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paulgipe
Posts: 217
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:26 pm

On 12 February 2018 we drove our Chevy Bolt to Grover Beach from Bakersfield, California, a distance of nearly 150 miles. I'd been anticipating this drive for several months. It was a first for us to drive directly from Bakersfield to Grover Beach in an electric vehicle (EV). We've driven to the coast several times before in our Leaf, but the Leaf's limited range necessitated a circuitous route that added 100 miles to the trip and many hours of charging en route.

The road we chose, Hwy 166, is scenic and often with very little traffic. There's absolutely no place to charge on this route, not even at an RV park. The Leaf wouldn't have made the grade outside Maricopa climbing the Temblor Range before going turtle.

Image

As in my trip to LAX in the Bolt, the trip was uneventful. The seats, while not comfortable, didn't bother us on the 2-1/2 hour trip.

We arrived at our destination, the Kon Tiki Inn, in Pismo Beach with 105 miles of range remaining. The Kon Tiki is an EV-friendly, moderately-priced private hotel overlooking the beach. They have ports for Tesla, J1772, and NEMA 14-50. They also have installed a ChargePoint 24 kW DCFC station for public use. If you identify your car as an EV when checking in, they ask if you want to charge. If you do, they mark off a parking space for your use. Parking is at a premium in the area and this courtesy gives you assurance you'll have a place to charge overnight. Charging at 240 V is free for customers.

Though the trip was as uneventful as the others we've taken in the Bolt, it did put me on edge. What disturbed me was that my estimates of consumption for both the trip going and coming were way off.

We arrived in Pismo Beach (Grover Beach) after consuming 35.7 kWh for a mileage of 4.1 kWh per mile. We consumed almost 20% more electricity than I had estimated with EV Trip Planner. On the return trip, I was off by almost 25%.

If you allow 20% of the traction battery as a reserve and you are off by 20%, you could find yourself calling a tow truck. That kind of uncertainty can lead to range anxiety even in a car with a 60 kWh battery pack.

I anticipate some future trips at the edge of the Bolt's range. Not knowing how far I can get on a charge makes those trips problematic.

Compounding my unease was that I had switched from using the drop down for the "Leaf Alpha" in EV Trip Planner to "Leaf Beta" after my trip to LAX indicated that the alpha version was too conservative. There is no drop down for the Bolt.

Ben Hannel, the designer of the web site, is a student at Stanford University and hasn't updated the web site with the Bolt.

If I had used the Leaf Alpha drop down, EV Trip Planner would over estimate consumption from 6% to 13%. If I am going to use an estimator, I'd prefer that it would slightly overestimate consumption than significantly underestimate the amount of electricity I would need.

Image

The route from Bakersfield requires a steep ascent of about 2,700 feet from the San Joaquin Valley to cross the Temblor range then a long gradual drop to sea level on the coast. According to tests by Tony Williams, a Nissan Leaf would require about 3 kWh to summit the Temblors or about 10% of total trip consumption in either direction.

I have a query in to Ben about how his web site incorporates various factors, such as temperature and the difference between Leaf Alpha and Leaf Beta.

In trying to explain the discrepancy in the estimates, I played with the estimator.

I varied weight, outside temperature, and wind speed.

I used the estimator's defaults for cargo weight and temperature. It was 55°F during the trip. The estimator increases consumption by 7% from the default setting of 72°F. I don't know if this is for cabin heat or not. We didn't use cabin heat, so I used the default setting.

The default setting for the payload is 150 pounds. Doubling the payload only increases consumption 1% so this wasn't significant either.

However, wind resistance is a significant factor in a vehicle's energy consumption. The estimator returns an increase in consumption of about 15% when driving into a headwind of 5 mph. When driving into a headwind of 10 mph the estimator returns an increase in consumption of about 20%.

There was a good headwind on the return trip to Bakersfield, but I didn't stop to get a sense of it. My wife had an appointment to keep. It was strong enough to bend the grass on the long stretch through the Temblors.

A head wind in either direction could explain the discrepancy. Unfortunately, I just don't know the answer. Until I do, I plan to err on the conservative side.

Interestingly, while logging onto PlugShare I saw that a friend had just checked in with a Bolt in Morro Bay. They'd purchased a Bolt about the same time we did. They only use the Bolt for trips around town, but thought they'd take it on a road trip to the coast as we had done. They simply looked at the range estimate on the Bolt's display, looked at the distance to Morro Bay--about the same distance as to Grover Beach--and thought they had enough range. They did. They arrived with 90 miles remaining, charged at a Level 2 station and eventually made it back to Bakersfield with equanimity.

As my friends showed, you can drive the Bolt on trips of 150 miles and not fret about it. That's nearly three times the working range of our 2015 Nissan Leaf. In the Bolt, you can simply enjoy the ride.
Paul Gipe
2020 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 10/3/20
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased returned
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used, sold
www.wind-works.org

SeanNelson
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Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:43 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:52 pm

paulgipe wrote:There was a good headwind on the return trip to Bakersfield, but I didn't stop to get a sense of it. My wife had an appointment to keep.

Useful tip: with Android Auto you can say: "Hey Google - what's the wind?" and it will give you the latest wind report for your area. How accurate it is depends on whether you're in a micro climate like a mountain valley that could have different conditions than the nearest reporting station - but it's still useful piece of information to supplement the angle at which the grass is bent.

I assume that Apple CarPlay is capable of something similar.

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paulgipe
Posts: 217
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Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
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Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:28 am

SeanNelson wrote:
paulgipe wrote:There was a good headwind on the return trip to Bakersfield, but I didn't stop to get a sense of it. My wife had an appointment to keep.

Useful tip: with Android Auto you can say: "Hey Google - what's the wind?" and it will give you the latest wind report for your area. How accurate it is depends on whether you're in a micro climate like a mountain valley that could have different conditions than the nearest reporting station - but it's still useful piece of information to supplement the angle at which the grass is bent.

I assume that Apple CarPlay is capable of something similar.


Thanks Sean. I did a quick search for any obvious wind speeds historically on line. Didn't find what I needed. There's a great flow map but it was current not historical. Someone could dig into it more I am sure, but that's more than I want to invest in it. I work with the wind so you'd think I could come up with something. But because I do work with the wind I wasn't satisfied with what I found. ;)

Paul
Paul Gipe
2020 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 10/3/20
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased returned
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used, sold
www.wind-works.org

SeanNelson
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Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:43 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:32 am

paulgipe wrote:
SeanNelson wrote:
paulgipe wrote:There was a good headwind on the return trip to Bakersfield, but I didn't stop to get a sense of it. My wife had an appointment to keep.

Useful tip: with Android Auto you can say: "Hey Google - what's the wind?" and it will give you the latest wind report for your area.


Thanks Sean. I did a quick search for any obvious wind speeds historically on line. Didn't find what I needed. There's a great flow map but it was current not historical.

The idea would be that you'd use Android Auto to find out the current wind conditions while you're actually driving. So it's a tip to keep in mind for your next trip.

SmokingRubber
Posts: 163
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:32 pm
Location: Pismo Beach, California

Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:23 pm

I've charged at that ChargePoint DC station outside Flagship/KonTiki. Most of the hotels along the Pismo bluff have a L2 charger available for guests.

In case you didn't know, Flagship has a pretty decent lunch menu. Not too overpriced and touristy, but tastefully touristy and a nice view with some pretty good food. I've charged there while eating just to show support.

So did you take the Bolt onto the beach? I figure that's what everyone does if they come here.

A word of advise for anyone taking their Bolt on the beach. If you get stuck and need to be pulled out ... make sure you're pulled forward, not backward. I've seen several cars attempt to go backward, only to have their front grill act as a giant sand scraper and be immediately ripped off the front of their car. It's quite amusing for the spectators, but I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone here. It can quickly turn a great day at the beach into a lot of cussing and a fat repair bill since most insurance companies don't cover acts of stupidity at off-road parks. Plus, if you need help just turn on your flashers and ask a local for a hand. Don't call the only tow company that will come onto the beach (Kautz Towing), as they have a monopoly on any beach pulls and they charge $600 minimum.

Glad you made it here and back without incident though.
2020 Chevrolet Bolt Premier
2016 Mazda CX-5 Gran Touring

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paulgipe
Posts: 217
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:11 pm

SmokingRubber wrote:I've charged at that ChargePoint DC station outside Flagship/KonTiki. Most of the hotels along the Pismo bluff have a L2 charger available for guests.

In case you didn't know, Flagship has a pretty decent lunch menu. Not too overpriced and touristy, but tastefully touristy and a nice view with some pretty good food. I've charged there while eating just to show support.

So did you take the Bolt onto the beach? I figure that's what everyone does if they come here.

A word of advise for anyone taking their Bolt on the beach. If you get stuck and need to be pulled out ... make sure you're pulled forward, not backward. I've seen several cars attempt to go backward, only to have their front grill act as a giant sand scraper and be immediately ripped off the front of their car. It's quite amusing for the spectators, but I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone here. It can quickly turn a great day at the beach into a lot of cussing and a fat repair bill since most insurance companies don't cover acts of stupidity at off-road parks. Plus, if you need help just turn on your flashers and ask a local for a hand. Don't call the only tow company that will come onto the beach (Kautz Towing), as they have a monopoly on any beach pulls and they charge $600 minimum.

Glad you made it here and back without incident though.


The Flagship is a great find. Wonderful view, good food, reasonably priced. We liked the breakfast too.

No, no beach driving for us. Not our thing. I am from the Midwest. Beaches don't do anything for me. Did enjoy strolling around Pismo before heading off to our friends for a party.

Paul
Paul Gipe
2020 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 10/3/20
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased returned
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used, sold
www.wind-works.org

DarrenDonovan
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:19 pm

Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:11 pm

Paul,

How did you charge at Kon Tiki? DCFC, J1772,...?
Thanks,
2017 Volt
2019 Bolt EV
Other ICE cars.

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paulgipe
Posts: 217
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:00 am

Charged on J1772. Wanted to try my Jdapter but was no need. Charged overnight.
Paul Gipe
2020 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 10/3/20
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased returned
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used, sold
www.wind-works.org

GetOffYourGas
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:25 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:16 pm

I'm just getting around to reading this. Thanks for another great trip report! You're inspiring me to want to write up some more of my own trips.

As for reading the wind, I like to refer to the Beaufort wind scale. It gives you the wind speed for various observable signs. For example, you said that the wind was bending the grass. So maybe it was a "gentle breeze" of 8-12mph. Of course, I refer to this often because I'm a sailor. When rigging the boat to race (or even for a cruise), it's important to know the general wind speeds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale
~Brian

EV Fleet:
2011 Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard on a 22' sailboat
2012 Leaf SV (traded for Bolt)
2015 C-Max Energi (302A package)
2017 Bolt Premier
2021 Mini Cooper SE Signature+

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IMAdolt
Posts: 136
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Re: Trip Report: Bakersfield to Grover Beach in a Bolt--Mileage Estimates Off

Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:34 pm

Good report, I'm hoping to do my first long range trip this early summer, May/June from "Mission BC" to "Nakusp BC" and some near by hot springs, it's about a 600km trip with various mountain passes of substantial elevation changes, current plan is to quick charge in Merritt (about 200km) and Vernon(400km), and ending the last leg at destination (another 200km) looking forward to it!

I noticed on the trip planner there's quite a selection of tesla cars built in, a model s60 would likely be a bit more inline with the bolt range.

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