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My first long distance trip (1600 miles) with my VW ID4 Pro S RWD

Updated: Jul 10

1600 Mile road trip to Pueblo CO with my VW ID4 Pro S RWD (June 23-27, 2024)

I took my first long road trip with my 2023 ID4 Pro S RWD. I wanted to visit my sister in Pueblo CO to celebrate a milestone birthday. Since I planned to drive all night to avoid the heat dome that was parked over Kansas and Colorado (Rose, my wife, could not come), I asked our family friend Bob to join me as a backup driver. He agreed because he was interested in learning about road tripping an EV, plus he wanted to visit my sister. I used A Better Route Planner, Plug Share, the Electrify America App, and other charging provider apps for planning.

We left Columbia at 7 pm. The trip to the Electrify America station in Independence, MO was smooth. We used the ID4 navigation system (I should have set up the voice navigation before starting out-I didn’t set it until we reached Colorado). The ID 4 navigation was ok, plus I had ABRP and Plug Share as backup. Without voice navigation, I had to look at the screen to see the upcoming turns. 

We stopped for a late dinner in Kansas City but discovered that the restaurants in the area closed at 9 pm on Sunday nights. With no place to get dinner other than fast food, we used the ID4 navigation system to find the Independence EA charging station. Once at the station, we found that three out of four chargers were working, but they were being used. We parked and waited for 30 minutes before one car left. I backed into the spot (it was tight). The new plug and charge feature for a 2023 ID4 worked, but the charger crashed after 5 minutes. The charger then went off line. Fortunately, the other two cars left, and I pulled into the next charging station. This charger functioned properly, and it followed the classic ID4 charging curve. We finished charging in 20 minutes. (Arriving with 59% charge, we experienced a peak power of 71 kW, and the charger successfully delivered 16.783 kWh in 16 min 4 sec.)

Our next stop was at the Topeka service center on the I70 toll road to grab something to eat. We had hoped it would have a restaurant, but we had to settle for fast food. I looked at the ChargePoint chargers at the service center and they seemed to be a convenient bailout option for future trips, but they were only 50 kW units. After eating, we drove to the Topeka EA station. One charger was down, but the other three were empty. The charging session was textbook perfect. (Upon arrival at the Topeka EA station, our charge was at 45%, we reached a peak power of 85 kW, and received 28.28 kWh in 24 minutes.)

We then continued our journey, and I stopped at the Abilene 24/7 Travel store to check out the 50 kW evconnect units which were under the canopy along with the gas pumps. I tried a 5 minute charge, and it peaked at 48 kW. I concluded that this charging station would be a good bailout spot for future reference.

The EA station in Salina was our next stop. This station was not well lit because the Casey’s store it was near was closed. However, it was a great charging stop. We were the only car there at around 3 am. All the 350 kW stations worked. Our charge rate followed the classic ID4 curve. If you need amenities in the middle of the night, there are several 24 hour truck stops nearby, including a convenient Flying J Travel Center on the road back to I70. We arrived with a 49% charge, reached a peak of 79 kW, and delivered 32.501 kWh in 30 minutes and 45 seconds.

Next we rolled into the Hays Kansas Electrify America station at about 5 am. We were the only car and had our choice of chargers. It looked like all the stations were available. The 350 kW unit I chose worked well. Again, it followed the classic ID4 charging curve. The Walmart was closed, but there was a 24/7 truck stop a mile or so away. (We arrived with 40% charge, had a peak of 90 kW, and delivered 31.768 kWh in 26 min 4 sec.)

Our next stop was at the Colby KS EA station. We rolled in about 7 am and it looked like all the chargers worked. We picked a 350 KW unit and the charging session went very well. The Walmart was open and not too far away. After finishing the charge, we drove to a nearby McDonalds to get some breakfast. At 28% charge, we reached a peak power of 128 kW, delivering 49.8 kWh in 38 minutes.

Our next stop was the EA station in Flagler CO (there was a charger in Burlington CO that I could have stopped at but chose the EA station to get the free charging that comes with the ID4). They recently upgraded the Flagler station. I was nervous since the old station was one of the most unreliable in the US. The EA station’s recent upgrade pleasantly surprised me. One station was out, but the others worked. We were the only car there when we arrived at about 10 am. The charging session was great. Bob walked across the street to the Loaf and Jug (about 100 yards away). We got back on the road by 10 am for our final push to Pueblo. We arrived with 41% charge. The maximum charging speed was 95 kW, and 39.4 kWh was delivered in 34 minutes and 26 seconds.

As we neared Limon CO, the low tire sensor warning flashed across the screen. I stopped at a truck stop on the highway 24 turnoff. It just dawned on me I forgot to pack a pressure gauge. I purchased one in the Travel Center and checked my tire pressures. The passenger side front tire was low. I examined the tire and found a scrape on the sidewall where some of the rubber was peeling. Thinking back, I knew the damage probably occurred during the trip because the car had just been in for service before I left Columbia and everything was fine. I think it happened on west bound 70 just after passing Burlington. There is a rough section on the highway which some people call the washboard. The concrete undulates and has potholes. While navigating around the potholes, I found myself trapped between three semi trucks at one spot. I hit one pothole. I put air in the tire and drove slow and carefully to Pueblo. 

Bob and I stopped at the Sam’s club EA station at 2 pm to charge. Fortunately, there were no cars, and the charger worked. Bob walked to the nearby Loaf and Jug. I checked the tire to see if it held pressure, and it did. I decided that the weakness in the side wall was a risk, so I opted to change it. The tires are not square. I needed a Perrelli Scorpion Zero, all weather 235/50 R20 tire for the front. Knowing that Big O had it listed on their website, I called them. I ordered the tire and was told it would come in the next morning. We arrived at the station with a 35% charge, experienced a peak charging power of 114 kW, and received a delivery of 36.136 kWh in 26 minutes and 15 seconds.

Big O did not call me the next morning, so I called them and was told the tire wasn’t on the morning truck. I was very concerned, so I contacted Mike Maroone VW in Colorado Springs and ordered a tire from the parts department. I also made an appointment for the following afternoon with the service department to install the tire. The cost was eye opening, about $550. Big O never got the tire in.

The next morning, Bob and I made the trip to Colorado Springs and the service department at Mike Maroone VW took excellent care of the car. I know it cost about a hundred dollars more than Big O or Discount tires would have charge, but I had to return home the next day for an important appointment. It is comforting to know that a vast network of VW dealers is available to provide quick service in case of an emergency. This is one of the strongest points in favor of owning an ID4.

We made it back to the Pueblo EA station to charge the car at about 4 pm. I pulled into an open 150 kW unit and Bob walked over to the Loaf and Jug. One of the 350 kW units was down and the other chargers were all occupied. As I was preparing to charge, a person in a red mustang Mach E drove by and asked me how long I would be. He then drove down the aisle, patiently waiting at the nearest open parking spot for an open charging station. I then started my charge. It began normally, but after a few minutes, the unit derated to 30 kW. Then the charging station abruptly stopped. I called the Electrify America support number, and they placed me on hold. As I waited, I saw a beautiful green Fisker Ocean pull into an open parking spot across from me. I continued to navigate the EA support phone tree.

I should point out that the Pueblo EA station has a poor setup. There is barely enough space next to the charging station to park and no place at all to form a line to wait for an opening. Actually, the EA station was on a one-way lane in the Sam’s Club parking lot, and the parking lot was almost full. This was the worst EA station layout I had ever seen.

 A few minutes later, the car in the next charger stall left. The person in the red Mach E quickly drove around the station and pulled into the open charging station space. The man in the Fisker furiously began flashing his lights and then got out of his car, walking towards the man who owned the Mach E, angrily claiming that he was there first. I had to intervene, so I said that I was a neutral party and that I saw the red Mach E arrive 15 minutes before the Fisker. That calmed him down and he apologized. They could have avoided this misunderstanding if they had better planning for the EA station layout.

After waiting on the phone for 30 minutes for an EA service agent, their end dropped my call. Then the man who owned the Mach E muttered in exasperation that he couldn’t start a charge. Every one of the EA stations had suddenly gone down, probably because of overheating in the 110 degree heat. I walked across the way to the man in the Fisker and told him that all the stations were down. We had a friendly conversation. I asked him about his Fisker. He said he liked the car but that he had been trying to get some serious issues fixed since January with no response. Now that Fisker was bankrupt, he was worried that he will have none of the issues solved. 

I told him I was leaving today and needed to stop at the Colorado Springs EA station to get a charge. He then told me about a ChargePoint station at a 7/11 about a mile away. I thanked him and Bob and I drove to the 7/11. The station was empty, and I did quickly get a charge. It was understandable that none of the EA customers showed up while I was there because it cost about eighteen cents more per kWh. We then made it back to my sister’s house to pack up and load at about 5:30 pm.

We got on the road by 6:45 pm. The first leg of the journey took us back to the Flagler EA station at 11:05 pm. There was a very nice Hyundai Ionic 5 charging on a 350 kW charger. I parked next to it and used a 150 kW charger. Our state of charge was 29%, our peak power was 121 kW and followed a classic ID 4 charging curve. We received 48.25 kWh in 37 minutes and 7 seconds.

I talked with the Ionic 5 owner. He also owned a Tesla model 3 but got a good deal on the AWD Ionic 5 SEL for a $232 monthly lease out of Colorado Springs. He wanted the car for long road trips because of its ride quality, spaciousness and comfort. Colorado residents get an additional $5,500 state incentive on top of the $7,500 federal incentive towards the lease or purchase of an EV.

Our next stop was at Colby KS at 1:41 am. We arrived with 44% state of charge. Our peak charging level was 82 kW. In 25 minutes and 10 seconds, the charging station supplied 27.888 kWh.

We stopped at Hays KS but I did not record data for this stop. However, the charging session went well.

We drove on to Salina KS and arrived at 6:08 am with a 46% charge. Our peak charging rate was 79 kW. In 24 minutes and 59 seconds, the charging station provided 27.2236 kWh.

Onward we went and stopped in Topeka at 8:26 am. Our state of charge was 35%. We had a peak power of 98 kW. 24 min 52 sec later, the charger output dropped considerably to 30 KW. 22.536 kWh was delivered. I had to unplug and then I tried to re-start the charge with a charge level of 63%. I could restart the charge. The peak charge rate was 63 kW. 21.536 kWh was delivered in 24 min 18 sec.

We arrived in Columbia at about noon.

I did not optimize my charging stops. The ABRP trip planner showed that I could have had a travel time of 13 hr 55 min with 5 charging stops and a total charging time of 2 hr 38 min. My goal for the trip was not speed but exploring the charging infrastructure along the route. We ended up with a charging time of 3 hrs and 42 min. 

The ID4 was very comfortable. It drove extremely well. I liked the VW ID 4 travel assist. It had a quirk when using automatic lane change. The car did not center in the passing lane if that part of the road had a yellow boundary stripe. We encountered this situation on the passing lanes in Kansas frequently. The lane assistant worked well as long as there were white boundary stripes. However, I had to take over the steering during a lane change when there were yellow stripes. So, I did not use automatic lane change much. However, the adaptive cruise control was excellent. 

The charging infrastructure was good overall along I70. The worst stations were the EA Independence MO and EA Pueblo CO. The stations in between were acceptable to good.

Overall, the ID4 was a fun car to drive. The obvious problem driving an EV is the additional time to charge a battery versus filling up a gas tank. That can be frustrating. In comparison, my Subaru Forester gets 30 miles to a gallon. I would have made three gas stops to drive to Pueblo CO. Typically, I would fill up the car, then go into the travel shop to use the bathroom, buy snacks and drinks. That would typically average 30 minutes per stop. The gas stops added one and a half hours to the travel time. Thus, the time difference between driving the ID4 and Subaru is about 120 minutes, given that I traveled at night and did not have to wait for other cars to finish charging. I also chose to be conservative and charged way more than I needed based on my ABRP plan. I charged for about 3 and a half hours. The ABRP plan called for 2 hours and 39 min of charging. My decision was based on wanting enough charge to make it to the next bail out charger that could have been as far as 75 miles. If I had chosen to travel during the day in a 100+ degree heat that would have been an additional complication. We could have experienced a complete station failure like we did in Pueblo CO.

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