- First Name
- Dec 10, 2019
- Reaction score
- Jamaica, NY
- 2017 Explorer Sport
Thank for you sharing. I wish I could convince my wife to take a long road trip but she has little patience for the charging stops.Hello Everyone, I just returned from a 2200 mile road trip through the southwest and wanted to share my experience with the Mach-E and its performance in the extreme heat I experienced along the way. My route was: Sacramento, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Sedona, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Sacramento.
Full disclosure, my Mach-E has the FormulaOne Stratos 70 tint on all windows, except for the sunroof, so that may have helped out with the battery performance, etc., if the car has to work less to cool the cabin. Also, I have the premium model, standard range battery, with RWD.
Sacramento to Palm Springs
My trip began with advanced planning with ABRP. I weighed all my luggage, passengers, and extra cargo, then rounded up to the nearest 10 pounds. I filled the frunk with a complete detail kit and our Dyson vacuum cleaner so I could keep the Mach-E clean, as I am the type to use detail spray on my vehicles every day or two.
We left at 5:30am and planned to make our first stop at the EA charging station in Firebaugh, CA with the help of Plugshare to make sure the chargers were working. I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate ABRP was calculating the battery percentage at the beginning of the trip, but noticed after an hour or so the accuracy diminished quite a bit.
I have to admit I was pretty nervous passing the "Lagrange Point" and connecting the charger at our first stop because there were no other stations within driving distance. I plugged in and it connected quickly, without a problem.
All of the EA charging stations were free for the holiday weekend, so I decided to ditch ABRP for the rest of the trip and plan my route on intuition and using only EA chargers.
The rest of the drive to Palm Springs went smoothly and my range anxiety eventually went away with each successful Plug and Charge.
Palm Springs to Phoenix
The next morning, we left for Phoenix with an 80% charge. We stopped at three EA stations along the way and had no issues using plug and charge. All of the charging speeds up to this point were high enough that we only needed to stop for 20 to 30 minutes at each station. My wife, the electric car critic, said that the breaks made the journey a lot more enjoyable and less tiring, which was my experience as well.
The trip to Phoenix started to see more advanced temperatures and remote areas, which made me a little uneasy. I had the images of "stop safely now" running through my head.
Again, we had no issues getting to Phoenix or charging along the way, but we did encounter a few annoyances that were no fault of the Mach-E.
First, I discovered that there charging stations were a lot less numerous in Phoenix, at least with the EA stations. There were 6 in total that I could drive to from our hotel and they all were at least 20 minutes away. Also, all of the stations charged at a measly 32kw speed. At first I thought this might be due to the heat, but someone I met at my first late night charge told me that it was because the city of Phoenix were incentivized to install 1st generation EA chargers made by ABB rather than the latest generation by SigNet. He said he got this information from a technician that was repairing a station he was at a few weeks ago.
Indeed, after he told me this, I began to look at the panels on the chargers and each one I encountered that was slow was made by ABB. He said I would need to get out of the city limits to find a faster charger. Unfortunately charging on these slow EA ABB chargers cost me a lot of time that I could have used to spend with the family, relax, or sleep.
I should add, up to this point the Mach-E performance exceeded my expectations. No issues charging and no issues with a dip in A/C performance in temperatures up to 116 degrees. The guess-o-meter was spot, if not a little bit conservative, and the lane keeping system in tandem with the cruise control, which I was using about 80% of the time worked perfectly.
Sedona was where we saw our first issue, again by no fault of the Mach-E.
Due to the lack of DC chargers, the change in elevation, and convenient locations to slow charge, I calculated that we would have just enough charge to make it to the city of Sedona and back, which turned out to be the case. Unfortunately, this meant that we couldn't explore the area more than we would have liked, and we wasted almost 2 hours getting a top off at a slow 7.2kw charger to make it back the next EA charger north of Phoenix. I really wanted to make a side trip to Caduceus Cellars in Jerome as my co-worker suggested, but that will have to wait for another trip.
Phoenix to Las Vegas
The night before we left for Las Vegas I again wasted another 2 hours getting up to an 80% charge. I suppose I could have found a closer location, but I really wanted to take advantage of the free charging EA was offering and I did not want to deal with a different brand of charger because of bad experience I've had in the past with activation, faults, etc.
We left right before lunch, but this time I made the mistake of forgetting to account for the elevation between Phoenix and the next DC charging station in Kingsman. After about 45 minutes into the drive, I realized my mistake and the range anxiety really began to kick in. I decided to make a stop at a random and remote Ford dealership along the away that had a very old and slow ABB charger in the parking lot. I wasted a good 10 minutes trying to get it to activate without any luck, so I left.
Fortunately, we were able to make it to the next EA charger with a 6% charge, and 11 miles left on the GOM. I was able to achieve this by turning the A/C off for the rest of the journey and making aggressive use of regenerative breaking at every opportunity. I was able to maintain enough speed by shifting between D and N on downhills so as not to create an obstruction to traffic behind me.
The stop in Kingsman went smoothly and I was able to charge at 108kw/h and depart in 45 minutes.
Nothing much to report in Las Vegas. We valet parked at the Delano and our valet took care of the charging for us.
Las Vegas to Death Valley
This is where we experienced the most outrageous heat. Because of the extreme drop in elevation and the short distance to Furnace Creek, I didn’t consider elevation as a factor in our range or change any of my driving habits. We of course made it to our hotel at The Oasis in Furnace Creek where the official temperature reading was 123 degrees at our arrival around noon.
During the trip to Death Valley, we noticed no dip in performance by the Mach-E. The A/C performed well, and we did not notice any heat coming from the panoramic sunroof. I will say, on the way to Death Valley a semi-truck threw a rock into the windshield, and it immediately produced a crack that ran halfway across the length.
If you stay at the Ranch, you will find a free slow charger on site that requires no activation, you just plug it in. I checked on the car while it was charging in the extreme heat. The inside was the hottest I have ever felt the interior of a car. I noticed no smells or anything unusual occurring in the extreme heat with charging, warping, etc.
After a few hours of charging, we decided to drive around and explore the park. The A/C was able to bring the interior down to our preferred temperature of 68 degrees in no time.
In a post I produced on 07/08 I spoke out the exterior temperature reading I got from the Mach-E which showed 147 degrees while driving uphill to Artist’s Palate. 147 degrees would have been impossible as an air temperature, so fearing that the battery might be overheating and affecting the temperature sensor, I decided to shift into neutral on the way down and the temperature immediately began to drop.
I’m not sure of the details on what temperature the batteries operate, but there is a discussion on that in that post. I believe the batteries operate at a maximum of 134 degrees before they shut off and seeing that there was no drop in A/C performance it appears that the chiller was able to keep things operational in that kind of heat. My assumption is that the temperature drop was attributed to shifting into neutral, allowing the batteries to take a break from regenerating on the downhill and not producing any forward thrust… however, others have stated in the post that they do not believe that is the case. Either way, the outside temperature eventually dropped to 131 degrees after 3 or 4 miles of downhill coasting.
The Mach-E performed as well as any other ICE car I’ve been in these extreme temperatures, and we were able to explore the park without any limitations.
Death Valley to Sacramento
I was able to achieve a 100% charge overnight before leaving for Sacramento. Due to the availability of good EA chargers along the way, the trip back home was uneventful.
The performance of the Mach-E on our road trip was outstanding and I was able to convert the wife into a believer. Although we were limited by what we could do on a few occasions due to the availability of DC chargers outside of California, and having the standard range battery, we rate our trip as a success. We saved about $300 in gas.
There is one thing I would like Ford to consider. During out trip we received several notifications that there were no chargers within range and that we needed to prepare to plug in, even though this was not the case. I got these notifications whether or not I was using the Ford navigation. In fact, one of these notifications came when we had 80 miles of range and were expected to reach our next EA charger with a surplus of at least 30 miles.
Since we will be paying Ford in the future for use of the navigation and its updates, I would like to see how Ford is going to keep these annoying popups from showing up while using outdated information.
Also, upon opening my frunk at the end of the journey, I noticed several warped and leaky bottles of detailing products from the exessive heat in Death Valley! Ha.
One question though, did you try out the Ford Power My Trip feature to test the accuracy of the trip or compare it to ABRP? Also, when I traveled using the Ford mapping, it was great to see how much charge was left to your destination although I had to figure out how to filter the settings for stops only at DC or EA chargers.