I’m sure others have done longer and I’ve had longer days (with multiple charge stops… personal record – 175 miles in one day (two charge stops)) however, aside from Las Vegas, folks around LA normally think of driving to Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, or San Diego to be a long drive, so I figured to try one out.
Since we live in the Southern Tip of Los Angeles County, it seemed best to pick San Diego as the destination.
Trip planned, remote charger identified. Time to conquer range anxiety…
Our planned stop – The North County Transit District stop in Oceanside. Ideal choice because on May 6, they were running extra trains for the weekend (Cinco de Mayo was just the day before and there were still festivals and a Padres game going on).
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This is a 65 mile journey one way, of which around 25-30 miles near the end there were not only NO public chargers listed on any of the Apps, but no gas stations Between San Clemente and San Onofre, so even ICE vehicles were warned of “no services for the next 20 miles” .
The plan was to get to the Train Station and hop on the Coaster to get down to San Diego. Blink Network and the North County Transit District had both installed 6 chargers at the station and taking the train from here would provide a day’s worth of entertainment.
I debated as to using the cruise control and setting it at a moderate 67-68 miles per hour on the ActiveE (it overstates it’s speed and that would get me around 65) but opted to enjoy the drive and use the pedal manually. I decided to go Eco Pro and also was not driving as aggressively as I normally do and found myself being passed by many cars (that last stretch by San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant tends to be a really fast one)
Though the navigation had recommended that I use the toll road around the El Toro Y. I opted around it as that route has a lot more hills and I decided on staying on the 405 to the 5 freeway as it is considerably flatter and I wanted to arrive at my destination with as much charge as possible (to minimize the charging time for a full charge.)
This conservative driving worked wonders for my range. I ended up at the train station with 25 miles left and State of Charge (SOC) around 20% (the car did its customary warning at 27 miles to go). However, plans #1 and #2 for the day was shot as I arrived at the chargers only to see the Coaster pulling away from the station and the Amtrak soon after. There were five chargers available as one was being used by a Leaf and I decided to plug in and charge.
Luckily, we had a plan #3. Four hours to charge the car and a few miles away was the Carlsbad Premium Outlets.
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So, we decided to jump in a cab ($23 one-way, $25 with tip) and get down to the outlets to do some shopping. This is a smaller outlet a stone’s throw from Legoland. It has a lot of the same stores one finds at other outlet stores around Southern California, but it does have a nicely stocked Crate & Barrel Outlet, not that we ended up getting anything there.
The shopping center was well attended, but not crowded and the sales were actually very attractive. Ended up picking up a few items that more than off-set the round-trip cab fare ($50, I did $25 with tip on the return cab trip as well.) Additionally, the food choices near the outlet stores were quite good (namely a PF Chang’s, and BJ’s across the street and Ruby’s Diner in the outlet stores) and it helps that Starbucks had the Frappuccino Happy Hour going to recharge during our 4 hour shopping trip (that’s about 3 3/4 hours longer than the better half can stand).
We made it back to the ActiveE right as the blue light stopped blinking. I literally saw the car blinking when the cab arrived at the train station, and stay off as I walked up to the car to get it disengaged from the Blink Network charger.
Having the confidence of making the range on the Southbound trip earlier, the Northbound trip was a lot more pleasant. I stayed on Eco Pro, but definitely drove a little more aggressively. I stayed OFF the Toll Road route as I wanted the opportunity to get off the freeway at any of the cities in between.
The roundtrip was approximately 135 miles with a single 4.25 hour charging session in between. I arrived home with about 30 miles left on the car and about 25% SOC.