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Touchstone Energy Cooperatives

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The Drive to CONNECT EVent continues

Published On: May 04, 2018

How do you prepare for a 2000-mile road trip in a plug-in vehicle?

A lot depends on the type of plug-in vehicle you are driving.

  • If you drive a Tesla, you can probably use their navigation app to plan the route including which supercharger stations to visit and for how long – unless you live in a rural area and the stations are too far apart or non-existent…
  • If you drive a Chevy Bolt, you have a much bigger challenge. With a 200+  mile range, you are going to plug in a lot.  If you can find a Combo DC Fast Charger, you can cut your recharge time significantly.  Otherwise, Level 2 charging will take hours.  I will let the Bolt drivers share their thoughts and plans.
  • Driving a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, I have a lot more flexibility. I could make the entire trip on gasoline not bothering to recharge.  Somehow that seems unfair so I plan to charge more than the usual overnight at the hotel.  The other option – make the trip entirely on electricity –  is nearly impossible.  I could drive 25 miles on a charge – about 30 minutes, then wait 2.5 hours to recharge – if I can find a level 2 charger that frequently and repeat 80 times stretching a 30 hour trip to 240 hours.

I plan to leave home with a full tank of gas and a full battery, recharged on green power from my co-op.  I plan to stop for lunch after about 4 hours and recharge at a level 2 station while I grab a bite, check email and take a break – ok, a 2.5 hour break.  Then it’s back on the road for another 4 hours or so until time to stop for dinner, a tank of gas and another charge.  I hope to drive further before stopping for the night at a motel for a full charge and some rest.  I get to repeat that process for 3 days.

I’ve been looking at maps.  I decided to drive thru Wyoming rather than Colorado to get to Salt Lake City.  That route follows the train tracks so there should be less steep grades and lower energy use.

Using ChargePoint, EVGo, and PlugShare maps, I’ve been studying charging locations.  My car can’t use DC Fast charging.  Its built-in charger is rated at only 3,500 Watts.  As a result, I can’t take full advantage of the power available at most level 2 stations.  The problem is, some parts of my route don’t even have conveniently placed L2 chargers.    I can use level 1 power but the stock Level 1 cord that came with the car takes at least 6 hours to charge – that’s fine overnight but not great for a lunch or dinner stop.  Solution?  RV parks.

Stay tuned for more on the new charger I built and the adapter cords that will allow me to get the most from whatever power source I can find.

Drive Electric!

-Alan
Alan’s Electrified Ride – Georgia to Utah

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