Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been enjoying not having to worry about range for my typical daily drive (50 miles more or less).
Now it's time for the first road trip, which will probably result in a trip report. Hoping here from some guidance from folks who have experience with depending on public chargers.

I've got a trip coming up that's three legs, and want to do it with the Bolt.
First, from home in Northern VA to Richmond. That's 102 miles plus probably a bit of driving about for parking. Two hour or so layover in Richmond.
No public chargers within walking distance from where we need to go in Richmond.

Then, a trip to Staunton VA from Richmond. 110 Miles, but it's a uphill drive towards the Blue Ridge mountains before heading down into the Shenandoah Valley. You never get back the energy from heading down from a climb that you invested in getting up the mountain in the first place.

OK, "mountain" is East Coast word for a very big hill. I can't easily tell the altitude on the I-64 summit (will pay attention this time!) but it's probably 1200+ foot.

This feels like 230 miles with a lot of terrain impact. I'm not comfortable with trying this in one charge. So, gotta find a place to charge, ideally between the first and second leg. Luckily, there's a a station with multiple charging stations close to our first stop, with restaurants nearby we can get lunch at while the car tops off. Then, at stop two, a Greenlots DCFC for the overnight.

Leg 3 is 150 miles to home. If the second stop charge works out, we're done.

So, this long message is an ask - am I being paranoid about charging stations being unavailable (ICEd, out of service, etc.)? I've got the level 1 charger but hope to never use it. How reliable are the Chargepoint, Greenlots, EVgo networks? Looking at station comments makes me nervous. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
In my opinion, you have two things to consider when using public chargers: 1. will one be available (not in use, not iced, not used by somebody who needs 30 minutes charge, but parks for several hours not charging), 2. will the available charging station work.

Only you can decide if you want to take the risk.

As far your trip is concerned, I can offer my experience from my longest trip. I drove my Bolt from Fremont, CA to Sacramento, CA, 210 miles round trip with 35 miles on the middle number remaining. That involves going over the Sunil grade (659ft) and the Altimatont pass ((1009ft) both ways. The trip was about 200 miles of interstate highway and about ten miles of city streets.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,535 Posts
..."mountain" is East Coast word for a very big hill. I can't easily tell the altitude on the I-64 summit (will pay attention this time!) but it's probably 1200+ foot....
Last fall I drove for about a day along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Absolutely gorgeous! But as a lifelong left coaster, it amused me to see that what we call "passes" are all called "gaps".
So, this long message is an ask - am I being paranoid about charging stations being unavailable (ICEd, out of service, etc.)?
I don't even have an EV yet, but I'd advise checking the comments for stations you're considering on PlugShare. They'll give you at least a bit on anecdotal evidence about what you might expect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Hi RicksBolt,

My wife and I just drove our Bolt down to Richmond from the Northern Shenandoah Valley (Strasburg/Front Royal, VA), and had no issues. I had the same thoughts/concerns as you, and mapped out the charging stations on the way down prior to leaving. There is a vast "charging desert" in rural Virginia, which consists mainly of Tesla and Level 2 stations for customers at a few wineries.

Leg 1 of your journey: A little north of Richmond there is a sweet and free 24/7 DCFC at Mac's Service Station in Ashland, VA. We topped off our battery there while we had lunch at Virginia BBQ (excellent!). Also, there appears to be plenty of car charging stations in downtown Richmond, some public, some not so much. We stayed at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, and their Level 2 charging station is easily accessible in an unsecured surface parking lot off of S. Main Street and Adams Street (turned out we did not need to top off in Ashland, but that's ok).

Leg 2 of your journey: If you have time and are truly concerned about range, I suggest getting off of 95 and 64, and taking side highways/roads such as Rt. 1 and/or 33. This will increase your range substantially as compared to a constant 75 mph drain on the battery and is typically more scenic, though I think you'll still be fine on all legs of your journey as long as they are no longer than 150 miles.

Leg 3 of your journey: Have lunch at Soul Mountain or L Dees in Front Royal, VA, on the way home, and hit the Greenlots DCFG by the gazebo on Main Street. $6.00/hour isn't bad for a 180 mile/hour top-off charge.

I have already noticed that the Bolt is forcing my wife and I to go back to the days of scenic driving and exploring locations where we would not have otherwise stopped, due to the more efficient off-interstate routes and charging station locations. Very akin to the early Model T owners mapping out the few and far between gas stations.

Take your low voltage charge cord they give you with the Bolt, just in case!

Safe travels.

Edit/Add: Also, make sure you download any required charging station apps before you leave. The 2 DCFC stations I mentioned are both operated by Greenlots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I have already noticed that the Bolt is forcing my wife and I to go back to the days of scenic driving and exploring locations where we would not have otherwise stopped, due to the more efficient off-interstate routes and charging station locations. Very akin to the early Model T owners mapping out the few and far between gas stations.

Take your low voltage charge cord they give you with the Bolt, just in case!

Safe travels.

Edit/Add: Also, make sure you download any required charging station apps before you leave. The 2 DCFC stations I mentioned are both operated by Greenlots.
Thanks. The idea to use US 33 versus I-64 makes sense and gives me another option. Also Charlottesville has lots of public stations.

All set with Greenlots and Chargepoint. Oh, and the Level 1 charger is in the otherwise useless foam piece under the trunk area. Don't leave home without it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,486 Posts
Would the plugshare not be as useful on trips like these? Keep us posted on your journey charge map before you go. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Would the plugshare not be as useful on trips like these? Keep us posted on your journey charge map before you go. :D
I've been using plugshare for locating charging locations. If there's a nice way to link to a map with chargers highlighted, please let me know.

Here's links to the sites from plugshare.

First, in Richmond: https://api.plugshare.com/view/location/61962
If that doesn't work, https://api.plugshare.com/view/location/61935 or https://api.plugshare.com/view/location/51811

Staying overnight, charging here in Staunton:
https://api.plugshare.com/view/location/62266

Then 150 miles back to home. If necesary, https://api.plugshare.com/view/location/73056 if it looks dicey.

I'll use the plugshare app or the MyChevrolet app to find charging stations. I have the Level 1 charger along with a 20 foot J1772 extension cord.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well, this was an instructive trip. Always have a plan "B". However, it went without any serious concerns.

Start at 1046 miles. Guess-o-meter offering 359/305/250 miles. Not bad for a starting point.

From my home in Fairfax County to Richmond, 110 miles then after our event (got to meet the Governor!) tried the DCFC at the train station off I-95. No luck, charger faults. I changed to J1772 and charged for 25 minutes or so; really hard with the user interface on the charger as it wouldn't let me ask for more than 5 minutes at a time, so I kept running out to the car from trying to eat lunch to pay for another 5 minutes of parking.

Hit the road heading towards Staunton, basically 120 miles more going west. As suggested, took a somewhat off-highway route to allow SWMBO to stop at her favorite pottery place.

The highlight was going over the Blue Ridge across Skyline Drive. Started at 83 miles range (apprehension level: high). Got to the top of the mountain at 71 miles range. Once we hit the bottom and heading into H'burg the range was back to 81. In total, about an 8 mile run. LOVE low range!

I decided not to charge again as the GOM seemed to stay on the high side of running out. Arrived at 1288 miles. 56/48/39 miles remaining.

Fortunately, the GreenLots DCFC was *across the street* from the hotel we stayed in. 56 minutes back to 80% charge. Moved the car back to the hotel parking garage after that. Holy crap, that was fast. Wish I had recorded the volts/amps. Friday night I plugged in the 120 volt portable charger running at 8 amps. Little nervous as I didn't have the little padlock to keep it from being stolen.
From 9 PM until 7:30 AM it charged mooching from the wall. The estimate was that it would take another 11 hours to complete.

I moved the car back to the DCFC. Fully charged in 25 minutes. Home trip of 150 miles ended up with 92/78/63 miles.

All in all, not too bad. I had a couple of DCFCs in my back pocket that I could have used, along with several J1772s. Not needed, because the GreenLots charger worked as advertised.

Lessons:
1. The GOM middle number is pretty conservative.
2. Charge when you can but don't get obsessive. More than you need isn't going to make the ride any better.
3. DCFC is amazing. Wish I had scribbled the volts/amps down. :(

In total, 401.7 miles across a day and a half, 95.9 kWh. Mostly at 72-73 MPH, running under cruise control. 4.19 Miles per kWh.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
A couple more observations:
We normally make the trip from home to Staunton once a month or so. Usually stopped about halfway in one direction or another to fuel up as the gas in the Shenandoah Valley is way cheaper than at home. (Oh, and you can get Ethanol-free gas. Paid below $2 a gallon a month or so ago..) Always drove the wife's car as I didn't want to burn gas. This time, I didn't care what the gas price was. A bit strange to think that way.

For those who say the seats are terrible, we both sat for over two hours without the aforementioned fuel stop and didn't feel at all uncomfortable. Premier, perhaps. But still quite comfortable.

SpuriousXM decided on Friday to unsub my radio. Not nice, as I ended up with, well, my iTunes collection. Some of which needs to be deleted. Wife was not thrilled. I'm *this close* to cancelling SXM. The price is skyrocketing and the audio quality is so bad that I can hear it with my 60 year old ears. If they try to charge me to transfer my service from the old car to the new, I'm outta here and going to cancel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I only use EVgo Fast chargers found at Lucky and Raleys supermarkets. I have found some free Chargepoint setups at local cities around Brentwood but a 240v charger 9 miles from home is a problem. If I lived close by this would be awesome....I don't have 6 hours to wait for a free charge when I bill my time at $350 an hour....I have come to have the opinion the state of California should install DC Fast chargers in each community - 9 spaces per 150 houses and it should all be free.

They rape and pillage enough taxes from me that I can justifiably have this expectation.

What I do not like about EVgo Fast Charger setups is the lack of setting more than 30 minutes of charge. It should charge until full by default. I twice went on hour long shopping and eating forays only to return with half the charge I expected.

Very irksome.

Whoever dreamed up that scheme is a sado-masochist of note...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
787 Posts
I only use EVgo Fast chargers found at Lucky and Raleys supermarkets. I have found some free Chargepoint setups at local cities around Brentwood but a 240v charger 9 miles from home is a problem. If I lived close by this would be awesome....I don't have 6 hours to wait for a free charge when I bill my time at $350 an hour....I have come to have the opinion the state of California should install DC Fast chargers in each community - 9 spaces per 150 houses and it should all be free.

They rape and pillage enough taxes from me that I can justifiably have this expectation.

What I do not like about EVgo Fast Charger setups is the lack of setting more than 30 minutes of charge. It should charge until full by default. I twice went on hour long shopping and eating forays only to return with half the charge I expected.

Very irksome.

Whoever dreamed up that scheme is a sado-masochist of note...
It's to discourage people from camping on the chargers.

A number of manufacturers offered free charging to owners via EVGo. What they found was that people would go to an EVGo charger and charge for as long as it took to get to full. This resulted in lines at the charger and people getting upset with each other. The inelegant solution was to limit each charging session to 30 minutes. Allegedly there are EVGo plans that you can sign up for that eliminate the 30-minute limit. It's also possible that some locations have the time limit eliminated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Mine tells me it will charge till full as I have their top plan, but it does not. I have to come back after 27 minutes to make it do a double session. what the screen tells me and and what it does are completely different. Luckys on Mowry in Fremont did once give me a full 60 minute charge, but that did not last long. the next week it was back to 30 minute cut off games.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
A couple more observations:
We normally make the trip from home to Staunton once a month or so. Usually stopped about halfway in one direction or another to fuel up as the gas in the Shenandoah Valley is way cheaper than at home. (Oh, and you can get Ethanol-free gas. Paid below $2 a gallon a month or so ago..) Always drove the wife's car as I didn't want to burn gas. This time, I didn't care what the gas price was. A bit strange to think that way.

For those who say the seats are terrible, we both sat for over two hours without the aforementioned fuel stop and didn't feel at all uncomfortable. Premier, perhaps. But still quite comfortable.

SpuriousXM decided on Friday to unsub my radio. Not nice, as I ended up with, well, my iTunes collection. Some of which needs to be deleted. Wife was not thrilled. I'm *this close* to cancelling SXM. The price is skyrocketing and the audio quality is so bad that I can hear it with my 60 year old ears. If they try to charge me to transfer my service from the old car to the new, I'm outta here and going to cancel.
Thanks for all the input and charging station info regarding your trip to Staunton! The first week I had our Bolt I had to fight to break my habit of pulling into gas stations when I saw cheap gas:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,715 Posts
Mine tells me it will charge till full as I have their top plan, but it does not. I have to come back after 27 minutes to make it do a double session. what the screen tells me and and what it does are completely different. Luckys on Mowry in Fremont did once give me a full 60 minute charge, but that did not last long. the next week it was back to 30 minute cut off games.

You might want to try the 'independant' (not EVgo) DCFCs at the Prologis business park (near Fremont Blvd & Warren Ave). It's about 5 miles south of the Lucky on Mowry. It's a flat fee of $4.50 per session. Nobody has reported a time-out (yet) and there are 2 DCFCs. It's a funky system.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top