Roadtrip with an Electric Vehicle

April 4, 2022

Public Charging – Are we there yet?

I did my first little roadtrip with my all electric Ford Mustang Mach-E here in the Midwest – from Milwaukee to Detroit and back. How well is the public charging infrastructure established and what about the electric range in cold weather?

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2022, AWD, 91kWh Battery

  • The EPA certified range with this 91kWh battery pack is 270 miles.
  • Since I got my Mustang, March 3 2022, I have had a maximum predicted range of 255 miles – the reduced range is expected because it was still a bit cold here in Wisconsin, around 32 degree Fahrenheit, or 0 degree Celsius
  • Our home charging system is a level 2 charger from Emporia and this works absolutely seamless, we pay $0.13 per kWh, so $11 for the full 270 miles
  • When I am home and do my daily driving, I set my maximum State of Charge SOC to 80% through the Ford app and we pre-condition the Mustang which means the battery and the cabin are heated when we start driving. Since it has been cold this helps with the electric range and of course makes it very comfortable in the cold mornings
  • So, how does public charging work?

 

 

Public Charging with Ford Mustang Mach-E

  • With the CSS charging port for our Mustang we can publicly charge at all charging stations provided by ChargePointElectrify AmericaVolta and EVGo – they are a mix of level 2 and level 3 chargers.
  • We downloaded all the corresponding apps well as PlugShare and connect to the charging stations through the app
  • We recently bought the charging adapter that is supposed to connect our Ford Mustang to a Tesla charging station – we have not tried that yet – by the way we have seen several Teslas plugging in at ChargePoint locations
  • We can fast charge with maximum 150kW. Fast charging at 150kW charger only works up to 80% SOC, if you are beyond that the charging power is significantly reduced and it takes longer. Don’t block a 350kW charging station with a Ford Mustang that can only charge with up to 150kW. Don’t block a charging station that has a CHAdeMO adapter because they are rare.

 

Our Trip from Milwaukee to Detroit

  • The trip from Milwaukee to Detroit is about 380 miles – 6 hours of driving –  this is more than we can do on one charge, so we used public charging.
  • With the Ford app you can plan your route ahead of time and it tells you where to stop and for how long – that works pretty good but the predicted state of charge and charging times are not very accurate. We always arrive with lower SOC than the prediction and it always takes us longer to charge than the app suggests.

 

 

  • We read the CAN data through an OBD 2 device, and observed current and voltage during charging, we never get the maximum of 150kW, it is so far always less than that around 110kW – might be due to the cold temperatures.
  • We stopped two times, one time in Chicago for 20 minutes and one time in Kalamazoo for 35 minutes – the first location in the Chicago area was a bit further away from the highway, we would not do that again – the second charging location in Kalamazoo is perfect to go to the bathroom or eat something at the Texas Roadhouse.
  • On the way back we stopped again in Kalamazoo and had dinner while we charged and another very short 10 minute stop north of Chicago to go to the bathroom – that’s it!
  • The electric range in cold weather is significantly reduced – I will do more analysis but it seems like we only got 205 miles because of cold temperature and the use of climate control, that’s more than 20% less than the 270 mile EPA range.

Charging Cost

  • Electrify America: I am not a member, so it is $0.43 per kWh – the network is great and the accessibility is very good – highly recommended, but more expensive than others
  • EVGo: $0.31 per kWh – not so many here in the midwest and the one we tried in Detroit Downtown is very inconvenient – The charging spots are fenced in, very narrow parking and you can’t really exit the car when you park there.
  • ChargePoint: many of these are for free for level 2, most of the level 3 chargers cost something, it depends on the location how much it is
  • For Electrify America and EVGo you have to leave the spot as soon as you are done with charging. On the roadtrip this is absolutely fine but for example in front of the hotel after arrival we had to go downstairs and move the car to a parking sport in the garage. We then found chargers in the garage that were not indicated in any of the apps.
  • In my first month as an EV owner I drove 2200 miles, more than I normally drive but it is so much fun. I charged at home and used the public charging infrastructure. In total I payed $135 for charging.
    • 322kWh home charging: $41
    • 171kWh at Electrify America public charging: $74
    • 68kWh at EVGo: $20
    • 179kWh at free charging spots by Chargepoint and others: $0

Enough Charging Locations?

  • Here in the midwest with the current EV adoption there are enough charging options for the route from Milwaukee to Detroit. So far it happened only one time that we arrived at a charging station and all spots were taken – by Teslas by the way. One of the cars were already fully charged so we unplugged and parked our car on the street. The cable was long enough to connect and charge and I got permission from the museum to park the car on the street. We really needed it because we only had 3% SOC left.
  • We can see in our apps that more and more charging stations are being installed in our area. They are expanding the charging infrastructure.
  • The locations of the charging stations can be improved plus the setup of most ChargePoint and EVGo charging stations can be improved – would be great to access these chargers from both sides, so even when some of the cars that are fully charged still park there, others can start their charging process.
  • Sometimes card readers don’t work or the connection to the App fails or individual charge ports are not working – but overall so far no problem to do a road trip in the midwest.

 

Change of Mindset

  • Driving and charging an electric vehicle cannot be compared to refueling an internal combustion engine car.
  • We did the same roadtrip from Milwaukee to Detroit with our Ford Edge before. In that case, we stop at least two times to go to the bathroom and or get a snack. At one of the stops we completely fill up the car with gas.
  • For the Ford Mustang Mach-E, we also stop two times and charge in both cases. We don’t drive it completely empty and then wait 50 minutes to charge it up completely. Instead you charge bits and pieces whenever you stop for the bathroom or food.
  • It is just a change of mindset and very convenient – for us.  A 6 hour and 20 minutes trip with the Ford Edge turns into a 7 hour trip for the Ford Mustang. Not an issue for me at all.
  • For our future roadtrips to Michigan, we will always use the Ford Mustang in the future. We love the car, the hands-free driving, the conversations with other EV drivers at the charging stations and the adventure of being an early adopter.

We keep you updated! Let me know if you have questions. I regularly post on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Youtube.