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rolker

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After watching many towing videos featuring both the Lightning and the Rivian, I figured that the range I can expect towing my own camper would be half or less. Well, to know for sure, I hooked up my trailer for the first time and went for a test drive. It's 31' long and probably weighs about 7000 pounds.

PXL_20220813_161404932.jpg


Noticing on Plug Share that a Rivian had checked in at EA in Manchester, NH, while towing, I decided to also incorporate my first DC fast charging to the outing.

I left Epping, NH with 79% SOC, got on the hiway and set the cruise control to 65. When I got to the EA charger, the truck's "This Trip" display showed I had covered 26.3 miles at 0.8 mi/kWh and my remain range was only 55 miles! The charge display on the big screen showed my SOC to be 55%.

I was running ABRP to collect data using a BT dongle and those results show I drove 27 miles and my SOC went from 79 to 55.5. I calculate that to be 30.785 kWh used for the trip at a rate of 0.877 mi/kWh.

PXL_20220813_172214495.jpg


So, I decided to try charging to 90%, with the option of stopping early is some showed up and all the other stall were taken. I'm planning to drive up to Canada in a few weeks (without the trailer!) and there's a long stretch of I95 without a charger capable of 150kW between Portland, ME and the Canadian border. I wanted to know what's a feasible SOC I could reach beyond 80% in a resonable amount of time.

I didn't do a good job at keeping ABRP logging during the charging sessions so I didn't get good charging curve data. I was plugged intio a 150kW charger and it seemed to peek at around 135ish kW at first. The few data points I have are:
3 minutes in, 61% SOC, 134kW
38 minutes, 87% SOC, 20kW
53 minutes, 89% SOC, 7kw

When the power dropped lower than what I can provide at home using my L2 charger, I called it quits.

Summary from the charging station:
Total energy delivered 46.9779 kWh
End state of charge 89%
Charging time 54 min
Charging cost $0.00 + $0.32/min
Session fee $0.00
Charging $17.28

I have plug and charge setup and it worked fine. I did get a message in FordPass that my charging bundle reduced by 46.0 kWh.

On my return trip to Epping, I decided to try 60 mph instead of 65. The results were 0.9 mi/kWh over 25.8 miles.

Data collected with ABRP shows the SOC going from 90.0 to 69.5 so 26.855 kWh used at a rate of 0.968 mi/kWh.

Conclusions?

- Trip to Canada (New Brunswick) is not feasible (now) in a day if I bring the camper. Probably doable with lots of long charging stops at 50kW chargers if I also stop overnight around Bangor and charge at the campground using the 50 amp plug.
- If I want to achieve 1 mi/kWh, I'll probably have to drop my speed to 55 mph, or just stay off the highways.
- A 90% SOC is probably a bit too ambitious of a target to reach at DCFCs if I want to reach my destination in a reasonable amount of time. Maybe 85% and a slight drop in my cruise control setting would make more sense.

 

Griddlez

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Very good write up, always love reading about towing results so please keep on posting if you ever want to give more updates.

If it makes you feel any better about your efficiency - I am seeing the same just about with my (only) 23ft long trailer that the gross weight is like 6800 but I most likely only have about 6000lbs on it. .8-.9 mi/kWh doing 65. At 55ish I can get about 1.0-1.2 but I need more testing at this speed. It's also about 11ft tall (the air conditioner probably takes that 1ft between 10 and 11).

Interesting how a trailer that weighs less and is much shorter gets the same efficiency. Not unheard of though. Think I have heard of this in Gas F-150's as well. Always getting around 9-11MPG while towing anything with-in its capability / tow specs.

Truly seems like, at 65, we can expect about 100 usable miles of range with a few miles of range as a buffer.

I have a 115 mile away camping trip coming up with only a 30AMP connection on the other end. Pray for me lol, I may try and make it all the way. Half of it is 65 speeds the other is 55. Hoping that helps me get there.. and hoping the 30 amp 120v plug I'll be able to charge off of with an adaptor I have.

20220812_181043.jpg
 

ExCivilian

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Interesting how a trailer that weighs less and is much shorter gets the same efficiency.
That's because weight and size don't have as much impact on things as we tend to think. It seems to be all about the front of your trailer , the space between tow vehicle and towed vessel, and the air slipping around it.

When hyper-milers used to play with this stuff decades ago we didn't have the benefit of 3d printing! Time to start designing fairings for all the gaps, top, bottom, and body kits for the truck itself.

The million dollar question, however, is whether you two are happy with your purchases? Was this just a test for academic pursuit and the hopes that you'd be able to utilize your rig for towing these trailers but no biggie if you can't? Or are you reconsidering your purchase given its limitations?

Coming from a metro area, it's pretty rare to see someone who isn't passing through towing something of substance. In this forum, though, there seems to be a heavy presence of people who actually use their rigs for towing and some great distances. I've seen one member explicitly state if the F150L doesn't do what he's used to doing he's turning right back around and dumping it on the dealer. I'm just curious if you all are of the same mind or are you going to keep your old trucks for the journeys? Personally, I'm tearing into my cummins and making it a fun-truck. I only ever intended to use the 1/2 ton for city driving.
 

hturnerfamily

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Truly seems like, at 65, we can expect about 100 usable miles of range with a few miles of range as a buffer.
I have a 115 mile away camping trip coming up with only a 30AMP connection on the other end. Pray for me lol, I may try and make it all the way. ...

20220812_181043.jpg
similar to what I'll be doing next week with our single axle 3,000lb camper that looks a lot like yours... but I've found that, interestingly, I have DC Fast Chargers(ChargePoint) every 50 miles along the 250 mile route. After stopping at the first, I'll know more about the 'average' mpe and can decide whether there is a need to stop at every one along the way.
As for the campground and the 30amp outlet, that is going to work as a 120v connection with your Ford Mobile Charger, but will be very slow, of course. If you're staying multiple days and not using the truck during that time, it could still work well, but it will also depend on how much the camper is also using during that time. You'd either use an outlet from the truck for the camper, allowing the 30amp outlet to charge the truck and pass thru power to the camper, OR, you could plug the camper into the 20amp outlet, via an adapter, at the campground, OR, you could simply use the 30amp for the camper, and use the campground's 20amp for the truck.... in any case, you'll be charging at 120v, regardless.

Interestingly, one of my first campgrounds we enjoy has TWO 30amp outlets at each site. Why that is, I'm not quite sure, but I CAN make use of both of those, with a 'Y' adapter, to provide then 240v full power to the truck's EVSE Charger. That will allow for charging at more than 4 times as fast.

I suspect that my mpe will be cut in half while towing, but that's expected. If the overall towing range is in the 115-120 mile range, I should have no issues, even in the North Georgia mountains.
 


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rolker

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Yeah, I think it's the frontal shape of the trailer that has the most influance on efficency at those speeds like ExCivilian pointed out. That's probably why those pulling similar sized Airstreams seem to do a bit better.

Most of my camping trips will be local in the 75 mile range so I should be good if I can charge at the destination.

One place I go I have access to 120V 30A as well, but with the Ford portable charger, I don't think it will take advantage of the extra capacity beyond the 15 or 20 amps you would get from a normal wall outlet. In that case, we'd recover what, about 1 mile per hour?

Very good write up, always love reading about towing results so please keep on posting if you ever want to give more updates.

If it makes you feel any better about your efficiency - I am seeing the same just about with my (only) 23ft long trailer that the gross weight is like 6800 but I most likely only have about 6000lbs on it. .8-.9 mi/kWh doing 65. At 55ish I can get about 1.0-1.2 but I need more testing at this speed. It's also about 11ft tall (the air conditioner probably takes that 1ft between 10 and 11).

Interesting how a trailer that weighs less and is much shorter gets the same efficiency. Not unheard of though. Think I have heard of this in Gas F-150's as well. Always getting around 9-11MPG while towing anything with-in its capability / tow specs.

Truly seems like, at 65, we can expect about 100 usable miles of range with a few miles of range as a buffer.

I have a 115 mile away camping trip coming up with only a 30AMP connection on the other end. Pray for me lol, I may try and make it all the way. Half of it is 65 speeds the other is 55. Hoping that helps me get there.. and hoping the 30 amp 120v plug I'll be able to charge off of with an adaptor I have.
 

hturnerfamily

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yep, about 1 mph on 120v @ ~12amps average

for the Chargepoints, hosted by Georgia Power, I've seen most as 125kw 'shared', meaning that if you are the only vehicle between the two pedestals, you can get all the power, otherwise if another vehicle is there, you share that power, for a max 62.5kw between each, maybe more if they are only pulling 50kw, like for a Nissan Leaf, etc.
most of the EA chargers, in walmart parking lot typically, have access to both 150kw and 350kw...and there are some of those outside of my path, but still accessible if needed...
 

vandy1981

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I didn't do a good job at keeping ABRP logging during the charging sessions so I didn't get good charging curve data. I was plugged intio a 150kW charger and it seemed to peek at around 135ish kW at first. The few data points I have are:
3 minutes in, 61% SOC, 134kW
38 minutes, 87% SOC, 20kW
53 minutes, 89% SOC, 7kw
You will get better charging at the top end when you use a 350 kW charger. I've also not seen mine taper so drastically at higher states of charge. I'd guess this is probably due to the charger you've used and not the truck.

I left Epping, NH with 79% SOC, got on the hiway and set the cruise control to 65. When I got to the EA charger, the truck's "This Trip" display showed I had covered 26.3 miles at 0.8 mi/kWh and my remain range was only 55 miles! The charge display on the big screen showed my SOC to be 55%.
I get between .9 and 1.0 mi/kwh at 70 mph with a 7'x11'x22' Micro Minnie. The front profile of the trailer makes a huge difference.
 

hturnerfamily

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I've actually just received an ADJUSTABLE EVSE mobile charger that I plan to take with me, versus the Ford Mobile Charger - due to the fact that there are several scenarios when you don't necessarily want to be pulling close to/at 30amps at 240v when you have access to either a 30amp 240v outlet, or even what I mentioned before, the ability to draw from TWO 30amp 120v campground outlets at the same time. Dialing it down to 24amps might be a better option if the 30amps trips the breaker(s).
 
OP
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rolker

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I've been wondering if some lightweight aerodynamically shaped attachement could be added to the front of the camper to improve aerodynamics. Maybe adding a spoiler or defelcter to the truck could also improve overall airflow? Anyone have access to a wind tunnel big enough for the truck and trailer?

I'm very happy with my purchase and the test was not just academic. I do want to know how to plan my towing trips. Most of the time, I commute to work and the Lightning is great for that, especially with solar at home for charging. I do plan to keep the Lightning, but if it does impede too much on my use of my camper, I'll consider trading for a longer range truck if one becomes avaiable. In fact, the Lightning was initially my backup plan as I was eyeing the not-yet-produced 400 mile Rivian R1T.

Of course, once a longer range option does become avaiable, charging infrustructure could have improved making a trade up less necessary.

That's because weight and size don't have as much impact on things as we tend to think. It seems to be all about the front of your trailer , the space between tow vehicle and towed vessel, and the air slipping around it.

When hyper-milers used to play with this stuff decades ago we didn't have the benefit of 3d printing! Time to start designing fairings for all the gaps, top, bottom, and body kits for the truck itself.

The million dollar question, however, is whether you two are happy with your purchases? Was this just a test for academic pursuit and the hopes that you'd be able to utilize your rig for towing these trailers but no biggie if you can't? Or are you reconsidering your purchase given its limitations?

Coming from a metro area, it's pretty rare to see someone who isn't passing through towing something of substance. In this forum, though, there seems to be a heavy presence of people who actually use their rigs for towing and some great distances. I've seen one member explicitly state if the F150L doesn't do what he's used to doing he's turning right back around and dumping it on the dealer. I'm just curious if you all are of the same mind or are you going to keep your old trucks for the journeys? Personally, I'm tearing into my cummins and making it a fun-truck. I only ever intended to use the 1/2 ton for city driving.
 


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rolker

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Two 30A outlets is indeed odd. I'm not an electrician, but maybe they didn't run large enough wiring to support 50A so they just split the phases between two 30A outlets?

I did test at home using an adapter to plug my 30A camper plug into the truck's 240V outlet. Of course it only uses one of the phases, but it provides enough juice to run the AC, which can be a usefull feature when stopped for a long charginf sessions.

similar to what I'll be doing next week with our single axle 3,000lb camper that looks a lot like yours... but I've found that, interestingly, I have DC Fast Chargers(ChargePoint) every 50 miles along the 250 mile route. After stopping at the first, I'll know more about the 'average' mpe and can decide whether there is a need to stop at every one along the way.
As for the campground and the 30amp outlet, that is going to work as a 120v connection with your Ford Mobile Charger, but will be very slow, of course. If you're staying multiple days and not using the truck during that time, it could still work well, but it will also depend on how much the camper is also using during that time. You'd either use an outlet from the truck for the camper, allowing the 30amp outlet to charge the truck and pass thru power to the camper, OR, you could plug the camper into the 20amp outlet, via an adapter, at the campground, OR, you could simply use the 30amp for the camper, and use the campground's 20amp for the truck.... in any case, you'll be charging at 120v, regardless.

Interestingly, one of my first campgrounds we enjoy has TWO 30amp outlets at each site. Why that is, I'm not quite sure, but I CAN make use of both of those, with a 'Y' adapter, to provide then 240v full power to the truck's EVSE Charger. That will allow for charging at more than 4 times as fast.

I suspect that my mpe will be cut in half while towing, but that's expected. If the overall towing range is in the 115-120 mile range, I should have no issues, even in the North Georgia mountains.
 
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rolker

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I only noticed after I started charging that I could have tried to reach the 350 kW one, but I don't think it would have made a huge difference. Maybe heat was becoming an issue towards the end? It was warm out, but not as hot as it has been recently.

You will get better charging at the top end when you use a 350 kW charger. I've also not seen mine taper so drastically at higher states of charge. I'd guess this is probably due to the charger you've used and not the truck.
 

hturnerfamily

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I think you're on the right track, as this is an older campground(the highest state park campground in Georgia, on the North Carolina border), and this was probably just a way to 'increase' the capacity just in case either two campers were sharing a site, or the ability for folks to use their own 'Y' adapter.

"All electric campsites have two 30AMP connections. (splitters are not provided)."

the fail to mention that the pedestal also has the more common GFCI 20amp dual outlet, but I suspect they think everyone already knows that...

In the camping world, we've seen many folks with 50amp 240v RVs try to make use of a single 30amp 120v outlet, and one of the 20amp 120v GFCI outlets, with a 'Y' adapter, but those are problematic since the 'Y' adapter don't work with GFCI... now, if you happen upon an older electric pedestal that continues to have 'regular' 20amp outlets, then yes, that will work, too, and give you up to 50amps of 120v power: 30amps on one 'leg/side', and 20amps on the 'other side'.

I'll be trying this soon, so I'll try to get some feedback on this unique 'double' 30amp 120v campground outlet option. We don't see this very often, and most folks would never run into this, but in the case of trying to charge the LIGHTNING with 240volts, it certainly is a GOOD find!
 
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rolker

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Months before I got the Lightning, I prepared by having an electrician install a few 14-50 outlets and oredering an OpenEVSE due to its open API and ability to adjust the current. The idea was that I could dabble with charging using only surplus solar.

The circuits were install with GFCI breakers and I am now having issues with them tripping. Using the OpenEVSE, I could charge at 40A for about half an hour before the breaker would trip. If I unplugged the charger and tried to reset the breaker, which would end up feeling hot, it would resent unless I let it cool off. I tried lowering the amperage of the charger but still had issues. The Ford portable charger did work most of the time, but occassionnally did trip the breaker.

Not sure if the issue was the charger or the breakers, but leaning towards it being a charger issue, I ordered a Wallbox charger which also has adjustable current via the app or an API. Breakers kept on tripping with the Wallbox on both circuits I put in the garage so I called in the electrician. The electrician blames the appliances, but he did order a replacement breaker for one of the circuits.

Of course, I'm now discovering that other are having issues with chargers on GFCI circuits so it's probably not faulty breakers or chargers, just an incompatible configuration. Seems like my only option to remain within code is to hardwire the charger so I don't need a GFCI breaker.

I've actually just received an ADJUSTABLE EVSE mobile charger that I plan to take with me, versus the Ford Mobile Charger - due to the fact that there are several scenarios when you don't necessarily want to be pulling close to/at 30amps at 240v when you have access to either a 30amp 240v outlet, or even what I mentioned before, the ability to draw from TWO 30amp 120v campground outlets at the same time. Dialing it down to 24amps might be a better option if the 30amps trips the breaker(s).
 

jerock

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I've read of people using the 14-50 240v to charge their Lightning & use the 30 amp 120v for the trailer. I think we run the danger of overloading the wiring at the pedestal doing so. I think the safest way would be use the 14-50 240v to the Lightning & run your trailer from the Lightnings Pro Power connection.
Two 120v 30 amps at one pedestal can cause you problems with charging & probably won't charge at all (because they are probably the same phase) & a danger to your trailer if you try to connect it as 240v using both 110v 30 amp connections. It has the potential of over current on the neutral wiring of your trailer & the incoming wiring. This articles link does a good job of explaining why.
https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-why-neutral-burned-up/

This article explains basic camper pedestal wiring.
https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-pedestal-power-basics/

This diagram shows the normal wiring on a pedestal.
1660486933310.png

 
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