The Snoqualmie Pass summit is in the Cascade Mountain Range is about 54 miles east of Seattle, WA. Although not very tall compared to our other mountains (3022 feet), it is a freeway with a 70 mph speed limit!
I work about 46 miles away from the summit, and 17 miles of this is a very steep remote area with no services and very few turn offs. This critical part of this trip is a sort of sit-or-get-off-the-pot type of decision. I decided to charge to a full charge at the Redmond City Hall charging station to make sure i had a really good chance at this. It was 77F out, i set the fan to 1 and it kept the car comfortable.
Instead of taking I90 directly from the Bellevue/Redmond area (60-70 mph up hill freeway), i opted for the more relaxing highway 202 rated at 55. I averaged about the speed limit, but there are plenty of sunday drivers behind me going slower than I was, so on some of the steeper stretches i did drop down to 45 (driving with load).
Here is my route: http://bit.ly/pCHdpK
I arrived in north bend with 9 "fresh" bars indicated, 2 hours at 240V. I passed an RV park and headed towards the 468th onramp. So here was the moment of truth. I could turn back, or make a good run at this. I cleared the miles/kwh counter (showing 4.6) in the name of science.
The After 4 miles, i already lost a bar, squeaking in at 1.9 miles/kwhr. *gulp* I found some semi's to tail so I could at least keep my speed around 60-65 mph during the already steep climb. The speed limit is 70 here, and traffic is fast here. But I have no choice, this is the only legitimate route to the summit.
Eventually, my average levels off around 2.8-2.9 miles/khwr. I passed Denny Creek with 6 bars remaining (my point of no return), so I decided this was a go! There is about a 2 mile stretch just before the summit that is a very, very steep grade. A lot of semi's do 35-45 on this stretch, cars randomly break down off to the side here....since I have to charge 50 miles away, i decided to swallow my pride and follow the slow trucks up.
I chewed through bar 5 and rolled up to the summit with 4 bars. It was a very nice day at the top:
I got myself some coffee (and some water, since it was hot and i expected to be flat bedded home somewhere). By tonight, I figured id be writing a review on how roadside assistance worked from this far out. That wasn't the case.
As expected, regen just wasn't going to work at these speeds. Yes, of course, i could "regen".....if i had a death wish. But we are talking about people trying to make good time over the pass, whizzing by even faster than before since its a downhill free for all. I decided to keep it in neutral and roll at around 65 to keep up with traffic. I had people slowing down and gawking at me. What a sight i guess.
This worked a couple miles and then I had to use some power to make it all the way to north bend. To my surprise, I was down to 3 bars in north bend. I pulled off the freeway and took the backroads for a few exits, so I could work out a game plan -- take highway 18 home or return to Bellevue and find a charging station.
I have a LEAF friend in the Bellevue area (which ironically, is about the same distance as the local mall with L2 charging), so i decided to go to his place and charge up for a while. The mall is great, but i'd rather chat up LEAFs instead, as he did his own epic drive that day. I rolled up in his driveway just as the --- came on, for a total of about 90 miles on this trip.
I charged up for exactly 2 hours, with 4 bars indicated, and decided to head home. BTW, home is about 30 miles away. I rolled up with dashes (indicated for 3 miles) and popped it on the charger.
Total drive from Redmond City Hall to Bellevue to Home: 126.7 miles ... or 162.2 miles if you count the morning drive to work.