This is my first winter in my 2017 i-Miev and I am trying to figure out a charging plan for my commute and making observations and have some questions, looking for input from those who have more experience. And others may learn some realistic numbers (those thinking of purchasing one or newbies like me).
My commute is about 22 miles each way. Sometimes I stop at the grocery store on the way home which probably adds another 4 miles or so coming home so that would be about 26 miles.
It has been extremely cold for at least 2 weeks here near Philadelphia. Lows of 5 F and highs of 20 F or less. This is not normal. It usually is probably 10-15 degrees warmer. So I should not have to deal with this most winters.
I charge at home with the standard level 1 and 120V. All thru the warmer months I was fine and didn't have any issues with the range. I charge in the city 2 blocks from work where I pay for parking monthly and a Blink charger is free. So each day I get to top off which gives me about 55 miles when I get into the car after work. Then after driving home I plug in and have never had a problem getting back to work the next day. I can't tell you how many miles were usually left on the car when I got there but it was never really close enough to be a concern.
But now it is and I am having to think about it and am keeping track of miles each day and learning how much I can put back on the car by the next morning.
So far, because of holidays and working from home due to a knee issue, I have not had to go into town 2 days in a row. So I have always had at least a night, then a day and another night to charge...except for maybe a close errand in between.
I have to say I have been really shocked about how much the heater/defrost drains the batteries. I knew there would be some significant impact but didn't think it would be this much. Wow. And the car truly is cold if you keep the heat low. But I am used to being outside in the cold and have good gear so it is not that bad, and really good for the circulation and immune system I am sure. I have found myself thinking about the old days when people had buggies and no heat at all, or the Amish today.
So I had the car plugged in for days before today and when I got in this morning I turned everything down, fan off, control to cold, to check the miles. There were 65. Then I went inside and used the remote to turn on the defrost mode and left that on for at least 20 minutes while finishing getting ready to go. I wanted to see if I would lose miles or if it just uses the power from the cord only. When I got back in I noticed it was a little warmer and I think the miles said 63.
Do I lose miles using the defrost while plugged in?
I drove to work being kind of middle of the road eco wise, not going too fast but sometimes going over 70 mph, maybe 75 for a little bit. Mostly around 65 or so and keeping the pedal from going down too far. But I figured I had a full charge so this was the day I would stay medium - I used the defrost/foot option on the selector, and probably had it on full high temp in the beginning and then probably turned the fan down to half at some point. I watched the miles left drop very rapidly. It was really cold this morning, maybe around 6-8 F.
Does it really matter if you are in D, E or B or is it all dependent on your foot? I was driving in E all the time a while back but got used to looking ahead and thought it was just as good to be in D and not have so much engine braking going on, just by making it smoother by keeping a distance and looking ahead and slow on the pedals up and down, or very little braking at all. Would like your opinions on this. Seems like driving in E or B just did too much engine braking and then made me have to press the gas pedal more instead of pre-planning/looking ahead and being smoother all around.
When I got to the parking lot in town I had 17 miles left. So 63-17 = 46 used. This was for a 22 mile drive. So more than double. Unless I lost miles with the pre-defrost and the car didn't re-calculate until later. This is my suspicion.
I plugged in and charged all the way up while at work. When I got in after work, I had everything off and the car read 53 miles instead of its usual 55. I thought that was strange but thought that maybe it was just calculating in the cold temp - it only got to maybe 25 degrees F today and was probably 22 at that point. So I decided that I would take it easy on the way home, drove in eco and kept it under 65 mph, was careful up hills, etc. I also kept the heat lower and the fan lower. I stopped at the store so the drive home was more like 26 miles. When I got home I had 22 miles left.
So 53-22 = 31 used. This was for a 26 mile drive. Quite different than the morning numbers.
I have a Mitsu dealer sort of on the way home and 3 miles from my store. So I can get off the highway earlier, go to the Mitsu dealer, fast charge for free, go to the store directly on the way home 3 miles later, then 3 more miles to home. The only other time I got a fast charge at another charger (EVGO), it got a reading of 47 miles on the car. So I am guessing that I would get around that at this dealer charger, or maybe at least 45 or so. Then I'm going to use about 6 getting home. So that would leave me with 39. Then I would plug in 120V overnight. I am not sure yet what that will give me in the morning. I think it charges slower in the cold due to having to heat the batteries overnight or whatever.
I work from home tomorrow but I am going to check around 6AM to see how many more were added overnight from the 22 that were there when I plugged in at around 530PM.
I also have a level 2 charger a half mile from home (easy walk) in town here in Media, PA and I checked it on the way home and it was empty. I have hardly ever seen a car in there.
So I think I could try the dealer fast charger on the way home sometime and see how that goes combined with the 120V at home here.
Then another time I could just charge at the level 2 charger overnight and end up with around 55 miles in the morning. Or I could plug in level 2 around 530PM and then go back about 3-4 hours later and bring her home and put her on 120V thru the night.
The days I am concerned about is when i have to go back into town the next day, which is not every day. Usually I work in town Mon/Tues, then work from home Wed, then back in town Thurs/Fri. But every other Friday I have off due to flex hours and doing an extra hour each day of working. I also tend to take paid time off on Fridays so that helps to.
And I really don't remember having such a long cold snap - usually only 2-3 days at a time. So this is very unique. But in a way good that it is challenging the limits and I have to figure out other plans.
I can also take public transit and request additional work from home days if necessary. But I really don't like the train and it is a hike with a knee that doesn't want to do it. But it is an option once the knee improves.
It is not easy for me to hook up 240V. Sometimes i need to charge in front of the house and sometimes in the rear. I solved this with 120V by just keeping 2 cords in place - one is from the shed to the back lot and 50'. The other is from the rear of the house (closest outlet to the front) and is 100 foot. They are both 10 gauge. For 240V I bought the amazing-e thinking I could hook it up to my dryer plug, but it comes with 4 prong dryer type and I have 3 prong old style dryer plug. So there is that conversion/upgrade, plus then I need to convert that to a 240V extension RV type cord probably. Or get a second box installed as Don mentioned earlier with fuses in it that is RV type, then an RV cord and an adapter from RV back to 4 prong dryer type on the amazing e. I have searched for that type of adapter and have not found it. And I have not found how to make it or the parts. Also, I think a new 4 wire wire would need to be run from the basement to the RV box, so more expense there....I just really can't figure out what to do about that - especially the whole thing about two more wires in the yard. Oh, and I would need to get an RV plug installed on the outside of the house also, or one in front and one in back. So the whole thing gets overwhelming and I go back to thinking about the public chargers for the limited days that I would have to do something.
I know I should have probably researched this much more before buying the car, but I thought 62 mile range, 22 miles each way, I'm good even if I can't charge in town. Little did I know and that's the biggest lesson for anyone reading this.
So I know that is a lot of information - just thought people might learn something from my experience and situation, and that others may have some ideas.