Road Trip #2: Gold Country

At Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

The second road trip in the Taycan is a little more adventurous since the round trip distance exceeds the vehicle’s range. This is the first time we will be required to charge in order to get home.

This was originally going to be our first road trip, replicating the first long trip I made in the first car I bought in the US, back in 1998 the I first arrived here. We moved it to the second for scheduling reasons.

The trip started with the battery at 100%, thanks to our JuiceBox at home, and an estimated range of about 240 miles. The direct route to the park would have been about 130 miles, but we had a stopover in Davis, CA which added a few extra miles to the trip.

The majority of the route was straight freeway driving, but when we turned onto CA-49 for the final few miles into Coloma, CA, the road narrowed and became windy, giving us a chance to see what the Taycan could really do (it is an incredibly impressive machine, and an absolute blast to drive).

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

Essentially, the town of Coloma is the state park (not quite true as there are some stores and a post office, but even those are inside historic buildings, complete with park signs out front explaining their history).

We started with a picnic lunch in the open, enjoying the sun, then proceeded to check out the old town jail. After that, we spent a little time in the museum, which was not there on my last visit. Housed in a modern building, the museum has exhibits from the time of the gold rush, as well as a theatre and a small gift shop.

Next was a walk over to the site of the original saw mill where James Marshall found the gold that started California’s gold rush. On January 24, 1848 he was walking in the tail race of the mill when he saw something gleaming in the water. That turned out to be gold and the rest, as they say, is history.

The original mill is long gone, but there is a replica built on the site now (and a much older monument commemorating the site).

Coloma

Back in town we stopped to check out the people panning for gold (register at the museum to take part in a gold panning class, lead by park rangers, but get there early as they have limited spots, especially with COVID restrictions, and they fill up fast).

Next up, time for some ice cream (and coffee) at the Argonaut Farm to Fork Cafe. Also picked up some local brews and a can of apple cider to try (at home).

The ice cream was good, but the sorbets were even better, with our group split between whether the raspberry or the mango was better.

Back in 1998, Mark (the friend who came with me on that trip) and I stopped for pie after checking out the park, but we were disappointed in how sweet they were. Sadly, there was no pie left when we got to the Argonaut, so I was unable to check whether the new cafe has better pie options.

Charging Stop

While we could make it to Davis, the Porsche navigation system was telling us we would not make it all the way home without a short charge (as expected). The navigation directed us to what I assumed would be one of the Electrify America locations, and claimed that it was a 350 kW charger.

At the EVgo charger

Turns out that it was not an EA location it took us too, but instead it was an EVgo charger, Luckily, I have an account card for EA, so that was not a huge issue. The second issue was that the chargers at that location were not 350 kW at all; they were all 175 kW units. Still fast, but I was hoping to have a chance to try the Porsche 800 V, 275 kW charging option.

After about 10 minutes, we decided that rather than waiting here we should drive to Davis where we were planning to get dinner, and use the Electrify America charger in downtown Davis (at the Bank of America, 325 E Street).

Electrify America

I had charged at the EA location at home in Alameda before without any problems, but this time, I pulled up to one of the chargers, plugged in and launched the app as before. This time, however, the charger was stuck showing “Connecting to vehicle.” This eventually stopped and showed an error message.

I moved to another charger, had the same experience, so I called the customer support line at Electrify America. The support people were excellent, and she restarted the unit to see whether that would fix it. Nothing made a difference but she suggested maybe trying another unit, so I moved to the third one and this one did connect and was able to start charging successfully.

Interestingly, on the Electrify America screen the charging rate showed as about half the number shown in the Porsche Charging app. I did not capture this at the start of the charging cycle, but towards the end the charger was indicating 59 kW and the app was showing 120 kW (these were not quite at the same time as I grabbed the app screenshot before walking back to the car to unplug).

If you look carefully, you’ll also notice that the line on the bar that represents 80% is in fact labeled 28% (at least, I assume that is percent since the starting point was 17%). The math on the charge rate seems to be broken. Additionally, when it first started the whole display was confused:

One minute to 80%

While these were rapid chargers, I think 1 minute from 17% to 80% is a little optimistic. I will write up more about these numbers later.

Final Statistics

Unlike the Bodega Bay trip, we were parked long enough at Coloma that the automatic trip information reset (and I have not explored how to set up any other trip data). The return journey was 137.2 miles and we averaged only 2.5 miles/kWh. State of charge back at home was 51%. We added a total of 71 kWh to the battery between the two charging stops (for a total of $2.70 (at EVgo – the $6.01 at EA was covered by the free charging plan that comes with the Taycan).

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