It is the charging network, not about the range!

It is the charging network, not about the range!

mdd | 9 March, 2017

Both are important, but the charging network is vital.

SamO | 9 March, 2017

Our trip back took 11.5 hours with all the charging stops. The total charging cost was $88.00.

Comparing this to a 5-hour trip in a gasoline car along Interstate 5 (or 6 hours via Highway 101), it becomes hard to justify the extra time—especially when using a gasoline car would have cost about the same.

I estimate a 25-mpg gasoline car would have cost about $84, based on a 700-mile round trip along I-5 paying $3 per gallon for gasoline.

Our electric-car journey required a longer 800-mile route round trip, and took a lot more time. Of our $88 in charging costs, EVgo fees were static at $10.95 per half-hour session, while the ChargePoint fees varied from station to station.

All in all, it was a very informative trip. First, I learned always to have a backup plan.

Second, it turns out even DC fast chargers can charge at different rates. In general, charging took more time than I had anticipated and the cost for charging was a lot more than I had planned.

Third, the Bolt EV's 238-mile rated range can really only be achieved by driving mostly around the speed limit with accessories and climate controls turned off. My 80 mph average speed definitely significantly reduced the distance the car could go before needing another charge.

I also received a lot of help both before and during the trip from my master-planner friend Anthony, who helped me plan the route and worked with me via cellphone during the trip whenever problems came up.

He was my "lifeline" as if we were on a game show. Without Anthony and my daughter playing navigator, I would have had to pull over more often to look at my options.

SamO | 9 March, 2017

Guesss the author was just "Teslarati"?

Mike83 | 9 March, 2017

Its not the destination its the journey and no way do I like traveling in an ICE ruining my blood vessels sitting so long. Stopping to use the restrooms, get coffee, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Walk, shop and exercise. I am much healthier now driving Tesla's for 4 year super fast and fun way to travel. I don't like wasting time getting oily changes, smog checks, gas stations, mufflers, etc. Its a much better life style and I'm sticking to it. A much safer vehicle without gas or carbon monoxide or dioxide.

Bighorn | 9 March, 2017

Conclusion: it's a city car. Where have I heard that before?

sosmerc | 9 March, 2017

City car indeed, but at least it is a start for GM. I read the article with great interest and it pretty much nixed the Bolt for me, because I do need to make frequent trips where greater range (like 275-300+) would be a blessing because I would not have to stop. A 300 mile Bolt I would probably buy in a heartbeat...especially if towing a very lightweight utility trailer were allowed. (for kayaks and standup paddleboards)

Sleepydoc1 | 9 March, 2017

So, did GM do electric a favor by building this, or did they just kill a lot of the motivation? Go Tesla and its truly fast and available charging network (compared to other charging networks).

The quote that is missing: After going 108 miles, I was down to 70 miles of charge. 60 miles GONE! Ouch. That is 25% or more.

sosmerc | 9 March, 2017

So wouldn't it just be awesome if we had a "standard" fast charging system? I am beginning to really appreciate the fact that when I stay at a hotel or condo or anywhere in the US I am confident that I can plug in any of my electric devices (like my wireless qi phone charger, my charger for my shaver, my electric toothbrush charger, etc, etc. It just works without any concern or fuss. Kind of like visiting a gas station and buying gas for my can pull into any station and it just works. When it works that easily for BEV or plug-in Hybrids...well, then we are off to the races!

trx430ex | 9 March, 2017

The data point of doing 80 mph in EV seems to not line up with doing 80 mph in ICE @ 25 mpg.At 80 mph in ICE your getting around 12 mpg pushing that much weight/resistance with the AC off. I could push the electric bike @ 27 mph and get 8-9 miles at 36 volts @7.5 amp hr. Or 12-13 miles at half speed, it is a sliding scale in both energy forms.

The SS United States Ocean liner could do 32 knots at half power, it took 100% more energy to get to 36 knots.

trx430ex | 9 March, 2017

Perhaps those that want to change the world, the age old gas price sign is lit up 24/7 across the nation. The price of an electric ride on that sign may be a weary drivers welcome. How much does that real estate cost?

Rocky_H | 10 March, 2017

@sosmerc, Quote: "So wouldn't it just be awesome if we had a "standard" fast charging system?"

Well, being standardized is somewhat important, but being actually good is more important. Tesla wanted to participate with the standards groups, but all of the other car companies who were on the standards boards thought 40 or 50 kW was a blazingly fast charging speed, so that's about all you can find for CHAdeMO and CCS. Tesla knew that doesn't cut it for traveling, and they needed something that was 100+kW. Since the standards groups wouldn't do it, they had to make their own. I think most people here would rather have something that is actually fast and works really well, even if it's not standardized.

Also, there is the motivation of who is going to build it based on who has a horse in the race. Really high power sites with several stalls are really expensive to build. A city or state is not going to want to put that much money into a charging site when electric cars are not very much of a market. Tesla has a motivation that building more sites helps them sell more cars.

Earl and Nagin ... | 10 March, 2017

Good points. Standardization really only works with mature technology, after the market requirements are well understood. The standard also must address the purpose.
We do have a 'standard' fast charging system from the perspective of the early ICE industry. That is J-1772 at 240v, 30 amps. To them 'slow' charging is 120v at 12 amps. Tesla rejected this from the very beginning so they had to break from the standard with the Roadster's 240v at 70 amps. They had to break again with Supercharging.
Remember also, however that the CHAdeMO system was based on TEPCO's (Tokyo Electric and Power COmpany's) experience with their own company fleet of short-range EVs in the late '90's. They had EVs that could go about 100 miles on a charge but tracking indicated employees never drove more than a few miles from their office because of fear of not getting back. They discovered that when they deployed a very small number of DC fast chargers a way from their office, employees started driving many miles away from the office - but they hardly ever used the DC fast chargers. Apparently, just knowing there was a fast charger available a long way from the office was enough to increase comfort with driving a lot farther away.
This urban usage scenario, of course, led to the CHAdeMO Standard. It is a standard for urban EV usage, not for long-distance driving.
I suspect it also led to the Nissan Leaf's lack of battery cooling which resulted in not being able to fast charge more than a few times in a day without having to slow the charging due to hot battery.
Nobody, other than Tesla, intends for their EVs to be useful as one's only car. This means it needs to handle road trips, not just urban commuting and grocery-getting. The rest want to sell you an ICE for that purpose.

Haggy | 10 March, 2017

"So wouldn't it just be awesome if we had a "standard" fast charging system?"

Yes, but not having it there meant that Tesla could have gone along with an impractical slow one, or built their own, and made it available to other manufacturers who are willing to meet their terms.

The article shows what an ordeal that trip can be, but I've taken that trip (only longer) many times in a Tesla. There would have been no reason to write an article about it because it would have been a boring story. I could mention that I stopped for lunch, and my biggest worry was that the charge would finish before I was done with my meal. I could mention that I took a second stop to charge and so my wife could use the restroom, and she was adamant that we stop anyway. I could even mention that once the car said I could now continue my trip, I still let it charge some more because my wife hadn't returned from the restroom yet.

On the other hand, it's worth mentioning that the trip home is equally easy if I stay somewhere with a destination charger, but if I start off needing a charge, it will take longer. It wouldn't be anything like what happened in the story, and going out for coffee in the morning while stopping at a supercharger might mean I finish my coffee before I'm done charging, so there's that. I did have that problem a few times when visiting my daughter, but since then a supercharger station was opened less than five minutes away from where she lived. Then she moved, but she's still within five minutes of a supercharger.

My experiences are with an 85 battery though. I'd probably stop at the same chargers with a smaller battery, but I might spend slightly more time charging. I doubt it would be much. And if I had a 100, then I wouldn't have to worry about local charging so much at the destination. Even if I do take a coffee break, I'd have more than enough range that I wouldn't have to wait for the charge to complete, but if I didn't do it at all, it would likely be fine anyway.

So range does matter, but not as much as people might think. With a 100 battery, I wouldn't (in theory) need to charge at restroom stops, but my wife would still make sure they happened.

carlgo2 | 10 March, 2017

With all this talk of really fast chargers it may be that standardization can be implemented.

Almost all cars are used for local use, ICE and EVs alike.

I plan to never rely on destination or third party trickle chargers. My normal driving will covered with home charging and the relatively routine long trips I make are already well covered by SCs that allow for quick half-charges. I will rent an interesting ICE car for infrequent trips where SCs aren't until the coverage is there.

It really is now mostly about cheap batteries and lots of fast chargers.

Haggy | 11 March, 2017

"Nope. It's the range. Identified as the No. 1 issue on why people DON'T buy EV's."

Yes, but that's out of ignorance, not out of need. Extra range wouldn't have made much of a difference in that trip. Whether a person made that trip in a Model S 60 or a Model S 100D, chances are the person would stop to eat either way and range wouldn't make a practical difference. People who claim a certain range is needed have targets such as 300 miles or 350 miles, neither of which would have helped on that trip compared to any current Tesla with a supercharging network. It would still require the traveler to charge, and it could be done easily while stopped to eat, as long as there's an adequate high speed network in place.

For those with no place to charge regularly, it's infrastructure that's needed, not range. Having a landlord install an outlet in your parking space would help. Having an 800 mile range but needing to go some place to charge several times a month and spending over an hour still wouldn't be good.

Once EVs become commonplace, people will realize that range isn't the issue people think it is. I remember when people didn't want to get a phone that had to be charged more than once a week, and getting closer to once every two weeks was an improvement. Now people realize that if it can last the entire day and be charged at night, it meets people's needs. The difference is that an EV like the Bolt or any Tesla has at least five times the range of what a person uses on a typical day.

Bighorn | 11 March, 2017

People who own EVs know it's the charging network. The people too dumb or scared to buy an EV thinks it's the range. Who knows best?

trx430ex | 11 March, 2017

At least the hardware could be standardized, make the hardware a ringed system with 8 rings of charge, low to high voltage. If Ford only wants to use the first 2 rings fine, (slow charge) but the other rings could light up to billable VS time to max of car. The hardware is standardized, they can figure out billing later.

It would also be nice to have a supercharger port on the Powerwall, in case some nitwit puts it in a motor home.

SO | 11 March, 2017

Well eagles, for me it was the charging network AND the range. Fortunately Tesla has both.

SO | 12 March, 2017

@Eagles, "Individual anecdotes are not really meaningful or accurate when trying to look a the issues of EV adoption by the general public."

Neither is leaving out another major factor....cost. You keep focusing on range, range, range. It is a bit more than just...range.

SO | 12 March, 2017

It seems that range is most important at first due to perceptions. But it then becomes obvious that the charging network is equally important (if not more so) when people actually try to use the car for a while. Hence it is a combination of factors. Elon recognized this early on....thankfully.

SamO | 12 March, 2017

Again . . .amateur ignorant Astroturfers flapping their ignorant gums everywhere.

When Ford asked the public if they wanted cars they said they just wanted a faster horse. The public is a group of ignorant and fearful primates and Range anxiety is something for people who own an EV other than Tesla.

Tesla has 800 Superchargers, faster than any existing charging station. 80% fill in 40 minutes.
Tesla has 8000 Destination Chargers, adding 30-60 mikes per hour.
Tesla has the ability to plug into any outlet.

If you are going to come at me bro, at least don't keep bringing such weak fucking sauce.

jordanrichard | 12 March, 2017

As I have said in other threads, GM and others are purposely reinforcing the hardships of owning an EV. Think about it, why on earth does the Chademo connector need to be so damn big and clumsy when Tesla can get so much more power coming through a connector that is just a touch bigger than a quarter?

With reference to this woman's travel times. Our daughter lives 635 miles from us. In a gasoline car, with stops for gas and food, that drive would take about 12 hr, 45 minutes. In our MS, I have done that trip in 13 hours. So here it is this woman's trip literally took her double the amount of time, where as my experience it really doesn't add any time to our trips.

carlgo2 | 12 March, 2017

There won't be any affordable long range cars. The batteries are far too big and expensive. Cheaper cars will by necessity be capable of fast charging and a large network of chargers capable of the task will be required.

There will be large and expensive cars with huge long range batteries, along with the expected luxury stuff and those who can afford them will get both long range and fast-charging capabilities.

Home charging will be an attractive possibility for all cars.

It will be easy to show people why a 5 minute stop at the KwikZap every three hours or so is just fine.

There is no need to argue because it is clear what will have to happen and it is obvious that Tesla and other manufactures plan to go this route.

sosmerc | 12 March, 2017

How many of us could have envisioned from 5 years ago where we are today with EV's? I think it is remarkable how quickly change is coming. I think things are going to be a whole lot different in the next five years. The progress is exponential.

Rocky_H | 13 March, 2017

Goodness, @Pigeon, make up your mind on what your story is.

Quote: “It's why even Teslas charging network sits empty.”

Quote: “Even finding Tesla chargers, hoping they are available, waiting...”

He just seems intent on arguing, no matter what. Schrodinger’s Supercharger network is unusable because it’s both empty and full.

SamO | 13 March, 2017


It's neither empty nor full until someone arrives to charge to observe its empty or fullness.

As for business of the supercharging network, it is clear that upwards of 95% of all supercharging locations are on occupied. That being said, there are certain superchargers, that have been busy since they opened. Usually, tesla expands the station , Or opens nearby superchargers.

I've charged at the busy superchargers during the busiest times of the year, and my experience has been overall excellent but I've still experience full Superchargers at Harris Ranch, Tejon, Barstow, Gilroy, San Juan Capistrano, San Diego, Culver City, and Burbank. I've been the ONLY vehicle charging at over 70 other Superchargers throughout the US.

Tesla has already relieved pressure on Harris, Tejon, Barstow, Gilroy and SJC. San Diego County North needs a couple. San Diego County South needs a couple. OC needs a couple more.

350 Superchargers this year will go a long way towards getting ready for Model 3.

SamO | 13 March, 2017

Edit - Unoccupied.

Tropopause | 13 March, 2017

Even if there was an EV with 800 miles range for this woman's trip with her daughter, how long will it take to fill it? Answer: the same amount of wasteful time because the available charging network (outside of Tesla) is inadequate.

RGH | 19 March, 2017

I like Haggy and Bighorn comments. Yet, frankly, I don't think it is about the range or the charging network. It's about the PERSON. Everyone has their own needs and reason for an EV. For some people, it is the range and for some it is the charging network.

I think both sides have a point. It's not one or the other as people love to argue. At the present time it is more about the range for some people, but as more charging stations get installed over time, it becomes less about the range because you will be able to charge where you want.

As for me, I wanted an X100 to get the best range for now because the network is sparse on some routes for fast charging. The 260 + mile range of the 100 is good enough for me to go anywhere in the country because as one poster said, I stop regularly and rest, eat, etc. If I have a super charger at that location, it is perfect timing. If a car company were to make a longer range car than the X, I wouldn't care because I am going to stop and rest or eat anyway at various intervals while on a long trip.

Bighorn | 19 March, 2017

Sort of like the "Tastes great, less filling" debate of the 80s:)

RGH | 19 March, 2017

Rocky I couldn't help but notice the one-sided complaint to Pigeon. You mention you think he just wants to argue, but in doing so you are arguing with him yourself ! How about just nicely asking pigeon to clarify his statements?

SamO | 19 March, 2017


When you spend a few hundred million $ and you realize that it is both. A 50 mile range car is insufficient for enough uses, that it is a 1% solution. A network of strategically placed chargers is necessary regardless of the range of the vehicle.

If GM magically made every car have 350 miles of EV range, they STILL need a charging network.

It tastes great AND is less filling

Guy2095 | 19 March, 2017

@carlgo2 "There won't be any affordable long range cars."

There are and will be ever more long range EVs. Building out a satisfactory assortment of fast-charging for them will inevitably happen. It's just a matter of time. Tesla and Tesla owners have paid a handsome premium to have it available a whole lot sooner. And most of us have enjoyed very minute of it.

sosmerc | 19 March, 2017

Some EV buyers make their decision based on their belief it is the "right thing to do" for the environment. I guess that is where I fall. I certainly don't hold it against other buyers if the choose to buy an ICE because it may be the only type of vehicle that meets their needs...especially if it is needed for their business. Ten years from now I am sure that there will be EV offerings for EVERY need.