I drive across country a lot. But this will be my first trip with my new Chevy Bolt. There are a few new things to consider, such as range and access to charging infrastructure. Luckily, there is a free community called PlugShare which makes it really easy to plan long distance trips with access to the type of charger I will need. I also got some good tips from this post by someone who did a similar trip in the opposite direction.
I will be starting in Sacramento and ending up in Lafayette, TN. I’m going to spend some time at a land project I volunteer for, plus checking out the Beltane gathering at Short Mountain.
The first leg is easy. Traveling across California is free because of the state sponsored free electric vehicle charging network at most of the rest areas along all of the major highways.
I’m taking the 40 all the way from Barstow to Nashville. The 40 is by far the busiest east-west freeway in the nation and there are lots of amenities including ready access to lots of electric vehicle chargers.
My car charges much faster between 25-75% then it does outside of that range, so I’m planning to stay inside that range as much as possible in order to get my fastest charge rate. I am also planning to go 65mph the whole way because the efficiency is so much higher at that speed that I will actually save a great deal of time by slowing down while driving. Going faster means charging longer, and the time I save going faster is shorter than the time I lose charging.
One huge advantage is getting a membership with a charging network Electrify America was the best value by far when I signed up, and it means I will save a lot on the charging cost on this trip.
Here is the breakdown for each leg and each day with estimated costs, drive time, and charging time…
Driving from Sacramento to Short Mountain is going to cost me less than $200. Compare that to my previous car, a Honda Civic. Despite being an excellent car, it was still powered by dinosaur juice. With current gas prices, the same trip would cost nearly twice as much.