On longer legs of trips, I've always set up "bail plans" for what I do if things to wrong.
Yesterday, for the first time, I had to use one of these bail plans.
I was driving a trip I've done a bunch of times, about 66 miles, mixed slower and 55 mph speed limits, with rolling hills. Has always been a smooth trip, have never hit LBW even on a cold day. This time was different. Things went wrong. Biggest difference was (according to NWS) 20+ mph headwinds. Gusts to 35 mph. Next difference is the car has 30k miles and 3 years, and is down roughly 10% in capacity (262 GIDs at full charge, for the geeks, 60Ah, SOH=91%). Lastly, I departed with a 95% (dash) charge rather than 100% charge. Leafspy log gives 249 GIDs at departure, which is about 95 percent as well.
The car still has about a 70 mile range to Low Battery Warning (LBW) at 55 mph with current battery capacity. So this trip is a milk run most of the time, as only part is at 55 mph. And usually checking the dashboard miles per kWh and percentage charge before the turn for the DCQC is usually just a way to avoid boredom.
The first part is mixed 40mph, 45mph and 50mph, and I was driving slower than the speed limit, mostly near 40mph, as traffic was very light. Pulled over and let another car pass 3 times. This careful driving should have pushed my mileage above 5m/kWh. But instead it was 4.2m/kWh. I then started the middle section, all 55 mph speed limit and enough traffic to require I drive the speed limit, matching the other traffic. Dashboard m/kWh was dropping. A few miles before the bail point, I needed to average about 4.1 m/kWh for the rest of the trip according to Leafspy, to get home before Very Low Battery Warning (VLBW). So as I was approaching the turn for the first "bail point", it was looking like I would be getting home below VLBW. To make matters worse, we were getting intense but short bursts of rain. Rain and wet roads hurt mileage as well. Was looking very bad. So at about the half way point, I bailed. Went out of my way (about 7 miles extra) to get to a DCQC station.
As it turn out, DCQC was occupied, so we plugged into a L2, four stations, one car was already there. Were there for 50 minutes, and picked up about 5kWh. That was enough so even with the added distance we hit LBW a block away from home.
Somehow, it doesn't feel good. Yes, I made the right decision to bail, no question. The stop wasn't all wasted time, bathroom break and snack was requested before we stopped. Yes, the car can't do as well with headwinds, that's not a real problem, just physics. Yes, the car is getting older, this trip has less margin than it used to have, expected. Yes, a 100% charge would have been better at departure, my fault...And all this is understandable. But somehow doesn't feel right. Not sure why.
Perhaps it is because I've never had to change plans based on the Leaf before. I've taken this trip with less than idea weather before, and been able to get there by careful driving.
Perhaps it is because the car's range is less, when new this trip wouldn't have needed a charge stop. Yet the problem yesterday was mostly headwinds.
Perhaps I should have a plan for headwinds, with a different route and a planned charge stop. As the car gets older, I'll need to have a route with a planned charge stop anyways. Or take the spouses ICE.
Most everything around here is wet during the rainy season. And the rainy season is long.
2012 Leaf SL Red (Totaled)
2014 Leaf SL Red