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Electric Vehicle (EV) Tripping Data - 1st Trip, Real World Use

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Nantucket, USA
I have a '23 Ford F150 Lightning and used it for a canoe trip for first time in early April. I drove from southeast Massachusetts to the Adirondacks: 358 miles, taking the northern route through New Hampshire and Vermont. We put in on the Raquette River, at Axton Landing. I love my truck, but will will try to refrain from subjective commentary and just provide data and feedback that might help other canoeists.

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My truck has the smaller of Ford's two battery options: an 98 kilowatt-hour (kWh) pack that Ford and the EPA say yields a 230 mile range estimate, predicated on a 1,000 lb. payload, including passengers. That further assumes no trailers and/or other adornments that might increase wind drag. Ford's other larger battery option is an 131kWh pack that yields an estimated 300 mile range.

In actuality, on the highway, the truck generally averages about 1.8-1.9 miles per kilowatt-hour (mi/kWh) which, if you do the math, yields a range of 176-186 miles at highway speeds (call it 70 mph average). Cold temperatures can further degrade that range, but on a road trip the battery stays warm by way of charging and use, so that factor is offset somewhat.

For a canoe trip, we increased our drag considerably by car-topping an Old Town Tripper. The effect was a reduction in mileage from 1.8mi/kWh to 1.6 mi/kWh, about 11%.

As further context, I cartop my canoe on Rhino Rack roof legs connected by a couple bars of Unistrut. The perforated Unistrut bars made a lot of noise (like the humming when you blow over the top of a beer bottle), so I taped over the holes with gorilla tape. That quieted everything right down. I also strap the bow and stern via the boat's lining holes and that keeps the canoe a lot more stable and in tension. We began the trip with webbing straps on the bow and stern and then switched to rope, which was buffeted around less by the wind at highway speeds. I have a tonneau cover over the truck bed.

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We made four charging stops on each leg of the trip (8 total). The drive was 7 hours and we added about 3 hours of charging on top of the drive time each way, so it ended up being a 10 hour trip. During charging, we ate meals, did a little mobile-work and stretched our legs.

This was my first big road trip and I was apprehensive about charging in the Adirondacks but planned ahead with the myriad apps available for electric vehicle trip planning and new it was feasible. To alleviate my nagging concern, I brought a portable generator and a portable charger as an insurance-policy-of-last-resort, but in reality the amperage outputs needed to charge at any reasonable speed are such that doing so is impractical on a road trip.

Every electric vehicle has a certain plug type and not all chargers are available to all vehicles (though the industry is consolidating around certain standards and adapters, so that is starting to change). So, the last charging station available to my truck, before entering the charging-void that is the Adirondacks, was at the Stewart's Shop gas station in Keene, NY, across from the Fire Department. From there, I was able to travel the 38 miles to the put-in and then drive another 38 miles back to Keene after our trip was done to charge again with plenty of range leftover.

Some conclusions: Overall, this sort of a trip is feasible but takes longer and requires more planning than with a gas vehicle. The vehicle's range, and the dearth of charging infrastructure in the rural/wilderness areas, precludes any truly remote destinations. On balance, I had fun with this experimental first trip, but as a canoeist that enjoys remote wilderness, I'm glad I can still borrow my wife's gas car when needed.
 
Wow, what a creative review for the canoe transportation forum! Thanks, on behalf of the EV generation.

a couple bars of Unistrut

Had to look that up. Never heard of anyone using Unistrut for crossbars. Sounds like it could save a lot of money vis-a-vis the overpriced factory racks from Thule and Yakima. How do you attach the Rhino towers to the Unistrut bars?

about 3 hours of charging on top of the drive time each way

I'm just not impressed by much of anything, and am barely a part of, the 21st century.
 
Thanks for the test and resulting analysis info.
Now try it during an Adirondack -20F winter day ( after an even colder cold-soaked night).
How long would it be reasonable to wait in a charging line at a time when we have a government mandate of 50% or more drivers with an EV?
 
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7 hours of driving and 4 charging stops? Why I don't have an EV.
My Ram diesel truck could probably make the round trip without stopping for fuel even once.
same with my Ram 4x4 with the V6, but my wife's next car will probably be electric for around town and short trips.
 
I love my EV for tripping. Lots of convenient charging stations in the Adirondack Park. Many chargers are free, and located near restaurants or other interesting attractions, so its not any trouble to stop for a while. Even when they are not free, electricity often costs 1\6 of what gasoline costs per mile. I admit that EVs are not for everyone. I can not manage 2 boats. Trips longer than 300 miles, or in the winter, take longer with stops. For me, and the driving I do, it is a WIN! You can make your own choices.
 
That's kind of what I expected. My gas mileage currently goes from about 28 down to about 20 mpg with 2 canoes on the roof.

I'm planning on an electric vehicle in 2027. It's a plan, and if the charging situation improves like I expect, won't be a bad one. If I had to buy a vehicle today, I'd probably get a plug-in hybrid.
 
In Nevada it is hard enough to find a gas station in the Outback. EV charging stations are being built, but we are not there yet.
EVs are fine for commuting. Hybrids seem to becoming popular while pure EVs sales are lagging.
 
Maybe a hybrid is a better choice these days. Thanks for the information. In an emergency, how long and how much fuel would it take to fully charge with the generator?
 
We met a very nice woman from Long Island a couple of years ago while on a hiking trip in VT. She went on and on about her new Tesla and how wonderful a vehicle it was. When we returned to the parking lot, we saw her getting into a Jeep. I asked her where her Tesla was and she sheepishly replied, "it wouldn't get me to VT and home again on a single charge so I didn't drive it."

While I know that charging stations are increasing in their availability, I'm not sold on a purely electric vehicle just yet. In our household we now have a Toyota "Tacoma" that uses gas only and a Toyota "Rav 4" hybrid that recharges as we drive it...no plugs, no charging stations, no nothing. Just drive it and let it charge itself as you travel. We've been getting 42 mpg on the highway and almost 40 around town. Honestly, I'm fine with that so for now, that's how we're handling things. Of course, other's mileage may vary.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 
I was talking to EV pick up owner. His truck runs best between 20-80% charge, so that means that the range estimates have to be reduced by about a third. Towing even a light boat trailer reduces it even more. Not yet, maybe in the future.
 
I just got back from a round trip drive from MA to VA with canoe(s) on the roof and have a few more observations.

Firstly, the Tesla network is now open to Ford vehicles. I picked up a third-party adapter from A2Z right before the trip. Ford will be sending them out for free to current-Ford-EV-owners in the coming months, but I didn't want to wait. Using the Tesla charging network is like flying first class. The experience is soooooo much better than the patchwork of different brands that make up Ford's Blue Oval network. Tesla chargers are fast and reliable. I used the Tesla network almost exclusively and the chargers are so well distributed that I was far less anxious this time around. Didn't bother with bringing a generator back-up.

Charging continues to add time to the overall road trip, but I've become more accustomed to charging when I want to stop and then moving along before reaching a full charge. "Skipping" from spot to spot without feeling the need to charge to capacity saves time and is a byproduct of my becoming more experienced and comfortable with the charging network.

I drove most of the trip with a narrow, 14' Bell Yellowstone on the roof. On the way home, I picked up a new-to-me 17' Tripper and removed the seats and thwarts, so I could set it over my Yellowstone (like a Russian nesting doll) on my roof rack. There was a very noticeable difference in range with the larger canoe on top, which created more drag. This has me thinking about placing my boats farther aft, so that the bow will be more in line with the top of the windshield to reduce overhand above the hood and hopefully drag. My new Tripper is red, so perhaps something more like this:

IMG_3979 edited with canoe aft.jpg
The canoe hanging off the back would be a little bit of a nuisance, but manageable. I'd need to add some rigid support to the back of the bed or tailgate too.

I generally kept up with the caravan, and while my buddies with gas trucks liked to tease me, they admittedly left impressed.
 
I also wanted to note my agreement with many comments above that hybrids are currently the best of both worlds, especially for canoeists visiting far flung places. Effectively infinite gas range with the conveniences of electricity for camping, climate control, refrigeration, etc. is all pretty sweet.

@Black_Fly charging with my 20 Amp generator might take 24 hours + to charge my 98kwh battery pack
 
There was a very noticeable difference in range with the larger canoe on top, which created more drag. This has me thinking about placing my boats farther aft, so that the bow will be more in line with the top of the windshield to reduce overhand above the hood and hopefully drag. My new
I've wondered about the position forward and aft. This is something that could probably be tested over a couple long trips. You've got more flexibility than most people since you can go back farther.

I've also wandered how much the canoe funnels the air through it, and how that relates to drag. I would guess that a Yellowstone nested in a tripper would be very similar to a giant center airbag left in there. Would be an interesting to see if side by side was better or worse.

This stuff is fairly difficult to test properly, requiring good note taking and some repetition.
 
Using the Tesla charging network is like flying first class. The experience is soooooo much better than the patchwork of different brands that make up Ford's Blue Oval network.

Why? Do you mean something other than that there are a lot more Tesla charging stations?

I know very little about EVs, but I'm curious about the details in a skeptical sort of way.
 
I have had good luck carrying canoes on a trailer for the last 30 years.

I took a small boat trailer from a 14' aluminum fishing boat and converted it to carry a canoe. It could easily be made to carry two canoes by extending the bars.

My little 4 cylinder Corolla had no trouble pulling that trailer with a 16' tandem on a roughly 900 mile round trip to northern Minnesota a few years ago.

I can't remember what my mileage was like but I don't think it was terrible. It pulled very easy. I'm guessing the canoe and trailer don't add a whole lot of wind resistance when they're tucked behind the tow vehicle. I side wind might be a different story but even then still probably not much worse than car topping.

There are a lot of places where pulling a canoe on a trailer would be a hassle but it might be an option.

Alan
 
Why? Do you mean something other than that there are a lot more Tesla charging stations?

I know very little about EVs, but I'm curious about the details in a skeptical sort of way.
Tesla is very well distributed, with a simple interface and they are very dependable. They just work and their prevalence is a huge advantage.

My experience using other networks is that the chargers are far less reliable. Oftentimes you arrive and they're simply not working. Many of the open charging networks are small and each require their own interfaces and/or sign-ups, which can be a nuisance. Few allow a simple credit card swipe for payment, instead many only work if you download an app and/or carry a separate brand-specific RFID card. For a huge network like Tesla, it's worth the sign-up. For a small network like blink or shell, it's an aggravation because you're likely not to make use of it again and just want to move along and not spend five to ten minutes singing up for another login you don't want to have to remember.
 
Tesla is very well distributed, with a simple interface and they are very dependable. They just work and their prevalence is a huge advantage.

My experience using other networks is that the chargers are far less reliable. Oftentimes you arrive and they're simply not working. Many of the open charging networks are small and each require their own interfaces and/or sign-ups, which can be a nuisance. Few allow a simple credit card swipe for payment, instead many only work if you download an app and/or carry a separate brand-specific RFID card. For a huge network like Tesla, it's worth the sign-up. For a small network like blink or shell, it's an aggravation because you're likely not to make use of it again and just want to move along and not spend five to ten minutes singing up for another login you don't want to have to remember.

The simplicity of paddling a canoe versus the complexity of interfacing, signing up, RFID cards, or swiping seems rather incongruous.
 
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