Long road trips in my Mach-e, standard battery success stories and lessons learned

machwee

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It's been doing a lot of traveling the last couple of months. I have over 5K miles on it already. I have a standard battery.
We've found changing at 20% is the most efficient and route plan accordingly. We can go about 2.5-3 hrs, down to about 20% (sometimes a little less) take a bathroom break at a fast charger (love Walmarts, lots of new fast charging stations, and almost always empty). By the time we're done with our bio/stretch break the car is at 80% and we're ready to go.
FordPass map is rarely the best planning tool. For example, tt often to takes you down to 4% has you charge for 6 mins and then hit next stop just down the road for 45 min charge. Really? So impractical. We can do our own route stops that are much more efficient. Our charges average about 15-20 mins. 20%-80%, really.
We did a trip from Branson, MO to Denton, TX, and made it in about the same time as our family in a car. They needed stops too and we pretty much the same length as our stops and were able to do the same route not using major interstates. Take that!
We do charge to 100% when we can on long trips since we have a standard battery. We don't do this at home or if staying in one place for a while but starting with 100% gives you more charging options when out on the road.
We use several different methods to plan our long routes. We live in Austin and there's a lot of uncovered EV space in Texas.
We start with Fordpass maps. We look at the stupid stops and adjust with other apps like ChargeHub, ChargePoint, and EVgo. For hotels, we use Hotels.com (they have an electric vehicle option under Amenities. So does Airbnb but I haven't found many choices so far and found some listings mismarked. Check with the host before booking).
Lessons learned:
1) Main interstate highways have more charging stations, no duh, I'm not going to mention large cities because another duh. Using smaller highways can be iffy so do your route planning homework.
2) Don't always trust the charging station reviews (some good, some bad = so-so average). A bad (non-working station) review a week ago doesn't mean it's hasn't been fixed. We found a very nice fast charger at a large 'car stop' (instead of the truck stop) in the middle of nowhere Arkansas with iffy reviews. The place was great with lots of new (all working) stations. We were concerned about our route because we needed this stop badly to make it across the diagonal of the state on smaller highways. Also, some places with great reviews will have a station or more that aren't working. Station reviews aren't compatible with GasBuddy, there's no volume yet.
We did see maintenance peeps making sure stations are working at several of our stops and that made me feel better about finding working stations.
4) In some areas like Arkansas the only fast chargers off main interstates are specialized providers like Francis Energy. You need their app with pre-paid funds to use them. A pain but once set up it worked great. I'm sure there are other regions with a similar situation.
3) Charge at hotels when possible, again no duh. Many hotel websites (even brand names like Wyndham and Hilton) don't have a search option for EV charging (yet). See my hotel notes above. Most hotel stations are not fast chargers so you'll need an overnight charge but the good news is most are free.
Hotels can be iffy and there are no EV reviews to refer to. Calling the hotel and asking only gets you a 'yes, we have them''. They won't know the status or any other details (like speed or type). We stayed in a hotel in Beaumont, TX (not a big, booming town) and it had wonderful, new charging stations. We stayed at a hotel in Houston and the charger hadn't been used in a while (anthill built over the hose) and it didn't work. We reported to staff and they had no clue what to do (or really what it was) or who to call to fix it. We tried the tesla station there and that one did work.
4) Get a tesla adaptor ($150) if you can afford it and doing long trips. It's saved us several times so far. Lots of places have both types and it's a great backup. You can also use it at tesla destination charging stations but of course, not at tesla superchargers.
5) Use dryer charging when staying with friends/family if possible, many utility rooms right off the garage. We have an adaptor and long, heavy-duty extension cord. I don't know the pricing since my husband bought but I know it's not cheap and not always practical because of car/dryer placement. This method allows us to charge 100% overnight at our family's house in Denton so it's a perfect place for us to stop on any of our trips going north.
6) Have reserves (10%) when traveling to new places away from the interstates or large cities. You never know what you'll find at the station you were counting on. Have a plan B and maybe plan C. I haven't tried an RV park yet but it has been our backup plan.
Hotels (with slow charging) are another option in a pinch. They won't show up in charging apps so you'll have to find them in hotel apps/websites.
7) Be prepared to use a slow charger in a pinch or as a planned stop. Have activities planned to pass the time (naps, eating out, games, etc.). Looks for things to do in the area like museums, movie theaters, hiking, disc golf (our plan), etc. Most towns have some sort of taxi services that you can use (as you dream of Uber/Lyft).

If you do thoughtful trip planning it's not that hard to map out fast chargers for a long trip doing stops at about 20% charge with really short charge times.

Next trip is to Denver. Wish us luck!
 

JamieGeek

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CyPotter

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It's been doing a lot of traveling the last couple of months. I have over 5K miles on it already. I have a standard battery.
We've found changing at 20% is the most efficient and route plan accordingly. We can go about 2.5-3 hrs, down to about 20% (sometimes a little less) take a bathroom break at a fast charger (love Walmarts, lots of new fast charging stations, and almost always empty). By the time we're done with our bio/stretch break the car is at 80% and we're ready to go.
FordPass map is rarely the best planning tool. For example, tt often to takes you down to 4% has you charge for 6 mins and then hit next stop just down the road for 45 min charge. Really? So impractical. We can do our own route stops that are much more efficient. Our charges average about 15-20 mins. 20%-80%, really.
We did a trip from Branson, MO to Denton, TX, and made it in about the same time as our family in a car. They needed stops too and we pretty much the same length as our stops and were able to do the same route not using major interstates. Take that!
We do charge to 100% when we can on long trips since we have a standard battery. We don't do this at home or if staying in one place for a while but starting with 100% gives you more charging options when out on the road.
We use several different methods to plan our long routes. We live in Austin and there's a lot of uncovered EV space in Texas.
We start with Fordpass maps. We look at the stupid stops and adjust with other apps like ChargeHub, ChargePoint, and EVgo. For hotels, we use Hotels.com (they have an electric vehicle option under Amenities. So does Airbnb but I haven't found many choices so far and found some listings mismarked. Check with the host before booking).
Lessons learned:
1) Main interstate highways have more charging stations, no duh, I'm not going to mention large cities because another duh. Using smaller highways can be iffy so do your route planning homework.
2) Don't always trust the charging station reviews (some good, some bad = so-so average). A bad (non-working station) review a week ago doesn't mean it's hasn't been fixed. We found a very nice fast charger at a large 'car stop' (instead of the truck stop) in the middle of nowhere Arkansas with iffy reviews. The place was great with lots of new (all working) stations. We were concerned about our route because we needed this stop badly to make it across the diagonal of the state on smaller highways. Also, some places with great reviews will have a station or more that aren't working. Station reviews aren't compatible with GasBuddy, there's no volume yet.
We did see maintenance peeps making sure stations are working at several of our stops and that made me feel better about finding working stations.
4) In some areas like Arkansas the only fast chargers off main interstates are specialized providers like Francis Energy. You need their app with pre-paid funds to use them. A pain but once set up it worked great. I'm sure there are other regions with a similar situation.
3) Charge at hotels when possible, again no duh. Many hotel websites (even brand names like Wyndham and Hilton) don't have a search option for EV charging (yet). See my hotel notes above. Most hotel stations are not fast chargers so you'll need an overnight charge but the good news is most are free.
Hotels can be iffy and there are no EV reviews to refer to. Calling the hotel and asking only gets you a 'yes, we have them''. They won't know the status or any other details (like speed or type). We stayed in a hotel in Beaumont, TX (not a big, booming town) and it had wonderful, new charging stations. We stayed at a hotel in Houston and the charger hadn't been used in a while (anthill built over the hose) and it didn't work. We reported to staff and they had no clue what to do (or really what it was) or who to call to fix it. We tried the tesla station there and that one did work.
4) Get a tesla adaptor ($150) if you can afford it and doing long trips. It's saved us several times so far. Lots of places have both types and it's a great backup. You can also use it at tesla destination charging stations but of course, not at tesla superchargers.
5) Use dryer charging when staying with friends/family if possible, many utility rooms right off the garage. We have an adaptor and long, heavy-duty extension cord. I don't know the pricing since my husband bought but I know it's not cheap and not always practical because of car/dryer placement. This method allows us to charge 100% overnight at our family's house in Denton so it's a perfect place for us to stop on any of our trips going north.
6) Have reserves (10%) when traveling to new places away from the interstates or large cities. You never know what you'll find at the station you were counting on. Have a plan B and maybe plan C. I haven't tried an RV park yet but it has been our backup plan.
Hotels (with slow charging) are another option in a pinch. They won't show up in charging apps so you'll have to find them in hotel apps/websites.
7) Be prepared to use a slow charger in a pinch or as a planned stop. Have activities planned to pass the time (naps, eating out, games, etc.). Looks for things to do in the area like museums, movie theaters, hiking, disc golf (our plan), etc. Most towns have some sort of taxi services that you can use (as you dream of Uber/Lyft).

If you do thoughtful trip planning it's not that hard to map out fast chargers for a long trip doing stops at about 20% charge with really short charge times.

Next trip is to Denver. Wish us luck!
Do you mind sharing what Tesla adapter you bought? I'm seeing a pretty wide variety online and not quite sure which one will work! Thanks for your write up here, good stuff!
 

Garbone

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phil

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This all sounds extraordinarily tedious.
 

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