170-Mile CHAdeMO Excursion in 5-1/2 Hours

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Staff member
Dec 15, 2011
Hills above Silicon Valley, California
Debated whether to start a new thread or tack onto someone's existing one. Perhaps we should have a separate subforum for recounting trips?

Had an very nice trip picking up a 2012 i-MiEV for a friend in California's central valley. The shortest route (going) was 140 miles (225.3km). We met at the only public charging station in Madera (at the Amtrak Station), so the car was fully charged. After staring at PlugShare for a while the previous day, I realized that I had two alternatives for the return trip:

1. The short route (140 miles or 225.3km) which first necessitated a 56-mile (90km) hop to a campground which would require at least a 3-4-hour L2 charging session. From there, a 40-mile (64km) hop up and over Pacheco Pass to Gilroy Premium Outlets DCQC, and then home free with DCQC available if needed along the way.

2. The long route (it turned out to be 174.2 miles (280.3km)) going up California's Central Valley on Highway 99 and coming back to the Bay Area from the east on Interstates 580—>680, but with accessible DCQC at roughly 40-mile (64km) intervals.

I chose the latter, as timewise it was shorter and would avoid the 56-mile (90km) hop in an unknown i-MiEV with (horrors) weird-looking Blizzak snow(?) tires. Pumped up the tires to 44psi (303kPa) and amazingly this significantly reduced the tire noise which was very noticeable during my initial test drive. We had a late lunch, and with my wife in the Gen1 Honda Insight hop-scotching we had a completely uneventful and very pleasant excursion. For the record, we charged in Atwater, Salida, Tracy, and Pleasanton. The last 45-mile (72km) jump home (after the 80% charge) still left me with three bars as I pulled up to my house! No waits for a DCQC, although a Leaf pulled up in Salida and had to wait for me for about ten minutes. The recharge times were so short that we barely had time to go to the bathroom and grab a cup of coffee (I'll have the exact numbers when I get the huge nrg EVgo bill).

The unknown i-MiEV performed fantastically - quite better than expected with those Blizzak tire. On the first leg I was running 112Wh/km on Canion, but as the later legs got shorter and the traffic heavier I simply drove 'normally'. This i-MiEV's consumption was just like all of my three i-MiEVs. Although having 44K (71Kkm) on its odometer, it's battery had been replaced 20K miles (32Kkm) ago. The battery temperature started at 15degC but gradually crept up to 34degC (93degF) and stayed there for the last two legs of the trip. Ambient temperature was right at 50degF (10degC) with a bit of rain but no wind.

Left Madera at 2:45pm and arrived home by 8:15pm, which translates into 5-1/2 hours for the 174.2miles (280.3km). Not too shabby, especially considering my wife and I had a take-out dinner in Pleasanton which probably added another 20 minutes as we sat in the car munching after it was charged. We probably had another five minutes of lost time at each charging location, so 5 hours of driving/charging time is probably a better number.

What I did right:
1) Really did my route pre-planning in depth and verifying the integrity of all the charging stations along the way. Love http://www.plugshare.com!
2) Pre-entered all the possible charging stops into both my GPS as well as in wife's Insight GPS.
3) Took my huge collection of adapters and cables and EVSEs. I had sussed out some welding shops in Los Banos in case we couldn't make it to the campground, and had adapters to fit their 240vac if needed.
4) Took some warm clothes, longjohns, heavy wooly socks, and electric blanket, but only wore the longjohns and didn't bother even pulling out the blanket. I was warm with just a sweater and without running the heater at all.

What I did wrong:
1) Forgot to take my Rubbermaid container with the two spare tires and jack and lugwrench. Luckily, no flat tires along the way.
2) Didn't stop and enlarge the PlugShare map on my iPad upon arriving at the charging station location, as three of the shopping centers had unbelievable acres of parking and convoluted building layouts and I wasted a fair amount of time and distance stumbling around looking for the EVSEs. Should have spent more time reading the comments on the PlugShare app to pinpoint the exact EVSE location.
3) Fretted too much over the trip ahead of time (and thus not enough sleep) - due to lots of other issues, I only had this one-day window to accomplish this. Turns out wife was concerned about me getting into an accident as I absolutely positively had to be back home today for a procedure. Being rear-ended by a drunk driver and having my first Insight totaled in that part of the world a couple of years ago is still fresh in our memories.

All-in-all, this trip was a very pleasant learning experience and both my wife and I enjoyed it, and, of course, my friend is now the lucky owner of a superb fully-loaded SE Premium… all he has to do is get it from California to Boise, Idaho.

Funny story -

Pulled into the charging station in Atwater and there, in a black Tesla with Arizona plates, was a glitzy blondish heavily-made-up movie-star-looking creation in fashionable ripped jeans and heels, complete with fluffy white dog with spangled coat. She was on the phone and absolutely clueless as to what to do as she was heading to Fresno and the car was telling her she couldn't make it. Helped her out - she didn't have a CHAdeMO adapter but found the J1772 adapter and I showed her which plug to put into it (choice of J1772 or CHAdeMO or CCS - the J1772 was on a different post and she hadn't noticed it), and when I left her she was still on the phone talking with Tesla and NRG on how to activate the EVSE.
blackheart said:
So what was your DCQC bill? Interested in the impact for longer excursions.
I still have not received the NRG statement, which usually comes at the beginning of the following month. Just checked my credit card, and nothing has been posted. I recently read that NRG are divesting their charging station operations, so their administrative functions must be in turmoil... the only nice thing I have to say about NRG is that their EVSEs have worked every time I've tried to use them.

I was going to contrast the cost of that i-MiEV trip with the Gen1 Honda Insight: 174.2 miles * 1 gallon/75miles * $2.25/gallon = $5.22. Incidentally, gasoline around here is now (have to look this up online as I don't pay attention) >$2.50/gallon. Our overseas friends must be shaking their heads...
OK, found the February nrgEVgo statement...

Edit: CORRECTION, my bad, as that was a February 2015 statement that I found. Still no February 2016 statement and I received my March statement today (showing zero), and that February trip bill has still not been posted to my credit card.

We'll see what happens in the future, as nrg has separated their money-losing EVgo and Solar Operations into another company (calling it GreenCo). ref:
Keep us/me posted would you? I am going to test drive a 2012 Imiev that I ordered from SoCal with the CHAdeMO option (nearly bought a couple before even knowing what CHAdeMO was). Thanks to this forum (and Jray3), I found the car and ordered it delivered.
I don't plan on using the DCQC option much b/c so much of my driving is just around PDX. But I would like to know some other users experiences and costs associated. I have seen a whole range from nearly $7/hr (so $1.75 for a 15min "fill up") to $0.49/KW (which from turtle to 80% would be about $6.00).