A couple weeks ago a NY Times reporter specializing in alternative energy issues drove a Chevy Bolt from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and wrote an article claiming it was a horrible experience. According to that writer the trip required 5 hours of charging time. But any level-headed assessment of the trip says it requires much less time than that.
The image above is my attempt to reason this through. It shows the current charging infrastructure for that trip, and the distances involved. If you doubt my ability to estimate such a trip, a look at my online e-book about Range Confidence should tell you that I’ve thought about these issues quite a lot.
Yesterday on CleanTechnica, there was an article posted by a woman who makes that exact trip frequently. She lives in Los Angeles County, and has family in Las Vegas. She drives a Chevy Bolt, leaving from her house with a full charge. A quick 1/2 hour stop in either Victorville (at the Mall of Victor Valley) or else in Baker gives enough range to easily reach Las Vegas. She stays in a hotel in Las Vegas where there is plenty of charging stations and opportunity to recharge the car. On the trip back she again stops in either Baker or Victorville, easily making it home.
Total charging time on the road is about 1 hour. The half hour recharging stop in each direction gives her a much-needed chance to stretch her legs and relax.
The one hour total charging time is four hours less than claimed by the NY Times reporter.
Studying the map shown above suggests this is very possible. The distance from Victorville to Las Vegas is about 180 miles, well within the range of a Chevy Bolt charged to 80-90%. In my previous article I suggested the necessity to charge up to 210 miles of range in Victorville, to have an ample range cushion (180 miles plus 30 miles cushion) just in case of issues along the way. The time required to do that depends on the distance driven to reach Victorville.
With 210 miles range, the Bolt should be able to easily make it to Las Vegas without stopping.
One difference however is that in the NY Times article they appear to have immediately turned around and driven back to Los Angeles – rather than staying in a hotel. That means taking time in Las Vegas to charge the Bolt to at least 210 miles range. This should take less than 2 hours because there are plenty of fast charging and level 2 charging stations in Las Vegas.
Therefore the NY Times writer should have had 3 hours of charging time. Namely, 1/2 hour in Victorville on the way to Las Vegas, 2 hours in Las Vegas, then another 1/2 hour in Victorville on the way home.
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