JSeis

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We drove 1900 miles out and back from the Pacific Ocean to Great Falls, Montana. MME AWD SR Select.

Caveat: Your Swiss Army Knife App kit needs Plug Share, EVgo, ChargePoint, A Better Route Plan, plus Electrify America Plug & Charge activated and you need a pretty smart feeling for your driving profile.

Must be the golden age of BEV travel as there’s available chargers and rare other BEVs along Interstate 90 to Missoula but once you are off the interstate corridor areas.. it’s a desert of DCFC (particularly eastern MT. And advance plan on level 2’s is need and good luck driving blue highways.

Electrify America charging stalls appear to be designed for compact cars. Lightning owners will be frustrated parking in them and if you don’t check the screens for available working charging units you will be relocating so always check 1st!

Anyone and their grandmother can stuff a gas nozzle into a fill-up pipe but an EA DCFC connector needs poisonous snake fang milking wrestling skill. I sure hope that charge port lasts… cause those cables can stress it.

About 850 miles from our place to Great Falls. Started with 100%.
We used EA sites east bound at the:

Covington Walmart (on SR 18 between I5 & I90)
Ellensburg Taco Bell
Ritzville Cow Creek Mercantile
Smelterville Walmart
Missoula Walmart

Those 5 charges got us to Great Falls via MT 200 with one big fat issue.

EA site in Missoula didn’t show up on onboard navigation. Thus the Nav system would not plot a route on MT200 likely due to the distance, elevation gain, & speed. I found it with ABRP and ABRP indicated I could reach Great Falls 170 miles away if I stayed under 58 mph. So we charged to 85% with 4 miles “extra” range.. 😬 haha. You all can accuse me of being an idiot but I actually beat the ABRP 8% charge arrival estimate handily at 22% by driving 54-58 mph and letting every single MT driver by as best I could by signaling, pulling off etc.

If I’d driven at 80 mph… We’d have been pushing the MME into GF.

We arrived in GF with enough charge to nose around for level 2’s. Found the one at North 40 Outfitters & plugged in for an hour and 20 miles while we grabbed a bite at Arby’s .. Then the S.O. got busy surfing for chargers and found the one at Citizens Alliance Bank which was very conveniently close to the Staybridge Hotel. I walked over to the two Level 2’s, did some quick surfing, found a comment that they work great with Plug Share, opened my PS account and we could charge for $1 an hour. Which we did as needed.

On the reverse trip on MT200 we charged to 100% at those Level 2’s and had no issues but I will say that prevailing west winds will play havoc with your charge level, particularly if you want to jam at the higher speeds at longer distances between chargers. Our standard range is good for 170 miles + because I’m not pushing the speed. But going home with the good spacing on chargers we cruised 65-75 mph to Snoqualmie pass.

On the return to the coast we used the EA site next to Joann’s Fabric westside Olympia and talked with the owner of a bright red MME then continued on.

Upshot. Interstate 90 traveling somewhat ok, chargers available. After discovering only 1 of 4 chargers working at Cow Creek Mercantile I loaded the EVGO app up as they’ve a DCFC about 200 yards away near the Conoco. Having a charger backup is a good plan to have fun!

Basically a pretty uneventful trip. MME did fine. I’ve put 20,000 miles on it since Mid July so expect a yearly report when I hit about 25,000.

Without DCFCs as common as modern fueling stations, driving off the beaten path will be a challenge and take longer. Montana and east on 90 is.. a challenge. But we could drop south towards Yellowstone so there’s that! I suppose a Tesla adapter is in my future. And if I want to go to Fargo ABRP says I can.. via Canada.


9DF6B84D-75B0-4FBE-B6E4-B7E05E8B282A.jpeg

 
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Mathington

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Sounds like a great trip! Did you track what your average consumption was for the entire trip?
How were your charging speeds on the EA stations? Were you consistently hitting above 100kW or did you have to wait a while at each charging stop?
 

ckt

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Were there no decent options other than going 58 mph for one leg of your trip?
 
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JSeis

JSeis

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Sounds like a great trip! Did you track what your average consumption was for the entire trip?
How were your charging speeds on the EA stations? Were you consistently hitting above 100kW or did you have to wait a while at each charging stop?
we averaged 3.1 for the entire trip as the return was cool with a 15 mph headwind and I was a 75mph lead foot. Never charged above 85 KWh. Average wait about 35 minutes. I’ve only observed 100Kwh once (not on this trip).

it was interesting on the way over, the sun would shine, cabin would warm up. I modulated heat on the Missoula to GF leg.
 


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JSeis

JSeis

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Were there no decent options other than going 58 mph for one leg of your trip?
One option was stopping in Lincoln and finding a NEMA 240V plug at an RV park. But.. no other options. I’m just glad it was a nice day with a tailwind. That’s where SR sucks and Extended Range shines.. on that leg.
 

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thanks for the write up. We live in greater seattle and our summer home in on priest lake in northern Idaho. from my research, charging is slim on I-90 between Seattle and Spokane. I don't get it. It's a major highway.

Anyway, we are taking are MME tot he lake this summer, so we'll be using the Ellensberg and ritzville locations to get us into the northern part of Spokane where we'll do our last charge before getting to our summer place.

We'll rely on home charging at the lake for the summer as there. The closest public charging for us this summer will be nearly an hour away.
 
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JSeis

JSeis

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Piece of cake Seattle to Spokane.

North Bend, Ellensburg, Ritzville, for example.. all EA. What we really noticed was off the Interstate in Mt it got lonely.

but as others have indicated, major ramp on new stations coming. Our MME Nav didn’t show the Missoula EA though so I’m not 100% sure on updates. I used ABRP as a more comprehensive calculator.
 

ripperAZ

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This is a big deal for our little town in North West Montana, (Libby)......we will soon be able to go from Seattle to Glacier National Park...... It's a big deal.

https://thewesternnews.com/news/2022/may/06/electric-vehicle-charging-station-be-installed-lib/
That is great placement for a good deal for your community. It’s beautiful there…

I think it’s funny that it was said

“Some of our members are interested in EV technology, and others are not.”

who are these people who don’t see EVs. And domining the market at a decade Why would they be opposed to putting the services in for others that would want to use it And getting a jump on the new reality

some. ‘mericans. Test the boundaries of civility and democracy

jes Sayin. Big “L” on their foreheads….
 

mburtsvt

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Piece of cake Seattle to Spokane.

North Bend, Ellensburg, Ritzville, for example.. all EA. What we really noticed was off the Interstate in Mt it got lonely.

but as others have indicated, major ramp on new stations coming. Our MME Nav didn’t show the Missoula EA though so I’m not 100% sure on updates. I used ABRP as a more comprehensive calculator.
We can get from Seattle to Spokane as well - it's the jump from Spokane to Sandpoint, (about 140 miles) that get a little stressful sometimes, (especially when it's cold). From there to Libby,(home) - piece of cake.
 
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JSeis

JSeis

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Ok, so that trip in the cold would suck in standard range. That’s the one thing we lucked out on was somewhat mild weather as in rain and a tailwind over, no rain but a headwind coming home west. While I’ve learned to modulate heat to get xtra rang… there’s only so much the S.O. will tolerate 😬
 

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Ok, so that trip in the cold would suck in standard range. That’s the one thing we lucked out on was somewhat mild weather as in rain and a tailwind over, no rain but a headwind coming home west. While I’ve learned to modulate heat to get xtra rang… there’s only so much the S.O. will tolerate 😬
Thanks for the write up! I’m doing a similar trip, but from Portland. Did you find that ABRP was accurate enough even through the mountains to rely on the estimates? It wants me to drop to 10% battery before charging which has me pretty anxious. It looks like you relied on it without issue, but do you have any other advice? Thanks!
 
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JSeis

JSeis

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….. but do you have any other advice? Thanks!
I matched the truckers speed on the interstate. That kept the car at 3.3 M/KWh.

I’m somewhat moderate on heat and AC use and if the sun is out, easy to modulate air with no e-heat and cabin fan on low.

My typical % to driving is 95%. That means I can calculate range by % of battery left and then deciding what state of charge to start the MME with. The Missoula to Great Falls leg required knowing distance & elevation change. Air temp was fine (over 53 degrees) and we left with 85% and a calculated +4 miles upon arrival at Great Falls.

But I knew the initial climb would likely be negative mile result and that’s what happened but mileage stabilized by Lincoln and seriously increased once over Rogers Pass.

So hills, cooler temps, headwinds can really mess you up. My back up plan was to swing into an RV park and get L2 charging for an hour.

I use a cycling program to study hills. Plotaroute gave this profile between Missoula and Great Falls.

ACF2E563-F75D-4BD1-BACD-CC3665E734E8.jpeg


As you can see.. knowing the route profile is huge!!
 

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I matched the truckers speed on the interstate. That kept the car at 3.3 M/KWh.

I’m somewhat moderate on heat and AC use and if the sun is out, easy to modulate air with no e-heat and cabin fan on low.

My typical % to driving is 95%. That means I can calculate range by % of battery left and then deciding what state of charge to start the MME with. The Missoula to Great Falls leg required knowing distance & elevation change. Air temp was fine (over 53 degrees) and we left with 85% and a calculated +4 miles upon arrival at Great Falls.

But I knew the initial climb would likely be negative mile result and that’s what happened but mileage stabilized by Lincoln and seriously increased once over Rogers Pass.

So hills, cooler temps, headwinds can really mess you up. My back up plan was to swing into an RV park and get L2 charging for an hour.

I use a cycling program to study hills. Plotaroute gave this profile between Missoula and Great Falls.

ACF2E563-F75D-4BD1-BACD-CC3665E734E8.jpeg


As you can see.. knowing the route profile is huge!!
Awesome, thank you!
 

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I'm currently on a cross-country trip in my MME. For this leg, we left from the Kalispell, MT area and went to West Yellowstone, MT. I charged up to 100% overnight at my brother-in-law's house and then charged up at EA in Missoula and Butte, both of which were great at 160kW to start and settling in at 80-90kW. I then stopped at an Audi dealer for $25/[email protected] in Bozeman to get enough to get to Yellowstone. I didn't really have to worry as I got to Yellowstone with about 30% SOC left. Charged up overnight to 100% at Gray Wolf Inn. Next leg is going from Island Park, ID to the Utah Salt Flats and hotels at each location have L2 chargers.

So far I've had good luck with chargers. I've used mostly EA and L2 hotel chargers so far. The EA charger(3 open stations I tried) were being difficult and required a call to EA. William at EA treated me like an idiot and finally just manually initiated a free charge, which worked. The new Chargepoint charger in White Fish, MT looks pretty, but is SLOOOOOWW at 44kW provided no one else is there, otherwise you are sharing. The EnelX charger at the Taco Bell in Polson was decent, but my god, I had to scoot the MME up to practically touching the polls for it to reach.

It'll be great when MT gets all of those new DCFC, but I hope they are better than the new Chargepoint in White Fish.

 

 
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