I have just returned from a 1,650 mile round trip from the Washington state coast to Bozeman, Montana and back in my 2015 Rex. I took off on Monday at 5am and returned Friday afternoon. Spent Wednesday at a book reading by my beloved 85 year old aunt in Bozeman. Used DC fast chargers 11 times for a total of about $100, stopped for gas 13 times for a total of 27.2 gallons and a cost of about $88 for the trip, plugged in overnight on a free level 2 where I was staying for the night on two occasions, and plugged in at free level two in order to top off the battery while in Bozeman. The whole trip went flawlessly.
Temperatures in the single digits overnight and mostly in the teens and twenties during the day. Multiple major elevation changes throughout the trip including mountain passes. Went from sea level to well over 6,000’. I travelled 515 miles the first day. It was snowing in Bozeman with everything but the arterials covered with hard packed snow with lumps and ruts everywhere. It was snowing hard at Snoqualmie pass in the Cascade mountains on my return trip, but most of the roads on my trip were bare.
I had previously installed Nokian R3 155/70/19 winter tires on my 5-1/2” wide rear wheels and 5” wide front wheels… yes they fit despite what you may have heard, and they performed beautifully. I made some chains from two sets of chains designed for 155-70-13 wheels. Shortened one set and attached them to full length set to make chains that fit. I was kind of looking forward to having a chance to use them, but the chains required warning was lifted for Snoqualmie pass a few hours before I got there.
I used almost no heat and could have easily done the whole trip with no heat! I did not use the seat heat. Now, before you guffaw and relentlessly ridicule me for being a liar, please let me explain : ) I have a Rex Junior! In my case, the coldest parts of my body while driving are my ankles… most peculiar, I know. I purchased a solar generator from an Idaho company called Inergy. The Apex model. It is pricey, but you can charge it by plugging in, or with solar panels. It also works well for powering electric lap blankets and a TV during power outages if we do not want to start our noisy generator at home. It has an inverter built in. It is small and portable and weighs only 25 lbs!
I bought two Sunbeam heat therapy wraps… one for each ankle. Wore long johns and two pairs of Merino wool socks and wrapped the heat wraps over them with the plugs hanging out of my boots. I also wore pants, because very few things are more grotesque than an old man wandering around in long johns asking where the bathroom and coffee machine are : ) Strapped the solar Rex Jr. in behind the seats where I could see the read-out. Very nice to stay warm while sitting waiting for your charge to get to 80-85%. I think I could probably drive as many as 24 hours this way without charging the Apex. I took along an electric lap blanket just in case, but I never used it. It uses much more wattage than the ankle wraps. From past experiments, I believe I could have used the blanket for ten hours of so before depleting the battery of Rex Junior. I charged the Rex Junior overnight at the places I stayed although it never got below 80%.
I used the vehicle heat for about 10 minutes on the way to my destination and about 1/2 hour on the way back, but it was completely unnecessary. This allowed me my maximum electric range potential by saving the battery for driving with defrost on the lowest setting of 60 degrees. I drove in Eco Pro mode most of the trip. I drove the speed limit or slightly under where traffic allowed… and the traffic was great for most of the trip. So 65-75 MPH on the highway for the most part. The only slightly unpleasant time was with some strong sidewinds that had me wandering in my lane for a bit, so I slowed down, which helped.
I hope this explains to the skeptical how the i3 Rex can be used for longer trips without the need for a back up gas guzzler and all the attendant hassles of more insurance payments and all the upkeep involved in owning a second car. The i3 Rex is a brilliant piece of engineering that allows driving full electric most of the time, and until the EV infrastructure becomes more ubiquitous and reliable, it is the best of both worlds wrapped up in a seamless package.
I also hope this will be of some help to Bev owners with small batteries. Cheaper than having to buy a car with more range as your battery slowly degrades overtime! I use the Rex Junior for our weekly shopping trips (we live in a tiny town) and no longer have to deploy the Rex for winter heat during these 60-70 mile round trips. My wife gets by fine with the electric throw blanket and seat heat.
There is another similar, but less attractive (to me) Rex Junior option called a cab heater that truckers use.. a small diesel powered heater. Here is a great write up on an EV install of that:
And here is a link to Inergy:
2015 REX / Participating on plugshare w/level 2 Clipper Creek 32 amp, Moclips, Washington coast