Category Archives: Charging

Lets take a road trip..

According to this article it is now possible to drive an EV from Detroit all the way to Montreal using only Level 2 charging. That is quite the distance; lets say though that I want to drive from Detroit to Toronto using my Focus Electric–how long would that take? (I know my wife, reading this, would look at me and say: “You want to do this don’t you?” LOL)

We’ve driven this trip before in an ICE car–it usually takes about 4 hours or so. Google calculates it out at 231 miles and 3 hours 46 minutes. How long would such a trip take in the FFE?

First lets take a look at the charger map, from the article above:
Canada charger map
If I were to take this trip on a nice spring or fall day (in the 70s F) I could expect a good 75 miles out of the car (with a little bit of reserve for driving around searching for the charge station). This means I’d have to stop and charge about 3 times for a full recharge and once to get enough to get into the city (In reality we’d probably be charging more frequently as the stations wouldn’t exactly match the point where we’d need them). Assuming the battery is completely empty after the 75 miles means our travelers would have to wait about 3.5 hours at each stop for the car to fully charge back up on the Level 2 charger. So on top of our normal 4 hour drive we’re now also waiting an additional 10.5 hours + the bit extra at the end of the trip (most likely about 45 minutes or so to get that last little bit). It is possible that the full recharge may only take 3 hours–I’ve noticed at ChargePoint stations my car seems to charge a bit faster than at my own Level 2 station perhaps the ChargePoint station is providing a little bit more current than the car asked for?? Lets say that it only takes 3 hours to charge up–now we’re talking 9 hours instead of 10.5. Even with that reduction we’re still looking at a long 13 hour day.

Thus to contemplate such a journey perhaps an overnight at a hotel somewhere in the middle might make the trip a bit more palatable (stop and pick up a play in London perhaps which is 121 miles or a charge and a half away from Detroit).

The above is exactly why EVs, at this point in time, are mostly used as commuter cars (as mine is)*. Even so, I’m always looking around for that in-city trip that can stretch the range beyond one “tank” of electrons.

* Of course the Tesla Model S with Super Chargers installed on the 401 would make the trip as simply as an ICE car can.

Update: Green Car Reports just posted this article about a long range drive with a Tesla. An interesting read–it may deserve its own blog post…

Electrons for everyone!

Here is an interesting graphic showing the # of charging stations by state:
Charging stations by state
A different representation of the data can be found here:
PopSci charge stations
For the EV driver this information is good: new stations are being installed all over the country. The thing I find interesting is that most of the new stations are being installed East of the Mississippi river–not along the coasts. Although if you really look closely I’d guess that the most new stations are now being installed where the population is most dense (e.g. East of the Mississippi and along the coasts). That would be an indication that EVs are becoming part of the mainstream and not as much a niche vehicle anymore…