Saturday, July 13, 2013

Who's Going to Drive You Home? Tonight?

Ric Ocasek may have asked it before me, but it was definitely the relevant question of the evening.  It started innocently enough.

On Friday I posted on the ActiveE FB Page that I thought I could make it 438 miles in 24 hours in my ActiveE in response to Tom's almost successful attempt to dethrone Jack Brown, the 24 hour mileage Kingpin.  If you don't know me, you might think that I quickly came up with a theoretical distance that might be possible.  If you do know me, you know there's an intricate spreadsheet with fairly complex algorithims that calculated that distance based on my current battery capacity, a specific route and distinct charge times from my ClipperCreek CS-40 EVSE and several public EVSEs on my chosen route.  Fast forward to yesterday morning.

As it turned out, my plans for Saturday included an inordinate amount of driving (at least for me).  It was enough driving that it was going to be about 30 miles more than my previous one day record.  What I learned was that charging reliability may be the biggest threat to my planned 400+ mile run.

I had planned for this post to be about my 'preparation' drive for a 400+ mile run where I went 200+ miles in under 12 hours with essentially no planning or effort.  Apparently the EV gods are a fickle bunch, however.  All was going well until we went to Hartford for dinner plans with friends.  My preferred lot to park and charge (the Araphoe lot in West Hartford) had a Chevy Volt charging at the one EVSE.  I moved on to the Isham Garage in Blue Black Square and fortunately found the one EVSE was available.

While it appeared my luck had changed, it really hadn't.  When I caught a ride back to the garage after dinner, I found that the car had stopped charging an hour earlier.  The real bummer was there was at least 7% less charge than I needed.  I plotted a shorter route home on back roads, and seriously gambled at the last turnoff to an EVSE that I could definitely make it to.  Thanks to a lot of drafting and coasting, the gamble paid off and we made it home with 2% to spare.    The downside?  This isn't the blogpost I imagined writing when today started, and I only made it 197 miles in 13.5 hours.

Fortunately I was able to drive myself home and I still believe I can break 400 miles in 24 hours. But only if the EVSE gods comply...