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I often take day trips up to the South Fork of the American River. I have friends there whom I paddle with almost on a weekly basis. One of my wishes has been to go fully electric for these trips, because, why not? Well, I was finally able to try it this week.

I bought this car (2017 Premier) back in September, but one of the biggest hangups to doing these trips was that I couldn't get the necessary parts to adapt my existing Thule roof rack. Thule no longer makes the towers that fit my crossbars (square bars, older style). They discontinued them last year, and I just haven't been able to find them online. Long story short, I decided to just buy a new roof rack entirely, taking advantage of REI's cyber week sale where they gave a 20% discount on all roof racks. I went with the Yakima Skyline Towers and their Jetstream cross bars, because of their new quick release system. This is also my first aerodynamic crossbar set.

One of my best trip planning tools is abetterrouteplanner.com, but I didn't know what the baseline efficiency was going to be. I know the default is 3.52 mi/kWh at 65mph, but I believed that to be too high for the Bolt EV with a roof rack and kayak attached. So I guessed 2.6 mi/kWh, just based on others' posts about a 25% penalty in range. It turned out that this was a bit on the pessimistic side, because I got 3.2 to 3.3 mi/kWh at 65mph, without using the heater (outside air temp was in the 50s all day that day), and light winds, which I believe to be the ideal day to be testing the baseline consumption in the fall. On this particular day, on the return trip, I did end up getting caught in a rainstorm, so the efficiency came down to 3.1 mi/kWh average, mainly because of the rain and my having to run the heater and A/C intermittently to defog the windows.

The round trip distance is about 300 miles, but I did end up taking a detour to Placerville to have dinner with my friends later in the day, so that added some more mileage. I also ended up getting to the initial meeting place early, because everyone was running a little late. I charged at the EVgo DCFC (45 mins) in El Dorado Hills, the free charger (for about 1.5 hrs, Level 2) in Henningsen Lotus Park, and then on the return I stopped at the EA Target DCFC (45 mins) on Riverside Dr in Sacramento. I had more juice at all stops than the planner had predicted, mainly because the planner had an efficiency of 2.6 mi/kWh specified. I also drove at 65 mph the entire way, to get the baseline consumption number. There was a little traffic in Sacramento on the way up, but overall it was lighter than I had expected, so it actually is more representative of a proper no-traffic-all-highway condition that I normally experience on weekends. No traffic on the return, just rain.

I have to say, I'm a big fan of EA's facilities. Less expensive than EVgo overall, with the Pass+ membership (which is worth getting, even if you only charge once in a month). The $4 (monthly) fee is credited to your first charge, so it's essentially free, and you get to enjoy the lower per-minute rates of the Pass+.

For comparison, our 2016 Subaru Crosstrek can do this trip (with the kayak on top) in 1 tank, no stops until I get back home. That vehicle can get an estimated range of about 500 miles on the highway, which is kind of amazing. But maaaaan does it feel so much better to not be driving an ICE!!! <3

Thank you for reading.

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