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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
With a small amount of trepidation after reading some reports here of out-of-service EA stops detouring road trips, and experiencing on EA station completely inoperative near my home, I set off this past week on a 1,700 mile trek from San Antonio to Oakland in a 150 mile range i3.

I'm pleased to report that with the help of the EA app, ABRP, and PlugShare, the trip went smoothly and -- critically -- all stations were in service along the I-10 corridor, where the only other option was a tow truck.

The one asterisks goes to the Harris Ranch EA stop in central California, a stop ABRP desperately wanted me to take, but which it showed "gray" i.e. "status unavailable." Bullcrap, says the EA app, "This station IS unavailable." Thankfully, unlike the I-10 corridor, I had other in-range options so this wasn't a factor.

On interesting data point to come from my trip, but something that is vehicle dependent: I was driving a BMW i3, a car that maxes out at 50 kW on a DC fast charger. Texas and New Mexico are on per-minute plans, and at 12¢ per minute I paid an average of 26¢ per kWh. Arizona and California EAs are unit based, 31¢ per kWh (AZ charges sales tax on electricity, so actually 32¢). In total, I paid $135 for 470 kWh of electricity, with a trip average of 29¢ per kWh. The ID.4 charges at a faster rate than the i3, pushing it into the 24¢ per minute tier, so the calculation would work out differently (possibly for the better).

If you're interested in my full write-up and a few photos, the link is here: 1700 miles in 48 hours -- 120 Ah BEV... - BMW i3 Forum

I'll leave you with this graphic trip log:

4995
 

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I read the full write-up on the I-3 forum and it was very interesting. I'm planning a 1200 mile trip this coming winter from NY to FL and this gives me the confidence that I can do it in 2 days. Thanks for posting this!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think so!

This trip would have been much more enjoyable in an ID.4. It has much better road manners than an i3, superior cruise, more comfortable seats, and of course longer legs.

I thought about it though, even with 250 miles of range, along I-10 in an ID.4, would I have been ok skipping to every other charge stop, or would I have played it safe with the expectation that along my route, I might arrive at one out-of-service location and need enough charge to make it to an alternate 100 miles further down the highway.

In the i3 I didn't have that as an option - I had to stop at every single location.

I didn't see that in the configuration of ABRP for distance-based alternate planning, but especially if I had the family in the car with me, this would be an important trip-planning consideration.

I'm glad you enjoyed my write-up on the i3 forum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Specifically with the two i3s, I'm going to swap the old car's 19" wheels, interior wood trim, Wokeby trunk bin, and maybe leather seats onto the new car, then sell the old i3 to Vroom.

My wife will continue to primarily drive the ID.4 and will continue to dismiss the i3 as a go-cart.
 

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Curious if ID4 owners have experienced something that plagues Bolt and a few other models (i3 included as I recall) on EA's 350kW units.

On the heavier EA 350kW plugs, there is a tendency for the sessions to fail to initialize properly, apparently the weight of the cord prevents good contact during the initialization stage. EA customer support is very aware, and calls to them will encourage you to hold the plug and cable in place, lifting slightly until the session begins.

Apparently, the plug doesn't latch until initialization completes. And the sequence of events requires good contact for the proximity pin or latch to pass all of the initialization steps.

I have heard this may also be true for ID4 owners?

I have only once successfully used 350kW units, and failed twice before learning of this. Some users have created a 3D printed insert for the Bolt charge port that supports the plug, others have found devices that prop up the cable help. Of course, most EVs cannot use more than what the 150kW units provide, so avoiding the 350kW units is both considerate, and often simple to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The only 350 kW unit I connected to was at the last stop, after the first 150 kW stand wouldn't initiate. Happily, no such problem on the i3, even though I probably used only 10% of its capacity.
 

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Curious if ID4 owners have experienced something that plagues Bolt and a few other models (i3 included as I recall) on EA's 350kW units.

On the heavier EA 350kW plugs, there is a tendency for the sessions to fail to initialize properly, apparently the weight of the cord prevents good contact during the initialization stage. EA customer support is very aware, and calls to them will encourage you to hold the plug and cable in place, lifting slightly until the session begins.

Apparently, the plug doesn't latch until initialization completes. And the sequence of events requires good contact for the proximity pin or latch to pass all of the initialization steps.

I have heard this may also be true for ID4 owners?

I have only once successfully used 350kW units, and failed twice before learning of this. Some users have created a 3D printed insert for the Bolt charge port that supports the plug, others have found devices that prop up the cable help. Of course, most EVs cannot use more than what the 150kW units provide, so avoiding the 350kW units is both considerate, and often simple to do.
For what it is worth, I have used Electrify America 350 kW plugs several times now and I have yet to encounter the potential issue you describe here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Sincerely,

Adam J. Cook
 

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Curious if ID4 owners have experienced something that plagues Bolt and a few other models (i3 included as I recall) on EA's 350kW units.

On the heavier EA 350kW plugs, there is a tendency for the sessions to fail to initialize properly, apparently the weight of the cord prevents good contact during the initialization stage. EA customer support is very aware, and calls to them will encourage you to hold the plug and cable in place, lifting slightly until the session begins.

Apparently, the plug doesn't latch until initialization completes. And the sequence of events requires good contact for the proximity pin or latch to pass all of the initialization steps.

I have heard this may also be true for ID4 owners?

I have only once successfully used 350kW units, and failed twice before learning of this. Some users have created a 3D printed insert for the Bolt charge port that supports the plug, others have found devices that prop up the cable help. Of course, most EVs cannot use more than what the 150kW units provide, so avoiding the 350kW units is both considerate, and often simple to do.
I have had no issues using the 350kW units.
 

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Our snowbird condo is in Ft Lauderdale so Nai3t has confidently inspired me to consider a 2-day as well. :) I know I can do Boston - Quantico, VA in 8 hours and it's relatively smooth sailing thereafter.

A long time ago in a galaxy ... NYC - Miami in 24 hours, but even given the ID.4's seating & handling comfort I won't be doing that! :ROFLMAO: And I well remember a SoCal - San Antonio run too, equally long ago.
I read the full write-up on the I-3 forum and it was very interesting. I'm planning a 1200 mile trip this coming winter from NY to FL and this gives me the confidence that I can do it in 2 days. Thanks for posting this!!
 

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A long time ago in a galaxy ... NYC - Miami in 24 hours, but even given the ID.4's seating & handling comfort I won't be doing that! :ROFLMAO: And I well remember a SoCal - San Antonio run too, equally long ago.
My wife once did the iron-man from Miami back to DC, and she did that only because she had a particularly unpleasant travelling companion, and she couldn't stand the thought of another night in a hotel with her.
 

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Our snowbird condo is in Ft Lauderdale so Nai3t has confidently inspired me to consider a 2-day as well. :) I know I can do Boston - Quantico, VA in 8 hours and it's relatively smooth sailing thereafter.

A long time ago in a galaxy ... NYC - Miami in 24 hours, but even given the ID.4's seating & handling comfort I won't be doing that! :ROFLMAO: And I well remember a SoCal - San Antonio run too, equally long ago.
When are you going down? Maybe we can have a Moderator Convoy!:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh, I forgot to mention...

I've made comments previously that I don't think these charging companies are making enough money to self-sustain, that this is all just a huge money pit at the moment with the realization that the network needs to be in place before people are willing to buy into the notion of an EV as a road-trip worthy vehicle.

Well, I didn't have any data to support that position (the money losing part) previously, and I still don't, but of these 17 charging stops, only at the first in Junction, Texas did I have a charging companion. At the other sixteen? Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. And I noticed only one other EV on the road at some point on Highway 5, not counting a Prius changing a flat tire in... Tucson, maybe?

So thought that was worth mentioning, particularly in light of the complaints of broken equipment. It's one thing to build them. It's another to employ the nationwide army of technicians who have to cover hundreds of miles of territory to keep them in service.

I'll betcha none of them drive EVs.
 

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Well, I didn't have any data to support that position (the money losing part) previously, and I still don't, but of these 17 charging stops, only at the first in Junction, Texas did I have a charging companion. At the other sixteen? Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. And I noticed only one other EV on the road at some point on Highway 5, not counting a Prius changing a flat tire in... Tucson, maybe?
As a counterpoint, my most recent charging stops have always had at least one other car present. The busiest I have seen had 5/8 in use (2 ID.4, one Bolt, one Mach-e, and one eTron). Well, to be fair, the etron belonged to a tech that worked for ABB, and he was repairing the one station that was out of order.
 

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I'll betcha none of them drive EVs.
This is of course just anecdotal on my part, but one time I saw some techs out to repair a couple stalls at a nearby EA location and they were driving a Bolt. No idea if that was like a "company" car or what, but it makes sense, they gotta have an actual EV to test if the station is working or not.
 

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This is of course just anecdotal on my part, but one time I saw some techs out to repair a couple stalls at a nearby EA location and they were driving a Bolt. No idea if that was like a "company" car or what, but it makes sense, they gotta have an actual EV to test if the station is working or not.
I think they must be company cars. To be able to do a proper job of it, each tech will need a car loaded with diagnostic equipment, tools and some number of spare parts. Given the likely distances between stations, they might need to have sufficient spare parts to repair numerous chargers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yeah but if the charger is down and they can't fix it... Whoo... And like I was saying, there's a hundred miles between the EA stops along I-10. That could be a trek, depending on how wide their regional coverage area encompasses.
 

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It looks like a reasonable assumption for an ID.4 to go from NYC to Miami Beach is 26.5 hours with no additional stops aside from charging the vehicle.


Here in San Diego, the Fashion Center Mall is the only place that I've looked at where all of the stalls were online and occupied. That was this past Friday. Other than that, I've just seen a few of the stations around here completely offline due to maintenance. It looks like they try to do their regular maintenance on the weekends during working hours around here.

I also happened to be charging my ID.4 while the supply equipment was being installed for a Tesla Supercharger station at the Bank of America North Park location in San Diego. I don't think that I've been back over to charge there since then, so I don't know if they've installed the Tesla stalls yet or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It looks like a reasonable assumption for an ID.4 to go from NYC to Miami Beach is 26.5 hours with no additional stops aside from charging the vehicle.
Wow, what a difference 40 kWh and 3x faster charging rates makes!

For that same drive to Florida in my i3, total time gets upped to 30 hours due to nearly 8 hours of charging (17 stops).

Likewise, for my San Antonio jaunt, had I been driving the ID.4, I'd have decreased my total trip time by 6 hours, 4 fewer charging stops (7 hours instead of 11), and even a potential shortcut bypassing Tucson. Also missing are the speed-restricted legs.
 
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