San Francisco to Watsonville in a 2016 SE?

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Jan 22, 2016
San Francisco, CA
I'm trying to figure out if I can make it between SF and Watsonville in a 2016 SE without recharging, because I don't have a fast charger.

Per advice from an earlier thread, I looked on EVTripPlanner using the setting "Nissan Leaf (Beta)". It's giving me a distance of 82.8 miles and total energy used of 21.6 kWh.

I don't know what speed EVTripPlanner is assuming I'm driving down Highway 280, or if it takes into account the elevation change on Highway 17.

Seems like it would be possible though I'd have white knuckles towards the end.
Look at the details tab after you "Route Direct". If you change the Speed Multiplier to 0.9, then the total trip energy drops to 19.6kWh. Basically, if you drive slower, you will make it. I would recommend using navigation to keep an eye on your miles to destination. The GOM (Guess-O-Meter) range display in the car will go crazy as you go over highway 17. Don't worry about what it says until you get into Santa Cruz. If you keep your max speed to 60 mph down the peninsula and take it easy on 17, using B to avoid using the friction brakes, you will have a good idea how fast you can drive for the last leg from Santa Cruz to Watsonville. As long as you keep an eye on your range and the distance to go, you WILL make it, the only question is how fast you can drive.
Boy, that's really stretching it. I live in Santa Cruz and have never gone north of San Mateo. And forget about 280, you'll get better results on 101/85 as the speeds are lower and there's less hills and wind to deal with.

I have done Monterey & back on a single charge (barely). It was about a year ago but I did pull very good mileage from Santa Cruz to Watsonville by going near the coast (Capitola Rd/Park/McGregor to Aptos, then Clubhouse Dr to San Andreas Rd). Thanks to mild weather and easy driving I averaged 6 mi/kWh, so that's only 3 kW burned. But you won't get anywhere close to that on the Highways. I'd bet money you don't make it further than Aptos.

Why not just stop a couple hours in Santa Cruz for a charge? There's a free one at the courthouse, and some low-cost ones downtown.

cctop said:
Seems like it would be possible though I'd have white knuckles towards the end.

And don't forget when you're down to the last 1-2 kW of battery remaining, it'll force you down to low power mode. Highway driving will be impossible at that point.
Thanks miimura and johnny for the tips.

I actually will be stopping for a few hours in Palo Alto on the way down. It's the trip back that I'm hoping to do in one shot since I'll be leaving about 9pm on a Sunday night. I have to work the next day and sitting in the car for a couple of hours at a slow Level 2 charge isn't fun.

The trip is a couple of weekends away. I'll post a followup on whether I attempted it or chickened out and took my ICE car.
Definitely don't even try it if you need to run the A/C. It's been mild to downright chilly here this month, but October can deliver some surprise heat waves. With no A/C or heat I can make San Mateo to Santa Cruz via 101/85 and only use 11 kW, even averaging 60 mph. So you figure 3-4 kW to get down from the city and 3-4 to Watsonville depending on route, you'd make it.

Also, I'd probably recommend taking Soquel drive for the Santa Cruz to Aptos portion. That way, if you realize it ain't gonna happen, there's free chargers at Cabrillo College and Community Foundation. Rio del Mar to Watsonville is a no-man's-land and I wouldn't wanna have it die there.
Followup: I ended up taking my ICE car on this trip because the family wanted to visit Santa Cruz on Sunday, adding 36 miles to the day which would have meant an additional 3+ hours of sitting at a charger.

I probably could have made this trip if I had a 2017 model, or if I had the fast charger on my 2016.

Thanks for all the advice!

I doubt you would make it past Santa Cruz city. I often drive Hi1 from SC to SF but stop at Half MoonB for a quick charge.

SC(110) to HMB(30) charge up
HMB SF HMB (30 left)
HMB (110) SC (20)

Not sipping either.