It was a beautiful day and there was a report of abundant wildflowers on the road to Woody. Glenville is beyond Woody and we thought we’d test our Leaf’s range once again in the foothills east of Bakersfield.
Indeed, there were abundant wildflowers: fiddlenecks, blue dicks, red maids, and even a few poppies and lupine.
We enjoyed a picnic lunch amidst the wildflowers, but we didn’t quite make it to Glenville. Range anxiety got the better of me and we stopped just short of the village and turned around.
Here’s what happened.
Using EV Trip Planner, I estimated that we should get to Glenville with 47% State of Charge (SOC) remaining. Once the SOC dropped to 42%, I called off the venture even though Woody was only a few miles further.
I wasn’t driving in Eco Mode, as Nancy quickly pointed out, and I wasn’t driving conservatively. I immediately began conserving our charge and once past Woody on the way back downhill to Bakersfield we even picked up some charge.
We made it home with 24% SOC and 3 fuel bars remaining.
When I got to the computer I poured over the route and what went wrong. Turns out there are two ways to get to Glenville. EV Trip Planner chose the shortest route. I chose the route through Woody, which looked shorter on the map, but wasn’t. It was also the route with the wildflower report.
I rerouted EV Trip Planner to reflect the route we’d actually taken. This time the online estimator calculated that we would use 15.3 kWh on the route, using 73% of our charge. This was close to our actual charge remaining, 24%, but more conservative than our actual consumption.
EV Trip Planner used an assumption of an average speed of 35 mph on the main segment. This was much too low for the conditions. There’s a lot of oil-field traffic, requiring you to keep up with the flow of traffic that typically moves much faster than 35 mph.
The lessons here are to pay close attention to the route, and also to the spreadsheet that you can produce from the estimator. The spreadsheet shows some assumptions and calculations. These can be revealing, as in the speed used on one segment.
I’ve also found some odd glitches in the estimator on other routes. The overall kWh consumption just didn’t make sense on a new route I was planning from the Flying J truck stop in Lebec home to Bakersfield. Eventually, I noticed that on one very short segment there was an extremely high consumption—well beyond any actual physical conditions. I subsequently made a slight route modification to avoid this segment and the estimator returned a much more rational result. More on this route in a later post.