Ride in the way-back, not me! I wanted the back seat. Missy wanted the back seat. So in we went. Gear went in the way-back. We had a hand truck, the boss’s chair, and our ground mats. It all fit. Missy and Me fit in the 2nd row bench seat super. We both curled up on a half. I did awaken with a start once on the way home. Did a Greyhound Scream of Death to get staff’s attention. No bickering. No teeth. Just scared little old me.
Staff tells his impressions after the break.
- 2022-10-17 Original
- Proper procedure for using EA chargers
Any road trip requires route planning. Among the things to consider.
- Establish initial charge
- Where to stop for the night
- Where to stop for meals. Picnic or buy prepared food?
- Where to stop for fuel?
- Where to stop to meet natures call?
In my misspent youth, I’d set out with no planning, get a state map or two at state Tourist Info stops, and wing it. The Z-Car would manage 300 miles on a tank of fuel. The GTI would manage 400. And petrol was everywhere. So not much thinking was needed.
Battery electric vehicle charging stops are becoming increasingly available. Many Walmart and WaWa locations have Tesla SuperChargers and some have Electrify America open chargers. Tesla is in the process of opening its charging network to the public but only in Europe now.
Prudent voyage management requires route planning. But as long as you are mindful of miles of charge remaining, you can actually plan a trip dynamically.
After some months of watching Out of Spec Motoring, we learned that A Better Route Planner was the preferred tool.
Create an account with A Better Route Planner and subscribe to premium service. Premium allows you to save and recall plans among other niceties. Create your plan from home to home and add your in-route stops as additional waypoints. Set initial level of charge to 80%. Falcon gets cross when you ask to charge to 90%.
A Better Route Planner lets you select from several routing models to minimize charging stops, minimize charging times, and some more. Most pick minimize charging time. This model favors more frequent but short partial charge stops that take advantage of the fast filling at the start of the charge to reduce total trip charge time.
I was a chicken. I used the plan shown but charged to 80% as I didn’t want to become an item on the 11 PM news because my car ran out of fuel in the HRBT!
Thanks to EA Support for getting the car and charger out of deadlock and guiding me through the first time charging procedure snags. EA support was super. And very busy as the app is not first time friendly but easy to use once shown correctly.
Thanks to the retired camper couple who prepared the YouTube video linked as Reference . This video was carefully scripted and prepared. Although it lacks flash and has a Sargent Friday just the facts style, it is accurate in its order of operations and its precautions and has a nice flow and pacing that is easy to follow.
In experimenting with the EA App, I learned a couple of short cuts that make the EA App easier to use. The key is to use A Better Route Planner to find the stops (or Plug Share). Use the site name from the route planner as the search item in the EA App rather than a geographic search or a lot of map fiddling. You can go directly to the EA App entry for the charging site saving some steps.
Finding the Charger and Charging
To use Electrify America chargers, you will need an Electrify America account . Install the EA App on your mobile. Enter your vehicle in the account data. Enter the magic number from the US window sticker to establish the vehicle’s entitlement to VW paid EA charging. Put the EA credential in Apple Wallet or the Google Android equivalent for tap-to-play.
I recommend practicing use of the EA app at your desk. Things will go more smoothly at the charging site. If you come to the app cold, you will end up in the purgatory we discovered on Saturday.
At the start of the leg to the charger, open the EA App and enter your charging site (for example Walmart 2295) in the search box. The EA App will locate the site and pan the map there. A list of nearby EA locations appears below the map. The specified site should be at the top as shown below. Select the charging site by tapping its entry in the list of nearby charging sites. Tapping the list entry is easier than messing with the map. Tap the pin to open the charger availability bubble. That will select the charger in the App. The text box will change to show the Directions button.
Click the Directions button to open Apple Maps and send directions to it. Drive to the charge site using Apple Maps (or Google Maps) as your navigator. Find a stall and pull in with the socket end of your vehicle nearest the chosen charger. If you can, find one with open spots on both sides as chargers share power sources in pairs.
Once parked, note the dispenser number on the device, locate it in the list of available dispensers, and select it. Do the tap to pay bit when prompted by the app. The Maps back button will take you back to the EA App (the tiny text in the upper left corner of the map).
In this image, I’ve selected the port while sitting at home in Norfolk. Needless to say, the charger is out of reach. Normally, you’d get the connect charger prompt here after doing the credential exchange with the charger. And the start charging prompt. See the video  to see these steps performed.
Normally, you would use this view to exchange payment credentials with the charger, set up notifications, and be prompted to connect the charger to the car, and slide the slidey widget to start charging.
Open wallet and check that the EA credential is selected. Tap phone to the charger’s near field symbol (like a phone WiFi symbol). The two will exchange info. After a bit, the charger will show your information and ask you to connect the car. Do so.
Car and charger will chat. After a bit, the charger will fill in the session specifications and initialize the billing meter. Once this is done and information is correct, slide the Slide to start slider now appearing in the app.
Connect the Charger Last
What ever you do, ignore premature connect charger to car instruction appearing when you arrive and at any point before exchanging EA credentials with the charger. Connecting out of order starts a 45 second timeout that will expire causing chaos. Car and charger both get befuddled and key fob magic is required to break the deadlock. Tap unlock 3 times at the car’s charge panel. Car should release the lock and let you remove the charger. Get out of deadlock jail and start over with the app as described above.
Select the charger in the app first, exchange payment credentials, then plug in. Finally slide to start when prompted. Plugging in starts the 45 second watchdog timer. You’ll fumble with the cable a good bit if it is your first time.
VW Driver Assist
Our chauffeur let ID Software Driver Assist do most of the driving once we were north of the Newport News chaos and traffic had settled down into an orderly flow. The auto pilot feature has two modes, co-pilot mode in which you steer and control speed but it alerts you if you’re drifting out of the lane and an auto-pilot mode in which it will follow the lane in cruise control under your supervision. Basically, you become the co-pilot.
The feature has 3 parts, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, and lane keeping. A setup pane lets you enable and disable features and adjust their sensitivity. These are fairly mature services which have been Volkswagen-Audi Group offerings for about 10 years.
The adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance features worked nicely. The car kept the lane pretty much on its own and drove smoothly. The adaptive cruise control kept the car with traffic nicely. It also dealt gracefully with an idiot who tried to exit from the middle lane and began braking before he was fully in the exit lane. Chewbacca was a lot quicker than I was.
The driver aids worked nicely on a narrow 2-lane county road we were on after leaving the interstate. Surprisingly, lane following was not the least bit fidgety in auto-pilot mode. In copilot mode, it is a bit nervous.
I found that the driver aids made the trip much more relaxing. I even used the massaging seat in mid-trip. Back and leg support were excellent and I did not get achy like I did in the old Audi A4 Avant. VW got the seats just right.
Where the Greyhounds Rode
The voyage plan said one in the boot and one in the second row with luggage in the front passenger seat. We said that’s nuts and both piled in the 2nd row. We each curled up in a corner. Or one could take the seat and the other could sphinx down in the foot area. Yes, there’s that much extra knee room. But we didn’t we just used the flat deck for boarding.