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paulgipe
Posts: 370
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 Kernville

Wed May 13, 2015 12:58 pm

As part of our continuing exploration of the Nissan Leaf’s range, we took a one-day get-a-way and drove up to scenic Kernville deep in the heart of the southern Sierra Nevada.

This 55-mile trip had been on our to-do list for some time. We’d held off because the charging opportunities there were sketchy at best. We were confident we could get there, but getting back might be a problem.

Plugshare.com listed only one potential charge station, the Rivernook RV campground, and the description wasn’t complete. No one had charged there since 2013. And when we called motels in the area—a popular resort on the Kern River—the response we got was, “An electric what? You want to charge a what?” Needless to say, this didn’t impart a lot of confidence that we’d find what we needed.

Nevertheless, a Tesla had been through a few weeks before and had charged at the campground, so we decided to take the plunge. We booked a night at the Whispering Pines Lodge, a bed and breakfast we’ve stayed at in the past. The Lodge abuts Camp James, an RV campground, which further abuts Rivernook on the north.

The Lodge told us that a Tesla driver had been through and charged at Camp James. We called Camp James. While helpful, they were not really interested in EVs. They wanted overnight campers, but said we could stop by. (The Lodge was mistaken we came to learn. The Tesla charged at Rivernook, not Camp James.)

Off we went.

As in the past, I used both EV TripPlanner, an online range estimator, and a tabular estimator based on Tony Williams’ range chart.

Route

The route follows the Kern River through the spectacular Kern River Gorge, climbing about 2,700 feet from Bakersfield to Kernville. Speeds are slow through much of the canyon, a plus for an Electric Vehicle (EV).

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With its low center of gravity, the Leaf handled well—better than our Prius—on the narrow, winding road along the river.

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Not having driven the route before, I drove conservatively and turned off the A/C. It was warm and this strategy is not really practical in a place like Bakersfield or the Southern San Joaquin Valley in the summer.

We arrived with capacity to spare: 31% State of Charge (SOC). This was greater than my target reserve of 20% to 25%. We could have driven more aggressively or used the A/C and still been within my reserve requirement.

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Charging

As I expected, the Lodge didn’t have a clue as to what we needed—or what they had available—but they were helpful. I described what we needed to their custodian, Larry, and we walked over the property looking for a suitable outlet.

We’d just about decided to string an extension cord from the swimming pool area when I noticed a NEMA outdoor box near a circuit-breaker panel. Sure enough, it was an old TT-30 outlet, probably put in for the golf cart they use.

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The TT-30 is an outlet designed for Travel Trailers rated for 30 amps at 120 volts.

I pulled out our EVSE Upgrade and plugged it in to test the circuit. It was live and with no faults. We now knew we could trickle charge overnight and that would give us enough to get back to Bakersfield.

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We then drove over to Camp James to see if we could charge there at 240 volts. The first RV hook-up we used had a ground fault. That was a rude awakening. I’d never seen that before and it was disconcerting. At first I didn’t know what was wrong, I just kept getting the fault light and the car wouldn’t charge. Fortunately, I’d put the instruction sheet for the EVSE in the glove box and it includes how to read the fault light. The light was flashing six times, pause, then flashing again six times. That indicated a ground fault. At least it wasn’t the EVSE that was the problem. (I had visions of being towed to Bakersfield. Ouch!)

After packing up our gear, we drove over to Rivernook. Josh, the attendant, was eager to help, knew the fee they charged ($10), knew what we wanted (240 volt, 50 amp service), and knew right where to put us under the pleasant shade of cottonwood trees along the river.

We drove in, found our “camp site” got out our EVSE, plugged in and were charging at the full 16 amps, our EVSE Upgrade can deliver.

Josh later explained that Rivernook would like to cater to EVs and has explored installing its own L2, J1772 charge stations near the entrance. They’ve gone as far as pricing some stations, but the decision to move ahead hasn’t yet been made.

We charged for three hours, raising our SOC from 30% to 83%. We were good to go.

We drove to Ewings and had an excellent dinner overlooking the Kern River and the Kern River Valley.

Once back at the Lodge, we plugged into the TT-30 and by morning we had a full 100% charge.

The next day, Larry called me and asked how our charging had gone. I explained how we got the bulk of our charge at Rivernook and topped up at the Lodge. We talked a little more about how much more convenient it would be if the Lodge had a 240 V, 50-amp circuit for EVs. He said he could do that. He knew the panel had the capacity. Maybe the next time we go up, we can charge right at the lodge.

I’ve updated Plugshare.com to reflect our visit to Rivernook and the Lodge.

Proselytizing

On our way out of town we stopped in at the Chamber of Commerce. I explained that we’d just driven up in an EV and successfully charged at Rivernook and Whispering Pines Lodge. I wrote down what other motels needed to know about EVs and the kinds of outlets required. This was the first the Chamber had ever heard of any EV passing through Kernville and they were excited to pass along the information to other hoteliers in the community. Their whitewater rafting business has collapsed and they’re keen to attract as many tourists as they can, including EVers.

Next on our proselytizing agenda was Audubon’s Kern River Preserve near Weldon. The preserve is another tourist attraction in the Kern River Valley and promoting EV usage fits with Audubon’s mission.

The 15-mile route from Kernville to Weldon takes you along what was the north shore of Lake Isabella. The lake is so low from the drought there’s now no water for much of the way.

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When we arrived, we immediately spotted a TT-30 outlet. Sure enough, the preserve used to park a trailer in the spot. That’s not enough to get much of a charge, but it’s helpful if you’re going to be there for several hours bird watching. The preserve manager was out when we were there, but if he approves the use, I’ll post the site on Plugshare.com.

There’s a KOA a few miles down the road towards Isabella and we stopped there to check their facilities. There’s no 240 V, 50 amp service at the campground. They only have the TT-30s. It appears you’d have to rent a cabin and a RV site to get a sufficient charge, so the KOA doesn’t look promising.

If you wanted to get to Ridgecrest in a first-generation, consumer-oriented EV you’d have to go through Tehachapi and Mojave and not through Weldon and over Walker Pass, which we had considered a possibility.

We left the KOA with an 80% charge and arrived in Bakersfield with 25% remaining.

Results

We proved you can get a Leaf up to Kernville, charge, and return successfully.

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As in our other trip reports, we found that you can’t rely on EV TripPlanner alone. It’s best to use it in conjunction with Tony Williams’ range chart. As in the descent from Tehachapi, the descent from Kernville to Bakersfield used more electricity than EV TripPlanner estimated. This is good to know.

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We found Williams’ range chart conservative and that tempers estimates from EV TripPlanner.

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There was an anomaly in EV TripPlanner. It estimated the trip to Kernville and from the KOA at 52 and 51 miles respectively. The Leaf’s odometer reported the distance as 54 and 55 miles respectively.

EV TripPlanner was off about 10% on two legs.

Because EV TripPlanner is an online estimator and delivers detailed estimates by segment, there is a tendency to trust it exclusively. This seems unwise. It’s best to temper the results with Williams’ more approximate approach.

For us, we’re most comfortable if we allow a 20% to 25% SOC reserve. This limits our working range, but gives us peace of mind that we’ll get where we need to go—without being towed.

This is cross posted on my web site at Electric Vehicles.

Paul Gipe
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
http://www.wind-works.org

JasonA
Posts: 585
Joined: Thu May 09, 2013 10:16 am
Delivery Date: 04 May 2013
Location: Sylmar, CA

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Kernville

Thu May 14, 2015 10:12 am

Nice report! What I would REALLY like to do is take my Rav4 up to Huntington Lake this year but there is NOTHING outside of Clovis.

And if anybody here has gone up the 168 to either Shaver or Huntington... that is one steep a$$ climb! There's an RV park and plenty of 240v in the Shaver area. Just no one on Plugshare has updated or done it yet :cry:

P.S. The lack of CHAdeMO on the 395 is also a big disappointment!
2012 10kw Dual LQ cooled Brusa powered Leaf "Astro"
13kw Enphase System,SolarWorld Panels, QuickMountPV- ALL USA!!
2014 Rav4 "SuperRav"with JdeMO (CHAdeMO)
2015 MS-70D

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Sondy132001
Gold Member
Posts: 176
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:38 pm
Delivery Date: 02 Mar 2015
Leaf Number: 016225
Location: Mission Viejo, CA

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Kernville

Thu May 14, 2015 12:08 pm

Thanks for the awesome trip information ! Because of you I plan on San Francisco (from South Orange County) in Sept or October this year !

I've been to Kennedy Meadows camping, they are a primarily generator/well community, and only came from the 395 side of the hill. Is Weldon a cut through for Kennedy Meadows from Kernville ?
2012 Nissan Leaf SL with QC 23,362 miles as of 3/5/15 Cayenne Red Mission Viejo, CA

Lost my 4th bar @ 49,474 miles 11-19-17

Lost my 5th bar @ 54,116 miles

Lost my 6th bar @ 61,247 miles on 7/15/19

Lost my 7th bar @ 69,158 miles on 09-19-20

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 370
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 Kernville

Thu May 14, 2015 1:03 pm

JasonA wrote: The lack of CHAdeMO on the 395 is also a big disappointment!
Thanks. I write these primarily for my own web site, but since this forum has been so helpful, I post them here as well.

Where do we begin talking about CHAdeMO on 395? There are zero plans for any and no one is even talking about the need for it. I haven't even convinced EV advocates of the need for CHAdeMO on Hwy 58 so you can get to 395 from the San Joaquin Valley.

Worse, there's no L2 on the East Side, only Jim Getzinger's two NEMA 14-50 receptacles in Independence and the Boulder RV park in Lone Pine. . . now there are three (3) superchargers (Lone Pine, Inyokern, Mojave).

And when you think of the struggle just to get DCFC stations in the San Joaquin Valley and along 101 on the coast you being to realize what it would take to get them on 395.

As another EV advocate said, "It's enough to make you buy a Tesla."

On a positive note the city of Tehachapi is installing an L2 at city hall.

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
http://www.wind-works.org

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 370
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 Kernville

Thu May 14, 2015 1:10 pm

Sondy132001 wrote:Thanks for the awesome trip information ! Because of you I plan on San Francisco (from South Orange County) in Sept or October this year !

I've been to Kennedy Meadows camping, they are a primarily generator/well community, and only came from the 395 side of the hill. Is Weldon a cut through for Kennedy Meadows from Kernville ?
By October you may be in luck. There should be several new DCFC installed between you and Orange County. The one at the Madonna Inn has started construction (101). I can't speak to the ones in the valley. I have a call in to Lloyd Tran. He has said his are due in the "fall".

Weldon is on Hwy 178 which crosses the Sierra Nevada at Walker Pass--probably 10 miles south of where the road to Kennedy Meadows joins 395.

The road to Kennedy Meadows (Nine Mile Canyon?) eventually crosses Sherman Pass and drops down in to Kernville from the north. Weldon is to the southeast of Kernville.
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
http://www.wind-works.org

kolmstead
Posts: 479
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:07 pm
Delivery Date: 15 Jan 2011
Leaf Number: 000257
Location: Ridgecrest, California (100 miles east of Bakersfield)

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Kernville

Thu May 14, 2015 5:24 pm

Paul, you might consider announcing your trips on MNL a few days before you go. You might find EV owners who could offer charging options. I'd be happy to help out a fellow EV'er, especially an advocate like you.

I have a home in Lake Isabella that I'm fixing up. Installed a 50A, 240V outlet in the garage. Right now it powers a saw, but it's there for EV use also. I'm mostly up there on weekends. I do understand that you're looking for more mainstream charging solutions.

If I qualify for a new battery this year, I should be able to drive my Leaf up there from Inyokern. I tried it once a year ago, but it was clear that I'd run out of battery somewhere near Weldon so I turned around at Walker Pass.

Glad to see the Kernville and Lake Isabella area getting some good press. I plan to retire up there in a couple of years. Lake Isabella itself is hurting, but I hear that the fish are still biting. And the area is delightful. I always dreamed of having a place with a creek running through my yard, and now it's coming true.

-Karl

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 370
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 Kernville

Fri May 15, 2015 7:22 am

kolmstead wrote:Paul, you might consider announcing your trips on MNL a few days before you go. You might find EV owners who could offer charging options. I'd be happy to help out a fellow EV'er, especially an advocate like you.

I have a home in Lake Isabella that I'm fixing up. Installed a 50A, 240V outlet in the garage. Right now it powers a saw, but it's there for EV use also. I'm mostly up there on weekends. I do understand that you're looking for more mainstream charging solutions.

If I qualify for a new battery this year, I should be able to drive my Leaf up there from Inyokern. I tried it once a year ago, but it was clear that I'd run out of battery somewhere near Weldon so I turned around at Walker Pass.

Glad to see the Kernville and Lake Isabella area getting some good press. I plan to retire up there in a couple of years. Lake Isabella itself is hurting, but I hear that the fish are still biting. And the area is delightful. I always dreamed of having a place with a creek running through my yard, and now it's coming true.

-Karl
Karl,

Great suggestion. I'll keep that in mind.

Nancy and I have been toying with a trip to Ridgecrest. Maybe we could have a EV coffee klatsch. Alan Kirk is over there too. (We have a niece who is on a short-term assignment at the base--that's our reason for coming over.)

Have you charged in Inyokern? I am reluctant to support an RV park that's critical of EVs. Have you gotten to Mojave on one charge? I now Alan has but that's pushing my comfort zone.

We plan on further trips to Kernville/Isabella. We're trying to explore the local region more. The EV focuses our attention locally.

I'd like to get up to Independence. Do you have any experience going up 395?

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
http://www.wind-works.org

User avatar
paulgipe
Posts: 370
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 Kernville

Fri May 15, 2015 9:11 am

Karl,

Clearly I can get from Mojave to Ridgecrest. I was thinking of Tehachapi direct to Ridgecrest without stopping in Mojave.

I'll play with the numbers today.

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
http://www.wind-works.org

User avatar
Sondy132001
Gold Member
Posts: 176
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:38 pm
Delivery Date: 02 Mar 2015
Leaf Number: 016225
Location: Mission Viejo, CA

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Kernville

Fri May 15, 2015 12:07 pm

Plugshare.com, if you sign up should tell you people's personal plugs that they share with other EV'ers.
2012 Nissan Leaf SL with QC 23,362 miles as of 3/5/15 Cayenne Red Mission Viejo, CA

Lost my 4th bar @ 49,474 miles 11-19-17

Lost my 5th bar @ 54,116 miles

Lost my 6th bar @ 61,247 miles on 7/15/19

Lost my 7th bar @ 69,158 miles on 09-19-20

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TonyWilliams
Posts: 10091
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:48 am
Location: San Diego
Contact: Website

Re: EV Trip Report: Bakersfield to Kernville

Fri May 15, 2015 12:57 pm

Assuming that you have a 2013 or newer LEAF with 6.6kW charger, you are limited with EVSE upgrade to 12 amps at 120 volts from the Panasonic EVSE at those "30 amp" TT-30 trailer outlets.

With JESLA, you can use the NEMA 10-30 plug, and buy a TT-30 plug to NEMA 10-30 inlet adaptor (that we sell) and charge at 24 amps at 120 volts.

Of course, with the "50 amp" RV park service and the NEMA 14-50 plug, the LEAF will charge at 27.5 amp at 240 volts with JESLA. No adaptor required.

http://shop.quickchargepower.com/JESLA- ... -JESLA.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

JELSA ships with NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 5-15 plugs, a padlock, plus a carrying bag. Additionally, you may want to buy the correct plug for your dryer (handy for visiting friends or relatives at their house) or for motel air conditioners:

...........................................VOLTS / AMPS.....kW
NEMA 5-15* ......Standard Outlet.. 120 V / 12 A...... 1.4 kW
NEMA 5-20 ...... Motel A/C .......... 120 V / 16A....... 1.9 kW
NEMA 10-30......Older Dryers........ 240 V / 24 A...... 5.8 kW
NEMA 14-30......Newer Dryers...... 240 V / 24 A...... 5.8 kW (out of stock)
NEMA 14-50*.....RV Parks ........... 240 V / 40 A...... 9.6 kW

*included plugs

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