NOTE: Any time I mention range data, or how many miles to go, it is NEVER from the GuessOmeter.
NYLEAF wrote:Well? What happened?
To recap, I arrived at my destination with about 1 mile of range left, so I felt that the planning and execution met expectations. Plan A had been to recharge at Cypress, Plan B was recharge at Signal Hill, plan D was find a hotel with an electrical outlet. Plan C only entered the picture at the last moment, and worked great.
For the return, I left Lakewood City Hall (south Los Angeles County) to San Diego at about 11:45pm, after 6 hours of charging. The plan was that I should be able to cover the 98 miles down the Pacific coast on California Highway 1 at 45mph. It was too late at night to consider any option that including charging along the way.
The trip started out great; I got about 7 miles in the 12th fuel bar as I drove through the mostly deserted city streets toward the ocean. It was a bit foggy along the coast, and I had to use the wipers occasionally. The heater was off, as were some of the 12 volt energy suckers, like the fog lights and high beams. Just the LED low beam headlights. I was not able to time the lights well through Seal Beach, in northwest coastal Orange County, and my range suffered slightly, netting less than 7 miles per fuel bar in the 11th and 10th fuel bars.
Of course, with temperatures in the 50F/10C range, I was going to have some reduced battery capacity issues that I estimated should be about 10% loss in range (1% loss per 2F below 70F). Therefore, at a projected 5.3m/kWh driving, I was going to have 111 miles of range, minus 10% for temperature related battery capacity losses, or about 101 miles of range for the 98 mile trip. I didn't expect any losses from wind this late at night, and there's not many elevation changes along the coast. "Density altitude" air pressure was not going to help me at sea level and at these temperatures, and the poor little LEAF would be pushing air at about standard 29.92"/1013mb of pressure. We did have a heavier load than just a driver, as I had a light passenger plus fairly heavy "contingency" gear (probably adding up to one full size passenger), but no significant impact to my range on mostly level terrain.
My driving was eating the eFuel at the planned 5.3 m/kWh, significantly lower than the 5.9 that I averaged on the trip up to Long Beach/Lakewood. Two factors are involved; the first is that I planned for a slightly longer trip up (to get to the potential charging sites) and adjusted my speed to make that happen. And secondly, I live on a 580 foot hill, so everything on the coast is downhill. I won't have that luxury going home, and when you're planning a trip with virtually zero reserve, you must be cognizant of all the variables (unless you don't mind walking).
At Dana Point, I left Pacific Coast Highway 1, and entered the 5 freeway for the trek across Camp Pendleton. There's not a practical option for surface streets here, even though I have access to the military base. The nuclear power plants at San Onofre were lit up in the coastal fog, now well past 1am. Traffic was very light on the freeway, and I felt much safer than I did on the trip up on the freeway. Each time a truck approached at the 55mph speed limit, I turned on the four way emergency flashers to wake them up to the fact that I was only going 45mph. Some U.S. Marines were doing a night drill on the beach.
I kept cross checking the performance against the projected range, and things were meeting the target expectations. I was getting cold now, as the benefit of preheat that was done 2 hours ago was gone. I then made some poor decisions, by changing the plan in my somewhat tired state. There's a saying in aviation that a plane should have a pilot and a dog; the pilot is there to watch the plane do what was programmed, and the dog is there to bite his hand if he reaches for any buttons. I needed a dog.
My first mistake was to give in to the mild cold, and turning the heater on. The second was to not follow the surface streets through Rancho Santa Fe to my house, but instead add two miles to the distance by staying on the freeways, via the 78 and 15 freeways. My thinking was that I would get home faster on the freeway, which would probably be true if I had the extra fuel to play with.
I let the heater run for a few minutes, and then turned it off. I wondered how much it affected range, and started my heater contingency plan of lowering speed to 38mph (I tried for 40mph, but must have hit the cruise control button 7 times, instead of 5, to slow the car down... I didn't want waste energy to speed up). My average miles per kWh dropped to 5.1, which means that the actual draw of the heater really put a dent in things. It was now 2 am, with only a few trucks and maybe a few drunks, on the freeway. One more factor is that now, as I was leaving the coast to inland San Diego county, there are hills up to 730 feet elevation, and of course, as mentioned, my house is at 580 feet. I hoped that 38mph would "fix" everything.
Slowly, the meter clicked up a tick.... 5.2; I had to have 5.3 or better. Ok, but now I'm cold again. The car had gotten cold soaked, and it was going to take more than a blast of hot air to keep heat in the car. I powered the heater back up, and tried to determine what speed would get me home now. As I had no dog, I clicked off the automation, and decided to actively challenge the hills. Steady gas pedal going up, letting the speed bleed off, and N coasting down the other side, watching the speed pick up significantly.
Heater off again, and my efforts were working. The meter clicked to 5.3. I needed every bit of that battery to get home now, as the first battery warning popped up, and then right on schedule, VERY LOW battery popped up. I reset the odometer each time, and now I needed over 5 miles to get home. It's 2:30am.
I was at the top of that highest peak prior to my house on the 15 freeway's HOV lane. Nobody was on this part of the freeway at this hour, so I pushed the gear selector to N.
My speed quickly picked up to about 60mph, and just as quickly slowed to the teens as I rolled through the intersection at the freeway off ramp. The speed slowed to just under 10mph, as I entered the surface streets to my house. I had rolled about 3 miles and the speed once again started slowly creeping up into the teens again. I had two small grades to climb prior to finding my bed. One is about 100 feet up, and the other only about 30 feet up.
I pulled the selector to D and carefully held the power just enough to keep the speed between 10 and 15 mph. Once this hill is climbed, I've been successful in the past at hitting Turtle mode and still making it home. I coasted a bit to prepare for the next and last tiny hill. Again, I pulled the selector to D, and got that audible "DING" and a display of "LIMITED POWER". My speed was about 10mph. The turtle popped up on the dash display, but my fate would not be stolen. I was going to drive into that garage, and no turtle was going to stop me.
225 miles total driven for the day, about 212 of which was for this trip. Charge times 1 hour before the trip, to get back to 100%, 20 seconds in Costa Mesa, 13 minutes in Cypress, 6 hours in Lakewood; 7.2 hours total, plus a full battery, ran all the way to zero.
This was my 11th Turtle experience.