GM Volt Forum banner
1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
A friend of mine wanted to know the viability of owning a Chevy Bolt EV. He and his wife visit their kids once every two weeks in San Diego, some 443 miles away from where they live in Salinas. So they would leave home fully charge, go to San Diego, driving with the flow of traffic via 101 and then I-5. They will also return home from San Diego to Salinas starting with a full charge.

So where does one strategically charge the Chevy Bolt EV along the way and how long would the charging take? It would be nice to have the best option that minimizes total travel time and enjoying a meal or coffee break during charging.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,890 Posts
I would start by looking at charging stations along that route with plugshare.com They have a trip planner as well that can show charging stations along the route.
Ditto.

There are websites specifically made for Teslas that will create optimized long-distance route plans including charging stops (for example: https://evtripplanner.com/planner/2-7/), but I don't know of any equivalent for a Bolt or other EVs with CCS DCFC ports.

For someone that makes trips that long and that frequently, I would think the Bolt would not be a very good option. A Volt would be a better choice, or even a Tesla, given that it has faster DC charging than the Bolt.

And for any BEV, having an L2 charger available at/near the destination would be a big plus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
IMHO the Bolt wouldn't be the best choice for your friend. If they are doing a drive like that every 2 weeks EVs (with maybe the exception of Tesla) just aren't quite there yet. A high mpg vehicle would probably be better. If between the long trips they only do "normal" driving of less than 50 miles a day a Volt would be a great choice. They could EV most of the time and then use gas on the trips. Prius could also be a good choice as it gets better highway mpgs than the Volt and depending on what they do between trips it might make the most sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,405 Posts
As long as you stay off I-5 north of Grapevine, there is a HUGE amount of CCS stations between Salinas and San Diego on all routes. Over 100 easy.

I think you'd stop at Marigold Center near San Luis Obispo then anywhere in Orange County so you don't have to stop in LA County.

However, many are 24kWh, so it pays to do a little research and Google Earth. Read the reviews on Plugshare.com.


Me, I'd stretch the first stop to Santa Barbara (220mi) by keeping the speed down if 101 traffic doesn't do it for you, but if it looked like I was going to be short, Buellton and Goleta have chargers as a safety net. When they did the Press Release, this was basically the route they used and hit 240mi of range with room to spare.

Then? If you make Santa Barbara, you might as well make San Diego. There are lots of safety nets stops if you get too close for comfort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,890 Posts
One issue that I think is underappreciated with the existing CCS infrastructure is that most of the charger locations have only 1-2 CCS plugs. Having so few plugs per location significantly increases the risk of having problems, such as waiting for an extended period of time for a charge if it's already in use, or an out-of-order station meaning you can't charge at all.

As long as you stay off I-5 north of Grapevine, there is a HUGE amount of CCS stations between Salinas and San Diego on all routes. Over 100 easy.
True, but the VAST majority of those are concentrated in and around LA, and to a lesser extent around San Diego.

According to PlugShare, there are currently only CCS 7 working locations between Salinas and Santa Barbara. That doesn't sound too bad, but then dig into the details...

  • Of those 7 locations, only 2 are NOT at a hotel or office park.
  • Those 7 locations include only 10 total CCS plugs/stalls, and only 3 CCS plugs/stalls NOT at a hotel/office.
So you're left with 2 realistic locations and only 3 total plugs. And one of those locations doesn't mention if it's 50kW or 24kW on PlugShare, so who knows.

I guess I just wanna hammer home that citing the total number of locations for CCS chargers or glancing at a the number of dots on a PlugShare map does not come anywhere close to giving the full picture for their usability and practicality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,405 Posts
One issue that I think is underappreciated with the existing CCS infrastructure is that most of the charger locations have only 1-2 CCS plugs. Having so few plugs per location significantly increases the risk of having problems, such as waiting for an extended period of time for a charge if it's already in use, or an out-of-order station meaning you can't charge at all.



True, but the VAST majority of those are concentrated in and around LA, and to a lesser extent around San Diego.

According to PlugShare, there are currently only CCS 7 working locations between Salinas and Santa Barbara. That doesn't sound too bad, but then dig into the details...

  • Of those 7 locations, only 2 are NOT at a hotel or office park.
  • Those 7 locations include only 10 total CCS plugs/stalls, and only 3 CCS plugs/stalls NOT at a hotel/office.
So you're left with 2 realistic locations and only 3 total plugs. And one of those locations doesn't mention if it's 50kW or 24kW on PlugShare, so who knows.

I guess I just wanna hammer home that citing the total number of locations for CCS chargers or glancing at a the number of dots on a PlugShare map does not come anywhere close to giving the full picture for their usability and practicality.
I read the reviews. Bolts have already been down that stretch. If just 1 of them works, that puts you into LA where 100 exist.
There are actually 8 to Santa Barbara. Goleta has 2. One at the Marriott where we stayed before, and one at Costco right next to it. There is even free L2 charging in walking distance from the Marriott where we charged. The Marriott 24kWh charger is for anybody, not just guests.

Just 1 of them has to work, and then you are into LA and points south with literally hundreds of charging locations.

BUT... to get brutally honest, a Volt is going to cover the distance much faster than any EV regardless of price or badge. EVs in California can travel long distances today, but not at the rate ICE or EREV's can. And there's another Dirty Little Secret that is seldom spoken of. Today, 'Fast' charging tells you where and when to stop. This is not true with a Volt though. Stop wherever you feel like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,890 Posts
I read the reviews. Bolts have already been down that stretch. If just 1 of them works, that puts you into LA where 100 exist.
There are actually 8 to Santa Barbara. Goleta has 2. One at the Marriott where we stayed before, and one at Costco right next to it. There is even free L2 charging in walking distance from the Marriott where we charged. The Marriott 24kWh charger is for anybody, not just guests.

Just 1 of them has to work, and then you are into LA and points south with literally hundreds of charging locations.
The one at the Costco is out of service according to comments on Plugshare and has been for months.

Which perfectly demonstrates my point. If that's the 1 charger that you're planning on charging at, and you show up and it doesn't work, you're SOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,405 Posts
The one at the Costco is out of service according to comments on Plugshare and has been for months.

Which perfectly demonstrates my point. If that's the 1 charger that you're planning on charging at, and you show up and it doesn't work, you're SOL.
Exactly. One out of eight is down. It's not like Tesla. A down SC can stop you in your tracks unless you have adapters with you. The gaps for CCS are small, the gaps for SC are large.

If both the Costco and Goleta CCSs are down, and you don't want to grab some L2 which is plentiful and free, you can hypermile to SB. The gaps in SCs are too big to pull that off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,684 Posts
I wish there were certain charging stations that could be reserved in advance of arrival. For a reasonable and non-refundable fee, one would reserve a time window of 30 minutes during which the charging station would only activate via a code given at the time of reservation. Charging costs would be additional. Charging time would begin when plugged in and last up to an hour. To prevent the station being tied up, plug would have to be removed and returned to charger within one hour and 15 minutes after plug-in beyond which late fees would be added and accumulate.

This would greatly reduce any anxiety with long distance travel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,405 Posts
I wish there were certain charging stations that could be reserved in advance of arrival. For a reasonable and non-refundable fee, one would reserve a time window of 30 minutes during which the charging station would only activate via a code given at the time of reservation. Charging costs would be additional. Charging time would begin when plugged in and last an hour. To prevent the station being tied up, plug would have to be removed and returned to charger within one hour and 15 minutes beyond which late fees would be added and accumulate.

This would greatly reduce any anxiety with long distance travel.
I haven't tried it, but it seems that either Chargepoint or EVgo (or both) allow you to reserve a time. If you blow it, you lose the right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,089 Posts
BUT... to get brutally honest, a Volt is going to cover the distance much faster than any EV regardless of price or badge. EVs in California can travel long distances today, but not at the rate ICE or EREV's can. And there's another Dirty Little Secret that is seldom spoken of. Today, 'Fast' charging tells you where and when to stop. This is not true with a Volt though. Stop wherever you feel like.
... What I just said in another post, in an Ontario context, but better stated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
Very good analysis and the same conclusion I came for my Spark EV - Los Angeles DCFC CCS cannot be relied upon; Bolt driver may end up wasting an hour to find a functional CCS fast charger (in Los Angeles one hour sometimes means 15 miles traveled...)

The answer is Chevy Volt - ~430 total miles when fully charged and fueled. Cannot go wrong with that...

One issue that I think is underappreciated with the existing CCS infrastructure is that most of the charger locations have only 1-2 CCS plugs. Having so few plugs per location significantly increases the risk of having problems, such as waiting for an extended period of time for a charge if it's already in use, or an out-of-order station meaning you can't charge at all.



True, but the VAST majority of those are concentrated in and around LA, and to a lesser extent around San Diego.

According to PlugShare, there are currently only CCS 7 working locations between Salinas and Santa Barbara. That doesn't sound too bad, but then dig into the details...

  • Of those 7 locations, only 2 are NOT at a hotel or office park.
  • Those 7 locations include only 10 total CCS plugs/stalls, and only 3 CCS plugs/stalls NOT at a hotel/office.
So you're left with 2 realistic locations and only 3 total plugs. And one of those locations doesn't mention if it's 50kW or 24kW on PlugShare, so who knows.

I guess I just wanna hammer home that citing the total number of locations for CCS chargers or glancing at a the number of dots on a PlugShare map does not come anywhere close to giving the full picture for their usability and practicality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
It's not that bad of a trip in the Bolt EV, and it's very similar to the trip I try to make once a month or so. Salinas is actually a very good starting point because it gets you to San Luis Obispo on a single charge. From San Luis Obispo, they would likely want to stop at the charger in Camarillo or the one in Thousand Oaks (if they have enough charge to get over the grade). If they are running low, they could stop in Ventura instead. From there, they should be able to get most of the way to San Diego (maybe a 30 minute stop along the way). All told, I would expect it to add about two hours to the trip longer than an ICE vehicle unless they typically stop for a meal (in that case, only about an hour extra). Two one-hour stops and (maybe) one half hour stop.

Going north might only take two stops if they are leaving San Diego fully charged. Stop for an hour in Ventura and an hour in San Luis Obispo.

Of course, YMMV, but that has been my experiences so far.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
260 Posts
Exactly. One out of eight is down. It's not like Tesla. A down SC can stop you in your tracks unless you have adapters with you. The gaps for CCS are small, the gaps for SC are large.

If both the Costco and Goleta CCSs are down, and you don't want to grab some L2 which is plentiful and free, you can hypermile to SB. The gaps in SCs are too big to pull that off.
I don't think there are any superchargers with only one station. Most have a minimum of 4 that would have to fail before you got stopped in your tracks.

I also thought the SC network covered a lot more of the country than the CSS does. It seem most of the CSS are in densely populated areas with most being within 20-30 miles of each other vs spread out to maximize the distance you can travel on electricity.

Plus with CSS being slower than superchargers and the fact that most CSS are collocated with a Chademo charger which Tesla makes an adaptor for makes for a lot more charging options and long range commuting for Tesla owners right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Someday we'll have the choice of an electric with enough range to make that trip on a charge, but it's been about 90 yrs between the Baker and the Bolt, so it might be a while yet unless gas gets really expensive sparking more interest.

I have a bi-monthly trip between L.A. and Santa Maria. I didn't want 2 plug ins, so when I turned in my TDI Passat due to dieselgate, I picked up a 17 Malibu Hybrid for our distance car.
Very nice sedan that so far averages 42.5. Temperature really affects the efficiency of these cars (even when under 60f) so I'm fairly certain the mileage will get better with warmer weather.

The Voltec technology really shines the way GM applies it. The car actually has considerably more useable power than the turbodiesel on the highway since it is able to use one or both of the motors together with the engine to provide maximum power. It doesn't get the highway mileage of the TDI, but being a hybrid, it gets better city mileage. Our use is mostly highway, so someone who drives more in the city should average 45 easy.

While we have taken our 15 Volt on that route a couple times, and the car handles hills and cross winds better than other small cars, it's a little out of it's element on straight highway. The Gen II might be less so, but I'm not convinced the Volt is the best choice for a lot of highway travel. For trips that can be done in all electric mode it's a very nice car. Can't beat the satisfaction of not using gas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
Someday we'll have the choice of an electric with enough range to make that trip on a charge, but it's been about 90 yrs between the Baker and the Bolt, so it might be a while yet unless gas gets really expensive sparking more interest.
Those 90 years have to do with a lot more than just technology advances. Economics, convenience, and ignorance has kept petrol as the go-to fuel of choice, even when it is not the best choice.

Batteries have gotten a lot more attention in the last thirty years, and look at what the results have been. Even the Bolt EV's technology scaled up to a full-size sedan would result in a vehicle that can travel well over 300 miles for less than $50,000. We won't be waiting decades for cars with a 400 mile single-charge range; we will only need to wait a few years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Those 90 years have to do with a lot more than just technology advances. Economics, convenience, and ignorance has kept petrol as the go-to fuel of choice, even when it is not the best choice.

Batteries have gotten a lot more attention in the last thirty years, and look at what the results have been. Even the Bolt EV's technology scaled up to a full-size sedan would result in a vehicle that can travel well over 300 miles for less than $50,000. We won't be waiting decades for cars with a 400 mile single-charge range; we will only need to wait a few years.
That's what I mean. With cheap gas I don't see a lot of incentive to develop electrics when most people won't spend much more for a green car. Gas has been relatively cheap throughout the years. The electric starter killed the Baker, taking away it's only functional advantage. People then, and now just want to put gas in and go without waiting. Hybrid and electric owners are the exception.

I do hope you're right about the timeline.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top