Electric-car road trip: lessons learned in Chevy Bolt EV over 1,300 miles Page 2

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2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, June 2017 road trip from VA to KY and back [Jay Lucas]

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, June 2017 road trip from VA to KY and back [Jay Lucas]

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(2) Appreciate redundancy

To avoid getting lost or winding up stranded with only a few miles of range left, I suggest you have a Plan B and Plan C for all eventualities.

For example, we depended on Apple Maps display on the Bolt EV’s big touchscreen via Apple CarPlay. But CarPlay can be quirky. When you first start the car, it takes a while to communicate with your smartphone and display the map. If a phone call or text comes in, the map takes a while to reorient itself  and “find you”. 

Once, after charging for an hour in Florence, Kentucky, CarPlay just wouldn't restart after almost an hour's efforts. The phone was fine; the connecting wire was good; the problem appeared to be with the software in the console.  I had learned how to reset that software from blogs (press FF and HOME buttons simultaneously): after the reset it worked fine. 

 ANOTHER ROAD TRIP: Driving a Chevy Bolt EV electric car across Canada, all the way

Episodes like that taught me the lesson of redundancy—and most Bolt EV drivers shouldn't be expected to reset the car's in-dash software during trouble-shooting.

To provide redundancy, I took along my old Garmin Nuvi navigation system.

Its screen was relatively primitive, but when Apple Maps went to contemplate the heavens, the sturdy old Garmin told me whether to turn left or right at the fast-approaching intersection.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, June 2017 road trip from VA to KY and back [Jay Lucas]

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car, June 2017 road trip from VA to KY and back [Jay Lucas]

Enlarge Photo

Then there's the issue of "ICE-ing," which every electric-car owner will likely encounter sooner or later.

That's the term for when you find your charging station blocked not by another electric car, but by the driver of an internal-combustion-engined vehicle, abbreviated as ICE.

If this happens, your options can include finding out whether local police or security can ticket or tow (which obviously takes time), parking on curbs, sidewalks, or lawns where safe, and almost cursing, silently if not aloud.

Many people also leave notes, though it's unclear if those have any lasting educational value in changing the behavior of selfish ICE drivers.

So you should always consider: what would I do if that charging station I'm heading for is completely ICEd? (see photo)

Other redundancy planning that really helped us include:

  • Using both PlugShare and Apple Maps to find the exact location of charging sites. Remember the Bolt EV has an optional WIFI hotspot of its own that allows internet access, which gives your passenger access to any mapping app on an iPad or smartphone.
  • Get multiple memberships in the different charging networks (EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots for our trip).
  • Research the addresses of more than one charging site: we identified four chargers in Cincinnati, three in Columbus, and two each south of Pittsburgh and in Hagerstown, Maryland.
  • Apply redundancy to yourself; drive with a buddy who can help navigate to the chargers, and find alternative roads and destinations.

LESSON: Things happen on a road trip, and your primary plan may not work. Have backups for each system on which you rely.


 
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