Buddy decided to put the Bolt through its paces this weekend with a quick trip to Vernon and back. He drove the infamous Coquilhalla Highway aka Highway thru Hell to test out the car’s handling and range.
Coquilhalla Highway is a major transportation route connecting BC’s coastal communities to BC’s interior communities. With a very steep ascent, remote areas and extreme weather conditions it has been called the Bermuda triangle for vehicle accidents.
In preparation for the trip, Buddy left Gibsons on another day of pelting rain with the battery fully charged with the gauge reading maximum 573 kilometres for battery range and 1971 kilometres on the odometer. For individuals learning about electric vehicle driving the range estimate is based current driving techniques and conditions not future outcomes. Reading several posts from airplane pilots who are also electric vehicle owners, they compare driving electric vehicles to flying which is about having to think before and while driving. The awareness training of pre-flight, in-flight and post fight checks and planning for pilots is a good method of thinking for electric vehicle owners. As a non- driver and non-pilot but someone who at times takes the bus, pre-trip planning that includes knowing the routes, the weather and time; awareness is really not that difficult.
If you are driving the Coquilhalla in an electric or a gas powered vehicle it is recommended that you think and plan.
The pre-flight for Buddy included charging up at home, a rough plan of itinerary, pinpointing charging options along the route and the awareness of driving in mountains conditions.
When flying there are procedures to maximize range and with EV’s there are procedures. Knowing that climbing mountain roads consumes battery range but descending can add range is very helpful to remember. Buddy gained 60 kilometres of regen ascending the summit.
The quietness of the ride and the power of the ride makes it is easy to be driving fast in the Bolt on the highways which Buddy did a little “in-flight” adjustment to speed to extend range.
Like planes there are instruments that help you on your journey including infotainment centre to display maps and GPs coordinates. If heating is needed the ability to just heat the seats can extend driving range when it is needed.
There are numerous charging options available including at Chilliwack, Hope, Merritt and Vernon. We will write about them in another blog post.
Driving the Coquilhalla in the Chevy Bolt is definitely possible and pleasurable. Buddy returned home adding 1067.3 kilometres of electric vehicle travel.
Fasten your seat belts our adventures are just beginning.