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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seeking the collective's wisdom as I consider making the switch to a Chevy Bolt. My only hesitation is love of skiing and hiking and a tight work schedule that means the travel is on weekends. For the past week I've been reading through the forum posts. It looks like, theoretically, it should be possible to get from my home near LA to Mammoth Mountain (331 miles, uphill mostly) on the charger-poor 14/395 corridor, armed with a Tesla UMC and NEMA 14-50. But some logistical questions:
1) has anyone done this drive who can speak directly to how to do it?
2) Bolts can access the Tesla chargers with the adapter system above even if the household doesn't own a Tesla? This forum clearly says yes; some other info out there in the car review fora say no.
3) I'll need to charge about half a Bolt's battery worth, I know it is better to do this when on the low end. This is the tricky part because the 6 charging spots in Lone Pine are 215 mi (seems too darn close to the 238 limit) and InyoKern has only 4 spots in a market parking lot, according to the web. Any other spots? Any dinner options nearby? Anyone know of plans to put in more? Any one know if these spots get backed up on weekends?
4) Favorite spots to charge while in Mammoth?
One-car household on green power and I'd love to go all-electric. But this particular bit of logistics seems like a challenge. Thanks in advance for any insights.
 

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Beth,

Welcome to the forum. The bottomline line is that the current Bolt-compatible DC Fast Charging infrastructure won't support easy trips between LA and the eastern Sierra Nevadas.

The Tesla Superchargers are only available to Tesla vehicles. The adapter that I think you're referring to allows non-Teslas to use Destination Chargers. The Tesla Destination Chargers are a marketing term for AC Level 2 Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE). Basically, they provide about the same charging power as a typical home EVSE installation (7kW).

For a weekend trip up to the mountains, you need to use DC Fast Charging. AC Level 2 charging will not be fast enough to be convenient. The Bolt EV uses the SAE Combo (also called CCS). Use the PlugShare app, or online map, and select the SAE/CCS plug to see that there are not any on CA-395 currently.

California is helping fund a series of DC fast charging sites across the state. The locations were selected but the build-out hasn't really begun. I would guess that these sites might be completed by summer 2019, though I'm not really sure of the timeline. Here's a map of the sites:https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1VEJLK0-wcAhWV8Q0MirTLULd5mg&hl=en&ll=37.81957353741522%2C-119.38891739999997&z=6

You'll notice they are planning to put DCFC stations in Palmdale, Lancaster, Mojave and Inyokern. However, I don't know if there will be any more north of Inokern anytime soon. Driving a Bolt EV from LA to MM, when those stations on the map are operational, would take about an hour longer than with a gas vehicle. Another DCFC station north of Inyokern would shorten that and make the trip much easier.

For highway cruising, expect to go no more than about 175 miles with a full battery. You'll use more energy at highway speeds and always want to leave margin for weather (wind especially) and other unforeseen events.

Once in Mammoth, you'd can use an AC Level 2 EVSE (J1772) to recharge overnight. Looks like there're a few at hotels and their availability will expand over time as well.
 

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As stated above, the trip you described is not practical in a Bolt. The only 100% Electrics that could do it are Teslas with access to the Supercharging network. The lowest cost Tesla available today is the Model 3 @ $50K+ (if you waited in line to put in a reservation 2 years ago). You might be able to find a used Model S in that price range as well.

Another option to consider might be a PHEV. They have an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) that kicks in and allows the vehicle to function like a "normal" hybrid using a combination of gas and recaptured energy to power the electric motors.
The Chevy Volt and Honda Clarity both have ~50 miles of all electric range which might easily cover your daily needs. The BMW i3 with range extender offers 97 miles of AER with very small gas tank for a total range of 180 miles (gas range is about 80).

The are many other PHEV's on the market, with some as low as 9 miles AER. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV might be worth a look given your original post (hiking/skiing). It is unique in the PHEV market in that is offers AWD (and the associated ground clearance) as well as towing capacity (plus CHAdeMO DCFC). It has 22 miles of AER, so might or might not cover your daily driving using only electric. There are a handful of other options with 20-30 miles AER (Toyota Prius Prime, Kia Niro and Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion Energi). Those with <20 miles AER could allow you to drive on mostly electric if you have very short commute.

While compiled for Oregon, these reference/comparison sheets might be useful:
http://www.oeva.org/resources/specsheets/
Those with orange circle with range are 100% electric. The PHEV's have the electric range in orange with the total range in the extended green area.

Some criticize PHEV's, but you describe one of the exact situations that can make them the best choice. We are a 2 car household with 1 being 100% electric and the other a hybrid - A PHEV offers a single car household both in one vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Zoomit, DucRider,

Thanks for the candid takes. As a Golf TDI 6-sp manual owner who needs to change cars because of the scandal, I loved the Bolt's responsiveness. Fun to drive and practical hatchback.

The RV park charger stories are a pipe dream for me, i.e., they are slow rather than fast?

Need some stations in InyoKern, Lone Pine, and Independence. I stop at these for dinner usually, too bad there is not anything for a charge at the same time.

Thanks for the Outlander tip. Didn't know that one.
 

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Don't forget the dramatic range loss at low temperatures (like you'd see in Mammoth in Winter). Probably wouldn't be a large factor getting there from (relatively warm) LA, but would certainly factor in on the trip home until the batteries warmed up.
 

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Caltrans 30-30 Plan includes 395

Caltrans"30-30" plan is a state funded plan to place 30 DCFC chargers, actually 37 locations, including 28 state Safety Roadside Rest Areas (SRRA) over 30 months. Included in the plan are DCFCs on Highway 395 at the Boron SRRA, both EB & WB, Coso Junction SRRA, Division Creek SRRA (just north of Independence), and at the Caltrans Division HQ in Bishop. Caltrans cannot charge users for electrical use at SRRA locations, due to federal restrictions. If and when this happens, it may help your travels to Mammoth. I realize Boron is not on 395, but it is part of the 395 corridor, per Caltrans.
 

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Thanks. I hadn't heard of the 30-30 plan. It's certainly promising but I'll remain skeptical until they start building these stations. The LA to Mammoth map is on page 26: http://www.catc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/2017-12/49_4.20.pdf
Here's the thing that most excites me:

The Governor’s ZEV Action Plan directs Caltrans to begin construction for the installation of DCFCs at a minimum of 30 Department-owned, publicly accessible locations, including highway Safety Roadside Rest Areas (SRRA) and other strategically located Caltrans properties, by December 2018
So, in theory at least, this year with the VW Electrify America chargers, the CEC ones, and the CalTrans ones, things will be pretty good for charging in California.
 

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Yes, in theory. “Begin construction in 2018.” If all these CalTrans stations get built, I don't expect them to be complete until 2020 at the earliest.

When we got our Spark EV in 2015, I thought widespread DCFC was right around the corner. I was naive and wrong. After waiting 3 years, I'm less susceptible to the hype associated with these plans and much more interested in operational sites listed on PlugShare.
 

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things will be pretty good for charging in California.
As far as the caltrans ones I predict most if not all of that money will be diverted to the monorail^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HCHSR project. Tutor Perini quarterly profits could be under threat which would in turn threaten kickbacks to legislators and bureaucrats which would be a real emergency.
 

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Skier/hiker here: own a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Bought it to complement our Bolt EV. We are a two-car family by necessity, but if we had to choose one, it'd be a tough decision. So far we really enjoy both EVs, and find the PHEV Mitsubishi works great for its need. I posted a review(ish) in the VS forum. Apparently I'm too new to post urls, so if you search for it, it's Post 50 in the "your next EV" thread in the Bolt EV VS the Competition "lounge" forum.

Since Mini discontinued their Countryman All4, the Outlander PHEV is the sole production plug-in hybrid with AWD/4WD. It has a few quirks, but also significant positives and strong value. I highly recommended. If most of your driving is on the short side (my wife's commute is <30 mi roundtrip), and you want the flexibility to get into the mountains on occasion, this is a dream SUV. IF you have a frequent long commute and you want to get up into the mountains too, I'd recommend a Bolt for the commute and an older ICE-SUV for climb.

Cheers,
Tim
 

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Since Mini discontinued their Countryman All4, the Outlander PHEV is the sole production plug-in hybrid with AWD/4WD.
Tim
BMW 530e xDrive
BMW 740e xDrive
BMW X5 xDrive40e
Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e
Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e
Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid
Porsche Panamera 4 e-Hybrid
Volvo S90 T8
Volvo XC60 T8
Volvo XC90 T8
 

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Sorry, I should have clarified that the Outlander is the only PHEV SUV w AWD/4WD in its price range.

Cheers
Tim
Since Mini discontinued their Countryman All4, the Outlander PHEV is the sole production plug-in hybrid with AWD/4WD.
Tim
BMW 530e xDrive
BMW 740e xDrive
BMW X5 xDrive40e
Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e
Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e
Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid
Porsche Panamera 4 e-Hybrid
Volvo S90 T8
Volvo XC60 T8
Volvo XC90 T8
 

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After 12.5 months and nearly 20K miles with a Bolt, I'll be honest: the Bolt is a town/commuter car, period. Period.

Where I drive (Northern Virginia and DC are by no means "the boonies"), fast chargers are sparse and often do not work. Get the irony of this check-in record of the fast charger at the Electrify America HQ's:

https://www.plugshare.com/location/153580
 

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As I have said before, outside of California, there is essentially no DC fast charge infrastructure.

I was hoping, by now, we would have a real government that would mandate every gas station have a single DC fast charge unit, paid for by the oil and gas industry for crimes against humanity. That would be 168,000 chargers. In most tiny villages that would put three or four within a block of the main drag. We would be able to drive anywhere in the US. This would be less than the industry has spent on lobbyists in the last decade.
 

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...3) I'll need to charge about half a Bolt's battery worth, I know it is better to do this when on the low end. This is the tricky part because the 6 charging spots in Lone Pine are 215 mi (seems too darn close to the 238 limit) and InyoKern has only 4 spots in a market parking lot, according to the web...
Not sure what your preference is in terms of speed, but my understanding is that the 238 mile range can be extended a little by slowing down. Maybe someone with experience could estimate range of the Bolt for Beth using different speeds (55, 60, 65). This might allow Beth to reach Lone Pine with a little more reserve, making the trip possible and more enjoyable. I don't know how often you make the trip to Mammoth, but the Bolt is an amazing car, and I would be surprised if we didn't see improvemzents to charging infrastructure over the next 12 months, especially in California. Good luck with your decision.
 
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