Erich Wise, a sculptor from Southern California, has been making the 900-mile drive to his cabin in Chiloquin, Oregon, ever since he can remember. The cabin has been in the family for generations. Wise and his partner, Leah Laird, a college professor, bought a Chevrolet Bolt in March 2020. Its range is 260 miles on a single charge. “The Bolt is excellent for my 40-mile daily commute to work at UC Irvine, but the question was whether I’d be able to go up to Oregon,” Wise says. For the first few months they owned the Bolt, he explains, “there just wasn’t any place to charge for the final stretch to the cabin. But at last they put in a bunch of chargers in Klamath Falls, so we did the first trip in the Bolt later that summer.”
Wise and Laird found it relatively easy to charge in places they’ve enjoyed stopping on previous trips. That included popping into their favorite eatery in Dunsmuir, off I-5 near Shasta. “It’s called Yaks on the 5. It’s a little hipstery, but the food is pretty good.” Its juicy gourmet burgers, made with grass-fed Prather Ranch beef, come with toppings as varied as candied bacon, peanut butter sauce, and ginger-lime marmalade. “The parking lot has two chargers, and I’ve never had to wait,” Wise says. “I get my burger, we sit outside, and the car is right there.” The stop’s 50-kilowatt charger, which restores 200 miles of range in about 45 minutes, allows enough time for eating, stretching, and relaxing, he adds.
Wise describes the road trip from Southern California to southern Oregon as a two-day affair with five or six charging stops along the way. On the first day, they take off from their home in Pomona, stopping in Buttonwillow for a first charge. From there, depending on various battery-draining factors—such as carrying heavy cargo, using max AC, and driving at fast highway speeds—they either make a second fast-charge pit stop or head straight to Sacramento, where they stay overnight with friends. In Sacramento, they plug in the Bolt at their friends’ house via a regular 120-volt outlet that adds some 30 miles of range overnight. (A portable 120-volt charger comes standard with all EVs on the market.) Using the average utility rate in Sacramento, those 30 miles cost about $1. On the second day, Wise and Laird make three more stops—including Dunsmuir—before reaching the cabin in southern Oregon.