn. Can it be this hard?
 

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Was charging for 45 minutes an imposition? Not really. The funny thing was that we'd actually needed to stop earlier to grab some food and use the bathroom. No chargers at that location though, so this was a second stop. Even so, the time whizzed by. We didn't even get to explore the area around the chargers (various shops to look at).
I threw up for you at the thought. And I don't need that long to poop. Happy Thanksgiving by the way! I'm on my first over 60 mile journey in my bolt today.
 

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So far, no app or RFID with Electrify America chargers, you have to pay at the charger with a credit card. This means that if the credit card reader isn't working you are SOL. They have future plans for an app.

Keith
Wow, that's crazy they don't at least have the app. I charged once at IKEA here, it's a BLINK site. The RFID didn't work but the app worked fine. I called BLINK, they were very helpful.
 

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I threw up for you at the thought. And I don't need that long to poop. Happy Thanksgiving by the way! I'm on my first over 60 mile journey in my bolt today.
Remember, I wasn't on the clock trying to make the journey in the shortest possible time. If that had been my concern, I wouldn't have driven about 100 miles extra that day, on significantly slower roads. The moment you get out a tablet and start poking around on the Internet and/or chat to someone, 45 minutes vanishes pretty quickly. If the time had dragged, we'd have driven away sooner.

That evening, we went to a restaurant and I think we spent about 45 minutes waiting (to order, for the main course, and for dessert). If only we'd gone to McDonalds, we could have had got a meal in moments and been on our way.
 

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It is so interesting how the driving habits/locales differ so widely. I used DCFC (Hagerstown MD) within 24 hours of buying my Bolt in Frederick, MD. I have made 14-15 trips of over 230 miles and have used DCFC over 12 times. Many were free but I did not mind paying when I needed to. Hopefully, soon, EVSE "start" cards will be like credit cards, i.e. one common card for all stations. They obviously know which station and whose card started it and from whose account the money is withdrawn. Can it be this hard?

I was asked to do a survey from GM. It was pretty clear from the questions that GM is considering starting a "one card to rule them all" DCFC network aggregator, where they will act as a clearinghouse for billing on a number of DCFC networks.
 

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Remember, I wasn't on the clock trying to make the journey in the shortest possible time.
I think I'm starting to understand the differences better. It makes sense. To me, I'm traveling 182 miles today. My brain tells me to take my truck and leave the coal burner in the garage. My 'wiring' in my head is a point 'A' to 'B' person. In fact, direct from point 'A' to 'B'. Stop to pee, get a fast snack on the way and that's it. For me, it's getting to the destination, not so much the journey. So, today, I give this stop for electrons thing a try with the added bonus of having to 'modify' my route to get to the charger. I bought a lock today too for the charger handle, so I'm all in now!
 

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I think I'm starting to understand the differences better. It makes sense. To me, I'm traveling 182 miles today. My brain tells me to take my truck and leave the coal burner in the garage. My 'wiring' in my head is a point 'A' to 'B' person. In fact, direct from point 'A' to 'B'. Stop to pee, get a fast snack on the way and that's it. For me, it's getting to the destination, not so much the journey. So, today, I give this stop for electrons thing a try with the added bonus of having to 'modify' my route to get to the charger. I bought a lock today too for the charger handle, so I'm all in now!
Good luck!
 

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I think I'm starting to understand the differences better. It makes sense. To me, I'm traveling 182 miles today. My brain tells me to take my truck and leave the coal burner in the garage. My 'wiring' in my head is a point 'A' to 'B' person. In fact, direct from point 'A' to 'B'. Stop to pee, get a fast snack on the way and that's it. For me, it's getting to the destination, not so much the journey. So, today, I give this stop for electrons thing a try with the added bonus of having to 'modify' my route to get to the charger. I bought a lock today too for the charger handle, so I'm all in now!

"Coal burner"?
 

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Also Equipped by not used

We also have DCFC with our 2017 Bolt and a full deck of cards for all the chargers, but have not used any of them yet (13 months and counting). We also have the JDap to use Tesla Destination chargers. We have L2 in the garage and that is all we have needed here in Albuquerque. We love our Bolt. BTW: unlike some of you guys, my wife really, really loves the Bolt; it was her idea. So hang in there your wife will eventually love it. We have made some short trips without needed recharge. But charging on the road from here would be difficult. Assume only going on interstates, I40 or I25. Going north there is a DCFC mid way between ABQ and Santa Fe (to close, not needed) and 2 in Santa Fe and one under construction (UC). Nothing north of there until Pueblo Colorado, which has an DCFC (UC) and 4 L2. From there north is good in Colorado. Going west there is nothing until L2 in Holbrook Arizona, then L2 in Flagstaff and Needles CA. Victorville CA has L3. From there one is in California heaven. Going east there is an L2 in Tucumcary NM, and L3 in Amarillo. Then east to L2 in Elk City, L3 in Weatherford (UC) and Oklahoma City has lots. Going south there is an L2 in Socorro, Las Cruces, and El Paso. The first L3 is Fort Stockton (UC). Then L2 in Iraan TX (but some miles off the interstate), L2 in Comfort/Bourne, and San Antonio. An L3 in San Antonio (UC). There are a few chargers (mainly Tesla destination) off the interstates, but they would not help extend trips. Clearly things are improving (UC), but making some of these jumps would be tricky if something was not working we would be ... Well, you know.
 
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