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I live in San Jose, CA and might drive down to Los Angeles, CA in a few months. Its about 350 miles. Given around 200 mile range, I might need only 1 DC fast charge stop.

But I have been told that cruising at 70mph will give a total range of only about 130 miles or so. Is this true? Does anyone have numbers on the range when driven on highway 100% of the time?

In that case I might need 2 or more charges on the way, and plan accordingly...
 

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one stop would be possible - 65 is going to be better than 70 for range - aerodynamic drag is extreme after 40 mph and has squared component - for comfort I would plan on 2 30 min stops for each trip all the way to LA…watch for head winds that will be the biggest problem for you.

see my posting about my directly experience driving form SJ to SLO and back…

http://www.chevybolt.org/forum/154-what-did-you-do-your-chevy-bolt-ev-today/11649-san-jose-san-luis-obispo-bolt.html

for EV road tripping there are factors that you have to be considered

1. Speed
2. Head Winds
3. Temperatures
4. Cabin HVAC settings
5. terrain

range can only be maximize if the following is true:

1. speed is pretty constant 65 or lower
2. terrain is flat
3. air temps are 70f or cooler, but not too cool
4. cabin temperature is minimally maintained
5. you don't encounter a lot of stop/go
6. calm day with out too much wind

speed kills range - let me repeat - speed kills range due to the extra aero drag - you'd be surprised how much further you can go by shaving 3-7 mph off your cruise speed - and there is this strange effect - since you use less energy going slower, you don't have to stop as long at the charger once you get there, so your average trip speed actually goes up by having shorter/fewer charging stops - basically you lose more time stopping/charging than you gain by driving faster…

head winds devastate range - watch your usage and pay attention to what your kw usage is when cruising, if it's higher than normal it could be because of head winds
low temps (below 40F) cause range loss
aggressive cooling/heating can eat a lot of range
hills can be tricky - if your battery is depleted at the bottom of a hill - you might have enough charge to get to your destination, but not enough to get to the top of the hill and benefit from the regen on the other side…

it's always best to know where your charging points are and monitor your range closely - if it looks like you're not going to make it stop and take a break at a charging point to get some additional piece of mind - the drive to LA should be a 2 stop trip maximum and 1 stop if all goes well.

EV road tripping is also easier once you get over the mind set of "filling up" - you can have a 10 minute stop at fast charger to give you just that extra buffer to make the trip go smoothly…it's like charging you phone in the car when you are out driving - you don't wait until you phone is full before you get out of the car, you just take what ever charge you can get in the time it was plugged in.

the plug-share app (and others) is your friend for knowing what your charging options are during your travels - and check-in so that others know you've found a working charger.

for road tripping I consider the following essential for the EV road warrior but YMMV - this is the boy scout approach - be prepared…

1. good mobile charger in car with lots of plug-adapters for 120/240 volts plugs I may need to use
2. a Tesla to J-1772 adapter so I can use Tesla chargers if I have do - http://shop.quickchargepower.com/JDapter-Stub-Tesla-Charge-Station-Adaptor-JDPTRSTB.htm;jsessionid=895197E1DA1C863BD6C90B834B811C56.p3plqscsfapp005
3. a device with Plug-share installed on it along with other charging network apps so that I can find/use chargers should I need them
4. existing accounts with most of the charging networks: chargepoint, blink, EVgo, greenlots so I can use any commercial chargers I might encounter
5. high quality 20 AMP extension cord with a NEMA 5-15/5-20 plug/adapter
6. https://www.evtripplanner.com is also your friend - you can ball park your trip by using the Tesla Model S 60 or Nissan Leaf settings - and evtripplanner will tell you how much kWh you'll use and it factors in temperature and terrain - I'm not saying it's exact - but evtripplanner says you're going to need 95 kWh to get someplace it's not wrong by more than 10% - and it will show you segment by segment how much power you'll use going up hill and how much you'll gain going back down hill.
 

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example - using evtripplanner.com to model a Nissan Leaf (similar mile/kwh usage to the Bolt just a smaller battery) - shows 76 kWh used to get from San Jose to Oxnard (if I plugged in LA it kept routing me via i-5 - so I did oxnard to force it to use 101)

so one charging stop at the fast charger in SLO or Pismo Beach should do you - I would plan a solid 45 min. stop in SLO/Pismo to refresh the battery to at least 75/80%.

once you get to Oxnard DC fast chargers abound - so you're in the cradle of civilization and can charger virtually anywhere south of Oxnard.
 

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I've done the SF/SJ to LA trip on US-101 but it's easier and surprisingly only slightly longer if you take CA-99 instead. That's because there are more DC chargers on 99 so don't have to be as careful about planning exactly where to stop and when.

The best app or website for finding chargers is PlugShare. Most DC fast chargers today are operated by a company called EVgo. You go to their website and create an account. If you drive long distances with any frequency in California you may find it ultimately cheaper to pay for their $15 a month subscription plan but you can also pay nothing per month and pay more instead each time you actually charge. Many of their stations also take credit cards now. Be careful, because their stations have timers that shut off after 30 minutes of charging and this is not at all obvious at first to new users. If you need a big charge in a Bolt EV you may need to use 2 30 minute charges.

DC charging goes faster when the battery is less full (basic battery chemistry) so ideally you stop to charge when the battery is 10-20% full. I aim for 15% but it's better to be conservative the first few times until you get a good feel for estimating your battery range as you drive. If you are using up the battery too fast then slow your car speed to increase your efficiency.

If you do most of your DC charging between, say, 15-55% or even 15-70% then your overall trip will be shorter if you drive faster on the road. So, plan to drive as fast as you want (70-75 mph) and then slow down if you need to be more efficient to get to your next charging stop. Easy.

On my last trip, I planned to drive 170 miles starting with a full charge (I turned off Hill Reserve Mode) from San Francisco to Madera but when I arrived I still had an estimated 87 miles of range even though I was driving around 65 mph. The next charger was 65 more miles so I kept my speed between 60-65 mph and arrived in Visalia with 28 miles of range left (11% battery charge). That was cutting things a bit close but I charged for a hour while eating lunch (ducking out to restart after the 30 minute timeout) and added a total of around 160 miles of range. Then I drove to Bakersfield, did a 30 minute charge, and that got me to Pasadena which was about 400 miles from when I started in SF. All very pleasant and easy.

It's good to have some other charging provider cards as well. I have ChargePoint and Greenlots and used both along the way once or twice for 240V AC charging at a restaurant and a motel before getting back home. I also have a Blink card and could have used it also but didn't need to.

Within another 2-3 years we will have much more highway charging infrastructure thanks to VW and their dieselgate legal settlement with EPA and CARB which requires them to install a lot of new chargers everywhere.

Have fun!
 

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I don't think the range would be as low as 130. I just did a high way trip yesterday up into the mountains west of me (Appalachian mountains, so certainly no cali mountains) Cruise was set to 70. Temps was in the 80s, really sunny day so the road itself was hot. The trip there was 65 miles and I averaged 3.2 miles per kWh. So had I driven at that speed in those conditions I should have been able to get 192 miles out of the full charge. Way home was a little better, cruise at 70 again but this time more down than up so I averaged 3.6 on the way home, while running the AC at 65 there and back. Oh this was also with a bike rack and MTB on the back of the car, hitch mounted rack.

Granted that is my experience in the conditions I was in and as others have pointed out conditions are a big influence. I know there wasn't much of a wind yesterday and since I was going through rolling hills I wouldn't get much of a headwind, at least not constant. Guess meter told me I still had 78 miles left after the 130 mile round trip. Had I set the cruise to 65 like I should have I could have gotten slightly better range. Not sure I would ever go less than 65 on the highway I was on, speed limit is 70 so most are going more like 75 or 80.
 

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I travel highways every day for my one hour commute. Without air conditioning I am right about 240 mile range and with air conditioning at worse I am about 200 mile range. Btw I always am about 5 mph above the speed limit. So I am 70 to 75 mph the entire trip. When I get into bad traffic I can get about 270 mile range. I go hilltop reserve and after driving my 130 daily commute I always have more than 70 miles left on range. The only way to come close to 130 mile range is running your heater on a cold day and speeding in the 80+ mph range. If you pay attention to speed and reduce climate control, you should easily just need one top off.
 

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Tire pressure also plays a big "roll" when calculating range. "Pun intended"
I run mine @ 49 PSI cold. Added weight, like luggage will also drop range expectations/calculations. Driving fast is the number one range killer along
with tire pressure settings. We all want a soft ride, but at when expense ?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for all the responses. I learned a lot of things by reading each response.

My key takeaways:

- speed kills range: going slower will make me reach faster
- head winds: I cant control, but something to be mindful about
- more DC chargers on 99 (I should take this over 101 then)
- DC charging goes faster when the battery is less full
- It's good to have some other charging provider cards - I have Chargepoint, EVgo, will look into Greenlots
- Tire pressure also plays a big role
 
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