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Ann Arbor to St. Joseph

Discussion in 'Midwest/Great Lakes' started by mknox, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Planning a Christmas trip from the Toronto area to the Chicago area, but with Ann Arbor now open I'm considering the route across I-94. I use to go from Comber, Ontario to Angola, IN then across I-90. Also, I've only done these trips in summer.

    I'll have a full car, including my 87 year old mother and we've decided to break the trips into 2 days just to make it easier on everyone. I'll probably stop in the Battle Creek area for the night.

    Ann Arbor to St. Joseph is "only" 150 miles or so, but I'm wondering what people in the area think that leg would be like in the winter, and considering I'd be stopping for the night (cold soak) about half way across. There seems to be little Level 2 charging along there, although I will try and find a hotel that "may" have a 120 volt outlet for me to plug in to (hotel suggestions welcome too!).
     
  2. jgs

    jgs Member

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    It all depends on the weather of course, but I did AA - St. Joseph over Thanksgiving, weather in the low forties, 10-20 mph headwind most of the way, and arrived in St. J with plenty left in the pack.

    Did you notice there's someone in Battle Creek listed on Plugshare with a HPWC and "free coffee for Elon Musk"?
     
  3. ilovemycoffee

    ilovemycoffee Member

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  4. jgs

    jgs Member

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    'Course, once you get to St. Joe you can just hit the Supercharger. I think it's getting there to begin with after an overnight stop halfway that has mknox worried.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that the western half of 94 is where you're more likely to hit bad snow, if you do.

    On the other hand, today it's 58F in Ann Arbor and expected to be even warmer tomorrow. Warmest December since record keeping began. So maybe there won't be any snow (to drive through) for Christmas.
     
  5. Phoster

    Phoster Member

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    There is a Tesla owner with an HPWC on PlugShare (http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/18345) that is very close to several hotels and restaurants at the Capital Avenue exit (I believe it is Exit 97). Easy walking distance to a Comfort Inn and not much further to some nicer hotels. I haven't met Fred or Vicki G, but if they are in town, I am sure they would be happy to help out if you want some additional charge to account for bad weather.
     
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Good to hear. The weather has been so mild thus far that I'm sure I'd be okay if it sticks... but you just never know this time of year.

    Yes @Phoster noted that PlugSharer too. I generally turn off the "Residential Chargers" options and so missed that. What I was really looking for was a hotel, shopping mall or similar with some sort of destination charging. But I'll definitely keep that one in mind.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Exactly. I have easily done non-stop 125 mile winter trips in snowy conditions to a rental property I own out of town with no problems, but it's that stop in the middle between Ann Arbor and St. Joseph that has me wondering. Everything will cool down over night and I worry I'll burn off a lot of range heating things back up again in the morning.
     
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Just to close this off, I wrote to the Marriott Courtyard in Battle Creek and the Operations Manager there got right back to me and said they would be happy to provision a 120 volt outlet for me (and even provide an extension cord, if needed). Very good customer service (well, short of having an actual EVSE on site) so I've booked my stay there.
     
  8. MichFin

    MichFin Member

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    Remember not all extension cords will work so make sure you bring your own 10 or 12 gauge extension cord.
     
  9. GSP

    GSP Member

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    After thanking the Marriott for provinging the 120 V outlet, be sure to provide them info about Tesla's destination charging program. Like most places, Michigan needs more hotels with good 240 V charging capability. You can't beat Tesla's offer of two free HPWCs and a J1772.

    Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

    GSP
     
  10. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Already got a "contractor grade" 10 gauge extension cord in the car.

    Thanks, and yes, I'll do that. I already wrote back to the Operations Manager and will talk to them about the Destination Program when I'm there.
     
  11. invisik

    invisik Member

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    Sounds fun!

    From my experience last year with a 120v 15amp block heater type outlet, preheating with climate control draws more power than the outlet can provide. I ended up losing range as the car was consuming more power then it was receiving. What worked was to charge the car with the climate control off. The mph of charge is even slower, but it's getting the battery heated and that is good. I'd probably set it up to charge all night and should have gained a few miles and have a fairly warm pack in the morning--great way to start the next leg of the trip.

    Let us know how it goes!!

    -m
     
  12. wws

    wws Member

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    When I was in Alaska a few months ago, I noticed that the public block heater outlets by parking spots were generally 5-20s, not 5-15s. With that in mind, it seems like the 5-20 UMC adapter would be handy to get a little extra power over a 5-15. Are the outlets usually 5-20s elsewhere in snow country?
     
  13. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    My winter driving experience tells me that I should be okay on the Ann Arbor to St. Joseph leg... if I were to do it in one haul. It's just the overnight stop in Battle Creek that had me worried. I think if I plug in at 120 volts as soon as I arrive, and it just maintains status quo, I should be okay the next morning. I may trade off whatever miles I gain overnight with a bit of morning pre-heating... we'll see.

    - - - Updated - - -

    5-15 is quite common where I live, but you just reminded me that my daughters house in Illinois seems to be all wired with 5-20 outlets. I meant to order a 5-20 adapter, but forgot. Not too worried because she is not far from a Supercharger and I will be plugged in for most of the week there.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Just to close the loop on this, I can report the following:

    The Battle Creek Courtyard Marriott is a very nice hotel with clean rooms, friendly staff and nice amenities. There is a similar looking Holiday Inn nearby, but they didn't even bother to answer my email about an electric plug whereas the Marriott Operations Manager got back to me almost immediately. The 120 volt outlet is right next to the side entrance, is in a somewhat large plastic enclosure with a door flap and is marked "Heavy Duty" or something similar. It is just across a small sidewalk from the parking spot, so no extension cord was required to use my UMC. It's almost like it was put there for EV charging, but is not marked as such. Hard to know what else it could be for in the location it's in.

    The staff were quite enthusiastic about seeing an electric car and said they hoped to see more.

    The temperatures were just below freezing and I was plugged in for about 15 1/2 hours but the car/battery was fully warmed up when I arrived. During that time, my battery's SOC went from 52% SOC upon arrival to 68% SOC at departure. I was getting between 109 and 111 volts at 12 amps. I was very pleased with this because all I was really counting on was maintaining the car's status quo over night.

    I wrote back to the Operations Manager to thank them for the use of the plug and to point out Tesla's Destination Charging program. He again wrote me right back to say that he had forwarded my information on to the hotel owner and said "hopefully we can get something set up".

    Overall a very positive experience with this hotel and I'd highly recommend it for Tesla owners travelling in the area. It would be great if they actually do get some Destination Chargers at the property.
     

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