antilaugh
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 pm

Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:50 pm

Hey everyone,

I'm planning my first serious road trip since I got my Bolt a couple years ago. (I've pretty much only used it for commutes and day trips until this.) Anyway, long story short: I'm looking for the best way to go from L.A. to S.F. I know the PCH and 101 are the most scenic routes, but I'm not necessarily looking for that this time around. Just looking for tips on the most reliable charging stations, and where they are exactly, and what I need to subscribe to in order to use them. I've basically just been charging at home and work, so I have no idea how ChargePoint or any of the other services work. I see a couple of old posts on this but they're from like 3 years ago, so I thought I'd ask in case anything has changed. Thanks!

antilaugh
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 pm

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:52 pm

More specifically, I'm heading to Inverness in west Marin County.

theothertom
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:13 pm

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:06 pm

Get the Plugshare app for your phone. Make sure you have the filters set correctly and read the most recent comments, especially about reliability. The Bolt uses J1772 (level 2 charge, like your home and work), and CCS (for DC Fast Charging). The DCFC charging was an option, I assume your car has it. If not, it'll be a loooong trip.
You can plan your route using abetterrouteplanner.com, which is also available as an app.
It's best to sign up with the charging networks you plan to use, and get their app. This is especially true for Electrify America. It's generally best to use their app to start the charge.
Note that the charging rate tapers off after 50% state of charge. It's most efficient, time wise, to get to a charger with as low a state of charge you're comfortable with (10%?) and charge to 50-60%, then drive freeway speeds to the next charger. You should be able to go 90-100 miles doing this, so choose your chargers at that interval. If you slow down, you can drive farther....lots farther, but of course it will take longer. So it's best to drive as fast as you dare and charge more often, but for a shorter time. Again, abetterroutplanner will help with how many charging stops and for how long. You can set your speed, and arrival state of charge, and it will calculate your route.
If it's less than around 60 degrees, it's best to leave the car in the "on" position while charging. This will activate the battery heater and the car will charge faster.
Click on this link and scroll down to the charging graphs.
http://www.mychevybolt.com/forum/viewto ... NcMx7ppaUE

antilaugh
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 pm

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:18 pm

I'm fairly certain I have fast-charge capability, but I've never used it. Is there a way I can find out for sure before embarking on this trip?

AyeJay
Moderator
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:57 pm

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:36 pm

antilaugh wrote:I'm fairly certain I have fast-charge capability, but I've never used it. Is there a way I can find out for sure before embarking on this trip?


Image

^ If it looks like this behind the charge port door you have DC fast charge .. ^
- 2020 Bolt EV Premium
- 1982 VW Rabbit (Caddy) TD Pickup

antilaugh
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 pm

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:16 am

Nice! TY for answering my dumb question that I should've asked myself a long time ago.

Does anyone have any preference re: charging services?

SparkE
Moderator
Posts: 1155
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:53 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:36 pm

antilaugh wrote:Nice! TY for answering my dumb question that I should've asked myself a long time ago.

Does anyone have any preference re: charging services?


Personally, I prefer the reliability of ChargePoint, but the real answer is "all the companies with fast chargers along the roads you plan on using".

You can sign up for free (I think) with Electrify America (EA) and ChargePoint (CP) and EVgo, then download their apps to show which units are in use and which ones are available during your trip, as well as to start the actual charge going. I would sign up for all three, if you can do so for free. EA now charges exclusively by kWh, so it has become the cheapest alternative IF YOU GET A PAID subscription. There are far more EA "plugs" (not sites, actual individual chargers) along the N-S California routes than the other companies. And since EA generally has 4-8 units at each spot, it is unlikely that you will get "frozen out" because the only charger (or both of them) are in use when you arrive. Well, unless you are travelling around Thanksgiving ... But there have been problems with units at EA just not working, having to try several units, having to call customer assistance, and the trick of supporting the charger handle during authorization until after full charging has started. A good reason to have a backup plan (fall back charger). You *might* want to get the EA paid subscription, and use EVgo (non-sub) and ChargePoint (one price for all) as the backup chargers - they tend to be only 25-40 miles apart (sometimes only just down the road a mile or two).

Both EA and EVgo give "paid subscribers" a lower rate. (EVgo used to have a deal through AAA that gave you a "free" paid subscription, so that you get the lower rate - but with no free charging included, just the lower rate.)

EVgo : no sub ||. subscrip
LA/OC : .27/min || 0.23/min
San D : .32/min || 0.28/min
Califor : .30/min || 0.26/min

The issue with EVgo chargers is that they are often 100 Amp "50 kW" (sic) chargers, which will charge your Bolt at about 38 kW, so the per-minute charge is somewhat inflated. There ARE some 125A chargers (~48 kW) out there (but you have to guess which are which), and even a few 200A chargers (in San Jose at whole foods market on The Alameda, for example). Your Bolt can pull a max of 150A (~52-54 kW) up to about 50%, then will pull about 105A (up to about 70-73%) then drop to about 65A. So, as said earlier by a different poster, the most cost effective when paying PER MINUTE is to charge up to 55% or so, then move on.

EVgo also participates in "Drive the Arc", (DCFC from Monterey thru Bay Area to S and N Lake Tahoe), which sometimes offers FREE charges if you have the DtA app. So definitely sign up for free EVgo account!
https://www.evgo.com/ev-drivers/drive-the-arc/
(somebody posted a link to the "free charging" page ... can. you do it again?)

EA :
Pass member (no charge) : $0.43/kWh
Pass+ member ($4/mo charge) : $0.31 kWh

EA now charges exclusively by kWh, so it has become the cheapest alternative IF YOU GET A PAID subscription. It used to be the case that you could drop the Pass+ at any time for no charge (it isn't a "year subscription" - or it didn't use to be; check it out by calling them). So, with a 12 cent difference per kWh, you break even after only 33 kWh (make up your $4 monthly fee). You will probably use about 90-100 kWh driving north, and the same driving home. PLUS, you aren't paying by the minute, so you can charge up to about 65-75% and not worry about the additional cost (just the extra few minutes "lost" because the car is charging at a lower rate. And there are lots of EA chargers in the Bay Area. There are also a bunch of ChargePoint $0.25/kWh spread around the Bay Area as well (one about 10 miles south of SF just off US-101).

ChargePoint along freeway travel corridors is generally $0.25/kWh *and* $0.10/min (which works out to a bit over $0.36/kWh at under 50% charge (on a Bolt). There are $0.25/kWh (no per-minute charge) at ChargePoint headquarters (4 chargers, just off CA-85 & CA-17), at "Park Place" mall (4 chargers, just off US-101 & CA-92), and $0.25/min at NASA (8 chargers, US-101 & CA-85). There's even a singleton charger almost under the Dumbarton bridge (CA-84) near Fremont that only charges $0.12/kWh (good place to stop and charge up if you have an hour in the East Bay). Driving across the bridges costs $5, however.

Recargo : there is ONE Recargo sit just north of Salinas just off US-101. It has the benefit of having SIX 75-200 kW chargers, being next to a shopping (mini) mall with food, and only charging $0.24/min. So if you drive up US-101, or just head to Monterey, it's an option.

I double and triple recommend the plugshare app. Set preferences for "DCFC" only (CCS/SAE plug), 50 kW minimum charge, and "show those in use". Look at all them chargers along 101, I-5 and CA-99.

Recap: sign up for all the free charging networks, download their apps (and plugshare), and TRY THEM OUT before leaving home so that you know what to expect during your trip. (You don't need to do a full charge, just charge for a minute or three so that you get the hang of it - no surprises on travel day.)

michaelbolt
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:24 pm

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:03 pm

Electrify America is best, in my opinion, for travel because they generally have 4, 6, 8, or even more charging positions. Little chance of being unable to charge due to breakdown or someone else being there. The others frequently have only a single CCS position. Plugshare tells you exactly for each location.

I went from LA to Tahoe and back using EA except once at Evgo.

If you've never used fast charging, try it once near home to make sure it's working OK

JoeS
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:14 am
Location: Hills above Silicon Valley

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:11 pm

Even though travel during this Thanksgiving period should be seriously curtailed, I would avoid travel before and after Thanksgiving as charging station availability may be iffy.

antilaugh
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 pm

Re: Need tips on traveling from Los Angeles to SF

Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:43 pm

we're not traveling during thanksgiving week.

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