Driving the Charge Forward EV Relay in New Hampshire
09.26.2019 - by Peter O’Connor
Driving the Charge Forward EV Relay in New Hampshire

On September 16, during National Drive Electric Week, Drive Electric New Hampshire organized the Granite State’s first Charge Forward EV Relay that would travel 267 miles over the course of a day through New Hampshire from Colebrook to Portsmouth.

While many drivers participated for a segment or two, and we had a special “EV Baton” to hand off to the lead car in each portion, I thought I’d try the whole trip. As EV drivers know, most trips are quite easy and require no particular planning, but there are a few destinations that require some foresight. For example, when skiing in Lake Placid in the middle of winter, I selected hotels with destination charging because I knew I would use more energy than normal. As charging infrastructure becomes more widespread, this will be less of an issue, but for now, it’s good to look at charging opportunities along your route.

The EV Relay started in Colebrook, NH, past the White Mountains and right by the Canadian border. Colebrook is about 75 miles from the nearest Supercharger, and there weren’t any hotels in town with destination charging. So I knew I wouldn’t be starting with a full charge. That was okay. I charged up a little bit at the J1772 (universal) Level 2 charger at the LaPerle’s IGA grocery store where we started our trip, and planned to make some quick stops along the way. Gary Lemay of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative also did the entire drive; his Chevy Bolt had access to overnight home charging in Colebrook and so started with a full ‘tank’. He stopped to charge once, near the end of the route.

Getting a charge before starting out on the relay.

I chatted with local residents, showing them Plug In America’s Electric Vehicle Guide. But at 7:30 am we were off to North Conway. There, we stopped at Cranmore Mountain Resort, which has installed Tesla destination chargers. These are often full during the ski season and the resort is looking to add more.

The drive from North Conway to Plymouth took us along New Hampshire’s scenic Kancamagus Highway, running through the White Mountain National Forest. Along the Swift River, the colors of the fall foliage were starting to show, though not yet at their peak. About halfway through, we had a great view of Waterville Valley.

I stopped briefly at the Tesla Supercharger in Lincoln, then caught up with the Relay at the Common Man Inn & Spa in Plymouth, which has installed a public Level 2 charger. The Common Man also operates several New Hampshire service plazas with EV charging and I always enjoy stopping at one for a cup of coffee or a sandwich while charging.

The EVs at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway

From there, we went to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. We took several laps around the track, which gave many EV drivers a chance to experience the technology’s impressive performance capabilities. Let the car in front clear out to give you a bit of room on the straightaway, and then see what that acceleration can do! (Safety first, of course.)

The next stop was outside the State House in Concord. We then headed to the Eversource office in Manchester, where the employees lined up to welcome the growing caravan. The last stop on the trip was Portsmouth. After a quick press stop in Market Square, we headed to Portsmouth Brewery for the after-party and remarks by one of New Hampshire’s leading EV champions, State Senator David Watters.

The EV Relay featured a broad array of vehicles from many different manufacturers. The majority of the stops were at site hosts that had chosen to install EV charging for guests, and along the way we passed by (or used) various DC fast chargers. There is a need for more EV charging infrastructure in New Hampshire, as Plug In America pointed out in an EV Infrastructure Analysis report prepared for the state, but the infrastructure exists today to do the relay route.

And now for what I know all of our readers have been waiting for: the math!

The relay route.

I have a Tesla Model S (75D) and have averaged about 316 Wh/mi over the past year. On this trip I did quite a bit better, despite going up and down through the White Mountains, traveling at a good clip on the Kancamagus Highway, and using that acceleration on the speedway. My energy consumption on the relay itself was 244 Wh/mi (4.1 mi/kWh). When you include the drive from my home to the start of the relay the afternoon before (well over 200 miles), and the drive back home that night (nearly 100 miles), it was 253 Wh/mi (4.0 Wh/mi). The mild weather contributed to the low energy consumption.

LegMileskWhWh/mi
Colebrook to North Conway88.520.4231
North Conway to Lincoln42.59.6226
Lincoln to Speedway (Loudon)58.714.9254
Loudon on track5.81.9328
Loudon to Concord14.33.2224
Concord to Manchester184.5250
Manchester to Portsmouth (with  detour)54.114.3264
EV Relay281.968.8244
Total Trip581.5147.1253

 

This was an excellent event for National Drive Electric Week. I’d like to extend a special thanks to Brianna Brand of Drive Electric NH for organizing this, and I hope to do it again next year!

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