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SF to LA via US101 (420 miles)

3412 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  greendave
So far this is the longest 1-day trip I've done with Bolt. Mostly it worked well.
  1. 0 miles. Started from home near San Francisco with 95% charge.
  2. 90 miles. Stopped in Prunedale near Salinas. 25 minute recharge at Recargo DCFC from 61% to 80%. Nice DCFC setup - 6 stations, only one in use when I arrived. These are 350W DCFCs but of course being at 63% to start, I saw no more than 24kW.
  3. 195 miles. Stopped in Paso Robles. Single slow ChargePoint DCFC (22kW) was occupied, continued along.
  4. 230 miles. Stopped in San Luis Obispo. 45 minute recharge at EvGo DCFC from 21% to 70%. Only 2 stations, both occupied, but somebody was leaving just as I arrived (someone was also waiting when I left).
  5. 360 miles. Stopped in Ventura. 45 minute recharge at EvGo DCFC from 13% to 63% at the EvGo DCF. Only 1 CCS station, which was occupied by a Bolt sitting at 100% charge, plugged in but not charging. After waiting a few minutes, I got fed up and unplugged them. Alarm went off for a minute. Never saw the owner. One person arrived a little after me and was happy to use the charger when I left.
  6. 425 miles. Arrived in Los Angeles with 42% charge. Overall energy used: ~105kWh (so ~4 miles/kW).
Door-to-door, the trip took about 11 hours, 7h30 driving, 2h30 stopped (mostly either charging or looking for charging stations). This is roughly the same amount of time the trip took in my ICE car, except that the stops on that trip were in different places (for lunch, sightseeing, etc.). My range was impacted a bit by periods of torrential rain and using the heater. Mainly I kept to between 55 and 60 miles an hour.

Except at the charging stations, I saw almost no EVs. I did see some Teslas, but those were on delivery trucks, going south. I think a lot of people probably opted for I5 due to the shorter driving distance (I didn't because I prefer the scenery on US101, and also because it was supposed to snow on the Grapevine just north of LA, which it did). If I do this trip again in the Bolt, I'll probably opt for more secondary roads. Going back I've split the trip over 2 days so I don't plan to spend much time at DCFCs.

I do wish that more DCFCs were in downtown areas/near parks and not in malls. Also more stations (and more stations with more than 1/2 CCS plugs). There's a gap of 120 miles between Salinas and San Luis Obispo where the only DCFCs are slow (<20kW) single plug installations.
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Did you stop by the solar DCFC at the rest stop?
No, I wanted to but it was raining and the most recent checkin said the display was broken. I figured even if it was working, it wouldn't provide enough charge.
Yes, the Recargo contract has been pulled and they're trying to hang on to the contract north of SFO.

There is the CP station in Buellton and there are the EVgo stations in Santa Barbara, but yes, no planned EA sites.

My gut sense is that EA has met the letter of their settlement agreement--and nothing more. (The stations are in the ground--nothing about having them work by a certain date.) CARB either has no further leverage over them or doesn't wish to use what leverage they have. After conversations with some of those who followed the settlement talks, they felt that CARB believed they got what they could get.

At this stage we're dependent upon EA's good will. ;)
Thanks Paul. You certainly have a lot more background on this than most of us, so I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Do you have any sense for what prevent Recargo from fulfilling their contracts? I was shocked to discover that Prunedale is the only station they ever completed (and I imagine that was heavily subsidized/assisted by the Monterey Bay Area quality board)?

(Somehow Tesla doesn't seem to have any of these problems building out their network...)
According to pictures posted on PlugShare, these are "200 kW max" stations (whatever that means - not a single PlugShare user has bothered to post a picture of the official rating plaque on any of the units).
There should be one now!

BTCPower EVDSP-350-5-120
Output: 200-950VDC, 350A max.
Yes, I do. It's between the lines in
Recargo's DCFC Station Contract on 101 in Central California has expired.

My field is wind energy and in my experience whenever a utility company invests in renewable energy it is what I call "the kiss of death." It's not a conspiracy, it's often just incompetence. So when Innogy (RWE, one of the biggest utilities in Germany) bought Recargo my reaction was "Oh ****." Recargo's press releases stopped that day. Nothing more came out of them.
Thanks Paul for sharing your analysis. Sad and frustrating, but there's no help for it at this stage. I guess at this point we will have to hope for EA and the others to make progress with their build-outs, as slow and halting as it often seems to be.
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