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12 March I drove our Chevy Bolt to the ChargePoint station at the Palmdale Water District (PWD). I had an interview with the executives there, and, conveniently for me, they had recently installed a 24 kW DCFC. This is a round trip of about 200 miles. Because of the steep climb from Bakersfield over the Tehachapi Summit, this circuit is near the edge of the Bolt's range. I would charge for a half-hour at the DCFC station and pick up a few kWh as a precaution.

It was good that I charged. The trip took a total of 48 kWh, which is within my comfort zone of 20% reserve. However, I was on a photo shoot and had to drive around Palmdale, which cut uncomfortably into the reserve.

I charged at PWD's station for 30 minutes before my interview, raising capacity from 55% to 69%. The station delivered 20.4 kW to the car and the car registered between 19 kW and 20 kW as I cycled the a/c as needed. (It's hot in the desert, even this time of year.) The charge added about 8 kW to the traction battery, about what would be expected for a 30-minute charge at a nominal 24 kW DCFC station.



As most EV drivers realize, these 24 kW stations are the bare minimum needed. Why PWD installed such a slow charger so recently isn't known. I was there to talk about wind turbines and not EVs. There's only one public Level 2 charge station in Palmdale itself. That's it! So I am glad that PWD installed the station, even if it's a slow one.​
As noted in a previous trip report, I am comparing actual trip consumption to that estimated by various trip planners in preparation for a trip at the far edge of the Bolt's range. Consequently, it's important to know how accurate the estimators or trip planners are before embarking.


This trip entails crossing the Tehachapi Mountains a climb of about 4,000 feet from Bakersfield. According to Tony Williams' tests, a Nissan Leaf would require about 7 kWh to climb 4,000 feet. This compares favorably with actual results. To travel the 45 miles from Bakersfield to Tehachapi should consume about 10 kWh for a total of about 17 kWh to Tehachapi. This is about what the trip actually requires.



For this trip, I used two pull downs for the Nissan Leaf (alpha and beta) in EV Trip Planner, and three different vehicles in the Swiss estimator Green Race (Leaf 24 kWh, Leaf 30 kWh, and the Bolt).

My intermediate destination or waypoint was Mountain Valley RV Park in Tehachapi. The median of previous trips to this destination in a 24 kWh Leaf was 15.8 kWh from three different trips: 14.9 kWh, 15.8 kWh, and 16.4.

During the trips to Tehachapi in the Leaf, I drove very conservatively, using surface roads as much as possible and drafting trucks climbing the Tehachapi grade. Not so with the Bolt. I drove as I would a gasser. I used the freeway more of the distance than in the Leaf and I drove at the speed limit. I didn't bother drafting either.

I did no account for wind in either direction. This is a notoriously windy area though on this particular day the winds were light and variable.

My comparisons required that the estimator produce a result not less than actual kWh consumption and as near to actual consumption as possible.

The first leg consumed 16.6 kWh. Green Race's 30 kWh Leaf estimate came closest. From Tehachapi to Palmdale the Bolt used 10.8 kWh. Again Green Race's 30 kWh Leaf estimate was closest. Overall from Bakersfield to Palmdale, the Bolt used 27.4 kWh and again Green Race's 30 kWh Leaf category performed best.

On the return trip, the results were more mixed. From Palmdale to Tehachapi, the Bolt used 14.6 kWh. Here Green Race's estimate for the 24 kWh Leaf was best. In the Tehachapi to Bakersfield segment Green Race's 30 kWh Leaf was nearly on the money. For the overall return trip, Green Race's 24 kWh Leaf results were closes to actual consumption.

Overall, Green Race's category for the 30 kWh Leaf performed closest to the actual consumption of our Bolt.

 

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I've not made this trip yet, but I do appreciate your experience, knowing that there is any level 3 and it works is important info for me.
Thanks for the update.
 

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Thanks for this Paul.
After loosing our BMW X3 to a head-on crash, we are really thinking of getting a Bolt EV.
We make the trip from Bakersfield to Palmdale, near the mall, every Sunday and Thursday for church.
My plan is to charge at Palmdale Water after church each day.

My work commute is only 5 miles each way and I have all ready been told that I can charge there if I pay for the EVSE.
I am excited about the Bolt EV. I just need to wait until the crash mess is settled.
According to the police report the other guy was reaching for a donut on the floor and drifted into our lane. Ouch.

Again thanks for the information.

Craig
 

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With only a 5 mile commute, if you're getting a secondary, commuter car you could probably do a lot better with a used leaf for $5k-$10k.

If you're buying a replacement primary car, you might want to decide if you need an occasional long-rage vehicle. I think a Gen 1/2 Volt would work nicely as you'd be driving 99% EV. Heck, if you don't do lots of side trips and shop near, you could make do with the new Outlander PHEV.

The Bolt is nice, but it seems overkill for commuting unless you can't charge at home and are relying on charging at work. In that case, one could make the case the large battery of the Bolt means less need to charge at work.
 

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Hi quirkySquirt.

The thing that makes the Bolt really appealing is the high seating position and of course the range.
Almost all of our trips would be easy with the range of a Bolt. If we must charge for an hour or two, that's not a show stopper.
Currently our only car is a 2005 Tahoe with 256,000 miles. We keep our cars for a long time if we can.
Each time we go from Bakersfield to Palmdale we go through about $50 in gas. That's $400 a month just for Palmdale.
My wife's father is in a care facility in Lancaster. We go over for his Dr. appointments as He can no longer understand the Dr's.
So that's another $150-$300 each month for gas.

With work letting me charge and a free level 2 near by our church it just seems like a good time to make the jump to a BEV.
Right now the only one that fits is the Bolt.
 

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We make the trip from Bakersfield to Palmdale, near the mall, every Sunday and Thursday for church.
My plan is to charge at Palmdale Water after church each day.
One idea, you might be able to talk your church into installing a L2 EVSE (maybe you can buy it and "donate" it to them) or at least installing a 14-50 220V Outlet so you could bring your own 32A (or larger) portable L2 EVSE.

I'm guessing you are at church for a couple hours at least, you should be able to pick up enough range to get home with a decent margin for safety just from the L2 charger while you are in church and as a bonus other church members and possibly even other members of the community could have the benefit of using it when you aren't.

Being able to DCFC at the Palmdale Water District is nice but probably not the place you'd want to hang around at for an hour on a Sunday afternoon (especially in the summer)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One idea, you might be able to talk your church into installing a L2 EVSE (maybe you can buy it and "donate" it to them) or at least installing a 14-50 220V Outlet so you could bring your own 32A (or larger) portable L2 EVSE.

I'm guessing you are at church for a couple hours at least, you should be able to pick up enough range to get home with a decent margin for safety just from the L2 charger while you are in church and as a bonus other church members and possibly even other members of the community could have the benefit of using it when you aren't.

Being able to DCFC at the Palmdale Water District is nice but probably not the place you'd want to hang around at for an hour on a Sunday afternoon (especially in the summer)
This is a good suggestion. You could gain 10 kWh from two hours of charging on a L2 and that's as much as I got from the PWD 24 kW charger.

Also read Plugshare about that charger. There's someone using that charger a lot--it may still be free. I have yet to see a charge from Chargepoint from that charger and I get the sense that some or someone is abusing use of that station. PWD didn't seem concerned.

Paul
 

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I've charged at the PWD DCFC about 5 times. It is busy, and getting busier. It seems there are some locals that use it as their primary charging means. I certainly appreciate it and it's free price, but my wife and I can't rely on it being available therefore it only serves as a backup.

There are 3 DCFC stations slated for Palmdale/Lancaster, plus 2 more in Mojave and 1 in Tehachapi. It might be another 1-2 years before these get installed though. There's no indication of construction for any of them yet, that I'm aware of.

To stretch the range a little, you can take 90th West up to Tehachapi-Willow Springs. This will be a slower speed than CA14 and will therefore save energy. It's also a slightly shorter distance so it doesn't take much more time, if any. You can get on CA58 in Tehachapi pretty easily.
 

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To stretch the range a little, you can take 90th West up to Tehachapi-Willow Springs. This will be a slower speed than CA14 and will therefore save energy.
Hi Zoomit.
I love the back way into Tehachapi. When we lived in Rosamond (1986-2006) that was the only way we went. It was a lot of fun when I had my '08 BMW 328i coupe. The Tahoe, not so much.

Also Paul and raitchison
I will ask the church after we buy. If not I can always go to the L2's at the mall.

Thanks.
 
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