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Depressed about (other people's) charging infrastructure and ICEing

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by ggr, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

    Mar 24, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I just feel a need to rant, sorry in advance.

    My wife and I were at a horse show in Thermal, CA, about 15 miles from the Indio Supercharger. We stopped by last night, and supercharged there while eating dinner at La Casita, which was a cheap but good mexican restaurant in the same mall. We charged to 209 miles, which we thought would be plenty to get home and not need to charge any more, taking the 150-mile back route through Borrego Springs... lovely drive, usually. This morning, we went to the show, had fun, and left a bit after 2pm with 180 miles of range, because the wind had sprung up. "Ha", I sez to meself, "Ha, good thing we're going the back way and not through the I-10 gap with its 40-mph headwinds!". So we're driving basically south, with a 20-gusting-40 side wind, avoiding the caravans, horse trailers and off-road-vehicle trailers, who are all having trouble driving in a straight line. We pass the line of mountains south of the Banning Pass, and I expect the wind to decrease. Oops. Blowing sand everywhere, can barely see. Turn west, and it gets worse, not better. Pass a big 4WD pickup (Ford F350 duallie I think) that has been blown off the road, and it's overturned enclosed trailer that I think probably had two off-road things in it.

    Gee, Greg, get to the point... OK. We're pushing an average 30mph headwind, then it starts raining, and the 10% margin to get home is reducing, reducing, reducing. "No worries Mate!" I sez to myself (and my wife), "We will be going past the chargers at Santa Ysabel, I'll just do a quick top up there, enough to reliably get home."

    Here's the depressing bit. We get to the chargers, and there are 6 reserved charging spots, and only one car there. Of course that car is a gas pickup, but it doesn't matter... he's only blocking the Blink charger and I don't like Blink, I'd rather use the Chargepoint ones anyway. So I park at the Chargepoint dual-head charger, pull out my phone, start the Chargepoint app, and... no connectivity. Bloody T-mobile, crappy coverage and no roaming agreements. So I move the car to the spot beside the pickup, and the cable would reach, so I get the Blink card, and ... Blink charger dead. I go into the store to ask if they can call Chargepoint for me, but as soon as I mention the charger, the manager just says "They're all dead today", and "I can't help you anyway" although he probably could have loaned me a phone. Go back outside (BTW, it's about 40 degF and blowing rain, and I'm dressed for a desert horse show) and check the original charger, and he's right, it's dead too.

    Then I remembered that one of the first DC fast chargers (maybe THE first) outside special places like Nissan dealerships, was also installed here at Santa Ysabel. I even remember where it was, although had never used it (and couldn't have anyway, no adapter). Oh, yeah, it used to be right there, where I'm currently parked!

    Well, that's the depressing story. Plugshare told me about a couple of Blink chargers in Ramona, but the Big Gay Car also said we could make it to the San Diego Supercharger, so I thought "Fudge Blink!", or something like that. Went to the supercharger, arrived with 8 miles. Plugged in until it said 20 miles (about 3 minutes of my wife glaring at me). Used 12 miles to get home from there. It was a 4 mile detour to get to the Supercharger. Now I'll never know whether we would have made it home or not... but I know that I'm much better off if the answer would have been no.
    • Funny x 2
  2. fwgmills

    fwgmills Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2015
    Roanoke, TX
    This story is one of the reasons I'm buying the biggest battery dual motor vehicle available (currently a 100D). I will probably never really "need" a 100Kwh battery's range, but I NEVER want to be stuck or inconvenience the wife because we're in an electric vehicle and not her Yukon. :D
  3. Pollux

    Pollux Active Member

    Jul 16, 2013
    Merry land / District of Confusion
    In a nutshell: leave ⅓ of your initial battery power as your reserve.

    I wish I could remember his name, but a frequent poster back in 2012/2013 did a thorough analysis and writeup on handling range. His conclusion: in general, without doing a detailed analysis that takes into account elevation, weather, speed, tires, uncertainties in the battery monitoring software, and so on, is to leave ⅓ of your total range as a buffer against the unforeseen. This simple rule of thumb means you should never be stranded at the side of the road.

    In my new P100D (still love those words!), I've got 315 miles if I charge to full. So I allow myself 205 miles. In my previous P85+, I had 265 miles max and allowed myself 175 miles. This has all worked well for me; I rarely pay attention to trip-planning details and just happily zoom around the area and around the Eastern seaboard (haven't had reason to go west in the car).

    (But note that the car's onboard trip-planning and charging software doesn't use such a conservative rule of thumb, AFAIK.)

    And this is why I never bought a Leaf or similar: with such low caps on top-end range, plus lack of battery care hardware and software, you really had to understand EXACTLY where you were taking that car, and what your charging options were at every step of the way. A Leaf owner was a pioneer in the same way as an early Model S or Roadster owner was!

  4. vinnie97

    vinnie97 #WalkAway

    Jul 24, 2014
    Bring on the 400-mile range vehicles already.
  5. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

    Apr 25, 2015
    The Western Slope, Colorado
    I guess I am glad I drove a LEAF for more than four years: the range of my S60 seems huge by comparison. For local driving, including my usual 70 mile, 2300 foot elevation change, grocery shopping trips, I don't have to pay attention to the range. But that 1/3 rule doesn't make sense to me. One third of my 180 RM range is 60 miles. If I used that as a buffer I could never go on a road trip! I did more than 9000 miles of road trips in my first year and am currently 1150 miles from home on another trip.

    Given the helpful energy trip plot as a guide, I don't have a lot of range anxiety in my S60 on 150 mile trip legs. Even though I've been down to 7 RM. That is a lot by LEAF standards!
    • Like x 1

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