wpiper
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:26 pm

Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:33 pm

Driving a Bolt on the open highway is still a challenge. Even in California, the number of quick-chargers along major highways is astonishingly small, so drivers face long stretches of highway where they must drive cautiously and make stops at precise locations, hoping the chargers are in good repair and not in use. (Next time, we will buy a Tesla Model 3, for which one can use the network of superchargers strung at strategic intervals along all interstates.)

So it was when my family decided to take a vacation to Zion National Park from our home in Irvine, a trip of 425 miles. Yet I found that the trip was rather easy and stress-free, once I planned our stops and accepted charging layovers in Victorville and Vegas.

It certainly helped that we used very little air conditioning, as temperatures were comfortable, in the 60s and 70s, in early March. I should also note that I monitored the charge status of the vehicle closely. For two legs of the trip, I found myself using the slow-moving vehicle lane (far right, with the truckers!) in order to save electrons.

THE TRIP

Irvine (elev 56') to Vegas ( elev 2000'; 265 miles away) -- We charged up fully at home and drove at about average highway speed (about 75 mph) from Irvine (about 80 miles) to the quick-charger at Victor Valley Mall (elev about 3000'; EvGO quick charger behind Sears and JC Penney's). As luck would have it, no one was at the CCS charger, so we plugged in and charged from a starting 60+% until the car reported being about 90% full (and charging was proceeding slowly). At this point, the car showed an expected 220 miles of range. After meeting another Bolt driver at the charger who travels the LA to Vegas often, I drove a cautious 60 mph from Victorville to Vegas. But as it turned out, we made it easily, arriving in Vegas with about 80 miles of range reported on the meter. Since the meter estimates range based on prior driving technique, terrain, and heating/AC use, the meter jumped around a bit on the Victorville to Vegas leg. Note that you travel through a mountain pass that tops out at about 4700' between Victorville and Vegas. We used no climate control on this leg, as temperatures were comfortable.

Vegas (elev. 2000') to Zion (elev. abt 4000'; 160 miles away) -- We charged at the vacant EvGO quick charger at Terrible Herbst (Russell Rd. at Polaris Ave.), which is right off I-15 and very convenient. This time we again charged up above 90% (245 miles of range estimated by vehicle) and drove cautiously (55 to 60 mph) on to Zion National Park (actually a hotel in Springdale, which a few miles short of the park). We arrived with 45 miles of estimated range remaining. We used no climate control on this leg, as temperatures were comfortable.

Zion N.P. to Vegas -- Once at Zion, we found many unused chargers, despite full hotels. We charged overnight at one of 6 Clipper Creek J-1772 Level 2 chargers at SpringHill Suites Hotel. (All seemed to be in good working order, and only one was in use.) This charged us fully for the return trip to Vegas. Despite driving about average highway speed for that stretch (70+ mph), we arrived in Vegas with about 25% charge remaining and the Bolt estimating that we had 80 miles left. We used no climate control on this leg, as temperatures were comfortable.

Vegas to Irvine -- We again used the Terrible Herbst charger at Russell and Polaris. This time we charged to 97%, drove about 60 mph to Victorville, and arrived with 24% charge remaining. On this stretch, we used a little bit of A/C, as it got warm in the car.

In short, the Orange County to Zion trip is not bad in a Bolt, providing you plan ahead, charge strategically, drive at a moderate or slow speed (depending upon the leg of the journey), and accept that you will have to pause to charge at two places along the way. In summer, when you must use a lot of air conditioning, driving ranges will be shorter, and you will have to be even more cautious. Do not attempt this trip without adequate planning!

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paulgipe
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:08 pm

Have you ever thought of using the various trip planners to aid in planning your trips?

Using the range indicator as a guide isn't a wise strategy in mountainous California.

Paul
Paul Gipe
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used, sold
L2; ClipperCreek HCS-40; Jesla; JDapter Stub
www.wind-works.org

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:09 pm

I should have added that this was a good trip report with the kind of detail people need in planning such forays in an EV.

Paul
Paul Gipe
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used, sold
L2; ClipperCreek HCS-40; Jesla; JDapter Stub
www.wind-works.org

dan2112
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:01 pm

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:38 pm

Awesome report. Can you give some context as to how long each session took and what you did during charging, etc.

- Dan
2017 Bolt Premier in Nightfall Grey

DarrenDonovan
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:19 pm

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:07 pm

Thank you for the report, much appreciated!
If you don't mind, how much did it cost to charge at the Victorville? And was it through Chargepoint, or another vendor? As for charging at the hotels, was it free?
2015 Spark EV
2017 Volt
2017 Bolt EV
Other ICE cars

BoltEV
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:58 am

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:51 pm

Terrific trip!

Some observations:

GM promotes the Bolt EV as an intra-city car, so we are all experimental when it comes to such trips.

Planning is essential; as you discovered.

Driving conservatively a first-time is always a good practice, so that you can decide how best to use speed, HVAC, etc on subsequent trips.

By the time you own/lease a Tesla Model 3 there will be so many of them on the road that their charging infrastructure will NOT have kept up with demand and it will be a nightmare on the road for ALL of us!

I recently made the trip from Paso Robles to Los Angeles in the cold and rain and even with 95% charging my GOM said I only had 186 miles capacity. I was nervous about the drive to the next DCFC at AutoNation Chevy in Valencia 185 miles away especially up the Grapevine.

Since it was raining, I drove at a maximum 55 MPH and slower in the right lane up the Grapevine and actually made it my full trip 196 miles, without having to stop for a charge at the Chevy dealer (which BTW is available 24/7).

DarrenDonovan
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:19 pm

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:23 pm

BoltEV wrote:Terrific trip!
stop for a charge at the Chevy dealer (which BTW is available 24/7).


What's the policy regarding charging at a Chevy dealer? Is there a fee, and does it vary between dealers?
Thanks,
2015 Spark EV
2017 Volt
2017 Bolt EV
Other ICE cars

BoltEV
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:58 am

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:51 am

DarrenDonovan wrote:
BoltEV wrote:Terrific trip!
stop for a charge at the Chevy dealer (which BTW is available 24/7).


What's the policy regarding charging at a Chevy dealer? Is there a fee, and does it vary between dealers?
Thanks,

The last time I stopped at AutoNation Chevy in Valencia, its DCFC was available 24/7 for no fee. I was there after hours.

I believe Plugshare indicates that during working hours, some AutoNation customers may unplug non-AutoNation Chevy customers who may be using it, in their favor.

Each dealer sets its own policy.

PS: Victorville is a multi-CCS EVgo

NoMoPetrol
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: Orange County to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas) in the Bolt!

Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:49 pm

"...there will be so many of them (Model 3s) on the road that their charging infrastructure will NOT have kept up with demand and it will be a nightmare on the road for ALL of us..."

That observation is not restricted to just Tesla. With the rapid acceptance of the Bolt, and the soon-to-be-available 200+ mile EVs from other manufacturers, fast charging stations for all EVs are going to be in short supply. Period. The mandated settlement with VW over Dieselgate, Electrify America, cannot be implemented quickly enough, and spending $2B in four stages over 10 years is just a drop in the bucket of potential demand.

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