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paulgipe
Posts: 136
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Mountains to the Sea: EV Road Trip Made Possible by a 60 kWh Battery

Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:36 pm

While a friend was visiting from Canada, we took her on a road trip from Bakersfield, California to the coast via Mount Pinos in the San Emigdio Range. This is an easy trip in a gasoline-powered car. But we drive electric and therein lay the problem, or as we think of it, the challenge.

As I've explained in numerous reports on EV road trips with our Nissan Leaf and even in our 2017 Chevy Bolt, this part of California where we live is not well served by DC Fast Charging stations. In some locations where we like to travel there's neither a Level 2 station nor a RV park with a 50-amp outlet we could use.

Image

As we've been assured for over four years now, the stations are coming. But the reality is they are not here yet in late 2018.

Image

60 kWh EV

With the Chevy Bolt and its 60 kWh traction battery were able to climb to the summit of Mount Pinos, consuming 26 kWh. We spent the night in Pine Mountain Club and then drove on to San Luis Obispo with a stop at Bittercreek Wildlife Preserve to see the condors, consuming another 18 kWh for a total of 44 kWh. Then we drove on to our final destination of Cambria, using another 8 kWh.

We charged briefly at a fast charger in SLO. It wasn't necessary after the fact, but since I hadn't driven this route before I wanted to play it safe. We would have made it to Cambria on a total of 52 kWh consumed or about 13% remaining.

In Cambria we charged overnight at the Cambria Pines Lodge which has two Tesla destination chargers and one ClipperCreek HSC 40 Level 2 charger.

Image

We returned from Cambria to Bakersfield via Paso Robles. This leg consumed 39 kWh.

40 kWh EV

I then tested the results on this route with an EV using a 40 kWh battery using EV Trip Planner and Chevy's Energy Assist app. There are no charge stations--of any kind from I-5 on the east to Santa Maria on the west. The vehicle must get to Mount Pinos--or at least Pine Mountain Club--and then on to the DC fast chargers in Santa Maria.

As I learned, we wouldn't have been able to reach even the first leg of the trip in our previous EV, a 2015 Nissan Leaf, with its 24 kWh battery. And the first two legs of the road trip would not be possible in today's EVs with only 40 kWh batteries.

Image

The first leg to Mount Pinos uses 26 kWh--well outside the 22 kWh of usable capacity in the old 24 kWh Leaf. The second leg to Santa Maria would likely use another 16 kWh, though we've yet to do that leg ourselves. That's a total of 42 kWh. Unfortunately, the Leaf at least does not use all of its 40 kWh nameplate capacity. Instead, there's only 37-38 kWh available. In either case, the route isn't doable in a 40 kWh EV.

We could shorten the route somewhat and just drive to Pine Mountain Club. However, the total of the legs to Pine Mountain Club and that to Santa Maria are nearly 40 kWh. That's more than the usable capacity of the 40 kWh Leaf.

Once charged in Santa Maria, a 40 kWh EV can easily make it to Cambria on something less than 20 kWh.

On the return trip, a 40 kWh EV can charge on the Level 2 EVSEs in Paso Robles before crossing the Temblor Range and the route back to Bakersfield. (The only DC fast-charging station in Paso Robles, a low-power ChargePoint station, is down and has been down for months.)

This trip in a 60 kWh EV is the kind of trip we often took in our gasoline-powered cars. It required more planning with a 60 kWh EV than simply driving a gasser, but it worked without any hassles. This trip is not doable in a 40 kWh EV and it's trips like this that are reason we chose a Chevy Bolt and it's 60 kWh battery over a 40 kWh EV.
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

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

Re: Mountains to the Sea: EV Road Trip Made Possible by a 60 kWh Battery

Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:08 am

Thanks, Paul. I'm a little confused what the picture with the circle in it is.....

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 136
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Re: Mountains to the Sea: EV Road Trip Made Possible by a 60 kWh Battery

Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:12 pm

theothertom wrote:Thanks, Paul. I'm a little confused what the picture with the circle in it is.....


Tom, good question. I haven't figured out how to add captions on this server. When in doubt, the original with captions can always be found on my web site.

We saw five condors that day. One is circled in red. I didn't know that I captured one until I blew the image up. My BB Android phone has a lousy camera but the condor is visible. I made the stop just to humor my wife and our friend, who is a birder. They were both elated when we actually saw condors. ;)

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


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