2017 ElMoto ME-FL Trip - New England
I sure hope this new charging system works!
That was the thought I would soon answer after investing another $2,000 into the latest charging equipment for my electric motorcycle. Such is life when you are on the cutting edge of new technology. I've gotten used to the stress. However, this was a bit more exciting than anticipated. Here's why...
My new digiNow Supercharger Version 2 (v2) arrived just one week before my first trip of the summer. My new 2016 Zero SR is already outfitted with my trusty Elcon 2.5kW chargers, providing 5kW of power. It's fun to have new equipment, but I was about to embark on a 1,000 mile trip using gear I hadn't tested yet. The Elcons charge up my bike in about 1.75 hours, but I have done other trips waiting for such a time and am over it.
So this summer I am looking forward to riding over 100 miles on the highway at highway speeds, and charging in under an hour. The 2016 Zero SR should be up to the challenge, and the Supercharger v2 must work in tandem with my existing Elcon charging system to reduce charging times. Since the Supercharger v2 arrived with no setup instructions, it took some time to configure the wires, then I got on the phone with Brandon Nozaki-Miller, aka the Electric Cowboy. We figured out that an old connector cord I am using doesn't have the right resistance, so I bought a resistor and a diode, wired it up and hoped for the best.
By the time I got everything set up so it would work it was 11pm on the night before I set out to leave for the New England leg of my Maine to Florida trip this summer. After packing clothes & gear for the trip it was too late to test out the equipment, I may as well test it tomorrow morning and see if it's worth lugging around an extra 15-lbs of weight.
The next morning arrived with great anticipation as I plugged in the Supercharger. To my great relief it fired up immediately! Woohoo! However, we're not out of the woods yet. Since it's the morning of my departure my bike is already charged fully, so all this proves at this point is that the fans come on. It hasn't actually started charging my bike (because the battery is full).
So off I go to New Haven, CT, home of Yale University where there will be plenty of charging station options in case one doesn't work out, right?
Wrong! In New Haven I spent a full hour looking for a charging station that was available for me to use! How frustrating! The first garage was locked for the weekend, then 3 others didn't allow motorcycles, and 1 had a Tesla Model X already charging. Fortunately there was a nice security guard who had previously informed me that motorcycles were not allowed in the garage even if they have to charge. Something about liability. Whatever.
But she pointed me in the direction of a new charger that wasn't even on Plugshare (the app that finds charging systems)! Woohoo! As I plugged in my Supercharger v2 I waited with baited breath as it turned on and then my charge rate began rising. Starting at 6kW (with the 5kW of Elcons and 1kW from the onboard charger) it kept rising to 7, then 8, then 9, then 10kW!!! Holy moly! It works!
By using 2 charging stations that are next to each other I can charge my 16kWh battery in less than an hour! A nearby sushi restaurant, Dashi, made for a delicious stop while the bike charged.
In just under an hour I was back on I-95 on my way to Rhode Island. Even though it took an extra hour to find a charging spot, I was excited to have a charging system that can charge so quickly! This will make the second half of the journey to Florida much easier!
Also exciting is being able to ride more than 100 miles on a single charge! So my trip to Rhode Island, which used to take 3 charging stops, now only takes 1 charging stop!
I spent the weekend with friends in Rhode Island, Massachussetts, and Maine. Ate some lobsters, attended a workshop at the AMAZING Wells Reserve at Laudholm. Then off to visit more friends in my hometown of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, the Oldest Summer Resort in America.
AT LAST, my first big day of riding. Today I will ride over 360 miles to get back to NJ. To find out about this part of the trip, check out the video below. It went very smoothly, with only 1 minor hiccup in charging all day. Also, it was wet riding in the morning, but it cleared up and I made it home before sunset!
I'm very pleased with the Supercharger v2, and have heard that many others have bought it as well. Keep an eye out for more road tripping electric motorcyclists!