Jump to content

US Road trip from Atlanta, GA to Savannah, GA & Hilton Head, SC

Recommended Posts

Hey all.  I originally posted this on reddit to the r/KiaNiroEV sub.  Nice little group over there.  Figured I'd share it here because I used ABRP for the trip; not the premium version or using live vehicle data (all stuff I have NOW, lol).  This trip was over Christmas vacation 2021.  (Wow, I am re-reading this and I sound like a complete NOOB!  I know soooo much more now about EV life.)

"Hey there, folks. Thanks for all the words of encouragement on my previous post. I decided to go for it and take the Niro from Atlanta to Savannah, then to Hilton Head Island and back to Atlanta. It's about a 10hr round trip in an ICE vehicle. Here are some thoughts and highlights of our trip:
We departed around 9am on Saturday 12/18 with two adults and a tween, a trunk/hatch full of luggage, and 100% battery charge. We plotted the trip on abetterrouteplanner.com, but I was not really committed to sticking to it (more on this at the end). I planned to do some Level 2 charging once we reached both of our destinations. (Turns out most of that was completely unnecessary).
First stop was a ChargePoint DC charger in Dublin, GA. Some observations during that first leg: The Niro is quite an awesome little ride! I typically use it for in-town driving, and have never driven for more than about 30min at a time in stop/go traffic. I also know that the comfort, features and amenities are likely identical to those on the ICE version of this car. But, all the bells and whistles are new to me. I haven't driven a NEW new car since 2005. Adaptive cruise control and the lane-keeping were all types of cool! Especially in those moments when you sort of zone-out a bit while you're driving. The computer definitely reacts more quickly and safely to things like someone quickly braking or changing lanes in front of me. We didn't need heat or A/C, so I can't speak to road-tripping with those on (70 degree weather both there and back). We hit Dublin at about noon with 40%-ish on the battery. There was one CCS/Chademo DC charger, and one Level 2. A fellow 2021 Kia Niro driver was hooked up when we arrived, so we parked and waited for about 20min. The other driver had some problems disconnecting. The Chargepoint app would not allow a stop-charging request, and the pistol (unsure about that term) would not disengage. After helping him futz with it for a minute, it seems like you needed to press the release button once to stop charging and a second time to release the pistol. Great to practice on someone else's car! We hooked up and charged to 90%, did lunch, bathroom, leg-stretching, and then on to Savannah.
At this point, I should say that all of my range anxiety disappeared. The Dublin experience was so smooth, and there were enough Level 2 chargers littered around the interstate that I felt pretty reassured. We arrived in Savannah around 3:00pm, checked in to the airbnb, then hit Whole Foods to grab some grub. Turns out Whole Foods had a free (albeit beaten and ratty looking) L2 charger in the parking lot. Score. After getting settled at the airbnb, we drove to the park to relax and found *another* free L2 charger (ChargePoint). We walked the 3 blocks back to the airbnb and charged up to 100% that evening. I walked back again myself to get the car just before we decided to pack it in for the night.
Fast forward through city tour, ghost tour, river/port tour, restaurants, etc and we are on our last day of Savannah. We decide to drive to the Riverfront to shop for sweets (if you've never had pralines from the Savannah riverfront, you should question your life choices) before we hit the road to Hilton Head. Parking structure at the riverfront had like *four* L2 chargers. Topped off to 100% and left for Hilton Head.
We arrived at Hilton Head around 2pm on 12/21. Checked in, grabbed some Starbucks and charged for a bit at their L2. Not really many other options (non-resort) for charging, but this was fine. I really didn't need to charge at all.... I think we arrived at like 80% and we were only 40mi away from the DC charger we would visit on the way home. Fast forward through Gullah Heritage tour, laying on the beach, and more laying on the beach, it was time to head home. We left Hilton Head on Thursday 12/23 at around 11am at 85% charge. We had two DC charge stops this time, according to ABRP. The first one was in Pooler, GA. We stopped at the Walmart Electrify America, and that's when I realized (in the voice of Michael Bluth) "I've made a terrible mistake". I was trying to get into a Walmart parking lot on the day before Christmas Eve. It took us 30min just to get from the interstate exit ONE BLOCK to the DC charger in the Walmart parking lot. Ugh. Electrify America had one charger out, but the rest were working. I joined a Leaf and a BMW, and started charging. Charged to 85%, traversed the shoppers again, and headed to Dublin.
Pulled into Dublin by late afternoon, and did food, bathrooms and leg-stretching to get ready for the final leg to Atlanta. And this is where I made my *second* mistake. ABRP told me to charge up to 95% at this stop, but as my range estimate ticked over 200mi on the car dash, I thought, 80% is fine; it's only 130 miles to home. So back on the road, with lane assist and cruise control, and an audio book. As we were driving, I noticed something curious. My remaining battery mileage was not keeping pace with the actual miles I was traveling. And not by a small amount. The battery miles remaining was dropping quite a bit faster than the actual miles left to drive home. It hit me just as we hit bumper to bumper holiday shopping traffic near Tanger Outlets: the car range estimate was maybe not factoring in 3 people plus luggage and driving from low country to higher elevation? ABRP DID take the elevation and passengers into account, but I had ignored its guidance to charge to 95%. Range anxiety kicked back in FULL FORCE. Google kept offering me country roads to go around the traffic, and I kept ignoring the offers knowing that I needed to stay on the interstate in case I really needed to find an L2. As we got to McDonough, I relaxed a bit. I would pass 2 DC chargers on the way home at this point, and I had about (by my mental calculations) 40 miles of travel left, and maybe 80-90 miles of range left. When I hit the airport, I relaxed completely. Pulled into my driveway at about 23% with 50mi of range on the dash display. All was well, but I did learn something about the estimated battery range on the car. It's not always accurate. I never really paid attention to it until this road trip since Atlanta has a LOT of chargers, and I have an L2 at home.
All things considered, it was a GREAT trip and a fantastic vacation! Learned some lessons about the car, and generally enjoyed driving it for the road trip. If anyone has any questions, please ask!"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...