GetOffYourGas
Posts: 1088
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:25 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Syracuse to Virginia Beach - Road Trip Report

Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:24 am

This summer I spent a week in Virginia Beach. I've taken my family down there for a few years now, but this year we were able to do 100% of our driving in an EV. Not bad for a trip that's 580 miles one-way.

Before we left, I checked and double-checked Plug Share. The new trip planner tool is easy to use and very helpful indeed! It knows my car's nominal range, and clearly plots it on the map. I wanted to err on the side of caution, so I tried to choose chargers that gave me considerable reserve (at least 25-30%). I was fortunate to have a network dense enough to allow for that.

Image

The longest gap was the second, at 168 miles. And that road has a 70MPH speed limit up and down steep hills in PA. This meant that I needed to charge nearly to full (to keep a good reserve). To make matters worse, there is only one place with a QC nearby - if it was down, I'd be sitting at an L2 for hours. Fortunately when I got there, it was working and available. Better yet - it was free of charge, courtesy of NYS tax payers (e.g. me).

Image

The next stop was just outside of Philly. It took a little while to find the charger because it was tucked behind a Panera, next to the dumpster. I also added two stops at Royal Farms in Delaware. I really only needed one, but I stopped twice for good measure. The first stop was just enough time for a quick bathroom break and then grab some drinks and snacks for the kids.

Image

We arrived at our final destination 575 miles later, having burned through 152kWh for an efficiency of about 3.8 miles/kWh. Not bad for having run the A/C, and carried a Thule box on the roof.

Image

The return trip was more or less the same path. We stopped briefly in Philly to walk around and see the Liberty Bell. I also learned that they recently discovered the foundation of George Washington's home. A nice memorial was made around it with some interesting history on civil rights.

When I hit the QC in the 'burbs, this time I had company - a Model 3 had just arrived. This was the first time I had seen another EV at a charger. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for me), he did not have a CHAdeMO adaptor, just the J1772 that came with the car. I explained to him the difference, and he said he would look into buying the CHAdeMO adaptor ASAP. In the meantime, he plugged into the L2, and I got to use the QC.

Image

As luck would have it, the next charger I also had company - another Bolter from Vermont. This time it was at the NYS welcome center on I-81. Fortunately they had just turned on the second QC, so we were able to charge our matching Bolts at the same time. I didn't get to talk with this driver, but I did snap a picture before he left.

Image

When we finally made it home, we had covered 581 miles using 146kWh. That's 4.0 miles/kWh, a little better than the way down. It was a little cooler on the return, and the difference was probably the lower A/C usage.

Image

Overall, it was a great trip. It was my first trip over 2x the single-charge range of the car. I learned a lot and I feel much more comfortable taking these trips in the future.

My biggest wish would be for a denser QC network. If I didn't have to worry about those nearly 170-mile stretches without QC, it would have been a much more easy-going trip. Also, the Bolt has a very aggressive QC taper, and I could have stopped while the car was still charging much faster.
~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

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:39 am
Location: Bakersfield, California 93305
Contact: Website

Re: Syracuse to Virginia Beach - Road Trip Report

Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:15 am

Brian,

Excellent trip report. Lots of meat in that report--and great photos too. So much green! (That's hard on our eyes here in 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

GetOffYourGas
Posts: 1088
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:25 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Re: Syracuse to Virginia Beach - Road Trip Report

Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:45 am

Thanks, Paul. And I know what you mean about the green. I lived in Palo Alto for a couple of years, and I really missed the greenery. California may have the sunshine, but all the rain on the east coast makes things very green and alive!
~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

Gatedad
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:00 pm

Re: Syracuse to Virginia Beach - Road Trip Report

Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:31 pm

Fun to see the NY State charger outside of Binghamton. My family used to stop there several times per year on our way from Bucks County, PA to Colgate U in Hamilton, NY. No chargers then, but great to see that they are there. Also, I live only a few miles from the Willow Grove charge location and have seen cars using it. Again, great to see the growth of a useable network. We need a lot more, but it seems to be slowly moving in the right direction. There are a lot more stations popping up, and the Maryland House on I-95 outside of Baltimore has added several chargers to the mix.

Love the blue color on the Bolts(both of them in the picture). Also, your range was affected by the Thule on top, so overall I think you did very well.

Finally, I agree about the difference between SoCal's pervasive brown color and the green you see everywhere out here on the east coast. This summer has been a particularly wet one, with so much vegetation. My son lives in San Diego for the last 7 years and we never cease to be amazed at the difference between there and here.

GetOffYourGas
Posts: 1088
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:25 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Re: Syracuse to Virginia Beach - Road Trip Report

Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:47 am

Gatedad wrote:I live only a few miles from the Willow Grove charge location and have seen cars using it.


I'm going to take the same trip next summer, and I would really appreciate some local knowledge. We are considering staying at a hotel within walking distance of the Willow Grove charger. I was thinking about dropping off the family, driving over to the L2 charger, and leaving the car there overnight. How safe is that area for an out-of-state car which is obviously on a road trip? Am I just asking to be broken into? Any information is greatly appreciated!

Gatedad wrote:Also, your range was affected by the Thule on top, so overall I think you did very well.


I didn't mention in the OP, but the Thule box caused about a 15% hit in range. I was able to get about 200 miles / charge if I kept my speed at about 60-65MPH. That made the 170-mile stretch from Binghamton to Willow Grove a challenge - I had to charge nearly to full in both directions and the Bolt aggressively tapers starting at 55% and gets even worse above about 2/3 full. The other 170-mile stretch from Delaware to Virginia Beach was much easier since the roads were 55MPH limit rather than the 70MPH limit on I-476. They were much flatter too.
~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

Return to “General / Main Chevy Bolt Owners Forum”