Monday, July 1, 2013

Goodbye Oregon--We'll Miss You!

We will be departing Grants Pass, OR in the morning.  Our last DCQC for a couple of days will be in Ashland, OR tomorrow morning.  Not having to quick charge is bitter sweet, as we won't have the ability to drive hundreds of miles in a day but we also won't have the worry of the high temperature battery packs.  Those high temp battery packs were just aweful today.  Before sharing the end-of-drive battery temp stresses, I need to back up with some highlights from Sunday...

Upon leaving the Hochstein Nursery on Sunday, Sabrina was given an archery lesson by her cousin Kayla.

For her next lesson, I bet that Kayla will review safety with Sabrina.  Just after the photo was taken, Sabrina shot the arrow and narrowly missed her cousin:)

The Nissan LEAF has several route options in the navigation settings (quickest route, shortest route, eco route, and avoid highways).  For the first half of the trip from Cornelius to Albany, we avoided highways.  The resulting drive was a spectacular one!  This picture was taken of the road that we drove on--no traffic, no signs, no lane markings, and beautiful scenery.  

Last night was the first night of camping, and the first time I have charged the car at an RV campground.  It was pretty fun being the little car plugged in amongst the RVs.  There was some great conversing with neighbors and the EV-curious.  It was a nice, relaxing end to a relaxing day.

Today, on the other hand was not so relaxing.  When we left the campground this morning, the average battery temperature was 83 degrees.  With only three quick charges needed to reach Grants Pass, I thought I could let the electrons flow on the freeway and not have to worry about high battery temperatures.  Things were going as planned for about the first 120 miles of the day, as I was fully enjoying my role of spreading the "EVs can be really fast" word to my fellow road mates.  After the second quick charge, the battery temperature was getting high--about 108 degrees.  I wasn't too worried, though, because I knew that I only needed one more quick charge.  

While charging in Canyonville, OR, I was closely watching the temperatures of the battery packs.  When the temps rose to 116* (average) and I hit 11 temperature bars on the dash, I stopped the charge.  It was 42 miles to Grants Pass and we had a projected 42 miles of range.  For those familiar with the drive into Grants Pass from the north, you'll remember the STEEP climbs and downhill sections.  Going up the grades, I kept the power usage to 20 kWh.  This resulted in speeds of 28-40 m.p.h.  Coming down the hills, things were just as steep.  I had two problems going, though, as I needed range and the batteries were too hot.  Because of the heat issue, I decided not to use regenerative braking.  On each trip down, we got going pretty fast; 88 m.p.h. on the steepest grade actually.  I do think that it is fitting that terminal velocity in our electric car is eighty-eight miles per houuur!  

The whole thing was rather embarassing actually.  There we were, in all of our vinyl-covered rally car glory driving on the shoulder "slow truck" lane going up the grades, being passed by everybody.  I can only imagine what drivers were saying when we flew past them on the way down.  And then it happend all over again...sloooow, then fast!  

Quick charging is not going to be an issue for heat tomorrow, but the ambient temperature is going to be rough on Sabrina and me, if not also our car.  I have spent dozens of hours planning this trip.  My goals are to complete the rally and do so having a great time with my Sabrina.  Tomorrow and the next day will be taxing the limit of what Sabrina can handle, I am affraid.  I am now going to look at the plans and see if it is best to continue down I-5 into Redding and Sacremento, or to divert and head for the coast.  Changing plans this drastically will be very challenging.  I have to make sure that I can charge the car and also do so while having a memorable time with Sabrina.  

I suppose the memories are inevitable.  Hopefully they're good!


  1. Hi Steve,
    I'm Doug, you came by to see my Rav4 ev a few months ago. Great trip write up. I wish I could be there. Do you remember my comments I made to you? "Driving an EV long range is just like sailing, you never know how long it's going to take to get to your destination, so enjoy, it's all about the journey"

    I sold my red Leaf,,, and leased a 2013 SL;)

    1. Hi Doug!

      Yes, I remember what you told me about the sailing/EV driving connection. That awesome analogy is now a part of the EVangelism speech that I share! Some folks really connect with it, and talk to me about "tacking" to get a charge:)

      Enjoy that 2013--it's so much better than our '11/'12s. I will have a hard time switching back to the '12 with my wife after this adventure.

  2. If you are coming through Yreka be sure to stop by the Economic Development office for some refreshments!


  3. 88 MPH?? dude, you have guts (kid friendly response!) I would have tried to keep my speed super low as regen is directly correlated to speeds and regen the hill in Eco/B or whatever you got that provides the most at no more than 35-40 mph... you would have had best range benefit (wind resistance at 88 mph had to be EXTREME!) and it would have provided a moderate level of regen to the car...