User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:23 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Oct 2014
Leaf Number: 311200
Location: Bakersfield, CA 93305
Contact: Website

EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Wed May 27, 2015 4:25 pm

On Friday 22 May we embarked on our Electric Vehicle (EV) adventure to Los Angeles via the “Grapevine” to take in a concert of the LA Philharmonic with our friends Sarah Forth and Joe Maizlish.

Many have driven the route before us; their accounts can be found online at mynissanleaf.com and similar EV forums for other brands, such as myrave4ev.com. But it was our first venture into the “big city” from the relative hinterlands of Bakersfield with our EV.

Driving a 2015 Nissan Leaf, a consumer-oriented EV, to Los Angeles requires planning several charging stops. Most critically it requires crossing the Tejon Pass in either direction, a real challenge for today’s EVs with their limited battery capacity.

We’d driven to the Flying J truck stop in Lebec just below the summit twice before. We’d also driven the route over the summit from Valencia to Lebec once before. So we had a good idea of what to expect and how much electricity we would consume on both legs.

As in our other trips, we used both EVTripPlanner and a tabular estimator based on Tony William’s Nissan Leaf Range Chart. We tempered the estimates from both with our actual experience on previous runs.

Reserve Requirement & Speed

To allay range anxiety, our intent is never to allow the state of charge (SOC) to fall below 20% to 25%. This is equivalent to about 5 kWh of the 21 kWh usable in the Leaf’s traction battery. Depending upon the speed driven, this is enough to travel roughly another 20 miles and account for contingencies, such as an inoperative charging station—a far too frequent problem.

In the Leaf, we drive very conservatively. We’re nearly always in the right lanes and we constantly monitor the SOC, speed, and the power demand. We try to keep power demand less than 2 or 3 “bubbles” on the power meter as recommended by other Leaf owners when they are trying to extend their range. That’s not always possible climbing to the Tejon Pass when it’s necessary to stay with traffic.

Bakersfield to Lebec

For those of us who live in the San Joaquin Valley, getting to and from Los Angeles in an EV is a challenge. Southbound, the last charging stations are in Bakersfield. Then it’s a long 30-mile run across the valley floor before Highway 99 and I-5 make a steep climb over the summit of the Tejon pass.

Image

For locals in the southern San Joaquin and the tens of thousands of motorists and trucks that use the route daily, that climb to the pass is known as the Grapevine. The grade is steep, climbing 3,800 feet over the last 15 miles.

Image

Once the summit is cleared, the next charging stations are in Valencia on the other side of the Tehachapi Mountains.

Fortunately, a number of EV pioneers have blazed a route over the Grapevine by charging at the Flying J truck stop in Lebec, just below the summit, using Shorepower’s electrical pedestals.

It was raining hard when we left Bakersfield and it rained all the way to Lebec. This is nearly unheard of this time of year. Nevertheless, we arrived in Lebec with 22% SOC and were able to charge at the Shorepower terminals. We gained 7 kWh in two hours with our EVSE Upgrade, our portable EVSE, to reach 57% SOC. This was more than enough to get us to Valencia.

Lebec to Valencia

While it is possible to reach LA on a charge at Lebec, this was a new route for us and it was beyond my comfort zone. Further, our EVSE Upgrade delivers little more than 3 kW into the traction battery per hour at the Shorepower terminals. That’s a slow Level 2 charge, and it would stake several hours to store enough charge for a direct run to LA.

Image

As before, we planned to charge at Nissan of Valencia, a long 3,000-foot descent from Tejon Pass. We estimated that it would require only 4.5 to 6 kWh to reach Valencia from Lebec. We arrived with 35% SOC, having consumed only 4.6 kWh.

Image

This was the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend and I feared that the two stations at the Nissan dealer might be occupied. One Leaf was charging when we arrive. The other EVSE was available. So far so good.

With more than one-third of capacity remaining, we charged for one hour and left with 63% SOC for Glendale.

Valencia to Glendale

Our destination was Silverlake, just northwest of downtown Los Angeles. There is a DC Fast Charge (DCFC) station at the Nissan dealer on Brand Ave. in Glendale.

We planned to stop at the DCFC station and get to 80% SOC so we’d have ample charge for visiting our friends and driving to and from our hotel.

Image

The route from Valencia to Glendale on I-5 descends another 1,500 feet over 37 miles. We estimated it would require 6 to 7 kWh for this stretch.

Image

Things began to go wrong when we reached Glendale. It was now Friday afternoon. Glendale was hopping. Mercedes were weaving in and out of traffic on Brand Ave and everyone seemed to be in a hurry but us.

Then we arrived at the Nissan dealer. Salesmen were all over the lot looking for their marks. Cars were parked everywhere, allowing little space to maneuver.

We reached the DCFC and it was—Leafed. Two leafs were charging on the L2s either side of the DCFC. No hang tags. No window tags. No drivers. No one in the waiting room that owned a Leaf. No way to get to the DCFC station. No one knew anything. . .

Image

Leafed: Two unoccupied LEAFs charging at Nissan of Glendale L2 stations blocking the DCFC. No hang tags. No identification. No drivers. No one present. No one knew anything. Very poorly designed charging station, allowing those on L2 to block access to the DCFC station.

Fortunately, we’d scouted out a Plan B charge station nearer Silverlake for such an eventuality. With a GPS we were able to find Marsh Park in another ten minutes and when we arrived both EVSE’s were open.

We plugged in with a 31% SOC. We’d used 6 kWh coming down from Valencia.

Charging Site of the Future--Marsh Park

We found Marsh Park through Plugshare.com. It’s one of the stations closest to our friends in Silverlake. It has three Chargepoint L2 stations, but one station is limited to handicapped, thus, isn’t usable by everyone else.

Image

What we didn’t know until we arrived was that Marsh Park is an oasis, truly a hidden gem. We feel like country mice when we venture into Los Angeles and Marsh Park was a retreat from the roar of the freeways and the hustle and bustle of the big city. It was peaceful. That’s not a word used often when describing Los Angeles.

Image

The pocket park is beautifully landscaped with native plants, has abundant and rugged training equipment for working out after a long ride, ample picnic tables—many handicapped accessible—and easy access to the bicycle path that parallels the Los Angeles River (yes, there is one and it had water in it when we were there).

Image

The wrought-iron fencing around the park is artfully done with silhouettes of birds and the landscape. There’s a Spanish-style plaza with tile work and a shelter suitable for concerts and other gatherings.

Image

The park is in a section of the city—Frogtown to locals—cut off by I-5 and the Glendale Freeway. One has to weave their way under one freeway then another to get to the isolated park.

If you have to spend hours charging, this is the kind of place to do it. We took several laps on the walkway around the park while our car was charging. We worked out on the equipment. We tried to identify the plants: Muhlenbergia, penstemon, salvias, coral bells, sedges and more.

Image

L2 charging takes hours and as traction batteries become bigger, even quick charging will require extended stops. If EV drivers have to spend hours charging, then we need infrastructure that makes the experience pleasant—even peaceful. Designers of Marsh Park probably didn’t intend it, but Marsh Park could be a model for how we want our charging stops to be.

Image

On Sunday, we began to retrace our steps. But our first stop was a picnic breakfast at Marsh Park while our EV was charging nearby. Our friends Sarah and Joe brought home-baked muffins and home-made jam. By the time we were topped up, so was our EV. We left with a full charge.

Return

We estimated we’d need 9 to 11 kWh for the ascent to Valencia from Silverlake. We arrived with 61% SOC. We’d used 8 kWh on the 35 mile drive. Again, one of the two EVSE’s was open and we began charging.

The 37-mile climb over Tejon Pass would require 13 to 14 kWh, or 90% SOC with a 20% reserve. With 61% SOC already, we charged for one hour and left with a SOC of 89%.

We arrived in Lebec with 30% SOC, having consumed 12.4 kWh.

We charged for two hours at the Shorepower terminal and left Lebec with 55% SOC.

However, we didn’t drive directly to Bakersfield. We took the Laval Road exit and drove past the outlet malls, and past the motel where there were plans for a DCFC station. A recent email from the California Energy Commission indicated that the station may be moved out to the oil fields beyond the present development. So we drove out there, but didn’t see anything.

The detour added seven miles to our trip home. With today’s EVs, even such a minor route change has a significant effect on the charge in the traction battery. Those seven additional miles are nearly 10% of the Nissan Leaf’s official EPA range of 84 miles.

On the route back, we took I-5 to Hwy 99 all the way to Bakersfield instead of following Union Ave. The greater distance and the greater speeds bumped up our consumption to 7.6 kWh from the estimated 6.5 for this leg. That one kWh cost us 5% SOC and we arrived home with 19% SOC, 6% less than our targeted reserve of 25%.

Results

With the exception of the leg from Lebec to Valencia, EV TripPlanner fairly accurately estimated the kWh required. EV TripPlanner overestimated the leg from Lebec to Valencia.

Image

As previously, estimates derived from Tony Williams’ Nissan Range calculations are conservative. This is useful for tempering estimates from EV TripPlanner and in practice we use both.

Image

We consumed a total of 55 kWh on the 244 mile round trip for a consumption rate of 4.4 kWh/mile.

Image

Now that we’ve done parts of this route more than once, we’re getting a feel for what we need and how long to charge at each stop.

The median consumption on the Bakersfield to Lebec leg is 16 kWh; for the Lebec to Valencia leg, 4.5 kWh; for the Valencia to Lebec leg, nearly 13 kWh; and for the Lebec to Bakersfield leg, 7 kWh.

Image

It’s important to note that we used surface streets, mostly Union Ave., for the first ten miles of the trip to Lebec. Travel on Union Ave. never exceeded 45 mph and was often less. Those traveling the entire Bakersfield to Lebec segment on Hwy. 99 and I-5 will be traveling at a minimum of 10 mph faster than we did for the first ten miles, consuming relatively more energy as a result.

With proper preparation and plenty of patience, intercity travel in California is possible with today's EVs. We'll be making more trips like this in the future--now that we know we can do it.

This article is cross posted on my web site at EV Trip Reports.
Bakersfield, California
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used 10/3/16, sold
L2; ClipperCreek HCS-40; Jesla; JDapter Stub
http://www.wind-works.org

HighDesertDriver
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:29 am
Delivery Date: 09 Sep 2011
Leaf Number: 8765
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Wed May 27, 2015 4:59 pm

Nice report of detail, insight, and related observations. Thank you for spending almost as much time describing to MNL members what you did as you did planning and actually doing it. Perhaps we can share a Chick-Fil-A lunch in Valencia some day. It is only a block from Valencia Nissan and a good stop during charging. The sales manager appreciates being asked first before wallking off the lot, but has never said no. Of course, he and his associates are vulnerable to chocolate chip cookies on your return. ;-) I believe there is a third charger back in the maintenance area should one position be full in front. Thanks again.
-- Bob
2011 Glacier Pearl SL QC
Manf: 8/11 Delivered: 9/9/11
58,900 miles 10/09/15; New 2015 Bat 6/00/15, 55558; 66.14AHr
1BC 6/22/13@28310; 2BC 3/23/14@39750; 3BC 9/30/14@46,292; 4CB 6/12/15@55175, 170-185 G; 43.27AHr
PV: 7.2kW, ~13,500 kWh/yr since 3/06

derkraut
Posts: 1519
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:39 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 004248
Location: San Diego vicinity

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Wed May 27, 2015 6:21 pm

Great report! Thanks for sharing. :)
Derkraut
Color: Cayenne SLE, ETEC trim
reserved: 5/15/2010
Leaf del. 6/14/2011
New Traction battery installed on 7/28/2017:

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:23 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Oct 2014
Leaf Number: 311200
Location: Bakersfield, CA 93305
Contact: Website

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Thu May 28, 2015 8:02 am

HighDesertDriver wrote: The sales manager appreciates being asked first before wallking off the lot, but has never said no. Of course, he and his associates are vulnerable to chocolate chip cookies on your return. ;-) I believe there is a third charger back in the maintenance area should one position be full in front. Thanks again.
-- Bob
Thanks for the tip on the cookies Bob. We always identify ourselves. Oddly, we've never met another driver there even though the sign clearly says not to leave your vehicle. . .

We had planned the trip through Palmdale but the quick charger was down. We still plan to come over your way, but the summer is fast filling up.

Yes, reports such as these are a fair amount of time, but I have been getting positive feedback and that makes it worthwhile. I've also found that not everyone is a nerd who wants to plan trips like this. We met one person from Bakersfield at Lebec who was charging and she shared her EV story. She drove to the airport in one hop from Lebec and her EV died in the parking lot. Her daughter had to push her to the charging post. So, if we can point to reports such as this, other drivers can see what's needed and plan accordingly.

Paul
Bakersfield, California
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used 10/3/16, sold
L2; ClipperCreek HCS-40; Jesla; JDapter Stub
http://www.wind-works.org

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:23 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Oct 2014
Leaf Number: 311200
Location: Bakersfield, CA 93305
Contact: Website

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Thu May 28, 2015 8:08 am

derkraut wrote:Great report! Thanks for sharing. :)
Thank you for the feedback.

San Diego must have been a hotbed of early Leaf drivers.

I am curious about your online ID. I have a relative who occasionally rides e-motorcycles in koeln. You can contact me privately at pgipe@igc.org if you like. My work has taken us frequently to Germany.

And if your ever pass through Bakersfield, give us a call.

Paul
Bakersfield, California
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used 10/3/16, sold
L2; ClipperCreek HCS-40; Jesla; JDapter Stub
http://www.wind-works.org

HighDesertDriver
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:29 am
Delivery Date: 09 Sep 2011
Leaf Number: 8765
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Thu May 28, 2015 8:34 am

paulgipe wrote:Thanks for the tip on the cookies Bob. We always identify ourselves. Oddly, we've never met another driver there even though the sign clearly says not to leave your vehicle. . .
We have also never seen another driver with their car at the chargers, but often it is the dealer's demo being charged. I asked about it once and was reminded the original signage did not say say "Leaf Only" or mention staying with the car. The chargers then became abused by Volts, PiPs,... and Leafs ... using those spots for all-day parking.
2011 Glacier Pearl SL QC
Manf: 8/11 Delivered: 9/9/11
58,900 miles 10/09/15; New 2015 Bat 6/00/15, 55558; 66.14AHr
1BC 6/22/13@28310; 2BC 3/23/14@39750; 3BC 9/30/14@46,292; 4CB 6/12/15@55175, 170-185 G; 43.27AHr
PV: 7.2kW, ~13,500 kWh/yr since 3/06

MichaelBornstein
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:03 pm

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:27 am

In the past I also recharged my RAV4 at that Nissan dealer. The service guys were very nice and let me charge, and I went to Mimi's Café next door for breakfast. I brought back some muffins as a gift. The sales manager was not as nice, and told me to get my RAV4 out of there immediately. I couldn't find any other dealer (including the Toyota dealer) on that block that would let me hook up (it was about 8am on a Saturday) and I had to drive to Northridge Fashion Center to finish my charge.

User avatar
JimSouCal
Posts: 860
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:10 am

Paul, very nicely done (and documented). Thank you too.

This is the first time I've seen mention of shorepower.... Checked out their site and the price for electricity is very reasonable. On the shorepower site, with a quick glance, they didn't mention what plug format they support... Is it the stock twist lock on the EVSE upgrade, or did you bring an adaptor...?

As a side note, I've said it here many times, but with wires strung so many places, the final model of EV usage may not be larger batteries as much as simply more places for opportunity charging (and perhaps DC quick as infrastructure develops).

Similar to Marsh Park, I've paid for admission at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in Claremont, brought a sack lunch and enjoyed a nature walk and lunch while topping off to head up to Mt. Baldy (Manker Flat Area). Once up at over 6,000 feet, running pretty empty, I top off overnight via 120V and can make it back to Santa Monica (regen doesn't work on the downhill in that scenario of a cold morning pack, so I am wearing break pads the whole way down, but keep the full charge for the FWY home).

I do wish for the faster 6K charger on the newer models sometimes....charger envy :)

User avatar
DuncanCunningham
Posts: 523
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:02 am
Delivery Date: 15 Apr 2015
Location: Bountiful, UT

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:47 am

This is great. I've enjoyed reading this. I will never try a longer journey than my Leaf can do on a single charge from Home. I'm too cautious of a person to risk letting things out of my control dictate how my trips will unfold. Whatever can go wrong (for me) usually does. I error on the side of caution for everything unless the risk is low or the consequences are ok to deal with.

I'd be renting a ICE car for such events. We are saving so much money charging our Leafs at home, 9c Kwh, that we will have additional funds for such longer range trips. Though after reading this, if you think of it as an adventure then I could try such a thing. The trip would all be about charging and getting to the next watering hole than the destination event.

One day, charging stations will be fully available and reliable or affordable EV car ranges will reach 300+ so all the naysayers will have nothing to complain about, other than something else, they always will.
Statler: Wake up you old fool. You slept through the show.
Waldorf: Who's a fool? You watched it.

2015 Leaf S (leased until May 2018, Bought out in Jan 2017)
2012 Leaf SL (purchased May 2015)

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:23 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Oct 2014
Leaf Number: 311200
Location: Bakersfield, CA 93305
Contact: Website

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Los Angeles & Return

Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:11 pm

JimSouCal wrote:Paul, very nicely done (and documented). Thank you too.

This is the first time I've seen mention of shorepower.... Checked out their site and the price for electricity is very reasonable. On the shorepower site, with a quick glance, they didn't mention what plug format they support... Is it the stock twist lock on the EVSE upgrade, or did you bring an adaptor...?

Similar to Marsh Park, I've paid for admission at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in Claremont, brought a sack lunch and enjoyed a nature walk and lunch while topping off to head up to Mt. Baldy (Manker Flat Area).
Jim,

Shorepower terminals require a NEMA 14-30 plug. EVSE Upgrades's "universal" 240-volt plug fits both NEMA 14-30 and NEMA 14-50. That's what I have, but I think you have to specify that when you order it.

Thanks for the tip about Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. I'll look it up. I am active in our native plant group here and we often have speakers come up from RSAB. I've seen quite a few people charging on plugshare at the LA County Arboretum too.
Bakersfield, California
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used 10/3/16, sold
L2; ClipperCreek HCS-40; Jesla; JDapter Stub
http://www.wind-works.org

Return to “Pacific USA”