Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner
  • Hey Guest, welcome to ChevyBolt.org. We encourage you to register to engage in conversations about your Bolt.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've had our Bolt for a couple of months ... and couldn't wait to take our first EV road trip with it! So, using the PlugShare App, we planned a trip to western Michigan. Here's a recap of our experience:

To play it safe, we planned our route to include recharge stops at CCS stations around 125 miles apart. The app was very helpful and it found locations at car dealerships and Interstate service/rest areas for the most part. However, we did need to resort using a Level 2 charger at a Kohls just to top us off a bit to make it to our next quick charge location.

The newbie error I made came at the very beginning of the trip. Only plugged in to our first CCS station for 40 minutes (wrongfully thinking it would bring us up to almost a full charge); however, upon returning to the highway I was unpleasantly surprised to see we only added about 40 more miles! As I'm sure you more experienced road warriors know, I learned that not all CCS stations are equal, and to check my state of charge before pulling away. (To explain my mistake...Somewhere I thought I read you could fully charge the Bolt using a CCS station in 90 minutes...so pulling in with a little over half a charge, I thought charging while we took a 40-minute walking tour of the area was going to be enough). I actually ended up learning that most of CCS stations I used resulted in a gain of 1 mile for each minute of charging time (which is a little more than twice as fast as a Level 2 station). So, our average charging stops took about 60 to 90-minutes (some of the CCS stations did charge faster -- the 'non-network' stations at dealerships tended to be on the slower side).

The most excitement we had relating to our Bolt's state of charge came soon after that initial beginners mistake...we had the 'fun' of experiencing the whole "you better charge now" routine. Of course that began with the typical "Battery Low", "Charge Soon" message and the SoC meter turning orange. But we were about 20 miles from our next planned charging station and the 'guess-o-meter' was reading around 30 miles -- so, no sweat (yet). Then, shortly thereafter, came the message giving us the option of turning off our Infotainment screen to save some energy -- so we did (and our eyebrows started to rise). Next up on the 'do you know what you're doing' messages from our Bolt was the "Reducing Drive Power" message -- that one really got our attention as we looked at each other with faint 'it'll be okay' smiles on our faces. Our 'guess-o-meter' (quickly becoming our security blanket) then starting simply saying "Battery Low" (our security blanket was gone -- reminding us it's only a "GUESS-o-meter"). We weren't sure what to expect next... were we to next read "throw out the heaviest item NOW'? We were now somewhat frantically scanning the terrain for that 'oasis in the desert' charging station. Finally, it appeared and we pulled in laughing with each other on our victory over what would have been a very embarrassing situation. A least all ended well and we now have one more family story to retell from time to time over the years.

To conclude: The weather was hot and we used the AC for the entire trip. There were also long stretches of Interstate where the posted speed limit allowed 75 MPH (and, admittedly, I did set the cruise a bit above that). Given all that, we averaged about 3.5 miles/kWh -- not too bad.

All and all, it was fun and we'll definitely plan future road trips. We have family in Florida...so....
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,105 Posts
You will always charge slow if you are above 50% SOC. Your best "window of charge" is to drive as low in the SOC as you are comfortable with (10% or less for me) and only charge as much as you have to to reach the next charger, hopefully 66% or less since above 66% is where charging rate falls off a cliff.

Keith
 

· Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Thanks for the road trip report. These are always helpful for other newbies who come to the forum.


Check out Eric Way's trips (News Coulomb). He's taken it down to 1%!
Which is entertaining, but not a good strategy for most drivers or the battery.

Ideally, it’s good to have enough reserve capacity to reach a backup charging site if the original charger is broken or otherwise unusable. Running the battery that low also puts more stress on it.

GM seems to leave a small unusable buffer at the low end of the battery capacity so at 1% you aren’t really completely draining the battery cells. The car normally stops running with the cells just above 3V while they could probably be safely drained down to 2.75V (or maybe even 2.6V). When near empty, the voltage drops off quickly so there isn’t a lot of energy left unused but there is some. Still, it put more stress on the cells. Doing this unintentionally in an “emergency” is fine but routinely doing this is probably increasing the battery degradation rate.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Jeff -- Agreed...I hope to make my 'close-call' a once in a life-time event :) I'm enjoying the advice I've received to make my future trip planning both efficient and uneventful (from a battery charging perspective). Take care.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just came across a great thread on this topic at: Chevy Bolt EV Forum > 2017+ Chevy Bolt EV Forum > 2017+ Chevy Bolt EV General Discussion Forum > 30% charging overhead in time travelled on long trips... Found it very informative and wanted to mention it here for those interested in long road trips.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top