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Memorial Day Weekend - KC to CH?

deaddog

Member
Oct 29, 2017
192
66
Chicago
I've seen the stories about long waits at SC's in CA during holiday weekends. We are considering making a trip on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend -- and I'm looking for input on whether we have a decent likelihood of having to wait for a supercharger at Independence, MO, Columbia, MO, St. Louis, Mo, Springfield, IL, and/or Bloomington, IL.

Obviously, nobody can guarantee anything. But for those of you who have used those SC on holiday weekends, have they ever been full or close to full? This will be my spouse's inaugural road trip and if we end up waiting 30 minutes to get our 30 minute charge even once, I'll get an earful.
 

Sprandt23

Member
Sep 13, 2017
248
171
St. Louis
While it hasn't been on a holiday weekend, I have used the Columbia MO and St. Charles MO SCs multiple times, and never had a wait. Never saw another car at the Columbia in the two times I visited, and have seen at most 2 cars at the St. Charles (they have 5 spots).
 

IT Geek

Member
Nov 16, 2016
902
1,507
Michigan
You're probably better off avoiding the one in Normal, IL if you can. That one only has 4 stalls and it's also a bit off the highway. It's one of the originals that Tesla setup when they didn't have as much clout and so couldn't get into the better locations. Don't get me wrong, if you're going to Normal it's a great place to charge (my daughter lives in that city) but I have seen that one busy before on regular days, so I would be concerned with a holiday weekend.
 

deaddog

Member
Oct 29, 2017
192
66
Chicago
You're probably better off avoiding the one in Normal, IL if you can. That one only has 4 stalls and it's also a bit off the highway. It's one of the originals that Tesla setup when they didn't have as much clout and so couldn't get into the better locations. Don't get me wrong, if you're going to Normal it's a great place to charge (my daughter lives in that city) but I have seen that one busy before on regular days, so I would be concerned with a holiday weekend.

Thanks - I totally agree - its also a significant major detour off the highway to the garage for a road trip pit stop. The problem is that my full charge departure from the Western Suburbs of Chicago may not make the Springfield SC and I'll be too close to full to make a Bolingbrook stop worthwhile. I'd really prefer to go through Des Moines but if Bethany isn't online, it is too risky.
 

deaddog

Member
Oct 29, 2017
192
66
Chicago
To revive this thread, as my trip is imminent - have any of you used the Champaign, IL SC?

I'm considering taking 57 instead of 55 - so home, Champaign, Springfield, St. Charles (if needed), Columbia, Independence. The miles and drive time are longer on 57 vs 55 but I'm thinking that Champaign is less likely than Normal/Bloomington to be crowded and that the extra minutes on the highway are less stressful than navigating my way through Normal from the highway to the parking garage SC.

Any thoughts?
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,256
9,655
Seattle
To revive this thread, as my trip is imminent - have any of you used the Champaign, IL SC?

I'm considering taking 57 instead of 55 - so home, Champaign, Springfield, St. Charles (if needed), Columbia, Independence. The miles and drive time are longer on 57 vs 55 but I'm thinking that Champaign is less likely than Normal/Bloomington to be crowded and that the extra minutes on the highway are less stressful than navigating my way through Normal from the highway to the parking garage SC.

Any thoughts?
Normal is a pain in the ass to get to but there are actually nice places to hang out nearby. So it just depends on what your goal is. If you are looking for speed, it's a good one to skip, but if you're looking for a supercharger stop with places to eat/drink, it's one of the better ones. Champaign is just at a Meijer so pretty meh. Although there are a few fast food type places within walking distance.
 

IT Geek

Member
Nov 16, 2016
902
1,507
Michigan
Yeah, Normal is also only a 4 stall at the moment, so you can sometimes run into a backlog of people looking to use it. That happened to me just recently and I had to plug in to the L2 chargers that are on the 2nd floor there.

Fortunately there are in the process of expanding it out to 8 stalls, but I'm not sure when that will be completed. When I was there just a couple weeks ago most of the stuff had not even been unpacked.
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,256
9,655
Seattle
Definitely call and check first if you plan on using Normal. Last week, a friend of mine got completely shut out there as they were working on the expansion and it was out of service. I'm not sure if it was listed as a temporary closure in the Nav or not. Maybe the expansion is complete by now?
 

deaddog

Member
Oct 29, 2017
192
66
Chicago
I'm back from the CH-KC, Tuesday-Saturday trip. It was a success, in large part to the advice from all of you guys - thanks. Here is the nutshell report. Note that on the way down I stopped more than was necessary (and more than on return) due to range anxiety. And my grading is relative to those SC's I've used, which haven't been many.

Tuesday:

Peru, IL @ 830 am. Easy on/off highway, 1 MX w/ MA plates charging, Big HyVee with clean restrooms and a Starbucks. Good place to walk dog (clean grass). 100kwh+. Grade A

Springfield, IL @1100 am. Easy on/off highway, nobody there. Giant Scheels outdoor store, clean restrooms, mediocre (but friendly) deli, great dog walking. 100kwh+. Grade A

St. Charles, IL @ 1230 pm. Close to highway but busy intersection so a bit of time to get on/off highway. Only 5 chargers, 2 occupied on arrival, 1 left and another filled its spot almost immediately, all w/ MO plates. Strip center, didn't go in anywhere, pretty lousy grass area for dog. 100kwh+ (wasn't sharing). Grade C (in part b/c I bet it gets really crowded at times)

Columbia, MO @300 pm. Easy on/off highway, nobody there. Holiday Inn and a Jimmy Johns - HI w/ clean restrooms but not otherwise an interesting place to hang. Great dog walking. 100kwh+. Grade B+

Independence, MO @530 (not necessary but wanted extra charge before reaching destination). Roundabout and somewhat time-consuming way off highway, nobody there, great BassPro to wander. Good dog walking. 100kwh+. Grade B+

Saturday:

Columbia, [email protected] 11 am -- nobody there

Springfield, IL @ 2 pm. -- 3 spots occupied (all non-IL plates). Had 1A w/ nobody in 1B - started at 100+, dropped to 40 quickly. Switched to 1B, got 100+

Normal, IL @530 pm. I really disliked this SC. Long, convoluted way off highway, up on Level 3 of a garage. Yes, 8 stalls with 4 new (only 1 occupied by IL plate MS), and fast charge. Lousy dog walking. My poor grade is likely due to my personal preference to travel longer and easier rather than shorter and harder - had I gone through Peru I would have added about 10-15 minutes to my overall trip time (maybe longer) but it would have been so much easier/less stressful (for me, YMMV). And I don't understand why Tesla put the SC in the center of town -- I think the primary (maybe sole) purpose of SCs should be for the long distance traveler, not for locals (for example, I've never used a CH area supercharger other than as an experiment when I first got car). I don't mean to overstate it - it was still absolutely fine and extremely functional, but since I'm grading relatively -- Grade D.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bottom line, despite my somewhat harsh grading, the trip was great. My standard is whether I can drive it like an ICE and not add too much overall time to the trip. I drove as fast as I do in an ICE and on the return made it in about an hour more than our typical ICE trip (9:50 in the MS; 8:45 in my Audi, google maps has it as a 7:55 drive time, in the ICE we typically stop just for gas/restroom/stretch, not meals)
 
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swaltner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,605
1,620
Kansas, USA
Good to hear the trip went well.

I know it’s a nit-pick, but you’re using incorrect units. You meant to say “100+ kW”.

kW (equivalent to horsepower in a gas car) is how fast energy is being transferred

kWh (equivalent to gallons of gas for a gas car) measures the total amount of energy

Examples: Recharging an EV at 10 kW continuous for 5 hours transfers 50 kWh of energy. Running a 100 Watt light bulb for 24 hours uses 2,400 Wh or 2.4 kWh.
 

IT Geek

Member
Nov 16, 2016
902
1,507
Michigan
Well, I did tell you to avoid Normal if you were travelling... :)

it is a great location if you are going to spend some time there. Normal has a ton of restaurants and such in town and there's a college there so for the parents visiting their kids or dropping them off it's a great location.

Since that one was built in 2013 it's an original and Tesla took the spots that they could get. I don't know if you recall, but there was a time when the SC map looked like this:

upload_2018-5-27_18-43-24.png


Only one way to get across the country and then there's Normal all by itself in the middle of Illinois. Heck, back then we only had 1 Supercharger in the entire state of Michigan, now #16 is about to come online next month.

I know you gave it a poor grade and I respect your reasons for doing that...but for me it's one of my favorites as it is the first one that I ever used in my car. We can't take delivery in Michigan so I went to Chicago to get my car...and as I stated earlier my daughter lives there so that's another plus for me.

But congrats on your first all electric road trip. They get easier the more you do...
 
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PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,256
9,655
Seattle
I too like the Normal supercharger. In fact, nothing against deaddog, but my own personal ratings would be nearly the opposite of his. Just goes to show that different people have different needs and preferences. Of course I don't travel with a dog so that is a big part of it.
 
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deaddog

Member
Oct 29, 2017
192
66
Chicago
To clarify:

1. Yes, both ITGeek and PlusEV previously "warned" me about Normal and their comments were spot-on.

2. Normal was not good for my purposes (quick top off) but if I were looking for a long charge and a nice meal, I'd agree that Normal would have been superb and the best of the bunch. Normal is the exact opposite of Peru, Springfield and most of the other SC's I've been to - rather than a grocery store to hang out in, you have a nice downtown area with lots of restaurants/store to choose from. Its simply a different use case than most SCs I've been to.

3. Yes, I screwed up my units of measurement, a mistake I promised myself I wouldn't make!!

Thanks again for all the good info.
 

IT Geek

Member
Nov 16, 2016
902
1,507
Michigan
I found a better map to illustrate my affection for Normal. Here's every Supercharger that was available from coast to coast in June 2013. Look, Normal is there... A nice little island all by itself. It was the 9th Supercharger to ever come online. So, think about it...it's now definitely the oldest SC that you've ever visited...and that makes you a part of SC history to use one of the first 10 ever to go in service. :)

upload_2018-5-29_10-26-41.png


For the record, Hawthorne was #1, on 11-19-2012.
 

deaddog

Member
Oct 29, 2017
192
66
Chicago
Wow, that is really historic - and hysterical that Normal (the middle of nowhere - no offense to ISU, go Redbirds) was one of the original 10 SC and the only one between East and West coasts. It would be interesting to see usage stats from the early days -- it would be really tough to get there cross-country and how many local Tesla owners would there have been down there?
 

IT Geek

Member
Nov 16, 2016
902
1,507
Michigan
Exactly. It's funny, when I was in Custer, SD a couple weeks ago for the Tesla rally there, one of the ladies that works for Tesla was explaining to the folks from North Dakota that they cannot put any SC's there until they connect them to the network because they can't build any "islands". (Meaning, until they won't get one until a path thru Minnesota is finished.) But then you look back in time and that's exactly what they did with Normal. It's not connected to anything, and wasn't on the way to anywhere else for several years.
 

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