Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Preparation Checklist

Me in my ActiveE chasing down Tony Williams from in his Nissan Leaf at Laguna Seca at Refuel2012 last month.Tony drove his Leaf from Tijuana to British Columbia in 8 days last June. He is one of the people that has inspired my trip next month to LA.

One of my inspirations for this trip was Tony William's BC2BC trip in June. Tony drove a brand new Nissan Leaf from Tijuana in Baja California to British Columbia in a little over 8 days. He took his time through California, sometimes due to plans, sometimes due to necessity like when he attempted the central coast route that I am avoiding, he had to drive at as little as 11 miles per hour to make it between charging locations. His charging options varied wildly for his 6 days through California.In my plan, I plan on using only 3 types of chargers (Level 2, NEMA 14-50 and Tesla Roadster) and I plan at staying near or at the speed limit for the whole trip to complete everything in one day.

One of the good things Tony came up as he is also an airline pilot is to create a pre-departure checklist. My checklist will be a little less complex than his.

My checklist includes:

  • Wallet, Driver's License, Insurance Card, AAA Card, Registration
  • ChargePoint and Blink Network RFID Cards
  • Threaded bumper tow attachments
  • 10 Ga Extension Cord
  • Level 1 Charger
  • Tesla UMC Adapter with NEMA 14-50 attachment
  • Tesla to J-1772 adapter
  • Fix a flat, patches and compressor
  • First aid kit
  • Smartphone mount and power adapter and spare battery
  • Lighter power adapter/splitter
  • Log book
  • Flashlight
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm
  • Laptop
  • Phone tether to laptop and confirm pdaNet access 
  • Wallet
  • Suitcase with clothes, medication and toiletries for 4 days
  • Jacket
  • Sleeping Mask
  • Kindle Fire
A few of these items are obvious to a road trip and a few are not. The RFID cards will allow me to use my account to charge at some of the locations that are on a network such as ChargePoint and Blink. The RFID unlocks the charge connector and also provides communication between the charger and my smartphone. Should I step away, the system will alert me if there is a power fault or if someone has disconnected the charger. The extension cord is for an emergency situation in case I need to charge from a wall plug that I just can't quite reach with the charger. The cord has to be a heavy gauge to handle the current. Fix a flat is necessary because most EVs do not have a spare tire. The industry believes that spare tires take up space, weight and are rarely used, especially with today's run-flat technology that the ActiveE also uses. But they are also ridiculously expensive and could be a time killer should I lose one on the trip, so the fix a flat is compact and easy insurance to bring along. The sleeping mask is for catching naps while I am charging. I tend to be light sensitive when I sleep and I found a blacked out sleeping mask knocks me out pretty well. My laptop and Kindle Fire will be good for when I am charging, so I can update my status or to keep me entertained when I can't sleep, I can finally finish all the back episodes of 30 Rock using pdaNet to turn my phone into a mobile hotspot using it's data plan for no additional fees. 

For the log book, I plan on recording at each destination.
  • Location
  • Arrival Time
  • Departure Time
  • Air Temperature
  • Battery Temperature
  • State of Charge at Arrival
  • State of Charge at Departure
  • Charger Type
  • Charger Network
  • Cost to Charge Unit
  • Total Cost
  • Miles Driven
  • Notes from Location (conditions of equipment, amenities, people met, other findings)
  • Checkin to Recargo, Plugshare, Facebook, Twitter and Blog.
So everything is just about planned, the last thing to plan is, where am I going to stay in Los Angeles?

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