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I finally used my $750 option.

7671 Views 36 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Fivedoor
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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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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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"?
My Bolt is Coal powered, still cleaner than a gasoline car, but not as clean as a nuclear or renewable fueled Bolt.

From the comment about charging at IKEA (I have charged at a Blink station at the Memphis IKEA) and driving a coal burner, I think ZoomZoom lives near me, perhaps in TN? If not, somewhere else in the fly over states where coal power plants are common.


Got it. I guess I can call my Bolt a "Photon Converter". :D
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